Moving to our little home in south Texas, was an easy decision at the time. I was working in that area and commuting from Houston to this little town. I was paying board for my horses to stay with someone else. It took awhile to find the right place (or the best of possible choices) but then once decided it moved quickly.
We have been here five years. Long enough for Lauren to go to high school and start college. Long enough for me to change jobs and now be commuting back to Houston over 100 miles a day. It was long enough for a menagerie of four horses, six dogs and million cats to make this little farm home.
Honestly, Lauren and I had no idea what we were doing when we moved here. They say God protects fools and small children and maybe we qualified on both counts. We made some good decisions and have certainly made the most of our little place. When we bought it there was a 1400 square foot house, a 12×10 shed, a dilapidated green house (like one you grow plants in) and almost six acres of farm land with no trees except around the house. No fences. No barn. We did not own even a riding lawn mower. I pretty sure the farm land only included a crop of Texas gumbo mud. Sun flowers pop out in the late summer but no edible plants have ever come up. Certainly, no grass or pasture has ever been established there. Mud is our top product or dirt during the drought years.
We have moved the little shed next to where we built our (run-in shed with stalls) barn to serve as a tackroom. We built an arena. We got a million loads of sand. Of course, the sand delivery thing was not without angst. The sand was delivered in a semi-tractor trailer. My land was never as dry as anywhere else. The driver thought it was dry enough to deliver the sand. It was not. The driver sunk the semi in the middle of my pasture up to the axles. He unloaded the sand. Still it was stuck. The driver called his friends named (seriously) Bouncy and Bubba and he sent his wife off to get a bottle of Crown Royal (apparently that goes as payment for a job well done here in my town). Bouncy showed up with a dually tractor while the other good ol’boys cut down my fence to give him enough room to proceed. The dually tractor pulled the semi out of the mud and it was all a big adventure. Next day, I noticed my arena fence had a new 18 foot hole (used for the tractor to run through) and that I could no longer close my arena except by using ropes to tie it off at foot wide intervals. My front fence had the wires snipped but at least they had hastily been repaired. If you’ve been reading along, you know we recently got a new fence for the arena and front of the property-this little escapade was why it was needed. Oh, and we got a new sand delivery man too!
My son-in-law and friends installed giant lights so we could ride through the long winter evenings and cooler summer nights. We bought, built, and created jumps. We now have a pretty decent riding space. We have added fencing, gates and barn lights.
We added a second driveway to get the trailer in and out, and the driveway actually has gravel in it now. There was a time in the early days when I got home from a horse show to a torrential down pour. Lacking the ability to back the trailer into my narrow driveway, I took off (with Mickey in the trailer) at 50 miles per hour across the pasture thinking if I moved fast enough I could get the trailer turned in a big circle and back to the concrete before I sunk in the mud. EPIC FAILURE!! Yeah, those were great times. My neighbor finally came with his tractor (not Bouncy with the dually tractor-just a neighbor who took pity on me) and pulled the trailer and truck backwards to the driveway. He didn’t answer my calls for a long time after that.
Although that certainly wasn’t the first or last time we got stuck, we did learn to have a variety of “boys” on call to get us out of whatever our latest disaster was. Fortunately, Lauren’s boyfriend, Blake has a big truck with four wheel drive, can back a trailer with ease and has gotten us out of some seriously tight spots. Like the night we went to pick up Feather from a barn in Houston after she had been on a trailer for three days from Florida. Lauren picked the EZ Tag lane that was too narrow for a truck and Blake saved us again. Just prior to ripping the sides off the truck and trailer (with who knows what damage to the horse), in the middle of the night, Lauren in tears, Blake crawled across the front of the truck to save the day again. He proceeded to back the truck and trailer down Beltway 8 so we could go in the wider lane. Great times abound when we trailer horses.
We had the bathroom that was original to the 1950 house remodeled last year (the bath tub drain had eroded away and water drained outside on the ground-one observant friend told me that wasn’t sanitary-really?). It has a walk-in shower so my disabled body can be clean (a bonus for all that work with me). We have upgraded the kitchen and appliances after CenterPoint Energy blew up the entire kitchen with some voltage issue. We have done a lot of work on the grounds, the barn and the house. We have made it our home. But perhaps it is time to see what else we could afford that would be closer to work for me. I am afraid of starting all this work over in a new place where we do not have a network of friends. I know that as we get closer to Houston, the amount of land we can afford and the house and barn we will be able to live in will be less. Maybe we need to live in the little green house until times are more secure or Lauren moves on. When Lauren moves it will be necessary to re-evaluate this home I have created. With two of us, it is mostly doable and enjoyable. On my own, I am afraid it would be frightening and overwhelming. Obvious answer-Lauren stays with me forever. We will see how that works.