Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Years

I found myself looking through the file labeled "farm building" pictures on my computer the other day. What a difference five years makes. Five years ago this month this was our new farm. Five years ago there was absolutely nothing here, not a perimeter fence, not an old falling down barn or shed, absolutely nothing but raw land. Five years ago this month Jason and I were totally clueless as to how much work, time and money it was going to take to turn our raw land into a functioning farm. Don't get me wrong, we knew it was going to involve tremendous amounts of work, time and money. But I don't think it is ever possible to over-estimate how much work, time and money a project like this takes. 

I'm proud to say that after designing the layout and then overseeing and sometimes doing the work ourselves, we are still married. After three barns, six run-in sheds, about 23,000 feet (a little over 7,000 meters) of fence which involves about 3,300 fence posts and 40,000+ boards, a mile of water lines and electrical lines, and many other things like, oh, building our house, we still speak to each other. 

At this point Jason and I laugh out loud when we hear the saying "if your marriage can survive building a house together it can survive almost anything." Our house was the last thing we built. It was about as challenging for us as eating a piece of cake at that point (and I'm a pro at eating cake). We were seasoned pros by the time we got to the house. I don't even think of that as an event, or a thing. It felt like a little side project by that point.  No, no, no. If you can survive deciding on the layout of everything I mentioned above, then deciding how everything will look, where every last fence post will go, where the water spigots will go, where the driveways will go, where the stalls will be in the barns, what color the roofs will be, where you are going to place every gate . . . if you can survive all that while simultaneously working together every day, building a house is a walk in the park.

Through the whole process the biggest fight we had, and in fact the biggest fight we have ever had, period, was about auto waterers. That fight was epic. It lasted for days. We went to the brink of divorce over auto waterers, not designing and building our house. I literally lost my voice screaming at Jason during our multi-day Water War. Jason got so angry his face was permanently a blotchy red color for three days. We fought almost to the death of our marriage over auto waterers. We ended up with auto waterers in every pasture. They are, without question, the best decision we ever made. I am glad that on the rare occasion Jason won and was right, he was really, really right. I was really, really wrong. The horses drink from them no problem, and in fact overall water consumption went up with the waterers. 

We survived the Water War (barely), the fencing, barns, run-ins, water-lines, spent a cringe-worthy amount of money paying someone with a bulldozer to clear paths for fences and driveways, and generally hemorrhaged money at an appalling rate throughout the process. On the other hand our house came in almost exactly on budget and consisted of some friendly discussions about layout, design, colors, trim, etc. By then we knew how to plan, budget, and most importantly, say no.

Without further reminiscing on those "fun" times, here are some pictures from five years ago, along with some "after" pictures. These pictures are only of the front part of the farm, in another post I'll share some before and after pictures of other parts of the farm. It takes awhile to sort through all of the pictures.

View from the road in May 2010, the day before fence construction began

May 2010 after fence construction, this picture is the same view as above. These are the gates to our driveway at the road.

This picture is also the same view as the above two pictures but taken after we had an actual driveway, one run-in shed and the beginnings of the front barn.

The same view from the road as it looks today looking at the front barn and the first two run-in sheds.

Three years ago we fenced the other side of the driveway and built our 7th and final pasture. 

A before picture looking at the front of the farm from the opposite direction (at the road instead of looking in at the farm from the road) five years ago.

How the same view above looks now


Walden and Fabrizzio

Sam and Mick

Silky and Norman

River and Rubrico

Hemi, Tony and Trigger

Trigger and Ritchie

Rip and Grand


Romeo and George


the7msn said...

I only recently began reading your blog - had no idea you guys started from raw land. I am beyond impressed by what you've done and what you continue to do...and just a teensy bit curious about why you now love the auto waterers so much. Is it the time saved not checking and filling tanks?

foffmom said...

I remember the water wars blogs. I can not imagine not having them, and resent if we lose power long enough in the dead of winter that I actually have to get water to the fields by hand, hauling or hose. I am in awe of what you two have done. I cannot convince my husband to learn how to put in a post. Seriously. What you have done is inspiring. Long may you enjoy your farm!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

the7msn we love the auto waterers for many reasons, the most important reason being that water consumption actually went UP when we installed them. I was fastidious about dumping and cleaning the troughs. However the auto waterers stay cleaner and the water temperature is consistent which must be why the horses like them even better. Jason and I love them because they are virtually maintenance free. No more hoses, no more frozen water during cold snaps in the winter, no more trough heaters (I wouldn't have enough room to list all the reasons we don't like trough heaters and we hardly had to use them during our winters). The horses drink even more water and they save a ton of time, they are a win-win for us.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

As always, in total awe of you and Jason's accomplishments. (thanks for reminding us about the water wars - those posts cracked me up) ;D

Personally, I'm finding the myriad decisions that come with house building a little daunting. (aiming for November start date) Making all the decisions myself, so theoretically there's very little arguing lol. I'd rather dig post holes and repair fences all day long than coordinate with contractors. (and I am one!)

Congratulations on five years!!

An American in Tokyo said...

Congratulations on your five year anniversary!!
May you enjoy all your hard work for years and years to come!!

Beautiful to see all the progress you two made.
Looking forward to the back of the farm before and after pics. =)