Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Making Powerful Backyard Fun

Maaaaa! Daaaaa! What are these for?

Since we started building our barn, the quantity and variety of cool construction scraps has been steadily mounting. Everyone has an interest in those scraps, including the newest Bird House kids.

Well, at first we just stacked the 2x4s and let the goats walk the planks, so to speak.

Then I rolled in a eucalyptus log I salvaged last year, and that was fun. They really do play king of the mountain. And we added wider planks from the barn siding.

Then I got extra ambitious, and countersunk some screws into scraps. I made a dandy little bridge, elevated on one end. But, you know kids... they outgrow little things so quickly, and it wasn't long before they were giving me doleful glances and pleading for something new, something challenging.

Having seen a log and plank see-saw at Coral Tree Farm, I asked Geoff if he could bring home a really long and sturdy board. Then he asked how long? and how sturdy? And I said, twice the width of a 2x4 and long enough to teeter-totter, because I am technical, and precise, and stuff. Fortunately, for me, he's even more technical and precise, and he knew exactly what to bring:

4 galvanized 1/2" x 8" lag screws
4 galvanized washers
1 2"x 8"x 12' plank

We marked the center of our twelve foot long, and sturdy board, then Geoff marked a square center for the long screws, that would go into the log. The board was pre-drilled with four holes.

Then Geoff set to pre-drilling holes into the eucalyptus log.
This is the part where my simple plan gets complicated.
Eucalyptus is hard.
We were astonished at the effort it took to drill those holes, and really, we were making very little progress. Do I have to clarify... "we" means "Geoff," and me, in close proximity, saying encouraging things like, "Dang, that is some hard wood." And offering thoughtful reflections, like, "Hmmmmm."

I think we all know what this means...
we need More Power!

At first, I was going to apologize, because I thought this might be an inspiring tutorial about how easy and simple it is to make a fun backyard play thing, then it got a bit complicated. And I almost feel kind of bad about that. But. But, some people love a challenge, and even more... some people love an opportunity to bring out big tools, bigger tools, bigger, more powerfuller tools!! Bwahahahaha! Well, bigger powerfuller tool fans, this unapologetic project is for you!

It took a big drill to bore into the log. It took multiple passes to make the holes big enough.

We did not know: Goats love power tools, too. They loved checking the progress, and would run up when the drill was running. I think Ada wants to thank Geoff for persevering.

With all the holes prepped, it was time to insert the lag screws, with the washers.

And here's Ada, again, all ready to lend a hoof.

But the wood... and those eight inches of lag screw... it's a bit much to handle without... more power!

So, Alex has the compressor ready, and the pneumatic impact wrench.

Yes, you read that correctly.
Now, say it aloud, and feel the power: Pneumatic Impact Wrench!

This is getting the job done.

And while the see-saw comes together, Ada has her last bottle of the day. She'll be fueled and ready for one more romp, before her goodnight.

Can you tell, they see their new toy?
But it's too fun, just for goats... so, they'll have to wait their turns.

Goat's turn!
We have a see-saw! Teeter-totter!
Easy. Sort of.
Fun. Definitely.


Natalie T. said...

Super neat!

Miriam said...

Wow, your whole family really knows how to PLAY! Those little kids are going to have to work hard to keep up!

warren said...

HEEHAW power tools!!!

CarrieMarie said...


Rebekka Seale said...

OMIGHOSHOMIGOSHOMIGOSH can I please come move in with you!?!?! Your goats are so adorable!!!!!

judy in ky said...

I love your life!

Monique Willms said...

O.K. those goats are the cutest and I love that you make toys for them!