Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, January 14, 2019

Horse Before House - Part 2

Next up - fine tuning the site and sinking the pilings:







From the very beginning of envisioning a house on my property, I had high hopes of preserving a sizable twin oak that would end up being pretty close to the front of the house.





The builder was sure we'd be able to keep it. The guy who pulled the stumps kindly avoided the root ball. The surveyor (theoretically) worked hard locating the footprint to save it, and the piling crew did a bunch of handwork to accommodate the roots. It looked like we were home free, pilings sunk and ready to start banding (insert record scratch here)...

*Let's take a pause. There a SO many incidental costs that pop up when you build a house, outside of having to do with the structure itself. SO many. I knew this would be a factor, but no one could give me a ball park figure. In my area, 10k would be a good number to start with if everything goes according to plan...




My property is located in a sensitive ecological zone. A plus is I'm bordered by land that which can't be developed so - minimal neighbors. A minus is the numerous extra regulations, one of which has to do with the setbacks - how close to your property lines you can site the dwelling.

I researched this way back in the beginning, while doing my homework. (we'll revisit this detail later on in the story) What I found was 50' from the front property line and 30' from the sides, which is huge, and majorly impacted where I sited my house, the clearing I did, and what kind of plan and footprint I could choose. There are also strict rules about percentage of acreage cleared, and coverage.

During one of the myriad meetings with the surveyors, I was informed that the setbacks were quite a bit smaller (30' and 12') than what I had thought. This meant I could for sure save the tree. I was overjoyed. They staked my footprint and generated the drawings and paperwork that nothing could progress further without. I mentioned my findings, but was assured that their numbers were good. Here is the start of several themes that persisted throughout my house building experience:

1. I seemed to be the only person researching anything, and
2. to question professionals or not to question professionals...

On the edge of your seat yet? I won't keep you waiting. The pilings had to be moved after the county came to inspect the setbacks. (a gigantic error) Fortunately - due to a symmetrical house plan - we were able to leapfrog just the back row of pilings to the front row and be within regulations, although getting back on the piling guy's schedule set us behind by 30 days. And fortunate for me, but not the oak. Another theme that kept popping up - avoid getting attached - be flexible...


Bye bye oak :(











When the dumpster appears - you are officially in business!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Horse Before House - Part 1

If it hadn't been for Val, I would probably still be living in a tiny, low-lying, overpriced rental cottage, waiting for the next storm to come and flood me out again - frequently needing to negotiate several feet of seawater to get to my horse.



The paddock and run-in I leased for Val, was put on the market just a few months after we arrived. In the scramble to keep the only suitable horse-keeping spot available, I made a pie-in-the-sky offer on the property (owner financed + no down payment) and suddenly was the owner of 2.7 acres on a tiny destination island in the Atlantic Ocean.




Rent and mortgage being out of the question, next came the Shimmy Shack. She took her final journey to the farmette, providing me with a semi-comfortable, somewhat watertight home for the last eight years.




Fast forward to last January, and the house building journey began for real - plan chosen, builder interviewed, contract written, construction loan secured, site cleared. After some serious number crunching - I bit the bullet, committing to be the painting contractor - which I can confirm, is much easier in the theoretical phase of the house building project lol.




Doing anything equestrian-related beyond caring for my horse, (much less creating blog-worthy horse content) was simply out of the question in 2018. It feels like the year passed in the blink of an eye. I was pretty good about documenting the process photographically, so hopefully the pics will help me share my review of the Year of the Unicorn...


  
  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Just another time when science is awesome!

This would come in so handy right about now. Article printed in full with credits.

Horses can use symbols to talk to us
By Virginia Morell


                                                                                                                                        Creative Commons  

There will never be a horse like Mr. Ed, the talking equine TV star. But scientists have discovered that the animals can learn to use another human tool for communicating: pointing to symbols. They join a short list of other species, including some primates, dolphins, and pigeons, with this talent. Scientists taught 23 riding horses of various breeds to look at a display board with three icons, representing wearing or not wearing a blanket. Horses could choose between a “no change” symbol or symbols for “blanket on” or “blanket off.” Previously, their owners made this decision for them. Horses are adept at learning and following signals people give them, and it took these equines an average of 10 days to learn to approach and touch the board and to understand the meaning of the symbols. All 23 horses learned the entire task within 14 days. They were then tested in various weather conditions to see whether they could use the board to tell their trainers about their blanket preferences. The scientists report online in Applied Animal Behaviour Science that the horses did not touch the symbols randomly, but made their choices based on the weather. If it was wet, cold, and windy, they touched the "blanket on" icon; horses that were already wearing a blanket nosed the “no change” image. But when the weather was sunny, the animals touched the "blanket off" symbol; those that weren’t blanketed pressed the “no change” icon. The study’s strong results show that the horses understood the consequences of their choices, say the scientists, who hope that other researchers will use their method to ask horses more questions.

doi:10.1126/science.aah7335

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Year in review - Part Two
All creatures great and small...


Val got his own post. Here's what the rest of the critters got up to in 2017...






These girls lay blue eggs...




Chickens love pumpkin!


One day's egg harvest this summer.






Lost this girl to one of my neighbor's starving and neglected hunting dogs. She was torn wide open...


I caught the offender skulking around the farmette again the next day.


Another chicken killer. I caught and relocated five coons this summer...


This doe and her twin fawns were fixtures on the farmette...




Deer like pumpkin as much as the hens do!


This tree frog was the size of my fingernail.


Hiding in the corn plant.


I saved a dozen anoles from Val's water trough this summer...


I rescued this one from the Shimmy Shack.


Another save from the trough...




This rat snake was about to shed - embiggen to see her milky eye...


Super healthy Hatteras King snake - she was relocated to my property...


I found this shed snake skin IN THE SHIMMY SHACK!!!


Planted plenty of fennel this year, which attracted these colorful caterpillars...


 

which led to lots of Black Swallowtail butterflies! I watched them pupate and hatch out.










A Gulf Fritillary, which feeds on wild passionflower vines, and isn't supposed to be this far north...




❤️❤️❤️ The indoor crowd ❤️❤️❤️






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...