HORSEPLAY: Good friends help build a solid shelter

“WE ARE WOMEN. Hear us roar” is a saying I utter frequently — with fist pumps in the air — when my women friends and I are having success tackling a project traditionally taken on by men.

It’s my take on a line from a well-known 1970s song “We Are Women” by Helen Reddy.

A mantra I live by is a line she sings: “If I have to, I can do anything.”

I think it true both women and men can accomplish almost anything we set our minds to.

Naturally, as someone aging and living with multiple sclerosis, I’ve had to accept I’m weaker and have less stamina than my younger self.

That has limited my ability to follow through on some projects I might have accomplished with relative ease in the past.

Thus, my own “roar” is much softer.

A few ways I’ve learned to compensate for my new weaknesses is through the use of tools: As I’ve installed an entrance ramp to the new home for my mother and a post and wire fence for my horses, I’ve learned I can move, stretch and lift just about anything with the aid of a come-along hand winch (a ratcheting gear pulley system that allows for one-handed efforts to pull heavy loads) and my tow rope.

Just recently, I acquired a mini-palm nailer, which, when hooked up to my little air compressor, aids my weak hands that no longer want to hold a hammer by pounding nails in boards for me.

And thanks to a gift from my parents 10 years ago, I’ve got my Kubota BX24 to dig holes and move dirt for me.

Since moving to a new home in August, I’ve needed to build a shelter where my horses can take refuge from wind, cold rainfall and possible future snowfall.

I’ve talked about and planned it, but other items just as important seem to come first.

Bottom line: It just wasn’t getting done.

This is where two of my wonderful women friends stepped in to “roar” with me.

First, there was good friend and fellow horse owner Zorina Barker.

She says she “fretted and fretted” over my horses standing outside, enduring pouring cold rains and mighty winds, with no shelter from the storms.

As soon as she finished putting up a new shelter for her own horses, she called me and said, “Look, we’re going to see Kim Bues at Hartnagel Building Supply on Saturday morning to get your material ordered and delivered to your house. Then I’m coming over and we’re going to get this thing built.”

I call Z my Amazon Woman.

In my mind’s eye, I picture her in the wild African rain forest with her flowing long, wavy black hair, a bullwhip in one hand to ward off wild animals and a machete in the other to beat a new pathway to wherever she wants to go.

For three days, she took time away from her own critters, husband and kids to build the 12-foot-by-27-foot structure on 6-inch-by-6-inch stout posts and to lay plywood, tar paper and a metal roof over the rafters.

Amazing, right?

Of course, fierce winds blow the rain right through the shelter, so my “Mighty Woman” CrossFit and taekwondo competitor friend, neighbor and veterinarian Linda Allen stopped by last Sunday afternoon to help enclose the sides with siding.

We’d just finished when she sped off to her animal hospital for an emergency.

And, as there is always more work to be done, both women plan on coming back to help.

I surely do treasure and appreciate all my women friends who’ve “roared” with me.

My takeaway advice is to take the time to cultivate good friendships and to have good friends you need to be a good friend.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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