Friday, October 11, 2019

A Video Tour of the Barn

Just in case anyone is tuning in for the first time, here is a chronological list of links to all the past posts leading up to this point. (WOW. I didn't realize how many there had been!)

And now, without further ado, enjoy this silly video tour of Starlight Lane Farm's barn. I'm awkward and not a great videographer - there's a reason I stick to still photos, y'all. 😂

Also, big thanks to Austen for making a fantastic intro blip for my babbling and whole-heartedly encouraging the ridiculous music selection. 😂 A series of ridiculous videos may be in my future...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Starlight Lane Farm est. 2019

We're finally FINISHED!

20191006 Autumn and SLF_37

Well, mostly. No project is ever truly finished. But beyond settling on a happy organization scheme for all things (something that always takes me a good year+ to decide for any space I occupy), Starlight Lane Farm is no longer "under construction".

20191006 Autumn and SLF_40
Those chevron back doors tho...
20191006 Autumn and SLF_41
I definitely don't hate 'em
20191006 Autumn and SLF_52
LOL to Griffin's slow feed net on the ground in his frustration of having to deal with it.
And yes, Grif is now the isolated one when in the dry lot. Q has decided to test the waters of bully and was laying into him pretty good. Everyone is REALLY happy with this new arrangement though! #winning

September was a whirlwind month. I attended three weddings and traveled to California for work during the month. So, while things were moving forward with the farm, the time I had available to write about them was minimal. I had every intention of updating about our progress again within a week of my former post (on Sept. 5), but we all see how that worked out. 

Following my last update, the exterior stall doors were finished and I installed latches.

Bottom halves + latches + no more temp tape blocking the doors SUCH A LUXURY
Double doors and latches; this was temporary until I could figure out a way to latch the top doors from the inside to prevent walking around every time I needed to open/close doors
Latch for the top half of the door is accessible from inside the barn. I'm a fan.
This way, I can open the top door then easily access the outside latch

The shingled area under both eaves was completed.

I cannot explain to you how nice it is to see a finished exterior when I look out my doors/windows from the house

The final pile of topsoil was spread, seeded, and mulched. 

Observe the pile of topsoil (left of center) growing grass
And now it's gone!
I was super motivated and seeded and mulched the area immediately after the soil was spread

The dry wall was hung, we waited forever for the mud to dry, and when it finally did, I painted and started nesting as soon as the paint was dry.

Wall one up...
Wall two partially complete...
BOOM. All dry walled and awaiting extra coats of mud to finish
A nice space!
Painted! I mixed two neutral colors Dave had leftover from other jobs to avoid buying any paint. Ceilings are BITCH to paint. Oof! But as soon as I was done, I put up my saddle racks and the bridle rack. WHAT A LUXURY.
Interim version of the space. Feed area to my right, tack in front.
Medicine cabinet and shelf thanks to my Dad!
IKEA towel bars behind the door. Still have one more I can put up...
I love that they all collapse back along the wall to allow the door to open
No too shabby! And I love that the mirror helps bounce light within the space.

After that, all that was really left was to lay the wood floor - something I knew wouldn't happen until after my trip to California - and get my fence installed - something I wanted to complete before my travels.

And so, in the days leading up to my trip, I spent close to 25 hours building my fence. I had a mentor for about 7 of those hours, but the rest were solo. This fence has been A Problem over the past few months. Due to the nature of everything involved, I'm not going to go into the details on here. Suffice to say, when the dust settled I was left spending more time and money on the damn thing than was necessary. But hey, at least I learned a new skill?

Gate separating the two pastures.
Top line of the fence
Gate into pastures from road
Brace assembly... Look really closely and you'll see two monarch chrysalis
Close up of the chrysalis. We've had one hell of a monarch year. The caterpillars built chrysalis EVERYWHERE. I had to relocate so many! Fortunately, most of my relocated ones hatched!
Happy little paradise.

It was beyond satisfying to turn the horses out to pasture for the duration of my time away from home. They were so happy to be out of that damn dry lot. I never, ever intended for them to have to be in that dry lot for that amount of time without the freedom to graze or move about at liberty. Ugh. Even in the winter months they won't have to spend 60+ days exclusively in the dry lot!

Once I returned from California, I got right to work laying the wood floor. Dave gave me a quick tutorial on all things and I dove in. The end result isn't perfect, but I learned yet another new skill, got to utilize some flooring that would have otherwise gone to waste (it's been sitting in the basement for 10 years lol), and I have a gorgeous little tack and feed room as a result.

A hot mess, but also, more than halfway done!
Talked Dave into helping me with the final row of flooring which was a bit trickier than the rest
Still need to trim the windows and the wall where it meets the floor, but eeee!
Awaiting the final row of boards in this photo

Finishing the flooring was the last piece in the puzzle. It knitted things together so well and I couldn't help but grin really huge as I stood staring at the floor, the tack room, the aisle, the stalls, the barn. My dream as a reality.

Looking down the aisle! Gotta get the remaining sheet rock outta here, but beyond that - she's DONE.
Looking down the aisle from the opposite end
I expect these double doors to remain closed most of the time. I'll likely park my wheelbarrow down on this end, too.
Eeeee! Still have a lot to accomplish in here, but I'm really pleased with the space.
Just needs a few more touches...
Happy happy happy
Center stall (Q's)
Stall across from tack feed (Grif)
End stall (Stan)

Since finishing the flooring, I've basically had a perma-grin on my face. I have set about making lists of all the things I want to accomplish to further "nest" and settle into the space. It is still, and will continue to be, a work-in-progress, but all of the big pieces are in place now.

And MORE tack/feed room photos. Redundant, but TOO BAD.
I eventually want to put a futon where the chairs are and a low bookshelf below the right window
Next week I also plan to put a counter over the feed cans to combine supplements etc.
I built little rolling caddies for each feed can to make them lots more mobile and minimize scratches on the floor.
Scratches are inevitable and I'm totally cool with them happening, but I'm gonna minimize the likelihood where I can.
The pile of nonsense in the far corner is the result of zero organization and 100% a shove-things-in-one-area mindset

It feels pretty surreal to look down at the barn daily and see a "completed" picture. What's more crazy is knowing that the endless "to-dos" revolving around finishing the thing are accomplished. Sure, there are little organizational things to address, but those are the kinds of things I've always expected to fall slowly into place as time necessitates.

My brain finally has time and space to ponder conditioning ride and soft competition goals again. It's so nice to shift my mindset back toward riding instead of the perpetual "create, construct, complete" thought patterns that consumed me during the past year of planning and executing this endeavor. There will always be work to do now that the horses are home, but having the extra burden of building the damn thing off my plate is really refreshing.

My favorite view right now...
It's just so pretty!
Hacked his mane off this week. Just couldn't stand it long. Oh well.
Sunset dog walks with Staniel. Can't wait to watch the seasons change from between these ears!

Realizing this dream and watching it come to fruition has been, well, a dream come true. While I felt certain I would bring my horses "home" at some point in my lifetime, I never imagined it would be when I was 30. There simply aren't enough words to express how unbelievably grateful I am for this opportunity and the reality that is having my horses at home.

I can't thank my husband enough for helping make this dream a reality. He took a simple sketch and turned it into something so beautiful and beyond my imagination. He made the long process more stress-free for me than I ever imagined, too, something I am really appreciative of.

I am also insanely thankful for my neighbor, Dan. Without his encouragement, guidance, and kindness, this entire thing could not have happened. I will never ever forget the ways he helped me to make my biggest dream a reality.

And so, the barn saga is coming to a close. I'll certainly post updates on the tack/feed room as I finish it up this winter and settle into the space more. And, per the request of several, I will be scheduling a video post for tomorrow!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Nearly There!

In the days following my last post, Dave really began hauling ass on completing the barn. In the span of two days, I suddenly had completed doors for each stall door (inside and outside), completed main doors on either end of the aisle, completed walls in every stall, completed exterior everywhere except under the eave on the front, and one nearly-complete wall in the tack/feed room. In addition, I got stall mats placed in each stall and put one in the aisle where my cross ties are so I have a nice clean place to trim hooves!

Almost complete shingling under the eave at the back. The hole will be an exterior light...though Dave is calling it a "starling entrance" right now because he knows how much I detest starlings.
Pano of the back of the barn. Shingling not complete and still waiting on the other door + light installation.
The mess in the photo is now picked up and I can't believe how much it makes me twitch to look at it in the image now lol
Walls going up in the back stall (Griffin's)
Stan in his mostly-complete stall with a partially complete sliding door
Q looking in from under the overhang
A hot freaking mess
All of the mess to the back of the barn and on the right of the photo is GONE as of this past weekend *celebrate*
Lit the F up!
Seriously. It's so freaking bright in there. That's only from THREE lights.
I was teleworking last week and looked out to see Stan taking a nap. First time I've witnessed since moving them home.
And yes, that temp tape is loose because Dave was working and he always moves it around which results in it being loose.
I'm fortunate to have the worlds most respectable horses when it comes to this fence though. They happily much hay and don't fuck with it at all while it's loose (or any other time).
Saddles will go on this wall! Eeee! 
Cleaned up (mostly)! Completed doors! Completed walls! Stall mats!
Stall assignments are, from left to right, Stan, Q, Grif.
And yes, it's really fucking gorgeous with all of that mosaicked wood.
Front doors. (No chevrons because Dave has reached a IDGAF stage with things 😂)
The other front door.
Stan's stall...still waiting on one board int his photo lol
Grif's stall (and temp feed room), also waiting on a board.
Grif's door
Okay, so, for the curious wood enthusiasts:
The darkest boards are 100+ year old red spruce timbered locally that used to be a schoolhouse in a neighboring town.
The pinkish boards are black cherry timbered/milled as a part of this project.
The light boards with some black blemishes (second form bottom and on top on right) are sugar maple timbered/milled as a part of this project.
The bright white-ish boards are pine timbered/milled locally.
The grey-ish hued boards (bottom and door frame) are white oak, timbered/milled in an adjacent county. (The exterior of the barn is also white oak.)
Exterior stall door bottoms installed!
Bottom and top. The only "unfancy" wood on the whole thing lol! See note above about Dave reaching the IDGAF stage. 
I installed latches last night that temp tape is (finally!) not stretched across here.
The chevron back doors. I kinda love them.
The aisle, much more clean than in past photos! But still a mess because it's still under construction.
The first hook for organizational purposes has been installed! 
Okay, so we have some of the best neighbors ever.
Their granddaughter used some of the wood scraps we had to make us a wood burned sign with our house number.
It, of course, has a husky and a horse on it! The silhouette behind is of Seneca Rocks, a pretty unique climbing destination 25 min from our house and a place Dave and I took many first dates.
Straight out of camera. My little paradise!
Proof that the mess was (somewhat) cleaned up lol! Scraps sorted into piles along the barn (will be firewood/kindling).
Scaffolding in front to facilitate the shingles going up (they're actually mostly done as of yesterday but I haven't uploaded the photos so you get to wait for a final reveal).

It's been really nice to begin to use the barn and not do-si-do with all of the construction! In fact, I spent much of my weekend re-organizing what remains of the construction zone to clean things up around the barnyard and neaten the remaining materials (visible in the last photo). It feels really good to see things buttoned up.

As of last evening, I installed the latches on the stall doors and re-did the temp tape. It is SO NICE to just walk through the stall doors and NOT duck under temp tape now. OMG. It's also nice to be able to allow the horses to hang their heads into the barn.

The rest of the dry wall for the tack room arrived yesterday, so that will go up today/tomorrow. With luck, I may be painting in there some this weekend! I can only hope.

I am SO eager to get all of my shit into that tack/feed room and get it organized. It's the last big piece for me (besides the fence but we're just not talking about the fence right now) to feel settled with this project. As grateful as I am to have had the horses home these past many weeks, it's been hard having my things scattered about between the trailer, the barn, the basement, the garage, and the house.

I've been in a bit of a transitory phase with my tack for the past 15 months or so. When I brought the horses to Canaan last summer, I did my best to modify my trailer into an all-encompassing tack/feed room. It was tight, but it served the purposes I needed. When I moved back to our boarding barn for the winter, I kept everything in the trailer because I just couldn't handle the thought of reorganizing it all into that tack/feed room again. It's worked, but I am seriously OVER living out of my trailer/having shit scattered to the four winds. Getting my tack room completed and organized in the next two weeks is something I am SO excited about. It won't come together in organizational perfection overnight, but simply getting everything into one room will be HUGE.

With any luck, my next barn post will wrap things up! As eager as I am for this project to be done, I'll be sad to bring this series of posts to an end. While inordinately stressful, it's been a very fun project and I've very much enjoyed bringing y'all along for the process.

So stay tuned a little longer, and we'll see about bringing this all to a close.