VC's Unofficial Blog Hop: Barn Tour
A few bloggers have turned a recent Online Tour into L's Unofficial Blog Hop and I thought it might be fun as I currently don't board, but rather have my horses at home. We bought a not-well-thought-out farm from an older bachelor who's body got the best of him 3.5 years ago. I wish I had taken more 'before' pictures because we have done SO much work over the past three years, but alas, this is the best I can do for now. It's nothing fancy, but it's home.
Our farm is situated on 161 acres; 100 acres of that is bush which has trails throughout. The fence lines within the bush were once seeded to Alfalfa wherever possible, and there is ample grass - this is where the horses spent last summer for pasture. The rest of the land is balanced between the yardsite, additional tree patches, marshland, pasture and cropland which we farm organically. Our property is near the end of a dead-end road, and borders a creek surrounded by crown land. Across the road from us is the old homestead my husbands Grandma was raised on upon immigrating to Canada. It is now owned by his mothers uncle and his family. They're well into their 80's, but one of their sons does a lot of the work with the animals and maintenance when he's home (he works in Camp), and we assist them with things when needed as well. Recently one of their foals got tangled in some farm equipment that resulted in a major laceration (like.. there was bone showing) so we have made several trips up there to help them with doctoring and advice. Our Great-Uncle is unwell and doesn't venture outside, so things are often left to our Great-Aunt, who has Parkinsons which often makes tasks requiring fine motor skills difficult. A few mere miles away is an old school yard that my husbands Grandma attended. The entire area is called the "Ranger" area; and thus our farm is called Brookside Range Ranch.
When we first moved in, the man we bought our farm from had over 30 horses - many of which were nearing 10 years old and not halter broke. In his 'prime' he produced drafts, but his breeding got a little out of control while his health declined which resulted in pens built off pens, in a mish-mash of confusion. As a result, you had to go through pens to get into other pens, and so on. There was one ridiculously tiny round pen (like maybe a 10m circle if I'm being generous) built immediately out one of the barn doors, rendering that door essentially useless unless you had a crazy horse that you had to run it into the pen from the barn. When we first viewed the farm, the barn had stalls built out of portable metal panels, and it hadn't been cleaned out in several years but luckily they gutted it before we took possession. There was also a very weird chicken coop that we tore down last year, in addition to 2 draft size standing stalls, a small insulated tack room, and an old milking parlor area that only has a large manger remaining. The fencing around the barn itself made no sense, so we tore down all but 1 fence-line from one of the many paddocks, re-built that paddock bigger, and then built another smaller paddock for injuries or stall rest situations, since he removed and sold the portable metal panels in the barn. We intend to build 1 or 2 more paddocks as well in addition to our barn reno and adjusting one field to be a little more useful for us and our horses while we balance pasture and crop farming, but it's a work in progress.
The quarantine/stall rest paddock, looking a little worse for wear but luckily hasn't been needed recently.
We re built this paddock when we first moved in, but used some existing fencing and there was no gate to the large 50 acre field that we occasionally use for turn out. This summer we replaced sole old boards and installed a new (additional) gate.
The barn itself is an odd size, and an unfortunate roof slope, but we are going to make it work. The original barn, which consists of the old milking parlor and tack room is insulated, and was built in the 80's. He then built an addition in the mid 2000's which added 3 more doors, two standing stalls and the area which he had his stalls in, adding an additional 36 feet in length while maintaining the 32 foot width. In it's peak, it is a beautiful 14ft height, but slopes to roughly 10ft at it's lowest part which makes me a bit nervous, but it is what it is. Regardless, despite currently using it for hay storage we intend to build at least 2 stalls. One standing stall will be converted into a stock for my Repro work as well as when Vets visit, and the other will remain as storage for supplies like wheel barrows and bales of shavings. We've also discussed gutting and enclosing the milking parlor area (which currently serves as overflow for tack, feed, storage, etc) as the current tackroom is very snug, especially during the summer months when 1 or 2 friends board their horses at my house.
The weird chicken coop and half-finished kick wall. We have since removed the coop, and will remove the kick-wall when we go to build stalls, as well.
Blanket hooks galore, which are well above my head and I curse every time I have to hang one
Another view of the tackroom. The water pump and hose is contained in that heated and insulated box.
We kept the metal roundpen that was custom made out of large free standing heavy-duty panels which we had included in the purchase. Primarily, we occasionally use it as a paddock when needed, and we also have a 100 x 200 outdoor sand ring that is a constant source for
argument discussion between my husband and I. The footing is subpar; we have very sandy soil including a pure sand deposit in one area which the old owner used for footing. Unfortunately due to lack of maintenance, it is full of rocks and when asked about it, the old owner told me "If I have a horse that can't go over some rocks, I don't want them" which I suppose is perfectly normal for drafts, but not ideal for a jumping surface for us, mostly due to the fact that our breed of choice is the generally sensitive Thoroughbred. We have spent countless hours picking rocks and designing various arena drags with a rock picker to work smarter not harder, however none of our plans have made it past a half-built prototype yet. The arena is also not fenced, which is both good and bad. Because the driveway shapes around the arena, it's particularly useful to not have a fence when we occasionally need to drive into the arena for various reasons. It also makes it easier for dragging the arena, especially since we frequently disc it up to improve depth since constant harrowing shallows and packs it. We occasionally plow the arena and push the snow into the ditch that boarders one side, which would be essentially impossible if there was a fence there. I mean, I guarantee my husband would try and break the fence as a result. (Men, amirite?) Regardless, a fence would be nice for obvious reasons, like getting dumped and not having your horse take off for a joyride in the pasture. It would also be much nicer when Eowynns older and able to ride independently.. but I'm not certain the pro's outweigh the con's for us.
We're working to obtain our Organic farming status, which means we farm without the use of chemicals like pesticides, and so on. Due to this, we utilize tillage to control the weeds and choose both nutrient-rich and economically smart crops to improve the soil health while rotating crops frequently. 2020 was our first year of full harvest, as the weeds were so bad in most areas we had to spend 2 years working up the land to control the weeds. In the spring, we planted the workable acres to Oats and underseeded it to a 90% Alfalfa/10% Timothy blend. As a result, we harvested the oats this fall and for the next 5 years will harvest the hay.
We have one large 8 acre field that we will likely turn primarily into our pasture as opposed to utilizing it for crops because turning the horses out in the bush pasture for the entire summer wasn't quite ideal. We also have a 50 acre pasture but we hope to use primarily for crops. Currently, the 8 acre field has 1 fence line separating a 2 acres from the remaining 6. Both sections have a natural water source, and the larger side also has an automatic waterer. Our hope in 2021 is to split the remaining 4 acre section again, and install a second automatic waterer. This would give us 3 pastures for rotation and/or separation when needed. I would love a large, foal-safe turnout so that's the primary reason but it would be greatly beneficial in the long run. All 3 pastures would still be able to join together with gates in the middle, but also have external access as well so you don't have to go through one field to get to another. 2 of 3 would also be able to access the two bush pastures through separate gates, which could be nice as well.
That one time my dumb ex-eventer got herself stuck behind a tree that was maybe 2'6 and just screamed bloody murder until I rescued her
Not horsey related at all aside from the carrots - this is my garden and the 50 acre field behind it.
People houses are boring, but in addition to a billion projects around the farm, the house is also a project.