In which we make a big hole in the ground, and plant an erector set

Did anybody have an Erector Set as a kid?

My brother and I were more Tinkertoy kids, and my father cemented that firmly when he bought us a set of Giant Tinker Toys in the late 1970's. We built all kinds of crazy structures with those plastic pipes and poles.

Who knew that those skills would be handy so many years later?
A truck pulls into the backyard, laden with the erector set!

Stacked neatly in the corner, out of the way.

Jim gets the tractor running again (fuel hoses were leaking, he replaced them, tractor runs better when the engine can get fuel!)
and made a
the Ground.
Next, fill up the Big Hole with gravel.
I ordered the gravel from a new company located very close to the Farm. They hire independent truckers to haul for them--and they hired this guy (below) to haul gravel to me.
I stopped in my tracks when I saw the name on the side of the rig:
Uh, dude? What's your name?
"Storms" is a very unusual fact, the only people I've ever met with that last name are my own family. Steve Storms, truck driver, doesn't appear to be directly related to me, but I can't believe we aren't at least cousins! (Also, his family is from Chewela, WA--population: 2,000...and two of those people are Madeline's grandparents! Ultra weird!).

Anyhow, once the hole in the ground had gravel in it, we could move the Erector Set pieces out of the nice stack in the corner of the yard.The pieces are made of galvanized steel, and they're heavy.
I suppose that means they're also sturdy, so that's probably a good thing.
We drilled holes for the anchor posts, and dropped in cardboard tubes for concrete forms.
We had to put 2x4 boards in the holes at night so that the little frogs who hopped in the holes
could climb back out. Dumb frogs.
Lisa learned how to use the power driver to drill holes to attach the anchor posts to the erector set panels. Then, we stood the panels up to make sure the holes were all in the right places!

Jim's battery-powered Sawzall had a nearly-dead battery, so he fired up the trusty chainsaw instead
and shortened the 12' boards a bit so they would fit inside the dimensions the wall panels.
We put the boards in place, and then got out the rachets:

and the ladder
and started putting the whole thing
Fiddle's stall is on the right, and Hana's stall on the left. We'll add more gravel in pickup truck loads to ensure LOTS of drainage--a structural necessity in the Swamplands!
Next week, we will assemble the beam pieces for the aisleway roof, and then put up two stalls to mirror the pieces in place (those will become the hay storage and tack room, when it's all finished).
Stay tuned!


  1. Woo Hoo! What hard work! What FUN!
    Looks like the Noble brand stalls we put together years ago, when we were still renting. They served us well at the time, and have moved on to another farmstead now that we built the "real" barn (except for the bow gate--I still use those a lot).
    Do you get any sort of template for cutting the odd shaped pieces? Can't wait for more updates!

  2. Is this a kit? Please tell me about it. Mr. Fry and I are talking...

  3. It is a kit--from Noble Panels, based in Oregon! Here's the link to their website:

    They are a terrific company to work with. I ordered through my local farmer's co-op, so I will get a 10% rebate on the purchase price of the panels (and everything else I buy at the co-op).

  4. That's impressive work - thanks for the pictures!

  5. That looks so exciting!! I want one! I need shelter for 6 horses because they can't seem to walk across the acreage to all the huge oak trees! They stand in the rain looking miserable and make me feel guilty until I walk out with blankets!

  6. awesome aarene! i'm so happy for you!

    we are still looking for a gravel company and please don't tell me what you paid for gravel because i'm sure i'll cry.

    i'm so sick of waiting, i want this thing built now!

    it would sure be nice if we had the help of a tractor, but there is no way to get one into these tight spaces. so, it's all shovels for us.

    we need some kiddie helpers too!


  7. i just showed your post to my man and we admired your work and materials.

    we are both very curious why you put wood below the barn.

    i'm worried we're gonna screw this up so i need all the input i can get!


  8. The longest, hardest part has been site prep. It has been a source of discussion and hours on the little tractor that could.

    The treated wood sills are mainly to hold the gravel in place; second, the provide a barrier to small critters; third, they lift the metal off the ground, which makes me feel better.

    Aarene and I erected the two stalls in less than three hours by ourselves. When the kids got home from doing kid stuff, they help straighten and level the ends.

    WV: catorjoi, it's your choice.

  9. Ooooh that's awesome! Color me totally jealous of your power toys, errr, tools and free labor.

    I am constantly surprised at how many people share my last name. The two most famous are a white Republican former Representative from NC and a black former NBA player.


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