Progress!

Well, if nothing else… I am finding that farm projects are teaching me patience, LOL. We arranged for the ring work to be done months ago, but we’ve had a very wet spring so far, and they haven’t been able to get the heavy equipment in to do the site work that is required until just this past week.  Luckily the weather has been great since then and we’re hoping to get the arena finished shortly.  Right now though, it’s just a big pile of dirt!

Ring prep

They did get the fencing down, and one nice thing we discovered when they finally got the trucks in, was that the grass “drive” down to the ring is actually quite sturdy, and likely has a proper base installed underneath it.  There was barely a mark on it even with the heavy equipment.

Ring extension

Likewise the original arena surface was pretty decent, and properly installed. There is quite a bit of M10 under the surface of the current ring, and decent drainage.  So we got a bit lucky with that.  Now our big challenge is to make sure we manage the drainage around the ring.  The far long side of the arena borders the creek, so the good news is that the water has somewhere to go.

Another project that is moving slowly is the tack room renovation.  We decided to go with Georgia Barn LLC.  They do a lot of barn construction in the area, and I’ve always liked the quality of their work.  Like most firms with that kind of reputation, though, they are in high demand.  The tack room project is “rainy day work,” for them, and – of course! – after weeks of rain, lately we’ve had nothing but sun… Great for the arena project, but for the tack room, not so much. Sigh.  They are coming back later this coming week to hopefully finish it up, and then we’ll start the outside.

Barn aisle prep

Tack room reno

I can’t wait to get the tack room finished so I can put up all the pretty fixtures I’ve been collecting!

Fun in Progress

I know, I know… it’s been a while since I’ve done an update.  It’s been busy here at Hedgerow as we’ve been getting the farm organized!

Probably the most exciting project at the moment is the new arena.  The farm has a pretty nice existing arena, with good drainage and a nice base, so we have a good starting point.   We do want to expand it quite a bit, and put in a performance surface that will enable us to ride even when it’s wet out, which is an issue here in the spring and fall.  After extensively researching the options, we’ve chosen FutureTrack, and can’t wait to get started (if only it would stop raining long enough to get the equipment in here.)

Arena stakes

The new ring is staked out … it will be a much larger area than we have currently.

The new ring will be 100′ x 130′ which is significantly larger than what we have currently.  At the same time, we will adjust some of the surrounding area to better manage the drainage needed and we’ll create a couple of new paddocks.   In the meantime, we’re doing a lot of pasture maintenance, aerating and seeding and so on.  We’ve been giving our new garden tractor a workout!!

We’ve also been working on upgrades for the barn.  The stalls have now been re-leveled and the mats replaced, to make sure the horses will be comfortable.  Our electrician is coming next week to upgrade the wiring in the barn to 220, add some GFCI outlets, prepare the installation for the stall fans… and maybe most exciting, set up the necessary connections for the Solarium we are putting in the wash rack.  I have wanted one of these set ups for the longest time and am really excited to finally have it on order.  Big thanks to our friends at Wilsun’s Customs who are the official US distributor for this amazing product that will keep our horses comfortable in any weather!

Washrack in progressThe washrack is another work-in progress.  We actually bought all the mats that were available at our local Tractor Supply and are still 2 short to finish the flooring, but we were able to get the mesh that will cover the drain to prevent clogs, and get the other mats cut for the aisle way.  It’s amazing what a difference that has made in the barn’s appearance.

Joy

Well, the move is complete (if you define complete as, “we moved in,” rather than, “we moved, unpacked, put everything away, and the house is neat and organized now.” Grin.)

But even surrounded by boxes – which seem to be everywhere, but never contain whatever you might be looking for at that very moment – just being here is astonishingly joyful.   Waking up and seeing views of the pastures from every window is still a bit unreal, but in the nicest possible way.  You can actually see pastures from every window in the house!

I am really anxious to get the house put together … so I can start on the barn, of course. The first project will likely be finishing out the tackroom.  This is what it looked like before we moved in:

Tack room

Of course, in my mind’s eye, it is already finished, with beadboard on the walls, nice fixtures on the walls, a finished floor with a pretty rug, and coordinated tack trunks and blanket racks!  I am dying to get to it, but work travel this time of year means I do a lot of “planning,” (ie Pinterest) in my hotel at night.

This weekend is the first time since we moved that I will be home the whole weekend, so maybe we will finally be able to get started! Now that is Joy.

Very grateful.

The Countdown Begins

The move to the farm is now less than a week away.  I confess, I really expected to have more packing done at this point, and I am a little freaked out at the thought of the week ahead.

On the other hand, the nice movers we hired have promised to pack everything, soooo… maybe it will be fine?

After weeks of really miserable cold, this weekend the weather was SO nice that I ended up RIDING instead of packing. Riding is never the wrong choice, right?  And my little JJ was wonderful – light and forward and happy to be out there working with me.  He is such a joy.  Totally worth the splurge of time, but now there are a bunch of empty boxes I had really planned to have full by now.

Our plan at this point is to get a U-Haul on Wednesday, fill it with the basic stuff we need for our first few nights on Thursday and then take it over to the farm after we close on Friday afternoon.  We have back to back closings on Friday, so after we’re done with the second one, we’ll load up the pets and the stuff we need for the first few days and get it moved.  The movers will come on Saturday to do the heavy lifting, and then … because calendar challenges are my specialty, that evening we will got to our GMO year end banquet.  Yep.  Perfect timing, really.

I really thought I would be better prepared for this week.  It is also the week.from.h*ll at work (because did I mention calendar challenges were my specialty?) it is year end for us too.  Sigh.  But I am sure it will all work out.  It has to, because I have to be back on the road pretty soon, and so it all has to get done.   I still don’t really have a great plan for where all our stuff is going to go in the new house.  It is so different from our current place and the scale of the rooms is wildly different.  I suppose we will just have to figure it out when we get there!

 

The Space In Between

Moving is always an interesting experience.  It’s easy to get caught up in all the logistics.  There are inspections and packing and maybe a side order of mortgage paperwork and other assorted craziness.  But there is also the excitement of moving to a new place, having the opportunity to explore it and finding fun spots to enjoy, people to meet and of course, creating a new home.

The design process is fun for me, but time consuming.  And this is the time of year when I have very little personal time.  It is busy season at work as we finish up the year and do the planning and kickoff for the new year ahead, and that means lots of travel, late nights and working over weekends.  Oh and horses being horses, when I stepped off the plane to come home yesterday and turned my phone back on, there was a message from the barn saying my senior horse had a puffy leg and the vet was on the way.  Sigh.

But the farm planning continues.  It’s fun to look at design blogs and magazines and even catalogs for inspiration.  This one, by Laurel Home, is one of my favorites.  It’s a nice way to spend a morning with a cup of coffee, gathering ideas.

We’re thinking about painting the house.  This is what it looks like now:

Hedgerow house

It’s pretty and I love the porch; just out of the picture are some nice shade trees and good views of the front paddocks.  I’d like to brighten it up with a lighter color though.  I want to add some new lighting, and when it warms up, I picture adding a couple of classic ferns and some annuals to the front garden for color.  This is the leading candidate color scheme so far, but of course it is all just speculative until we actually move in and can try the colors on the actual house.  Just two weeks from now!

The very beginning of an adventure

After many years of dreaming and planning and hoping… it is finally happening.  We are buying a farm.  I can hardly believe it.

Dreams are funny things.  Sometimes they take ahold of you in ways you do not expect, and they have a magic and a power that can change your life.  I have spent all the years that I can remember – more than 50, now – dreaming about “my” farm.

I think this is a dream a lot of horse lovers share.  Horses are, for some of us, a passion in the truest sense of the word.  They are an intrinsic part of who we are or maybe who we need to be.  Certainly this love and connection has been a cornerstone of my entire life, and to finally be able to take this step feels … well, kind of massive.

We have looked for a farm, on and off, for a long time.  More than ten years, anyway.  We’ve gotten close once or twice; when we lived in CT, we actually put in an offer on a place, but it didn’t work out.  Now we live in GA, and we have found pretty much exactly what we were hoping for.  It’s a small place – just a bit over 6 acres.  There is a nice 6 stall barn and some really beautiful pasture.  The ring is a bit small, but has a good base that we can improve on and expand.

big back pasture

The house is smaller than what we have had before, and I’m pretty excited about that.  We have too much stuff, and I am anxious to downsize.  I have all sorts of ideas about what to do with the house, but for the moment we are lucky that it is move in ready, and all I’m planning to do is paint a couple rooms.  My first focus is on the barn and the ring.

stalls.png

The barn is in good shape, overall.  I want to put in dutch doors, add some siding, put mats in the aisle and finish out the tack room.  We are also going to upgrade the electrical service, improve the lighting and install proper fans since we get hot weather here (a bit hard to remember at this time of year when it is freezing!)  I have these visions of having sanded down, stained and poly-ed all the wood so that it gleams… tucking the horses in with a thick bedding of bright clean shavings, and walking through the barn to enjoy the sounds of them peacefully munching their hay.  Maybe there will be a glass of wine to enjoy while we sit in a comfy bench by the tack room taking it all in.

I thought it would be fun to chronicle the journey from where we are today, to the realization of that vision.  Feel free to join me!