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We Are Flying Solo

June 12, 2013

Never Say Never

Of course, they also say, "Never say die," but that latter is rather unavoidable.

Sorry, that's just how my wacked brain works!

For those of you who intently follow the sputterings of TFS on Teh Facebooks, I left you hanging with a teaser...and no one guessed the surprise.  To be fair, there was really only one guess.

It has been a large secret that I have kept close, both for fear of jinxing it by pronunciation and to avoid publicly riding the roller coaster of hope and disappointment that is inevitably part of the process.  At this point, however, there is ink on paper and machinations kicked into motion and numbers in blanks, so I will rip the sheet off and unveil...

...hay?

HEY!  YES, IT IS --  the future home of Flying Solo Farm.  That will be the view of the main field from my back door.

*interlude for gasping, choking, staring, inexplicable giggling, and head explosion*

Believe me, I have had every thought you are having right now.  No way.  WTF?  That's is awesome!  That is terrifying!  So many things to plan.  So many bills...

And so on.  Although it's been a road thus far traveled with all the speed of a three-legged tortoise.

North of the main field:  lots of room for dressage and jumping!
The idea popped up two years ago, taunting at the edge of vision.  I do SO MUCH driving.  Not even counting work travel, I drive up to the BO's farm almost every day after work and on weekends.  If I take the horses somewhere, I often end up going north to pick them up, then turning around and driving south, PAST MY HOUSE, to get to our destination.  That alone is almost two hours of wasted time by the end of a trip.  At the farm, I provide all of my own feed, do a fair bit of my own pasture management, trick out my shed, and fix things that I can when they break.  I have mowed, I have dragged, I have repaired arenas and moved jumps.  Really, I am paying them to feed my horses in the mornings and keep an eye on them when I am out of town.

That's a lot of time and a lot of money.  So I began watching the real estate market.  Did I dare dream the impossible dream?  Just idly at first, but as I began to crunch numbers, my intentions became more serious.  Mom and I chatted and schemed and I discovered that, with planning and the right property, I could have a house on ten acres, eliminate a ton of driving, and still pay the same mortgage payment I am paying now, for 0.3 acres.  That tipped the scales all the way to yes.

To the south, pasture goes downhill to creek.  Too wet to bush-hog atm.
It still took a full two years of poking, looking, examining, offering, withdrawing offers, soil testing, and mapping before I stumbled upon a hidden gem about 15 miles from my current house.  One of two plots being sold by a couple who no longer needed the extra pasture, unwanted by their kids, the gorgeous pieces of property, in established grass (over a year of work if I had to clear land, not to mention the cost of $3-4,000 per acre) and fenced (that's worth $7-10,000 right there), hid among giant oaks and sweet gums at the end of a two-track drive, about 0.3 miles off the road.

Perfect bliss.  Even if the beautiful trees and old pond fished by herons and seranaded by chorus frogs weren't enough to convince me, the day of my first visit, as I stood in the main field with the landowner, listening to great stories, both of our eyes turned to a quick motion on the hillside.  A grey fox trotted up to the top and paused, glancing over his shoulder at us.  I'm quite the pragmatist, but I decided to indulge myself and took the glance from one of my favourite native species as a quiet welcome.

I have a house and a shelter to build, a well to drill and a winter's worth of hay to buy still, but my planning gears are whirling away at Mach 27.  I have floor plans and a survey map and a contract, so by the end of the summer, I hope construction will be underway.  I don't even use the barn I pay for now and I don't like to stall the horses, so once there is some shelter, all I have to do is throw out a water tub and the boys can move in!

Now, there's just the tiny matter of 10 acres of grass to mow.  Tractor donations accepted!  :D

I'll look out front door to driveway (left of fenceline) and this paddock.

Pines around the pond, at the west end of the jump field.
The eastern edge of main field.
Looking backwards over jump field, west to the pond, which lies over the hill, behind the trees.
It's a whole lot of empty right now, but we flagged the general house corners yesterday and I hope to bring in some bed material for the driveway in the next couple of weeks.  One of the best (and most important!) parts is the community.  The landowner and his wife are wonderful people and they, along with a trainer (ex-eventer who is a big client of my farrier!) and two other families, are a close-knit group of horse owners and lovers who keep an eye on each other's homes and critters.  That, combined with the road set-back, gives me an immense feeling of privacy and safety, as I will have qualified folks to watch out for my boys when I must be hard at work in the rivers.

All of that certainly makes this land worth every single penny, but there is even more!  It is connected to infinity miles of trails, winding through two counties for hours on end for conditioning and relaxation.  The trainer next door has a large arena and jump field (oh, she will meet me soon, yes she will, LOL) of her own.  And perhaps most valuable to me, the seller is a fencing contractor.  Which means not only does he have farmer saavy, but he has several large tractors which have fenced in thousands of acres of land, and an implement that I may consider for my new best friend (sorry, BFF, I still love you!):  a post pounder which can drive a telephone pole into baked-hard ground, complete with rock spike for splitting those Carolina roadblocks.  No more driving t-posts for me!!!!

Ok, ok, I am stopping -- these is much work to be done.  You would never guess it by looking at my fur-covered, laundry-piled house, but I relish each task.  Despite years of sweat, I still never mind the hard work if it is to the benefit of the horses.  Vacuuming floors?  Meh, no one sees them but me and I can still walk.  Putting up electric tape or enclosing sheds or moving hay or dropping feed?  Let me at it!  It will be a while yet before the red beasts and I co-habitate and it will be rather bittersweet to say goodbye to our barn family, but I still can't wait to no longer pay board...and water and sewer and city taxes on my home/truck and a bazillion gallons of diesel a month.  If the horses are able to ever eat all that grass, I will need to purchase winter hay, but I am lucky to have two or three friends nearby who already have good suppliers, as well as a co-op by the office who gets phenomenal stuff all year-round if I'm in a bind.

This time next year, I hope that I will be able to drink a beer as the sun sets behind me, slipping its last rays across the backs of two very happy horses.  Maybe by then I will be able to afford beer.  Maybe...

Looking from the jump field south across main field to creek hillside pasture.


 

41 comments:

  1. Congrats! Looks lovely! Looking forward to hearing about the adventures of building your dream.

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  2. Yay!! so exciting. I completely understand about the driving as we have the same situation. Can't wait to hear how it comes along.

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  3. You totally just described my favorite dream. Enjoy!!! It sounds wonderful!

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  4. OMG. Can I live with you? Srsly.

    I love it. What an awesome dream and I am SO EXCITED it is coming together for you. :) Someday, I'll do my own post like this.

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  5. Thank you, thank you so much! My head pretty much explodes on a daily basis, it's a MONUMENTAL undertaking -- all I can say is thank goodness for many wonderful people.

    LOL, SB, at this point, anyone paying rent is welcome!!!!

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  6. Congratulations! Nothing better, love your fields. It is a long process to build, hang in there and enjoy it!

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  7. Wow! I'm so happy for you! What a find and being able to build your own home is awesome! Too bad I don't live closer, I would bring the beer over and help you build your shelter.

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  8. Congratulations! That is so awesome. You will love having the boys at home!!

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  9. Congrats! There is nothing like rolling out of bed and hugging your horse in your PJ's. Or sitting on your porch watching them happily graze. What a wonderful dream, realized!

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  10. O.m.g. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!Holy shizazzle, that is AMAZING! Major congrats to you and your two future room-mates. :-D I am uber jealous!!

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  11. Yahoo!! Congratulations! You continue to live my dream....

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  12. Congrats!! That is so exciting and I'm so happy for you. Looking forward to see how it comes along.

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  13. Congratulations!!! I have a similar goal in my 5 year plan, which unfortunately includes relocating the 600 or so miles. But it sure will beat the Florida summers.

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  14. So happy for you! That is the freaking DREAM! And with ten acres, you can get more PONIES! :)

    Congratulations!

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  15. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It's just as beautiful as you described it! I'm so so so so happy for you! Now why do I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be helping you build things....

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  16. This is very very exciting! Congrats!!!

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  17. ITS PERFECT!! Beautiful, serene, private and totally awesome. Very jealous! You go girl, can't wait to hear about it all!

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  18. Looks like a beautiful, grassy slice of Heaven to me. The ponies are not going to believe their eyes!

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  19. Congratulations! What a road it will be !

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  20. !!!!!!! So exciting! I cannot wait to follow along your fantastic journey!

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  21. You will have so much fun building your house and shelter for the boys. I've done all of that--a house in Alaska and a barn and turnout field in WA--and it's great to get EXACTLY what you want! And if no contractors are involved, as in my case, you save so much money. That's money you can spend on the boys. Congrats!

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  22. Awwwe, thank you all so much!

    NO, NO MORE PONIES! Not that I own, at least, rofl!

    Visitors welcome, come ride with us! I promise I won't make you hang tooooo many tape holders, hahahahha!

    Amber, Harley has to be good for SOMETHING, heeheehee (love ya, Harley!).

    I'm so excited and so overwhelmed all at the same time. If I can just get the house up, it will take care of a great deal of stress --- who wants to buy a lovely little house near Raleigh, I have to sell the old one. Love it, it's a great house. Comes with fantastic boarding opportunity nearby, LOL!

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  23. We're in the same boat my dear - an exciting, scary, petrifying, wonderful dream boat. Congrats!!

    Let's share house building ideas - I'm on the two year plan at this point - so just starting to think about design and details. :D

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  24. So excellent. I am happy to keep you in beer if you keep blogging!

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  25. I am thrilled for you! HOW COOL!!! I have watched my friend build her dream farm up for the past eight years, and the key is to not bite off more than you can chew... you will feel like you WANTITALLRIGHTNOW, but like you said, as long as the boys have a fence and a water vessel they will be fine! Oh, and you have a place to rest your head.

    We will all be privileged to follow along. Keep the photos coming!

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  26. CFS, congrats to youuu! We do indeed need to share ideas, I've found some great resources. COTH is a wellspring!

    Seema, careful, I might hold you to that, LOL -- does Keebler deliver?

    RW -- I am going to try to keep it in manageable pieces. I have a rough priority list. Might need a new drill though, but at this point, definitely worth the investment!!!

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  27. Oh wow amazing! I am so jealous! But very very happy for you. It looks fantastic. Hope I can make that dream happen for myself some day :)

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  28. Thank you! I am sure you will be less jealous as soon as I post on the first thing that I royally screw up, haha! Or hey, I can post the pictures of the tree that fell on my work truck tonight! :P

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  29. Congrats! Its the best to walk out the door and just stick your nose in a mane and breathe deeply when you need to.

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  30. Congratulations! Farm ownership was always my dream and has by far been my biggest accomplishment in life. It brings me happiness on so many different levels every single day. I am so happy for you and your boys.

    Can't wait to see how it all develops!

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  31. Thanks -- I hope I will be able to provide lots of entertaining stories!!!

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  32. That is awesome! Living the dream!!! Cannot wait to see photos of your two boys standing outside your window :)

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  33. Ahhh!!!! All the things!! So excited for you!!! Okay. Calming down. My husband and I are on a similar adventure (bought 10 acres last year, building this summer) and its been a ton of work so far but am so excited. Will you do any posts on cool ideas or resources you find? I'm really overwhelmed by the prospect of creating a home for my horses (not concerned at all about the human home, lol!). All my life my dream has been to look out my kitchen window and see my horses and its really happening! I literally squealed when I saw that you get to do it too.

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  34. That's so exciting, congratulations!! It's my dream for the future, too, so I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures making it happen!

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  35. Holy Crap, this is way too cool! Please post lots and lots about it so we can live vicariously through you. Such a dream of mine, but I only just bought my 'starter' home. Got a way to go before I'm hopefully in your shoes!

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  36. Thank you!! And congrats to you too, Jen! I will try to share all the resources I find. Mostly it's just googling till my eyes cross, thus far, and hitting up all the horse people I know for ideas!

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  37. oh my gosh a tree fell on your work truck!? I hope it didn't cause too much damage :(

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  38. It did crush the camper shell and tailgate to death -- I was very lucky that I did not back it as I usually do or else it would not have an engine!!!

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