I expect this will be the last blog update for some time, and I'm going to make it count!
Starlight Lane Farm has doubled in size.
This spring, Dave and I made a last-minute decision to purchase an additional three lots. Real estate in our area has been absolutely INSANE since the pandemic. This area has never seen a boom quite like this. It's alarming and exciting and I will be interested to see how things pan out in the coming years. We certainly do not have the infrastructure to support a population boom, but I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get better internet at a minimum because these city people hate the lack of connection and love to raise hell about it... I digress.
At any rate, the decision to purchase these lots changed a lot of things for the horses and myself. The biggest of which is that they no longer need to be dry lotted the majority of the time with carefully scheduled pasture rotations. Now, they get to return to a lifestyle of 24/7 turnout. They've got around 6½ acres of pasture to enjoy whenever they want now, and I have a one acre pasture now dedicated as riding space.
Prepping the land and getting the fence built in for the new property went smoother than the first go around due to my simply knowing more, but the process was every bit as delayed and hiccupy as it was in 2019. Big plus of this go-round is that I did learn to independently operate quite a bit of equipment! Three different tractors, a mower, a brush hog, and a hydraulic post driver. I could have learned a skid steer + auger but opted out of that one because I'd had enough by that point!
Due to our closing date getting pushed 4-5 weeks later than we originally planned, my car accident, and Dave's ER visit, the majority of fence building ended up happening the weekend of July 4 and the following week.
I could wax and wane poetically about the whole thing, but I think I'll opt to use photos to tell the story - per my usual.
|Brush hogging the new acreage.
|It was an incredibly hot day. I had all the sun protection on, plus my cooling towel that helped me survive the OD 100.
|After a few hours, Dave came out with a pitcher of ice water for me and told me he'd take a turn while I cooled off and hydrated.
|He helped me get the single shrub out of the pasture. Bye bye autumn olive!
|Ta da! All mowed and prepped and ready for line posts to be installed. (You can see the corner posts and braces already installed if you look closely.)
|Tractor sitting and beer sipping after a long day. I can't wait to have my own tractor one day.
|Originally, the plan was to drive the posts with a hydraulic post driver on the back of a tractor.
|The first step to digging posts is to enjoy a proper dog pile. My brother demonstrates.
|Will ready to check the hole depth on the first hole of the day.
|So many humans for this job. It was a riot. We had fillers and tampers and plumb-keepers and beer holders.
|Dave offering white claw as Austen keeps the post plumb while others tamp.
|In all, there ended up being 13 people and 10 dogs on site. We had a crew of 7 doing the posts and a crew of 6 spectating and heckling. It truly takes a village sometimes!
|I am so beyond grateful for this community.
|Looking out to the far corner of the pasture.
|Once the weekend was over and guests had returned home, I spent several very early mornings (pre-sunrise and a little bit after sunrise) and evenings around sunset/dusk running lines for the fence. (This is sunrise.)
|Fortunately, one fenceline (of three) is pre-existing and just needed a line of hot wire run across the top to discourage the horses (and my neighbors) from doing silly things.
|It was a beautiful way to start and end my days. (This is sunset.)
|I eventually plan to setup my jump standards out here, but first opted to set trot and canter poles. Best to build back slowly to our jumping habits!
|A mowed dressage court ripe and ready for riding!
|And one more shot of the mowed dressage court at sunset last week.
When I purchased my two lots and built the barn in 2019, having this additional acreage wasn't on my radar. In fact, I never foresaw it even being an option. I'm honestly still a bit shocked by how everything has worked out. This mountain top is my personal paradise. The horses are so happy, I'm so happy, and my hermit of a husband is so happy to be able to keep people and homes from blocking the views he loves so much. It seems like quite the fortunate stroke of serendipity to be where we are. My gratitude for this farm knows no bounds - and likely never will. I send my thanks to the Universe multiple times a day for this piece of paradise.
As I mentioned at the start of my June Highlights reel, I'm going to (likely) be taking a break from this blog. Temporarily, permanently, I don't know. Once again, if you'd like to follow along a little more real-time with my adventures, please follow me on Instagram @estout18