Thursday, July 18, 2019

Progress from the Ground and the Sky

Warning: SUPER photo-heavy post!

The evening after my last post, I came home from work to find that I had a WALL! Which was kind of crazy and awesome. From the interior, I could see where the two big windows for that side would be and it really made everything start feeling "real" amidst this very surreal experience of making this dream come to life.

Look - a wall!
Behold the Tyvek-wrapped glory
Framed window in tack/feed room
Framed window in hay area
Wall from the inside. Hay on left, tack/feed on right
Looking inward from the back door. Hay and tack/feed on left, stalls on right.
Nice to see my grass visible in photos...wish the birds hadn't consumed so much of the seed - ugh.
Start of the tack/feed room floor
And so begins the evolution of my barn door vista - just for you Emma!
Ta da! Super psyched about this window. Will have another on the wall behind me.
Back door forest view

I was on travel due to work on July 9 and 10 and thus missed a 48 hour window of barn happenings. I was slightly disappointed, but knew that coming home Wednesday evening would be made all the more exciting.

And was it ever!

I came home late Wednesday after making time to grocery shop and see the horses in Elkins. By the time I arrived home, Dave was already off with his buddies playing golf. He's very much enjoyed watching my excitement each night, so it was kind of weird to not have him here for this night's big reveal.

When I walked out the back door my jaw just dropped. The majority of the roof on the near side was complete, the bottom paneling (snow/weather protection) was up leaving a space in the middle for the eventual board-on-board white oak, and the windows for that side were in.

And bottom paneling! OMG.
It's just so amazing.
Windows installed!
Looking so good.
Won't see this view forever once the tack/feed room walls go up, but it's neat for now!
Even better as a pano
From the corner stall looking out
Concrete footers for the overhang posts
From the edge of the future dry lot looking toward the barn/house You can really see how low it is compared to the surrounding landscape.

Dave selected the roof color (which is also the same material for the bottom panel) without any input from me. I knew I'd love whatever he chose - and I do! It looks SO good in ALL light. Very earthy and subtle. I cannot WAIT to see the white oak paired up with it on the finished product!

July 11 was a lost day due to rain. Additionally, I know you're all completely shocked to hear this, the excavator did not return on the 11th as planned. Ugh. I have feelings about this but I'm choosing to be an adult and move past them.

BUT! Something pretty cool and barn-related still happened on July 11...

Knowing that we'd be building fence in the near future, I wanted to finalize my plan for how the fence and dry lot would tie into one another. I knew I'd likely end up modifying this once the excavation was complete and the lay of the land changed. In fact, I spent a good hour pacing around with a survey wheel on Wednesday evening as I sussed things out. Unfortunately, I just couldn't quite see the whole picture from the ground.

But I knew I could see the whole thing from a higher vantage point. And as luck would have it, I have a friend who could help in that regard. I dropped him a line to see if he could drop by sometime in the next week to help me out. He agreed and said he could come up the next day!

And so, in between storms on the 11th, my friend brought his drone up to nab some aerial shots for me. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

Starlight Lane Farm! The (subtle) mow line on the left is the edge of my property/pasture.
The brown blobs are the trees we will be milling/using for firewood. The dark dirt above the trees is the topsoil that remains
to be spread (waiting on completion of dry lot and French drain). The lighter area above the topsoil is where I have seeded and
mulched to get grass growing again. Above that is where the ground will be disturbed for the French drain - no point seeding yet.
And the flat area where the barn is will eventually be a dry lot/reseeded with grass.
You can see the steep ass slope behind the property. It basically drops straight down for a ways and there are numerous rock outcroppings.
The elevation in our living room is 3,737'. The visible mountain top center is Mt. Porte Crayon and Buffalo Lick is to the right.
Our big, flat ridge. Dry Fork to the left and Red Creek to the right. 
Slight rotation clockwise from previous shots. 
Another turn in the clockwise direction; our property is due left. Fighter jets and sometimes military cargo planes love to train up here.
They cruise low through the valley (next image), appearing at eye level with us up on our ridge (400' above the valley floor),
and then dip down into the hollow that begins on the right of this image. I'm told the terrain up here is perfect practice for the Middle East.
Canaan Valley. To the left (and out of view on the right), the Monongahela Nat'l Forest. Canaan Valley State Park and the
Canaan Valley Nat'l Wildlife Refuge lie on the valley floor extending as far as the eye can see to the north.
Looking toward Canaan Valley Ski Resort (opposite side of the Weiss Knob, which is the main mountain in view here).
The blob of unmowed land visible here is on the opposite side of my property, which is visible in the bottom right.
And here we are full circle again.
Misty West Virginia mountains
I may or may not be secretly plotting to get hay off my neighbors vast mowed field next year 😂
A lower view of Starlight Lane Farm
Laughing at Taiga as she baffles at the drone.
A very curious husky

I absolutely love the perspective of these shots. I know I wax and wane about living on top of the world, but these images really show that off. I wish the barn wasn't under construction and the grass was up all around, but c'est la vie. These images are still something I'll cherish and look back on because the process is so freaking cool. Hopefully we can get some more taken sometime in the future when everything is complete and the vegetation has grown back everywhere.

Dave was back at it on July 15. His big goal for the week was to get the roof on completely so that they would have an area to work even if it rained. In order to do this, he needed to first get the posts erected for the overhang outside the stalls and install the beam that the rafters would rest on. From there, he'd be able to install first the over hang roof and then the remaining section of the barn roof.

He made great progress on Monday getting each of the four overhang posts installed, the beam installed, and completing the framing for the windows on the north side of the barn.

Look at all those windows/windows-to-be!
Really looking different now that that overhang is coming to life.
Looking in from behind the barn.
Those windows are amazing and will lend amazing evening light.
Overhang coming to life
My precious.
That spot of water is the only place it pools on the entire barn site. The excavator says once we get the French drain in, it shouldn't
be a problem at all. He's really, really impressed with the drainage up here. And he's seen a lot of things, so that is high praise.
I also mowed on Monday night. Gah it looks so much better. Now to get that wood and the topsoil taken care of so this vista is cleaner.

Tuesday was spent finishing up preparations to put the roof on the overhang.

Hard to tell the difference from here...
But as you get closer...
It becomes obvious! Rafters installed and now awaiting a roof.
Such a pretty skeleton
The horses are going to love having so much space to chill.
This space is basically the equivalent of their stalls, but outside!
A gutter will run along the bottom of the overhang eventually, so no worries about that water off-loading in the dry lot
Pano of the back!

As this post is lengthy enough with all of these updates and photos, I'm going to save yesterday's update for the next post. We've got two more solid days of work expected this week, too, so hopefully by my next update there are going to be some really sweet changes that happen. Fingers crossed that deliveries arrive and the excavator returns (today?!) as planned!


  1. It looks amazing! So excited for you! I can't wait until the next update.


    I love the overhang, and the view, and the drone shots are incredible. I just love all of it. You are making me so excited to be able to do this one day for my own ponies.

  3. AHHHH....I keep saying this but is looks amazing. That overhang is a great idea too. Your grass is so bright green and lush. The horses will thrive there.

  4. those drone photos are incredible, your ridge is beautiful! and it really looks like a proper barn now, i can almost SEE the horses <3 <3 <3

  5. It's so cool to see everything coming together!

  6. It sure is coming together!! I loved the aerial views - so cool!

  7. Wow - those drone pictures are awesome. SO exciting!!!

  8. These are so cool! I love these! Especially the aerial view! Such a gorgeous place you live <3 The barn is coming along sooooo nicely!

  9. The barn looks incredible. But OMG those drone shots! I love it! Such a beautiful part of the world you live in! And its SO green! I can see why you spend lots of time out there in the saddle!!

  10. Love it! It is so great to have all of the progress pics for your memories/records! And the overhang is fantastic. That is what my barn is missing...maybe someday!

    And WV - wow - stunning scenery where you live!

  11. (long-time reader but non-commentor).

    THIS IS AWESOME!! Coming home every night has to be like unwrapping a present. Your acreage and set-up are gorgeous. Looks like paradise.

  12. beautiful. that is all. FREAKING BEAUTIFUL.

  13. Holy moly this looks FREAKING AMAZING! Oh my gosh your property is stunning and your whole plan for the barn is exquisite. Cant wait for my photos!

  14. Wow the barn is really starting to look like a barn! It's so exciting watching it go up with you!

  15. I love how it’s coming along, and I LOVE your excitement over it!

  16. So cool! Thanks for sharing these photos!! So exciting!

  17. It looks amazing and the aerial shots are incredible!!!

  18. I love all the aerial shots -- so cool!!