Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Attorney - Lawyer
     None  Auto
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Child Care
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Coffee Shops
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Duct Cleaning
     None  Electric utility
     None  Employment - Hiring Opportunity
     None  Equine Services
     None  Errand Services
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Fitness
     None  Flooring
     None  Food Products
     None  Funeral Home
     None  Garage Doors
     None  Gun Accessories
     None  Hair/Nail Care and Cosmetics
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Home Inspector
     None  Home Maintenance
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insulation
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jewelry
     None  Knitting and Sewing
     None  Landscaping
     None  Mortgage
     None  Orthodontist
     None  Painting - Interior/Exterior
     None  Paving/Asphalt
     None  Pet Grooming
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Plumbing
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane Delivery
     None  Propane
     None  Property Management
     None  RV Sales and Service
     None  Racing - Cars
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Schools
     None  Senior Citizen's Services
     None  Senior Citizens Services
     None  Septic Services
     None  Sheds, Outbuildings
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Small Engine Repair
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Storage
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Tires
     None  Tractor, Trailer and RV Sales
     None  Upholstery
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Welding
     None  Window Replacement
     None  Windshield Repair
     None  Winery
     None  Woodworking

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
– Henry David Thoreau  
About Us | Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 10 October 2019  

None Black Forest News   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos   None Did You Know?  
None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Letters to the Editor  
None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains  
None Pet Adoption Corner   None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life  
None Rumors  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

Bill Radford

  Getting prepared for “ahem” ... winter
  By Bill Radford

   Longtime local journalist Bill Radford and his wife, Margaret, live on 5 acres in the Falcon area with ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, two noisy parrots, goats and two horses. Contact Bill at

   So, how's your before-winter list coming?
   I believe my wife, Margaret, uttered those two frightening words — "before winter" — as early as spring this year. While I remember her saying those words, I don't remember what task she was putting on the to-do list that early — so it's quite likely it hasn't gotten done. But there is a list on a white board in the kitchen to tackle.
   Many of the items have already been taken care of, especially since an early taste of winter in October moved our timetable up. While there was only a dusting of snow, the temperature one night in the middle of the month plunged to 9 degrees, which seemed ridiculously low for that time of year.
   Luckily, it appears to have been just a short-lived arctic blast before the real thing comes later.
   But the cold spell meant it was time to plug in heated water bowls for the ducks, chickens and rabbits and move the horse water troughs from outside the horses' stalls to inside. It'll be our second winter with electricity in the barn, which means a glorious overhead light and fewer electric cords snaking across the yard. We don't have water to the barn, but our hoses are coiled up and ready to go. (In coiling them up, the water typically drains; our first winter, we didn’t know that trick and the hoses would freeze while stretched out on the ground between the outside faucet and the horses.) We also have a winter's worth and more of hay — happiness, as my wife says, is a full hay barn.
   Meanwhile, we've gotten the furnace checked and the pipes of the sprinkler system blown out (though not until after the first freeze). And we've harvested potatoes from the garden. With the extreme heat early on and the dry spring, it was a tough year for gardening. Even kale, usually our go-to crop, failed to grow; potatoes made up our only success story.
   We've also fulfilled Margaret's burning desire for an outdoor horse arena. Our neighbor Loy, the neighborhood tractor guy, leveled and tilled the ground for it. Then, with the pasture fence providing two sides of the arena, we disassembled our round pen and used those panels and a few others around the property to construct the remaining two sides of the 160-by-80-foot arena.
   So what's left on my list? Here's a sampling.
   A roof for the chicken pen. The chickens, of course, can escape the weather by cuddling up together in their coop, but we like to have more protection than that. In past years, we've covered the top of the chicken pen with a tarp. But no matter how many tie-downs and straps we use to keep the tarp on, the wind eventually shreds it into nothing. So I want something more durable. And that "something" will be the floor of a plastic outdoor shed that used to be the goats' house. The floor is all we have left of the shed, which was ripped apart by vicious prairie winds.
   Finishing touches on our new tack room/shed. Margaret has wanted a tack room for some time; there's not much room in the barn, and the old plastic shed that we've been using for tack is cramped and in rough shape. So we bought and got delivered a decades-old, 16-foot-by-8-foot shed from someone in Black Forest who had it for sale on Craigslist. We've put on a new door — the old one was sagging and too big and heavy — and are putting on new roofing. And we've been wrestling with what to do to protect the aging exterior, such as a simple sealant or a deck-restorative product. (I'm also putting a new coat of sealant on the barn doors, which are only a few years old but have taken a beating by sun, wind and rain.)
   Cutting firewood for our wood-burning stove. Margaret got a great deal on a bunch of wood from dead trees that had been cut down on a nearby property that was going up for sale. But the pieces of wood need to be cut down to fit in the stove. So it's time for me to buy my very first chainsaw. I was going to buy a gas one but in studying the instructions, the nearly dozen steps to start the thing seemed a bit daunting. So now I'm looking at an electric one, which might not have as much power but starts in one step — assuming I've remembered to plug it in.
There is a lot to do before winter sets in at the Radford ranch. A new-old tack shed is delivered as part of the preparations for colder weather. Photo by Bill Radford
Facebook print this page      

  © 2004-2019 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. About Us | Contact Us | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy