So I started to write about my experiences of Sandy in general, but stopped. You all must be sick of all the Hurricane stories by now. If you not, just let me know and I will happily share some of the other adventures to be had, but unless I hear otherwise I am just going to share one very horsey.
So I should have gone to the barn Monday, but didn’t. I didn’t get back up to see Gen or Lucky until Wednesday because of closed roads, etc. Gen was filthy, but fine. The barn had tons of water, but was not damage free. At Gen’s barn there is a special fence. The kind of fence I would want at my place someday.
It is a 5 foot tall, 4 rail fence instead of the standard 4 foot 3 rail. As long time readers know, keeping Gen in his field used to be a big challenge so this extra tall, extra railed fence was a selling point when I first looked to move Gen. So this fence is a “slip rail” which means that the fence rails are 10 feet long, 2 inches deep and a good 6 or 8 inches down.
Slowly over the past year a few of the posts have begun not to do well. One of the posts in between Gen and the other geldings has taken a real beating, another in the back of the girls fields was starting not to look so great also. They keep a few posts and a few rails in the hay barn for an emergency, but just hadn’t gotten around to replacing the others or ordering more.
And then Sandy came.
The winds were crazy. I have lived through a Tornado and that is seriously what this reminded me of. It was just so loud and so constant. They said wind gusts, but it really felt like the gusts were several minutes in length, not just a quick blow and then break. They clocked the gusts in my area at over 80 miles per hour…for 6 hours.
The fencing that I love so much? Well, out of the 5 foot height you have four rails that can catch a lot of wind. The poor fence posts couldn’t keep up with the constant pressure and several gave way. The farm was lucky no tree’s came down, but in the morning the Barn Owners awoke to find not one of 2 sections of fencing down, but 8 areas with cracked or ruined posts and boards scattered about.
They taped up the areas and turned the ponies out anyway, but they didn’t have enough spare supplies to fix all 20+ posts and 60+ rails that were now scattered around the farm.
That is where I came in. The Barn Owner’s Husband went to work, giving him phone access (cell phone services was iffy at best) and he set about calling all sorts of fence places. As I am sure you can guess, most places were not open, and those that were open were so overwhelmed or they didn’t have a 4 hole fence post. The fence placed that they had used before was not not picking up the phone, but he was sure they would have what was needed if they were around. That is where I came in…
The sales office for this place is in my town, but they were not picking up the phone. The supply yard was in the next town over. The Barn Owner’s Husband sent me a text wondering if I was up for an adventure. I asked him why, and when he asked if I would try and find the supply yard for the fence to even see if they were open I agreed. On a good day the place would only be 15 minutes away. Things were getting a little crazy here though…
So I got in my car and tried to get to the supply yard, but it was tricky. With so many downed power lines and trees I ended up driving around for a while until I could get to the highway and go that way. I was just about to give up when I saw that the road off the highway to the fence place was open! Score! So I turned off and sure enough the supply yard was right where he said it would be. Even better was that the front gate was open.
I pulled in the parking lot, but lost hope as soon as I saw the yard itself was locked up tight and the supply yard office was dark. Not one to give up easily I saw two cars around the side of the building and figured I could at least knock on the door and see if anyone was around.
I knocked and waited. And waited. I knocked once more just to be sure and was about to go back to my car when the door opened. A very surprised looking woman asked what I was doing there. I smiled and said I was looking for fencing. She looked slightly baffled, but invited me to the cold, dark office space.
I asked if they had the fencing that we needed and even though her shock had not fully worn off she told me she would go check, actually brining me to the back with her. Looking back, I have a feeling she thought I was a crazy looter or something at first. As we walked through the supply yard we started chatting and I told her about Gen and the barn. It was great when she found the 4 hole posts and counted them out. They had plenty! More than what we needed.
We went back to the office to make the order. She had warmed up to me by this point and asked why I, as a boarder, was here. I told her that I lived close and no one could get them on the phone and we really needed the fencing. She asked how I had known what it was, and I told her all about Gen trying to be Houdini when he first moved in constantly dropping the rails and walking out. She laughed and asked if he was allowed out since the fence was already down. I told her that my Gen was very settled in at the moment and even when a deer knocks the fence down giving him freedom he is happy to just stay in his field. She thought that was such a cute story that she ended up giving me a 10% discount on the fence. How cool is that? You can bet I will never let the Barn Owner’s forget that Gen’s cuteness got them a discount 😛
So she wrote up the bill and it was about what I had expected…a lot of money! I knew I couldn’t pay for it (the Barn Owners were not expecting me to either) and so I asked if there was anyway to just pay for a percent of it down and have the Barn Owners pay the rest (taking that chunk out of my board for that month). The woman looked at me and asked if I was sure they would come and pick it up. I told her yes, they would come get it today. With the gas shortage they can’t deliver anyway, and I was the only customer to drive over, so she told me that it was fine. No downpayment was needed to reserve the fencing. She would get the other person working to set aside the order and the Barn Owners could just pay when they got there.
Score! I texted the Barn Owners the good news. They were thrilled! I now needed to find a way to get to the barn from where I was at and they needed to get the receipt with the discount from me. Thought I was done adventuring once I got the fence? As if! I set about finding a course to the barn, texting the BO closed roads and directions along the way since we were coming in opposite directions. They were doing the same right back and eventually we found ourselves on the same road hoping that it was clear.
I saw a trailer coming in the distance and thought to myself “Why would anyway have their horse out today” and about 2 seconds later I recognized the car and started honking like crazy. The BO recognized my car and pulled over. I pulled over myself and ran across the busy road to give the receipt with the order to them. I must have looked like a crazy person waiving a paper running across the road, but hey, it worked!
They ended up getting the fencing and being able to replace it before the horses stopped respecting the tape.
And I got to say I helped out with getting the barn back to normal. Hopefully this will never happen again, but I have a feeling that if another super storm heads our way they will go get tons of extra fencing before it makes landfall next time.