Flying Solo

It’s official: as of Saturday I’m now living out at the barn full time! The barn owners and 3 of their horses left for their farm in Florida (a little jealous right now since cold front is about to blow through here and drop us down below freezing) on Saturday morning, and I swooped in as they were pulling out.

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Quinnie has never been too sure about whether or not I’m actually qualified to feed her, pretty sure she calls me “the girl”

Trying to pack for a months-long stay was kind of interesting. I took it as an opportunity to prepare for living in the tiny house. What stuff did I REALLY need? Clothing and shoes especially. Honestly I need way less than I actually own. All the clothing I brought (aside from jackets, which are hanging near the door) fits easily in the closet and a couple of drawers in the dresser. I’ve decided to limit myself to using one shelf in the pantry, and just a few dishes/pots/pans etc. Mostly to see just how much stuff I actually need, vs how much stuff I’ve accumulated back at home. If I don’t use it over the next 5 or 6 months, do I really need to own it? Probably not. I packed what I feel like are the necessary essentials, so now we’ll see how that works out.

Also I might possibly have a color palette. This was not intentional. 

I kept myself pretty busy on Saturday, getting settled in. I turned the horses out, unpacked my stuff and put it all up where I wanted, then went to move and set up my jumps. They’d all still been sitting behind the storage barn right where we unloaded them the day before I moved the horses. In reality they all need some repair and paint, which will be a winter project, but I still need to be able to jump in the meantime. So first I loaded up fillers and poles, then drove out to Henry’s turnout (the biggest, flattest space) and started plotting out where I wanted things.

Which took me forever because I went out there with no plan and thus was completely indecisive. Once I had the poles set, I went back over to get the standards. By this point I was kind of glad that I only have like 6 jumps. Moving them all by yourself is a real bitch. But now it’s done, and we jumped them (boy is Henry really excited to find himself pointed at a jump again). The field that I put them in is right up next to the road and someone driving by yesterday stopped to watch us jump… I think I might become a bit of a neighborhood spectacle.

Henry thinks he’s bucking. It’s sad. No one tell him.

Then of course when I was cleaning stalls, the lawnmower that pulls the manure spreader got stuck in park. Because naturally, day 1, something has to happen. Luckily I’d already done most of the stall cleaning by that point so I just left it there and figured the SO could fix it the next day when he came out. It helps having a mechanic around sometimes. And fix it he did, in like 5 minutes, using one screwdriver. I figured it would be simple and I would feel dumb, and I was correct on both counts. He showed me what to do if it happens again, but hopefully it won’t. I’m a lot better with horses than I am with machines.

Stewie likes to ride along when I go spread the manure. 

Saturday night I went and got groceries, which was the last big thing on my to-do list for the weekend to get settled in. It’s funny, it takes me pretty much the same amount of time to get to the grocery store now that I live 9 miles away as it did when I was 2 miles away. Country roads vs city traffic. Much prefer the country roads. And now that I’ll basically be living as a single person 5 days a week for a while, I got perhaps overly excited about being able to eat whatever I want again. The SO is mostly vegetarian, and before he came along I existed pretty exclusively on variations of chicken. As you may imagine, it’s been tough finding things we’ll both eat. But I stocked up on chicken, and I’ve had it 2 nights in a row for dinner. Also really looking forward to having breakfast for dinner again, which is something the SO just did not do, but I love. I bought turkey bacon for that exact reason. I also don’t have to cook if I don’t want to… like if I get done in the barn late, I could totally just have cereal or a sandwich for dinner, because I don’t have to consider anyone else. I definitely didn’t appreciate that part enough when I was single and yes you’re right it’s kind of sad that I’m so excited about it now.

My favorite part, though?

The view out my bedroom window
the view from the kitchen window

It’s stalker heaven.

I can see my boys whenever I want, just by looking out the window. Even in the middle of the night, because there are cameras in the barn, I can pull up the feed on my phone to check on them without even having to get up. Not that I’ve done that. Ok yes I’ve totally done that.

I can blanket them how I want. I can feed them how I want. I see them every single day and can observe every little nuance with their condition or behavior. I know how much they eat, drink, and poop. I see their attitude and demeanor. Taking care of my own horses is a dream come true. It’s a time constraint, sure, and it ties me to the farm in a way that gives me a lot less freedom. Given my 1.5hr round trip commute to work, fitting everything into the weekdays is going to be a bit tricky. It’s a totally fair trade to me, though, and one I don’t mind. If I need to change something, I can just… change it. After so many years of compromises with boarding, I LOVE being 100% in control of their care, and it’s worth the work or whatever I have to sacrifice to make it happen.

btw how good is Presto looking right now? I haven’t groomed him in a week and he’s still so shiny.

Of course, tonight that cold front is blowing through, so maybe ask me again in a couple days after I’ve been rained on and frozen solid like a popsicle. Just kidding, it’ll be fine, I brought 3 jackets. I’m ready.

16 thoughts on “Flying Solo

  1. We lived in a room in our barn while our house was renovated earlier this year, so 2 ppl and 10 dogs in a 12×14 room. You learn REAL quick what you actually need and what you don’t need. We got rid of a ton of stuff when we moved into the barn and even more stuff when we moved back to the house.
    And having the ponies outside your window is amazeballs. I can’t imagine it any other way!

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  2. I’m moving mine home this weekend and I’m so excited! Also really nervous, because I’m a major worrier and think about all the things that could possibly go wrong… But mostly I’m just excited to have complete control over their care. And be able to step out my back door and go see them whenever I want. And set all my things up exactly how I want and no one will mess with it! I know it’s going to be more work, but at one point I was doing chores 5+ days a week at my boarding barn, so taking care of 3 instead of 15 will feel like a vacation lol.

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  3. We traded lives this weekend I think. My horses moved out to the boarding barn for the winter, and everything feels weird. Totally enjoying not having to walk out to the barn at 11 pm for night check when it’s 25 degrees out. But I’ve been stressing about what blankets they have on all morning since it was freezing yesterday and now it’s 60. And the barn is closed Mondays, so I’m not there to fix it… But it’ll be fine. It will all be fine.
    I think you’re going to love being with the horses full time. How many are there with you now?

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  4. Not gonna lie – figuring out dinner is the worst part of my day. Like why must we eat every single day???? Ugh. I’m all for breakfast for dinner or grabbing a quick sandwich but the Hubby and kiddo don’t like that so cook it is. Double ugh. Enjoy life on the farm!!!

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  5. I’m all for eating eggs for dinner. Except I’m also all for eggs for breakfast so I have to choose. My other solution is soup. I’ll make soup (potato or squash or maybe chicken noodle/rice) in the crockpot and it’ll last 2-3 nights. Right now I’m not into eating so my husband is taking up the role of forcing me to eat something vs asking me what’s for dinner. But the never ending what’s for dinner question is the worst!

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  6. Omg. I’m jealous of your 1.5 hour total commute. Mine is 3 hours total. Including the barn… I need to start doing my workouts on the train. I think that’s the only way I’m going to be able to fit them in. Haha

    Eating as a single person is literally the BEST until you realize you forgot to make dinner and it’s cold AF and you’re like … maybe I’ll just starve instead. No? Just me? Okay cool

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  7. I recently changed from boarding to renting a barn and I’m loving it. Running everything exactly the way I want has been amazing, but it also scares me that I’ll never be satisfied with boarding ever again. The barn I rent is up for sale and so I will have to move eventually, and I’m dreading that day.

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  8. Having your horses at home is THE BEST. I could never go back. Choosing something for dinner is THE WORST. I usually just default to cheese and crackers. That’s adult, right?

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  9. Having observed my friend running her own 8-acre property for about 15 years now (and occasionally helped), I have seen the pros and cons of having horses at home. My friend wouldn’t have it any other way, even when the barn door breaks to the tune of $1600 (last week’s episode) or she’s outside when it’s 10 below. Your view is almost priceless and for a control-freak horse owner, the peace of mind is worth millions.

    Funny question: you mentioned pulling the manure spreader with a lawn tractor. What make/model of spreader is it? I’m just curious as I love to know what folks do about manure management.

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    1. P.S. I haven’t lived by myself in almost 30 years and I STILL miss the days of eating what I want and when. 😀 I definitely weighed less with no other mouths around demanding feeding… a big meal was a Budget Gourmet and tater tots!

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