Our very own barn is finally coming together in some very big ways.
The exterior of our barn structure is finally wrapped up, along with a significant paddock fence. This was a huge accomplishment that took so many many hands, sweat, and a lot of true grit.
We celebrated by indulging in the purchase of a new horse & pony, and a few too many glasses of whiskey. Everybody, meet Penny & Desco:
Penny is a palomino quarter horse mare, and Desco is a mixed breed miniature pony gelding - with the cutest ever heart shaped mark on his behind.
Our paddock is made of raw cut lumber from the local lumber yard (Oak Woods, North Berwick, ME), weld wire fencing for the smaller livestock, and also has an interior hot wire line for the horses.
Seeing them gallop through the paddock for the first time, unbridled, had us all pretty awe-struck. It was a moment that allowed us to finally feel the weight of the mission we'd been working towards - incredibly rewarding to see the vision come to life, and humbling to be in the presence of such beautiful creatures, on our own property.
Our mornings look a little different now, but we wouldn't have it any other way. The horses motivate us to get up and going earlier than before, to make sure they get their grains and feed supplements before the work day begins. Our evenings are frequently spent visiting them, doing some ground work, and getting better acquainted so we can ride regularly. We're taking time to participate in lessons and clinics so we can provide the best care and horsemanship, possible.
The donkeys are slowly bonding with the new herd-mates as well - It can take some time for everyone to settle in - new people, new surroundings, new herd, changes in the weather suddenly. It's a lot for anyone!
The barn interior is the next phase. This includes building the following:
feed and grain room
The tack room is a space dedicated to housing all of our horsey stuff - saddles, halters, reins, bridles, bits, grooming supplies, vet care, blankets, etc. while the feed & grain room is set aside for the feed supplements and grain that is part of each horses' specific diet.
We've been collecting the necessary items to fill these spaces with form and function for about a year now, so it will be great to finally get everything into its rightful home (and out of my basement). We plan to build pine shiplap style walls inside the barn to form the tack room and stalls, and stain them a cedar color. Utilities will mean lights can be installed as well, and give us the option to run a mini fridge for veterinary purposes, and heated waterers for the winter (and a wall-mounted fireplace in the tack room, because - why not?).
In order to build these next portions of the barn, ideally before the snow falls, we have to do some groundwork. We'll need to add pavers and compacted stone dust to the floor of the barn to bring it up to the grade that the physical structure itself meets the concrete footings. This is important for many reasons - because we opted to build without a concrete slab, the stone-dust will act like a level floor. No gaps under the side will lessen the risk of pests getting in, and keep drafts off of the horses hooves, which can be cause for sickness.
Once the interior is done, we'll finally see some functionality and efficiency in our farm life, so we can focus on having some fun and less frustration. The months have been rolling by fast, but the Homestead Husband and the Ranch Team never fail to amaze me.
...Like the cowboy gets the girl when the credits roll, I'll give you a lifetime of days in the sun, whatever you need and you want, I won't stop 'till it's done...