Archive for How to

How to Build a Retaining Wall

Retaining walls can be very helpful and there are a lot of retaining wall ideas if ever you want to build one. When creating a wall, you must have a purpose for it. In the past, walls were created to protect a nation from its enemies. Today, walls are used to provide support to buildings and infrastructures. In cases of volatile slopes in landscapes, a retaining wall can be highly efficient to help control the soil and prevent any erosion. However, in order for a retaining wall to withstand the pressure that the sloping landscape is producing, the wall must be very sturdy and the retaining wall construction has to be done properly.

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9 Ways to Keep Flies Away From Your Horses

Owning horses on your property is not always a walk in the park as you have to keep up with flies including the dreaded horse fly as well as other insects. Mild winter weather from March to October, especially in the Northwest, can contribute to a serious fly season. Other regions can have violent biting insect seasons which is stressing to the horse owners.

Unlike other wild animals, horses cannot escape from these insects and as they try to swish and stomp them, they consume a lot of energy. Fortunately, they (and you) can get some relief as we’ve put together a list of nine strategies that will keep your horses from getting bugged.

1. Lights Off

Most insects such as biting midges, horse flies, deer flies, or face flies do well in a well-lighted place. Therefore, ensure that the lights are off and stable horses on a hot day or before and during dusk. This will keep insects away from your horses.

2. Fly Masks and Sheets

Fly management utilizing a fly mask is common and one of the most effective methods that every horse owner should know. That being the case, you can keep flies away from your horse by masking them which protects their ears, jowls, and eyes.

Some of the best and most effective masks to use include open-weave, fly sheets, and mesh blankets and will go a long ways to helping keep flies away from the body of your horse. You can also protect the legs of your horse using fly boots.

3. Air Circulation

Mosquitoes and biting midges are naturally poor flyers. This means that a well-ventilated area with properly erected fans outside a stall helps with the movement of air. This helps keep small pests away from the barn which in turn keeps your horses safe.

4. Bait and Fly Traps

One of the easiest ways to keep small flying insects away from the horses is by using sticky traps. You can hang fly paper ribbons, rolled sheets, and brightly colored sticky tubes in the barn but ensure they are in a position where they cannot come into contact with birds, pets, and horsetails as they swish.

To get rid of horse flies and other large flies, you’ll want to invest in (or build) something similar to a Horse Pal fly trap. This is a large trap that attracts visual hunters such as horse flies and deer flies. They fly gets trapped in the metal portion of the trap and quickly dies from the heat of it being in the sun.

Regardless of whether they have an attractant or not, bait and fly traps will work effectively in trapping adult flies. If you decide to use traps with attractants, remember to place them away from the barn and horses to prevent the pests and flies from being drawn into the barn.

5. Dry Ground Grazing

Eensure that at the onset of the summer, you graze them on higher drier pastures to prevent creating muddy areas which flies are naturally attracted to. Once the wet lower pastures dry out, you can have the horses graze there.

6. Get Predators to Help

At this time and age, technology is at its best and you can order almost anything with a click of a button. You’ll find some companies that sell fly parasites which can be ordered online and delivered to you in a matter of days.

These fly parasites are excellent in reducing fly population as they’re nocturnal wasps and tend to lay eggs in the developing pupae of flies and thus reduce the population of flies. The best thing about these fly predators is that they are harmless to animals or humans. Why not consider them?

7. Harrow Pastures and Collect Manure

The first step towards eliminating mosquitoes and flies is by doing away with their breeding grounds completely. That being the case, you can keep flies away from your horses by gathering manure in paddocks and drag the pasture from time to time to break the manure piles.

When you drag a harrow over the land, you dry up the manure making the place unfavorable place for breeding. Harrowing also gets rid of muddy areas that could otherwise shelter mosquito larvae.

8. Cover Up Manure and Compost Piles

Flies breed best on fresh manure and if you want to keep them away from your horses, remember to use tarp or another simple covering to cover up manure piles. In addition, do the same with compost bins and this will help make the breeding habitat unfavorable for any flies.

9. Plan Ahead

Having a horse requires you to have a good plan. This means that by understanding when pests increase, you can plan on the right strategies to control them. One way to do so is by increasing the population of good predators and putting out nesting boxes which will create a habitat that will be used as bait for the pests.

Also, you can plan on when to start a fly predator program for the next spring so you’ll be well-prepared next year.


Keeping pests away from your horses isn’t as difficult as it seems. The only thing to keep in mind is that by controlling their breeding and dwelling habitats such as manure and mud, you keep pests away.

In addition, do your best to minimize other odors such as sweat, garbage, urine, and rinse sweaty horses on a regular basis and this will keep your horse from getting bugged. Be sure to check out some other great ideas on Pinterest or Tumblr.

Adding Electrical Wiring to an Outdoor Shed

If you have decided on taking a power supply to an outdoor shed, you might need to decide whether to run it overhead or take it underground. Running overhead is quite a simple approach but exposes you to risks of accidental damage. The underground method is a bit complicated but it is a safer approach. The process involved in running a cable overhead includes using ordinary PVC sheathed cables and the spans need to be less than 10 feet. If it is longer than this, you will need additional support by wire and cable buckles. Underground-run cables are usually protected by PVC conduit. The cables are buried 18 inches below the ground and are attached together by straight connectors.

wiring-shedIt is important to have a dedicated outdoor socket for your shed so that you can avoid trailing long extension cords, which pass through open windows. It is also a safe method as it provides protection if you are handling electrical equipment outside. This will require a waterproof outlet with a ground wire and an indoor socket. Alternatively, you may choose to connect a separate GFCI indoor after installing an ordinary outdoor outlet.

I had a unique issue when running wiring to my shed. Because the shed is at the bottom of a sloped hill, cell phone reception is an issue because the shed also works as my workshop which I can spend hours in at one time. To remedy this, I installed a cell phone signal booster which is connected to an antenna at the back of the shed. I went from getting no reception on my phone to 3 or 4 bars. Something to keep in mind for those who have poor reception in their shed and spend a lot of time there. You can get more information about mobile phone signal boosters online.

Installation process

electricity-shedSupplying your outdoor shed with electricity can be quite a simple procedure. First, an electric panel service is run through underground feed wire. The UF wire is connected to a circuit breaker. Inside the shed, the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and the wire are connected. You might decide to add light switch on another outlet. Of course, such a task requires electrical knowledge and basic building materials. Therefore, ensure you have general electrical knowledge and that your service panel is able to support another breaker. If you do not have any electrical experiences, do not attempt to wire your shed. It is best to consult the service of a professional electrician. It is also wise to check for regulations with the local building department in your area. Here are some basic steps:

  • Dig a deep trench of about 2 feet from the panel extending to the front of the shed. Roll the gauge wire into the trench. Completely bury the wire ensuring the soil is level for a neat finishing.

  • Run the excess wire from the rolled gauge wire by knocking out the slot located at the bottom of the panel, and then slipping the wire at the front of the conduit. This will leave room for the excess wire to hang free. Bury any exposed wire.

  • Ensure the power is still off as you cut and divide the wire into appropriate lengths. The black wire known as hot wire should screw well into the breaker. The neutral wire commonly referred to as the whit wire is screwed into the neutral bar. The bare wire should be able to screw into the ground.

  • Use a 1 inch spade, drill through the shed siding. Attach a PVC piece conduit of about 2 feet to another LB fitting.  Ensure you run the wire through a fitting.

  • Follow the manufacture directions in wiring the GFCI after the wire is inside the outdoor shed. In order to ensure the GFCI is protected for all the outlets, ensure the load terminals are connected to the wires.

  • In order to supply power, the final outlet and the switch must have a loop in between. The light fixture is located from this switch.


Installing electricity to your outdoor shed is a project worth carrying out for your own convenience and safety. The wiring work may require a complicated process but it adds protection for outdoor use of electrical appliances.