What We’re Building / Developing This Year
I thought I should update you on our development plans for the 2015 season. I’d mentioned earlier this year that we’d met with agricultural engineer Carl Esau and that we’d be proceeding with building more stalls. It turns out we went on vacation in June and re-thought that.
We started clearing land for Five Fires in 2012 and built it in 2013. It’s been kind of crazy. Treeline Project Management put up the metal frame and the fabric roof, but other than that Doug and his brother Greg built almost all of it. Do you have any idea what it takes for two people to frame up an 80 foot by 220 foot building, put on all the siding, install windows and doors, add on a 21 stall barn, and open for the first event in eight months?
They worked when it was minus 25 and boards were snapping and power tools wouldn’t work. They worked when it was plus 32 and heat stroke would hit. They were machines. Sometimes I was pounding nails too. The kick wall was was the worst for me – we were so close to being ridable, but it just wouldn’t end. The kick wall went on and on. I cried, I cursed, I kicked it, I threw hammers at it. It finally got done.
Of course once it was open, we were operating and building at the same time, which is another challenge. Our first winter saw Doug fall off the roof and break ribs and I ended up with shingles. It sounds like I’m complaining. I’m really not – it’s been an exciting and exhilarating journey. I worry that our wonderful customers will think everything should be finished by now, and I’m explaining why it isn’t. I’m also leading up to why we decided against building more stalls this year.
Doing most of the work ourselves makes it financially possible for us to do it and to keep prices reasonable. But – we need to consolidate what we have, and make a comfortable home for ourselves there. Once there were horses on site one of us had to stay there all the time, so often Doug and I were apart – one of us at our home in Noel Shore and one of us at Five Fires. This summer we’re putting the pieces in place for all of us to be together – Doug, Mom and I will move into the mini home at Five Fires and be together. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
Our beloved old farm house in Noel Shore will be our refuge. It’s on the beach and we can ride and relax there, if we ever relax again 😉.
Getting the mini home livable entails putting in a septic field – flushing toilets! Yah! Running a water line to the mini home, putting in the pad for it and getting it ready for winter.
We’re also building run in shelters for the turn outs this year (Doug and Greg are building them this week), improving the driveway, removing the old RV / work camp, and getting started on some landscaping. That’s enough for this year, especially with all the events we have booked and our own and boarders’ horses to care for.
We’re on the fence about whether to build more stalls in the future at the scale we’d planned. We’re thinking about getting trails finished (we can link into the power corridor) and putting in some serviced camp sites with small paddocks for horse camping on site.
So that’s where we are with building and development for 2015. I’d love to hear your thoughts about future priorities!