|my fav tree|
I introduced the story of my new farm in this post. If you have been following along you will know that it was not actually moving into my "dream home" when I moved, but that doesn't mean I don't think it will be one day. Obviously when moving with horses, the horses are the biggest priority. I can put up with just about anything, but my horses needed a set up that would continue them to thrive, and keep the move as stress free as possible. When I bought the farm, I had down sized by 3 horses in the span of a few months. I was going to stick with 3 horses, and I needed my barn to have at least 3 stalls and room for tack and feed. Nothing fancy, just functional. Luckily I was able to keep my horses at my parents until May, to give me time to get the barn and pastures ready.
When I bought the house and got the keys, it was time to really take a good look at things. The sale was quick and we just did a speedy walk through. Of course I wanted to check out the barn and land first! The barn was a decent size, not big, not too small. It had a little room like a shop and some weird rooms that had reminisce of chicken feathers and shit everywhere. I picked up these big metal hooks and turned to my mom and said -"hey! old hay hooks, cool, these are awesome and hard to find". My mom just looks at me and says "ugh, I think those are MEAT hooks". Oh my god, I just about threw them and the smile ran off my face. I'm not exactly a big fan of meat, but the thought of whatever happened in that barn worried me.
|The barn from the start - innocent looking enough|
|garbage moved from behind the barn|
|one of the many rabbit hutches|
|The rabbit hutches out front demolished|
|The rabbit hutches standing....inside they are full of garbage and shit|
|oh look, more garbage|
It turns out, in the 80's it was a butcher shop. The butcher also used to run a sort of trading post from the farm too, and take basically anything as a trade for meat. I heard the man would routinely throw things into the field, and there was a huge pile of bones and garbage constantly behind the barn. Looking at the barn, and the property, I wasn't surprised to learn this. Disturbed, yes, surprised no. The barn was also full of rabbit hutches, to add to the horror of this place, there were once around 40 rabbits who lived in the barn and around the property, some severely neglected. At one point the SPCA was involved and the bunnies and poultry were rehomed. The interesting thing was the last owner had clearly spent countless hours creating water lines and nice cages for the bunnies, only to completely neglect to feed and care for them.
Our first task was to take down and remove all of the rabbit cages. Then, clean all the old hay and rabbit shit out of the barn. There were also rocks galore in the barn, and those all had to be removed by hand. I used the rocks to outline my first garden, and it worked so perfectly. One thing I love about reno-ing this farm, is re-purposing everything and cleaning it to make it new, healthy, and beautiful again. Under all those hutches and shit, was a nice concrete floor. that covered one side of the barn, the aisle and halfway into the other side. This would be perfect flooring for the tack room area and aisle. I was also lucky to have a decent hay loft on one side of the barn.
|The outer wall before|
|the start of the Garden of Weeden feat barn rocks|
|rmoving the rotten exterior wall|
|cleaning up the front area|
|new siding on the front|
|the meat cooler becoming a stall|
|Framing Valley and was Indys stall|
Once everything was removed from the barn, the footing was smoothed out. Then it was time to frame. My dad and boyfriend did this entirely on their own. I helped hold and fetch things. We made 2 stalls on the West side, and a stall and the tack room on the East side. The stall on the East side was Pennys originally, and it was the hardest to get ready. We had to remove all the old insulation which was full of old rat nests and dead animals. This area was actually the meat cooler of the butcher shop. For two days the guys worked their asses off, and the barn began to take shape. Three cute stalls, with rubber mats layed down. I used quick-crete in the back of the stalls that had 1/2 dirt floors to even them out and it worked perfectly.
|Valley hanging out in her new stall|
|Stevie hanging in front of the new barn|
|Penny in her stall. Notice my makeshift window I made since it was so bloody hot last summer!|
|Ready for ponies!!|
|The meat cooler is now a stall!|
|the aisle way|
|Indys stall :(|
We also redid the outside of the barn removing the old cheap plywood and insulation, and re-insulating and putting new ply wood up. Eventually I will do board and batten on the outside. I had brought my stall gates from my old farm (racing style) and re painted them. With those hung, and just the finishing touches like blanket racks, hooks, and some style, the barn was ready to welcome horses. I still didn't have electricity or water at this time, but it would come in time. No matter how bad I wanted everything done right away, time and especially money just don't make it possible. But I realized one thing I do have control over is how much work I can do physically myself. If I can't afford to do something I want, like getting another dumpster for yet more garbage, I can instead just work my butt off picking up and bagging what I can for the dump.
Although I knew it would be hard work at this place, I didn't realize just how hard, how long it would take, and how never ending the work is. But seeing my horses sleeping under my favourite tree, or greeting me at the gate at the end of the day makes it all worth it.