This week marked the arrival of two clear harbingers of spring: a skunk dead along the highway and seriously shedding horses.

The first — eww, just drive on by.

The second, is great but I think I might have to kill Jilly, mostly because I haven’t figured out a way to torture the little Princess for her ravaging of the water trough. All that shedding itches and when the sun comes out, she’s to-o-o ho-o-o-o-t! So she paws the water trough to for a refreshing spritz-bath. Now I have ice around the trough, and I also expect one time soon she’ll be hooking a foot on the heating element and bending it to oblivion.

I spent the better part of today building a conduit pipe frame to put over the trough. My hope is that it will be enough of a nuisance to deter the pawing. We’ll see.

As part of the design, I flattened the ends of three chunks of 1″ conduit so they would lay securely against the top of the trough. Being sans metal forge, I used a large vice to start the flattening process then used a hammer and anvil to finish the flattening.

Can I just say: oh. mi. gawd. That was exhausting and more than just a little bit painful. The conduit was so hard to bend I had to use large wrenches for leverage turning the vice handle. I had to add all my muscle — and my fat — to the project, so basically everything hurts. And if my hands didn’t already hurt from all the reefing, the hammering would’ve been enough in itself.

Tip to Readers: When using a hammer and anvil to bend metal, be careful always to hold the metal flat on the anvil or the hammer blow will sting the nerve endings right out of your hands. Seriously, ow. It’s a lesson learned readily, but a skill that takes time to develop. More ow.

I’m making a list of projects to start on to help me get in shape for spring thaw when I start back to work on the corrals, a project I was looking forward to until today.

Soft and squishing coating around a hard-boned center at: pam(at)