EN Today: Living on a hay farm

Would you be willing to trade in your townhouse in the suburbs for a small apartment on 400 acres half an hour from the nearest grocery store? Visionaire tells her story.

Top photo: View from the front door, photo by Ivegotyourpicture.com

From Visionaire:

My husband and I recently moved from a Lexington townhouse to a small apartment inside a hay barn.  To some, this may seem like a downgrade in living arrangements.  To us, it’s paradise.

Anyone that knows me knows I’m not too picky about my living space.  For six years, I lived happily in a single wide trailer with “critters” in the walls…but I got to live and work with my horses.  Nothing beats the view out your window with your horse grazing happily under a tree.  Rolling out of bed in your pjs to do morning chores, the ability to check on them any time of day… I love the convenience and peace of mind living on the property with my horses.

This particular property is not ours…we’ve leased it all summer for the hay, and this fall the owner has allowed us to move in and bring the horses along.  We were worried about the size of the apartment– it’s very small– but it’s beautifully finished with interior woodwork.  After settling in, you don’t feel cramped in any way.  There is a mysterious lack of kitchen sink (?!!) which means you must plan ahead for cooking and cleaning (and use lots of paper plates and plastic forks).  Still, all that is forgotten when you have 400 acres to play, work, and care for.

My horses have taken a similar drop in digs, not that they mind.  No fancy stalls, no indoor (though it was tiny), no run-in shed, no auto waterers.  There is a small barn with two stalls and a tack area, but it desperately needs a roof (it leaks like a sieve).  I carry buckets of water, water jugs, and drag long hoses…this will not be fun as the winter gets colder, but I’ve done it before.  I’m working mostly out of my trailer; you don’t realize how much stuff you have accumulated until it’s time to move!

The horses have settled in fine.  They have paddocks and grass and that’s all they care about.  They also have excellent hay, conveniently!  Since the space is available, I welcomed back my old one-star horse, now 20, who has been leased for the last 8 years.  His rider is off to vet school and misses him very much, but it’s nice to see his happy face again every day and he makes a great babysitter.

Photo by Ivegotyourpicture.com

What I’ve had to give up in barn amenities is more than made up for in the place I get to ride.  Over 400 acres of rolling terrain, mostly open fields with some wooded trails.  Of course I have to stay off the hay fields during the summer, but I can ride lightly anywhere throughout the winter.  My young horse really needs the hacking experience, and there’s no better place to do it than here.  In my mind, I’m secretly building a cross-country course all over the place…that won’t happen, but I’m sure I can arrange for a few logs here and there on the field edges.

Photo by Ivegotyourpicture.com

Of course, living with horses isn’t easy.  And it means that you don’t take vacations…I won’t be able to make trips south with my husband on our Florida hay deliveries, and our holiday family visits will have to be short.  But there’s nothing better than looking over your horses in the morning, riding whenever you like, and maybe going fishing at the end of the day.  It allows my husband and I to spend all day together– for some couples, that may not be a good thing, but it works very well for us.  It’s so nice not to have to drive anywhere twice a day– especially when gas prices get to $4/gal.  Occasionally you miss walking across the street to the gas station to grab a gallon of milk (the nearest grocery store is now 25+min), but we’re the type of people who can live on the farm and not go anywhere for days…there’s no reason to leave when you’re happy where you are.

Photo by Ivegotyourpicture.com

All photos kindly taken in August by Shelly at Ivegotyourpicture.com.


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