farm hunters · someday farm

Farm Hunters: Property #1

First in an occasional series! I’ll obscure some things and use stock photos for the houses, but will try to faithfully represent what’s going into the decision making process

Property #1

The basics: 4 bed, 2.5 bath 1904 farmhouse renovated top to bottom, 2,500 square feet with 1.25 acres, new 20×40 barn on the property. Public water, septic, oil heat + wood stove.

The budget (1 being bottom, 5 being top): 3.5 – on the expensive end but well within our maximum (which is way less than the bank’s maximum)

The pros: Every single interior of this house is to die for. It looks like it came off the screen of HGTV. Droolworthy kitchen (and I do not say that lightly), ridiculous bathroom, spacious master suite, walk in closets, you name it.

The 20×40 barn is new, in excellent shape, and has never been used for horses. The acreage is behind the house and could probably fence in 1 full acre of pasture. It’s zoned appropriately for agriculture, and the lot is of sufficient size. Land is open, relatively level, and backs up to open land.

Not that this is a concern for me right now, really, but the school district is outstanding – one of the best in the county. The location is definitely closer to town than many other places and would keep my commute to a minimum.

The cons: It’s definitely as small as a horse property could possibly be. There’s no chance of rolling grass pasture here; at best, I’d plant hardy grass and basically create a dry lot.

The house itself is right up against the neighbors on both sides, and is on a busy road close to a busy intersection, set maybe 50′-75′ back.

Having the house done to the nines is maybe not so much a good thing? It’s actually done more or less to my taste, but there’s no room for me to put my stamp anywhere, unless I take out something in perfectly good condition.

The maybes: The realtor is figuring out whether it’s possible to purchase additional acreage out back. If anything could be added or purchased for a reasonable price, this jumps way up. Need soil analysis, and some fencing cost estimates, as well as a lot more in-depth thinking about how I want to keep horses going forward, which applies to all properties, basically!

someday farm

Exciting News: Farm Hunters, coming soon to a blog near you!

I’ve been keeping a secret.

Late in 2014, through a series of incredible circumstances, we learned that the small farm that we’d always hoped for might become a reality in 2015. We’re SO excited, but there’s a long road ahead.

So, as the new year gets under way, we are house shopping. We’ll be looking at two very different types of property: small farms (5-12 acres with horse potential) in a higher price range, and city houses (probably fixer-uppers) in a lower price range.

I’m holding out for the right property. Tristan has (hopefully) quite a few years before he’s ready to retire, and I am lucky to be in a really fantastic boarding situation. Finding a small house that we can put work into and the re-sell toward a larger farm might be the right solution for us right now. On the other hand, if we find the right land + house now, he could start coming home for part of the year in the next two years.

We’ll start very slowly, and I hope to share details here, especially of any potential farms. Obviously for privacy reasons I’ll be a little vague, but there’s a lot to think about, and I hope – as always – that writing about it will help me work through it.

I’d welcome any input from anyone who’s bought a house before – things you wish you’d know, questions you wish you’d asked, so on and so forth. That goes double for anyone who’s bought horse property!

So, watch this space. I might start talking about some places very soon.

someday farm

Horse Finances

When I moved from Massachusetts to Vermont, I took a 25% hit in salary. I knew what I was doing, and I traded up in job, lifestyle, and overall happiness.

That still didn’t make looking at the cheerful Turbo Tax comparison of 2012 and 2013 any easier!
However: that hit means that for the first time ever, I am enjoying a decent tax return. Some of it is going into the black hole in my budget labeled “brother’s fall wedding.” ($500 and counting, and let’s just say that the bridal shower plans – in which I must participate but do not have much of a say – are making me feel faint.)
The rest? The rest is going toward the savings account that I have had for several years now. It is labeled “Someday Farm.” That savings account was gutted with Tristan’s surgery (it was one of three savings accounts that vanished in a puff of smoke in 3 months) but I have been slowly, slowly adding to it. Interest on other savings accounts. The odd extra money from the budget. 
It’s not much, but every bit counts. Tristan turned 19 on Friday, and my driving, overarching goal in life is to give him a farm to retire on. Somewhere he can have acres of grass and a turnout shed and nap on sunny knolls in the afternoon, and a barn I can visit in the middle of the night to kiss his nose.
I’m still far from that goal, but it’s not totally out of the question. By that time, the savings account will have been named Someday Farm for so long I might just get a real, actual sign for the road and call the place that after all.
someday farm

Daydreaming…

First things first: this website is the devil.

I’ve picked out my dream house. Come visit me if you want.

It’s in “pristine” condition, with 10 bedrooms, a professional kitchen, around 50 acres of preserved park.  It’s a short drive from the French city of my heart, Poitiers, where I lived and rode for a year. Here’s the best part:

An elegant, 19th century stable block stands approx. 200 m (219 yards) away from the chateau. The 2-bedroomed caretakers’ cottage, adjacent to the property entrance, is in a very good state of repair.

Siiiiiiiigh.

Which castle/manor house on that website would you move into?

someday farm

Birthdays

Tristan’s 18th birthday is this Thursday; my 30th birthday is coming up on May 12.

Just in case you were wondering what to get for us, here’s an idea.

Nested just 10 minutes to downtown Middleburg and 1 hour to Washington, DC, Horsefields Farm is a fully-restored Hunt Country masterpiece offering beauty, privacy and refinement within its treed borders. Spread over 140 acres, this one-of-a-kind property redefines the equestrian lifestyle, with graceful rolling hills and a collection of three homes — including an elegant stone manor main house and two guest houses that have been thoughtfully restored — seven manicured ponds, seven paddocks, three barns with 24 stalls for horses, six garage bays and state-of-the-art facilities for staff and equipment. Originally $14.9M. Selling Without Reserve, to the highest bidder.

Watch the video. Droooooooool.

Do the dapper looking stable boys come with the farm, do you think?

equestrian history · equine art · someday farm

Decorating the future tack room

Someday, someday I will have my own farm. 20-25 acres, 4 stall barn, enough space for Tristan to retire, a horse for me to ride, and maybe a stall to keep a foster horse. I have many thoughts about the layout of this barn, but one thing I hadn’t considered until recently was tack room decoration. I was looking at WWI / WWII propaganda posters for work the other day, and came across one from WWI that I absolutely loved.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library’s terrific propaganda poster Flickr set.
Isn’t that fabulous? I love it. That got me started, so I looked for a few more.
From zazzle.com.
Again, zazzle.com.
From Flickr.

Last, but not least, I LOVE this one, as it ties together my undergraduate work on medieval military history and my graduate work on American cavalry history. It also has the benefit of being ironically anvilicious given the way the First World War remodeled much of the Middle East.

From zazzle again.