Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, January 6, 2020

2020: Oh - the places you'll go...

2019 saw the realization of a ten year plan come to fruition: buying my property, living on site in a travel trailer fondly known as the Shimmy Shack, creating the farmette and planning  + building a house. That was the biggest, most complex goal I had ever set for myself. Sometimes it's still surprising when I look around. And then I take a glance at the to-do list lol.

The word "goal" comes with baggage. When goals aren't met within time frames, or life gets in the way, the disappointment/guilt/shame can be very counter-productive. Probably even worse for us type-A horsewomen. I'm going to follow the lead of several other bloggers and re-frame my "goals." How about intentions, objectives and targets? In the context of my profession (landscaping) I often aim higher than what may be achievable, in the belief that I'll end up further along than if I hadn't been ambitious. That's usually how it works out.

So - as far as 2020 goes, the plan is to piggyback on the momentum of the house project.


As of Jan 1, I took over the family business, which amounts to assuming the billing and accounting responsibilities, as I've been running the day-to-day work for a while. Theoretically this means an increase in income - fingers crossed. I've set up a budget that should address 2/3 of my non-mortgage related debt this year, and wipe out the rest next year. If all goes well with that plan, the next step is making two extra mortgage payments (applied to principle) yearly to reduce the mortgage from 30 years to +/- 17. Financing an actual tractor for the farmette I mean the business would be my reward.


I'd like to continue to prioritize my health this year. I've lost twenty pounds since May 2019, with the idea of losing thirteen more by this coming May. To be able to continue to do my job well into the future I will have to remain fit. There has also been a lot of walking and a bit of running in the mix. Basically I've adopted healthier habits, and they seem to be sticking. For 2020 I'd like to use my health insurance to get up to date on screenings, and incorporate regular yoga + meditation components.


After recovering from two disastrous hurricanes in the last three years, a few things became clear. Mental health-wise if nothing else, everything on the farmette that is on ground level will have to be raised. Buildings, sheds and the garden. The garden component is already in process. The buildings + sheds are more complicated and will have to happen in phases.

For Val this means a long shallow ramp up to a raised run-in on pilings. I can't tell you how stressful it was to look out at Val's paddock during hurricane Dorian and watch 3 feet of surging flood water surround him while 100 mph+ winds were shredding everything. There was literally nothing I could do.

Because my hay barns have repeatedly been inundated, I now have half the storage I started with. Consequently there are (at least) twice as many trips off island to restock, which adds $3-$4 per bale to the price (a roughly 30% increase). If I can't address hay storage - having a horse will not be sustainable. This project will involve lots of money, materials and time, but as they say - hope is not a plan.


Last year Val experienced several (additional new) health concerns.

In the spring he developed "heaves/asthma/copd" which was most likely due to allergies; environmental and hay-dust related. Despite the grim prognosis the vet gave me, I have been able to control his symptoms well with daily allergy meds and Ester-C, so far. I'd like to build a hay steamer this spring with plans found online. Next, an extremely hot six-week spell last summer had all the horses in the area becoming anhidrotic. One A/C got us through that crisis. And then there were the never-ending abscesses resulting from an extremely wet winter...

Val turns 18 in a few weeks. Health issues are to be expected. Health issues that stem directly from circumstances beyond my control stress me out. I've just about got his feet back in order from the spate of abscesses, with judicious trimming and using Durasole. As of today, it's been almost nine weeks since the farrier's last visit - no word when he'll make it down next. I went ahead and did a full trim myself over the weekend, because Val can't wait that long - so I'm preparing to take over the trimming full time.

Hopefully in 2020 some (all) of the complications of horse-keeping here on the island will be resolved. Never fear though - Val is happy, relaxed and sassy as ever.


Right before Christmas I went off island overnight for the first time in over five years to see Hamilton (!!!). This was possible because I finally found a reliable farmsitter. My employee took a trip to the Keys over the holidays as well. We decided to close up shop from Christmas through New Year's, which turned out to be a great idea. No time pressure made holiday activities much more relaxing and enjoyable.  From this year forward, there will be mandatory vacation time. The boss said so. ;D

Pie in the sky:

I'd like to find a groovy little vintage travel trailer (Shimmy Shack II?!), and fix it up to rent as an airbnb for people who want to bring their horses to ride on the beach. Still running the numbers - this will likely be a 2021 project.

 A few readers have reminded me that I never completed the house building series. Indeed. It has actually taken this whole year to furnish and arrange everything. Most of my possessions came out of storage infested with water bugs, their eggs and excrement. (a disgusting surprise - I agree... possibly tmi, but there we are) Everything I wanted to keep and bring into the house has had to be thoroughly and individually disinfected and cleaned - a time-consuming process. I'm almost there, and ready to document. Soon...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Edgewood Farm - A Decade in Review

It doesn't seem possible that ten years have passed since I found Val and bought my wonderful property.

While searching through photos to use for this retrospective post, I ended up reading the entire blog. Mostly because five years ago water spilled into the back of my previous laptop and sizzled it - including every picture I had taken for the previous five years. Yes - I thought I was backed up. No - I actually wasn't. Lesson learned. The local so-called computer whiz wasn't hitting on much when he attempted the retrieval process...
tears were shed.

Luckily - most of the good stuff still existed here at Calm, Forward, Straight. Although the original dressage dream (oh how the universe must have laughed) has fizzled, as has my time for blogging - CFS did document this crazy journey - riding and retraining, and from horse to house.

Thanks to everyone who followed and supported us along the way. Checking in on fellow equestrian bloggers is a very enjoyable part of every day, and I am so thankful for the friends and mentors - virtual and actual - that have come into my life through blogging.

What does the future hold? As of yesterday - I have taken over the family business. Time will be an even more precious commodity from here on out. I'd like to say I'll resume riding and blogging regularly at some point, but the priorities are staying healthy so I can continue working, and paying off my debt. Val has an insurance policy with his name on it, and a spot at Paradigm Farms if and when that time comes. And being lucky enough to bookend my days caring for my big 'ol knucklehead of a horse makes every bit of the last ten years worthwhile.

 ✶✶     Val        


 ✶✶     Working     



✶     Adversity    



✶     Farmette    


 ✶     2009 - 2019    

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