Thursday, January 13, 2011

Horses, little cat, and happy farm life

Good news: the value of the house has increased by 50% since the purchase 6 months ago!!!!! This is amazing news.

Even better, though, is that I get to enjoy the house every day and know that my horses are safe and secure here. There is nothing quite like your horses galloping up to you after a hard, long day. I am working towards tolerating the cold a bit better, as I'd like to spend more time grooming, cleaning the pasture, and hand-grazing both horses. They seem to really enjoy the hand grazing (of course at the moment there is a foot of snow on the ground, which limits the grazing opportunities) in the front yard, but it's a balancing act for me--Quickie knows the drill and stands fairly well on a long lunge line, while Spirit tugs on the short lead rope and drags the two of us all around the little grassy spot in the front yard. They better get their grazing in while they can, because that section of grass will be NO MORE this summer, when I fill the whole area with homegrown veggies and beans. Personal sustainability, here I come!

Here are the horses enjoying the cold:

Quickie is quite the round fuzzball this time of year!

Spirit has a gorgeous face! Too bad his photographer is so uncoordinated...


Spirit looks to the barn, willing me to walk in and prepare feed buckets...
Here's Little Cat....I was trying to record her weird little sound she makes in lieu of meowing (she makes is like 100 times a day at least). Anyway, she makes it toward the beginning of this clip but it's hard to hear. (I thought that the dirty clothes on the floor added a certain realism to this clip.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Bathroom

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Window, fencing, and lessons

I have done a 180. Where once I was lazy, now I persevere. Where once I sat idle, now I soldier on. I have grown and matured. I have evolved.

Do you believe that? I am clearly feeling BIG! After working very, very hard all weekend, I am extremely happy with the amount of progress that we made. We got the window that replaced the dangerous door to the roof completely installed, and now just the siding and drywall need to be completed. Pictures will be up of the new window next weekend.

Most importantly, we got the a huge amount of work done on the new fence! Since Spirit and Quickie are not happy campers when they are together in the pasture, I need to keep them separate. Thus, we embarked upon the task of replacing the temporary fence with permanent fence. My dad, Danny, and Zak put in hard hours with me. THANKS EVERYONE!!

To help cut costs, I bought all the materials myself (350) and borrowed an auger from my uncle, who owns a fencing company. The auger, with its little Honda motor on wheels, looked like it could double as a moon-exploration robot.
As can easily be observed in this picture, the auger blade became woefully stuck in the earth about 4 feet down. So, the first 2 hours of our project involved digging that auger out painstakingly by hand. We learned much about patient and perseverance.
After that, things moved along quickly.
I had to tamp the posts (we just used dirt 3 feet deep) in the pouring rain.

While we tried stretching the fence with a homemade come-along attached to the truck's frame (since of course our truck does not have a rear bumper!), it was unsuccessful and we stretched by hand. Not bad, considering!

We still have to put up the wire fence down all those empty posts. Something to look forward to for next week!!

As an aside, I also wanted to add a few pics from my peach and pear selling business (seasonal only, email for pricing...:~)). Steph came and helped me, especially lending her art skills to the bag decorations.

Next Sunday I am having a housewarming party for my family, and my mom has kindly offered to help me get things ready. I see a striped dining room in my future!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It is probably sadly evident by now that I have grown very lazy when it comes to house work. Positive reframe: I am enjoying life, which allows me to free myself from the tyranny of home improvement. As my dad says, there is an old curse: "May you always have ongoing home improvement projects."

But, I jest. Actually I am full of horse manure, literally and figuratively. I have spent the last week getting to know my horse and working on barn projects. I will be working on the permanent fence ($350) this weekend (hopefully). Also, there continues to be a list a mile long of things to be done. Today, I forgive myself.

Tomorrow: words of encouragement needed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2+2+2=Balanced Home

At this point in my life, my house contains my brother and me (2), Little Cat and Zooey (2), and Quickie and Spirit (2). We are a perfectly balanced home! Today was Spirit's first day here, and I must say that both horses have handled it with aplomb. Quickie has been moved to the back pasture, where he has a large run-in stall and a nice-sized pasture of tall grasses. He is gradually being introduced to Spirit under close supervision, as their first meeting involved Quickie cantering circles around Spirit, which finally culminated in a few light kicks from Spirit (don't worry, Quickie is fine!). By the time I had introduced them 5 or 6 times, they were able to graze peacefully about 20 feet apart. Nonetheless, they are being pastured separately until I can be confident that no serious violence will ensue. Here's one of their meetings:

Obviously it is hard to focus on house work when there is so much excitement going on in the backyard. However, I have maintained some semblance of focus. This weekend I replaced all the trim in the kitchen (except two sections which were not cut right to begin with), did a little fix on the dining room floor, and started cutting the trim (this was MUCH harder than anticipated and appears to take a mind much more poised to do insta-geometry than mine). Little by little, this house will get finished! My mom's friend will be repairing the bathroom door, which will become a window for safety reasons, and I'm going to keep chugging on the kitchen and trim. Here's to a fun and productive week!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making room for Spirit: Barn clean up!

My project over the last few days has been getting the barn and pasture ready for a new member of the family: Spirit! He is a beautiful 7-year old thoroughbred who was neglected. He will now have a loving home, and I've been working on making it safe and functional for him. He is a very sweet horse and a lovely personality. He is also low on the pecking order among horses, meaning that my mini stallion might have an opportunity to retain "top horse"! It'll be interesting to see if ultimately it is about the size of the horse or the size of the horse's ego! It reminds me of my efforts (typically successful) in intimidating my nearly 6 foot tall boyfriend as a 5 foot 2 woman...

Anyway, here are some pictures showing the barn's transition to a nice place for Spirit.I have a one-acre pasture in the front of the house, and a one acre pasture in the back. The second pasture needs some additional fencing, so my dad and I put up a temporary fence until my great-uncle comes on Saturday to give me an estimate. It came out pretty well for a $5.50 price tag! I am duly impressed with myself. Speaking of which, this very blog has been gaining much-anticipated notoriety. For those few of you who are lucky enough to have been on the ground floor, congratulations. Everyone else: welcome!
The barn was full of old wood, posts, GIANT spiders (literally, a brown recluse was dangling from the rafters), and leftover fencing.

As you can see, there are plenty of places for a variety of disgusting bugs, moles, ground hogs, and mice to hide in there. No more!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kitchen Floor: Before and After!

The kitchen floor is finally done! I will ignore the fact that it is two days later than I thought and that there are occasional little errors here and there. It is gorgeous!! I think it really changes the overall feel of the house and it definitely makes it cleaner. Those vinyl floors that were there were disgusting. I even found little puffs of dog hair jammed behind hind the baseboard trim...

Here is the before/after for the kitchen floor...

Plus a few extras of the new floor...

Here's a before and after for the living room! (its only somewhat "after", as there is more work to be done of course).

Here's what I found outside my door in a recent surprise...

And who I am always happy to see outside my door...