Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, January 1, 2018

I hearby declare 2018 Year of the Unicorn!

No one is gladder than I am to see the back side of 2017.

Besides the myriad global crises - enough to sink anyone's ship of optimism - I've been navigating the world of mortgages, appraisals, stacks of (virtual) paperwork and endless hoops to be jumped through, since February. I am ecstatic to announce that on December 8th, I closed on my mortgage / construction loan. (there simply aren't enough exclamation points) Pilings should be going in this month, and theoretically (all fingers and toes crossed) I will have an actual house to live in by the end of the summer.

During (yours truly operating the tree carrying tractor!)

After - clearing for house and new road in

While I am very fond of the Shimmy Shack - which made it possible to live on my land while preparing for the house building project - it is time for an upgrade. I'm ready to be doing something more than glorified camping. For example, as I write this - the thermostat (inside) has achieved a balmy 59 degrees. The refrigerator is on the porch. There are exactly seven minutes of hot water - only if I drain the tank, let it refill and hop in the shower immediately. 220 square feet. Not to mention hurricane season.

Shimmy Shack when she first moved in...

With this major life change comes a major blog change. I'm assuming that every spare minute of my life will be accounted for in the coming year making this new house happen, transitioning the family business, running the farmette, plus caring for my aging father. There is literally no time or money for extracurricular horse activities. So - for 2018, I'm changing the focus of the blog to chronicle the house building. With a little bit of luck, once things settle down - I can put more focus back into riding. Adulting is hard.

Big announcement made - now on to the Year in Review, which I'll break into a few posts as it's basically everything that happened that I didn't post all year long lol...


Val came through 2017 a little whiter, a little less fit, but still an adorable rascal.

Highlights (for him, not me) include the time he escaped and went on a wild runabout. Uncharacteristically, I did not freak out. I followed his tracks - which led over to visit his girlfriend Honey Bee's house next door first, and then off down the trail to the beach. By the time I grabbed his halter and made sure he hadn't headed out to the road, he came galloping back off the trail. I stood in the middle of the path and he skidded to a stop, put his head down to be haltered, and meekly followed me back to his paddock.

Unfortunately, Val absolutely tore his feet to shreds during his escapade. His soles separated, curled up and away from his walls, and the walls broke off well up his foot. It was a disaster, and took several months to correct. I learned quite a bit about trimming from the incident - mostly what not to do...

His girlfriend Honey Bee
Some of the damage from the runabout
 Looks nice, but I took way too much toe off...

A highlight for me was a blogger visit in May. Nicole (Wait for the Jump) and her delightful husband Carlos spent the weekend here on the island. We had a lovely time. Great meals, long beach walks, tons of horse talk, and best of all quality time with Val. I hopped on to warm him up, and then Nicole took him for a spin. He was a gentleman as usual.

A not great-at-all thing that happened in 2017, was the discovery of another good sized melanoma on Val's upper lip, close to where the bit rests. We've been experimenting with the bitless bridle. I can't figure why I hadn't noticed this before, which leads me to believe it may be fast growing. This is in addition to melanomas on his anus and the underside of his dock. After consultation with the vet, I'm going the watchful waiting route for now.

One thing that hasn't changed in the nine (!) years I've had Val, is his cleverness and sense of humor. Every afternoon I spread some scratch for the chickens. Val generally expects to receive a handful of sunflower seeds - a toll to pass through the gate if you will - which I withheld this particular day due to cheeky behavior on the way to the grazing pen. He shook his head impatiently, stretched his neck out over the gate with his best treat face, then offered multiple smooches. When that didn't work he went through his entire trick repertoire one after the other in rapid fashion. I was rolling... I love that horse. ❤️❤️❤️

My favorite view

Christmas card outtake
Doing what he does best (besides eat)
Year of the Unicorn!!


  1. Congratulations on the house, I love the look and the floor plan. You are in for quite a ride as house building is not for the faint of heart, but I know you are up to it and you will be glad to have done it.

    Happy new year!

  2. Congratulations on getting your building loan! I'm looking forward to watching the house being built. I love the look and the floor plan. Val reminds me a bit of Jackson who is also Mr Personality.

  3. I'm excited to read about the house being built. I love that kid of stuff. Sorry about the melanomas. I hope he's okay.

  4. I am in love with your house design. It's perfect. And when you get too old to go upstairs you can live down! :D

    I can't wait to see the finished product.

  5. Congratulations on getting the loan! I love your house plan, it’s perfect. Val is a riot his expressions are priceless. Hope the melanomas turn out to be nothing. Keep us posted on the building, it will be fun to watch it going up. Happy Unicorn Year!πŸ¦„πŸŒˆ

  6. Congrats on the forward progress on the house. Not sure I would have survived that long in the camper.

  7. So glad to hear from you! That house is ADORABLE - I'm excited to hear about its progress!

  8. congrats about reaching such an important milestone in making the house a reality!! wishing you the best of luck in ever step of the process!

  9. Happy year of the unicorn!! I look forward to your updates. The cottage is GORGEOUS. Wow. You are living my dream by getting land and living in a temporary space while you get to build what you really want!! Sounds like big things are on the horizon, and I can't wait to read about them.

  10. I love the poinsettia in Val's forelock! And the plans for your new home - omg, how lovely! I've always lusted after a home like that; the style is so beautiful.

    I hope 2018 brings you nothing but wonderful things - starting with that gorgeous house!

  11. I cannot even imagine how excited you must be to get the house rolling!!!! And as always Val is looking great!

  12. Year of the Unicorn - love it! Yeah I dunno I am feeling a bit more up and more like a fighter than this time last year. Let's do this. Congrats on the house, the drawings are so beautiful and I can't wait to follow along on your home journey.

  13. Dancing Donkey - Lucky for me I'm a contractor and know all the guys in the trades around here, so maybe a bit more prepared. :D

    Annette - Thanks :D

    Olivia - I'm psyched to be out of the theoretical phase of this project. Looking forward to documenting it. Apparently 80% of grey horses get melanomas, and most of the time die from something other than the cancer. Fingers crossed...

    Teresa - Hoping it will be a long while before stairs become a struggle!

    GHM - Thank you!

    Sara - It's surprising what you can put up with to achieve a goal. :D

    jenj - Thanks Jen. I fell in love with that plan when I started searching - so happy to see that ball start rolling on the building.

    emma - Thank you!

    Dom - If I can do it, so can you. :D

    Liz - Thank you! :D

    Karen - Super excited!! :D

    L. Williams - Yes ma'am - LET'S DO IT!!

  14. Val is so damn cute! And your house plans look great, it will be so fun watching the building process! Year of the Unicorn for sure!

  15. irish horse - I think Val and Major share some qualities - especially in the cheekiness + self confidence department lol.

  16. Getting to meet you (and Val!) in person was truly one of the highlights of my year. Thank you for showing us your world. <3

    I'm so excited for your cottage! And about getting to read about the process here!! :D

  17. Saiph A - Me too Nicole - can't wait to do it again... :D

  18. I LOVE the design of your house and the exterior, it is perfect for your property. SO GLAD this is all finally coming to fruition for you!!

  19. Seriously - how could you NOT love that horse!? :) Such a face!! And your house is fantastic! Oh my gosh, it's going to be perfect! Know it will be a pain in the ass, but soooo worth it!

  20. I am woefully behind in both writing and reading blog posts so am late to the party and so so excited to hear that the loan is in place and building will be happening this year! Congratulations on a LOT of hard work to make this happen! I love the cottage plan and will be excited to see the process unfold here. :)

    Val looks terrific as do you. Woohoo 2018!

  21. Congrats on the house!! Omg, it is going to be a process you both love and long suffer through, but so worth it. We built (like you, driving our own tractor and doing the work) 4 years ago now, and love it. I can't wait to see the progress!

  22. This is so exciting! Wow this house has been a long time coming!!!


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