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?


Anonymous said...

Just love your barn - its openness and ventilation, in particular - two areas where our barn is seriously lacking. You also have a very beautiful property - it must be a real pleasure to live (and work!) there.

Psaelemn said...

Fantastic! Lovely place, I'd love to have something like it someday when I'm out of school and have someone to build me manure bins ;). I think your back covered area is especially creative, and the removable railing is super crafty! Where is the tack room? About how big are your fields? Do you have plans for an area at some point? Do you plan to leave most of your property wooded?

I also have most of the Cherry Hill books, but looking at them makes me sort of sad because I wish I was planning a farm.

Your farm is beyond lovely Thank you for taking the time to take all these pictures! I'm going to go write some notes down in my farm book, haha.

I should have dropped my COTH name when I mentioned COTH. My SN is Amchara. Enjoy the nice weather in the photos!

Java's Mom said...

Agh! I knew I forgot something! The tack room. Well, its an area of the barn by the stairs... I'll try to take a pretty picture of it, but it looks kind of bleak. It has my saddle, bridle, a spare halter, a lunge line, orange vest and two trunks. One trunk holds stuff like hat, chaps, boots, the other trunk it a little grooming trunk. My hoof moisturizer and fly spray, etc is on a "shelf" above these things. I have a basket of wraps and a stack of splint boots that I rarely use now. Barn towels are folded and tucked under the stairs on another "shelf". I have room for two more saddles, bridles and trunks if new boarders have them, I love a tidy tack room. Mine is down right sparse now, but I like it. Heavy winter blankets are up in the loft behind the feed bin. I have GOT to get my house as organized some day!

jmk said...

It's a great place. I always thought solar would be a great way to power a barn. Good to know it does work.
Your horse is lovely.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

I've told you many times I love your barn and think your fern path is beautiful. Thanks for the detailed tour!

Loved your row of horse shoes as well. All the horses here are barefoot. If I hung every shoe we had pulled I think the barn wall would fall over from all of the weight!!

Psaelemn said...

My "tack room" spans three different locations. It's just a bit ridiculous. I'd give my first born for a tack room and a barn aisle.

Above one of my tack areas I have my mare's first halter. It's nylon, faded pink, stiff and doesn't fit her, but I think it signifies how far she's come, literally, since she had that halter since she moved across the state from her breeders two owners ago.