Someone recently contacted me for my opinion on our Twister run-in shelter. She had stumbled across FFF while searching for information and was looking for some first-hand thoughts on the product. The question forced me to recall the whole shelter saga. We ordered it last May and it didn't ship until September due to a problem at the manufacturing plant and the gross incompetency of the broker. Then FedEx Freight refused to deliver it to Farcical Farm because we didn't have front-end loader, so it sat in their yard for almost a month while we negotiated its release. When we finally got the crate and unpacked its contents we found two important pieces missing, thus delaying construction even further. One afternoon when David and I were working on the construction an 8-foot post slipped out of position and caught me on the spine, leaving my right leg feeling heavy and numb for several weeks to follow. After we finished construction Raven and Tonka spent weeks being terrified of their new paddock-mate. And then, following a winter of relative tranquility, the run-in shelter tried to run off.
Two weekends ago David and I made Georange earn his keep by helping us to restore the shelter to its original position. When it got caught by the wind its skids pulled up out of the crusher dust, causing little rock avalanches to fill the trenches where the skids had been. With some serious manual labor we excavated the rock away from the sides of the skids, and then we used the loader to lift the shelter so that we could dig back down to bare dirt under the skids. Once the shelter was on its original foundation we re-graded the gravel with the loader and used the backhoe to dig two huge holes on either side of the structure*. Then we dropped a loop of steel cable into each hole, followed by a very large rock (unearthed last fall when Tom extended the crusher dust footing). With loops of cable around the upper beam of the shelter we created two guy wires anchoring the top of the stucture firmly to the ground. Phew.
All in all it was a successful operation. The kind of experience that leaves us city slickers feeling more confident in our ability to live this rural life without always making utter asses of ourselves. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera out for photodocumenation of this little victory, so you will have to satisfy yourselves with stock footage.
*Although it sounds easy, digging two large holes with a backhoe is pretty challenging unless you know how to use one. David and I agree that it would have been faster and prettier if we had done them by hand.