Thursday, May 28, 2009

Farm Tour

Farm Tour.

14.5 acres, in CT.
Below photo is what the site used to look like. Nice and pretty. I would walk this spot in all weather, rain, snowing, hot sun, to see what it was like. Then I thought about what side to face where, and how that would affect the stalls, horses, us, etc. From the day we got the permits to the day Java came home it only took a few months to build and finish. However, we spent almost a year planning (OBSESSING), getting quotes, and deciding on the right layout and builder. We put up all of the fencing ourselves. I read Cherry Hill's books twice each.

We work our butts off, and like it.

We are pleased:

The barn as we all know it now:

The barn is 24x34 with a 12 foot overhang.

Here is the open side of the overhang. The enclosed side faces the street, I wanted it to be nondescript and not encourage curious people over (this has worked well, I don't like unscheduled visitors). We use the enclosed side for storage, and the open side is now a wash rack with mats and cross ties (although our little agri-fab trailer is in the wash rack spot currently).

The barn is center aisle, the aisle is @10 feet wide. This size has worked great for us.

Also, it's completely solar. The two panels feed batteries in the barn (stored under the stairs) and I have real switches and plugs as if it were wired to the street. The lighting is impressive, bright and we have not had a problem. Mr. Java's Mom carefully planned this part and we are pleased with this too.

The barn has soffit vents, and ridge vents, windows that open in the loft for good ventilation. The cupola has windows that do not open (apparently cupola windows that open can create a draft that can pull water in through the ridge vents if stormy, so I'm OK that they don't open), but provide great light.

From the front:

3 stalls total. two on the left, one on the right.

The aisle is poured concrete, with a broom finish in the middle for traction. We added the mats in the aisle about three months ago.

Our barn has a "half-loft". This means that the loft is open to below. I wanted a barn that did not feel typical, and had a sense of presence when you walk into it. Also, I like getting the light from the windows in the loft and cupola into the barn, I can see my hay and bedding, I know it is well ventilated and with only 3 stalls, I can store more than enough hay. There are stairs leading to the loft, that has a loft door that we rarely use, and the middle partition of the railing comes out. Taking out the middle partition is how we load hay into the loft. The truck pulls up to the aisle, and we run the hay elevator right up and in. Super convenient and easy.

The stairs. I told the builder, "just give me a ladder or something". He insisted on stairs. I am VERY glad. They are key.

In the loft. The grain is stored in the nice (rodent and animal proof) bin that Mr. Java's Mom made for us. I don't mind using the stairs, and never have to worry about a horse getting into it. Although I think if 7MSN's Lyle came to visit he would find a way to climb the stairs and get into the feed bin. The railing that comes out for loading hay is in the middle of the railing by the hay in this photo.

Looking in:

From the back:

Pulled shoes... we like em' barefoot. There is one shoe on the end from my first pony Sassy, the middle batch are Java's (she did not ever get through 3 pairs with me, she refuses to wear them). The others are Danny and Maggie's old shoes. They loved being barefoot, especially Maggie.

Each stall has a half door looking into the aisle, and two opening windows. The stalls have mats, salt licks, etc. Oh, and the stalls are lined in oak (strong, can take a good kick, and not tasty for the horses).

Top Paddock (aka The Playpen). The horses love to run, roll and stretch their legs on this piece of property. It was a big decision for us to keep trees in it. We were clearing it in the summer, and it was HOT where there were not trees. We decided the cool breeze and shelter the trees gave were worth it to keep them. And, they are great when it's snowing and the horses want to be out. I tuck their hay under the tree and they get shelter, warmth and get to be out having fun.

The new grass paddock, seeded with our favorite Tractor Supply Company/TSC Pasture Mix. It is endophyte (sp?) free, which is important in case Java has a baby some day.

Then, along the top paddock is the fern path...

Past the manure piles....

We turn these. It helps keep flies from reproducing, and we like to sell the composted stuff. As you can see, these piles are nice and tidy, we have been lucky in selling a lot of our supply on a semi-regular basis. Mr. Java's Mom is building a fantastic 3 bin composting station, which will make the composting faster and give us better stuff. That will be sold too. Someone recently asked me "where is your dumpster". I don't have one, we compost. Regular trash goes in a bag. Yikes, it's only 3 stalls, we have a tractor and compost, we don't use a dumpster. The newest manure is on the left. The middle pile is steaming and the one on the right is almost done composting and warm, but not steamy like the newer stuff. And, at some point we will spread some composted manure on the paddocks to fertilize.

The fern path eventually leads to this area, we call it the Back Meadow:

We sometimes sit here and relax for 3 seconds.

And the back meadow leads to the koi pond.

The koi pond has... koi.

This is what Bandy looks like after swimming:

The property backs up to state land on two sides with lots of trails. yes, I get lost, Java has saved my butt twice and brought us home. I use a little path off the meadow that leads through a lightly wooded area on our land, onto the trails.

This is what our trails look like, hills, rocks, some old roads, some ponds, some streams, no open meadows, but fun. Very quiet, and nice. We have a ball.

A lot of this you probably knowfrom old posts.
When planning this barn, there were a lot of things that people thought I should have, that are convenient, (automatic waters comes to mind) but I worked hard to keep this a nice, basic barn (if it was too fancy, I would freak out the first time a horse pooped or sneezed). The budget kept me sane, but if I thought I had to have all of the things that people who hear you are building a barn think you need, I would not have been able to build it (too expensive!). My barn builder builds very very fancy gorgeous show piece barns, this is a basic/simple barn for him.. This is exactly what I wanted, and he worked with my budget. I'm thrilled.
I hope this is what you guys meant by Farm Tour... what did I miss?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Home Alone

Farm tour post to come next... until then, a dose of reality:

Java is home alone.

I'm trying to figure out how to make sense of it, and as one COTH'er ( pointed out, and it went something like this: "Some horse owners think they do things and make decisions that they think are the best for their horse. But, it almost always is something they are in fact doing for themselves".

I could comment on what horse owners could think about instead and what could be a healthy life for a horse, but if you understand the above statement, you certainly don't need to hear it from me and you understand exactly what I am talking about. If you don't understand the statement, as least you recognize that and will hopefully listen to those that know.

Every little little little detail I think about the horses. Java has taught me very well to listen.

SO, Maggie was picked up on Memorial Day. When my father was visiting from South Carolina, when you think you can relax a little and reflect on the good life you have.

Maggie left with less than 24 hour notice.

Maggie was glowing, happy, relaxed and so happy to have Java as her girlfriend. I gave daily kisses on the nose, wiped between her hind legs, lent splint boots, bell boots, turnout sheet, flymask, supplements, examined every little bit of her environment daily to make sure she was comfortable... And now she's gone. I was told that things here were wonderful, but that the owner was just so worried and had to bring her back to the "full service" barn at her old place. It is a nice barn, and they are in it for 23.5 hours daily, if you don't count time when they are in the mechanical walker.

They were screaming for each other, panicked that they were being separated. Maggie loaded obediently, but quickly realized what was happening. I politely and affectionately said bye to Maggie's owner and our friend who picked Maggie up and ran back to the barn to try to comfort Java. I cried a lot.

This is amazing to me.

Partly because Maggie was moved from here, partly because they knew Java would be left alone, partly because it was short notice, and partly because Java is handling the situation so well.

I am not going to rush to fill the stalls. These things always work out, and this will just have to be one of those situations.

Java is lonely, but calm, and she has me, Bandy and Mackie when I can tear them away from the car, lots of hand grazing around the house (saves us from weed whacking anyway), long long relaxing trail rides, and now I thank god for the construction crew next door to keep her company too. I'm spending a lot of time doing tiny projects around the barn just to keep her company. She has been amazing, and incredibly accepting of the situation.

As Mr. Java's Mom says, she is OK because she is HOME.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Farm Tour Post In The Works...

Thank you for the comments, good idea, I'll do a farm tour post!
Since I now have stalls open, it might make someone fall in love with the place and send their favorite horse here to live in bliss.

While I'm gathering photos for the big farm tour post, here is what I think today:
Java is simply wonderful, I love my horse. I am one lucky girl, no doubt.:

These were both taken this morning, she tolerated my indecision... fly mask... no fly mask... fly mask...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day Everyone

Happy Memorial Day.

It's been a very interesting weekend, but I'll have to wait to post about it tomorrow, because Memorial Day is more important. With my dad visiting from SC, it's also been AWESOME.

This is an important day, partly because my brother is in the 101st Airborne, but also for the bigger picture of Memorial Day. I hope everyone enjoys their day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The animals have taken over

The animals have taken over.

Java and Maggie are as happy as can be. With Danny gone, they now have their own sorority house. I though they would become totally unglued with our their adorable boyfriend. Well, the opposite is the case. They are incredibly quiet, and it is just awesome. They are going out early, coming in to rest and get away from some lingering gnats, then go out for a long afternoon and early evening graze. Simply wonderful.

This morning...

Java out:

Maggie out:

Then they asked to come in. Yes, I accommodated them. My dad is coming to visit and the less factors to worry about right now the better. I have to try to get everything ready in a matter of hours.

Java in:

Maggie in:

These girls are this QUIET (video):

Then, Mackie has raised the level of love for the car. It's his spot. This is insane.

It's a gorgeous day, and I want the dogs to come with me to dump the manure. Hmmm.... where could Mackie be:

So (with much effort) I get these guys away from the car, up to the back of the property where they disappear. They finally come full blast running back to the house, proud as can be of their unsupervised time in the back of the property, WET. These two turkeys took themselves swimming, probably terrorizing the koi, and reappear soaking wet and bursting with pride of their field trip.

Luckily, Bandy went wading, not full swim, and Mackie is soaking.

The partners in crime:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

breaking news

The latest 24 hours have been interesting:

Danny is going home. Wahhhhhh. We love Danny. Danny's owner loves him too, so much that she misses him and wants him back at the barn that is closer to her. Danny is like a big dog and loves his owner's companionship, I completely understand.

Danny today in the paddock. Eating something, this is all I could get:

Then, Maggie got a mild case of colic yesterday. She will be so embarrassed that I'm telling you this, but it probably was gas. She's OK now. Here she is digging into the hay buffet:

Mackie, Bandy and I went for a peaceful walk up the fern path to ponder.

Then the dogs sat like this sniffing the breeze. Ah, that's nice. It's all going to be OK. Please ignore the hose, it's deployed to water one of our 349382083403 trees that we just planted.

Then, I look at the barn and the happy horses and know that it all is going to be OK. All is right with the world if your horses have dapples.

I don't know who will come to live with us next... I'm quite spoiled with the group here now. I have a few leads, but hopefully the right fit will present itself. Right Mackie?

Monday, May 18, 2009

quick post

Quick post, I'll make up for it tomorrow. It takes me a day to recuperate from planting trees. We finished the latest round of planting this weekend, and I'll be back in the swing of things tomorrow!

Do you think Java is trying to get me to let her into the car?