Slow and Steady

In a few weeks, we will celebrate a year of owning the farm. Hands down one of the most challenging years of my life and our marriage.  We made some choices early on that made the road a little tougher and much more stressful but allowed us to be true to our values and our vision.  We’re completing all the renovations ourselves, and we’re paying for everything in cash.  Some days, we’re overwhelmed with how much there’s still left to do, and the stress takes over our marriage and our lives.  Most day, we stay positive and keep moving forward–slow and steady–on the path God set before us.

Today, I want to take a little time to enjoy our progress and to share some pictures with you.  I also want to share a little of what we hope to accomplish over the coming months.

The Horse Barn:
The horse barn started as a falling down carport that had been used to repair cars.  Like nearly everything on the property, we had to hack through vines and weeds just to get it.  Then, we had to haul off trash and car parts.  Only then could we actually start on renovations.

We ended up with an adorable three stall barn complete with solar-powered lights and fans.

Over the winter, we’re planning to add an outlet that will power off the same battery as the lights and fans just in case the vet or farrier need to plug something in.  We’re also hoping to trench a water line over from the house, so we can fill water buckets using a hose.  In the spring, we hope to add back doors to the stalls and a shed in the front, so we have more storage for hay and shavings and can use the current storage area as a cross-tie area.  Long-term, we hope to add a round pen, arena, and a rain-catching system.

The Guest House & Farm Office:
We initially thought this would be a fairly easy renovation, which is why we chose to renovate it before the main house.  WRONG!  We thought we could gut it, update the wiring and plumbing, and finish it out.  We started with getting the Bug Man out to spray and hauling out all of the trash.  That took nearly a month and technically isn’t finished.  Some of the trash is still in the front yard!  We’ve been taking truckloads to the dump as often as we can stand to.

Once the trash was out, demolition started.  We had been in the middle of a drought, which ended right about the time we had the floors pulled out in half of the house.  What we discovered when we went back in the house was shocking.  We had water running under the house!  The water damage on the floors wasn’t from rain. So…  Renovation stopped until we could get a trencher and re-route the water water around the house instead of underneath it.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but we have a safe, solid floor, and the framing is finished.  On to electric and plumbing, which will allow us to wrap up with the fun part… Paint, flooring, and appliances!

The Main House & Garage:
The main house is actually an apartment in what was one the detached garage.  At some point, the previous owners built a large apartment in the structure and finished out the second floor.  Like everything else on the property, it needs a lot of work.

The biggest problem?  Despite the three septic tanks on the property, the plumbing goes out the back of the build to…  nowhere.  Not even a redneck 50 gallon drum.  In addition to having to gut and redo the space because of neglect, we’ll have to work on bringing the plumbing up to code.  The last owner of the property allowed the electric company to take the transformer out, so we also need to bring the electric up to current codes, which includes relocating the pole.  Lots of landscaping just to prep for that!

For now, we’re just cleaning out the trash whenever possible and using the space to store our things.  We’ll get started on the remodel for this once the interior of the guest house in complete.

The Pasture:
The equines will eventually have a beautiful 12 acre pasture fenced with solar-powered electric 1 inch polytape. We started by repairing a three acres pasture that had been used by a previous owner for emus.  It had 6 foot no climb fencing.  Over the winter, we added another three acres to give the horses and donkey more place to graze.

Before this winter, we’re planning to add another 2 acres that includes some nice shade trees and build their run-in shelter, which will basically be a 10′ x 20′ barn with a large opening.

The Hay Barn:
We’ve slowly been taking the hay barn back from the groundhog, skunk family, and vultures that have been living there.  We have one side cleaned out, and are storing pallets there.  We’re hoping over the winter to get the rest cleaned out, so we can figure out what the building needs structurally.  Long term, it will be storage for hay, tractor, etc.

Before winter we have three big goals:

  1. Get the house in inhabitable condition.
  2. Expand the pasture to include trees and windbreak.
  3. Build the run-in shelter.

If we can accomplish that, we should be able to relax a little this winter and focus on taking back more of the land.  It’s still very difficult to keep up with the mowing in some places because of debri, overgrown trees, etc.  Clean up is easier when the leaves have fallen and the grass isn’t growing.

Keep us in your prayers!  There’s still a lot more work to go!

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