The project begins! On another coldest-day-of-the-week, we headed for the farm with barn architects John Blackburn and Cesar Lujan and landscape architects Thomas Woltz and Paul Appleton. With the neighboring five acres locked down, we can start on the master plan, defining our long-term vision so we know where to build what. (We’re taking the “measure twice, cut once” approach: don’t bring in the bulldozers and work crews—not even to fix stone walls—until you’ve sorted out a plan for the whole property.)
The topography of the land lends itself to a more public front area, where the show-horse facility will be, and a more private area on the hill, farther from the road. We all walked back there and took in the peaceful setting—beautiful big pastures for retired horses, sunny slopes for orchards and bees. We’d love to build our own house one day at the top of the hill, but that’s a few years off. In the meantime, we can live in the house on the neighboring five acres, turn the old farmhouse into a lovely caretaker cottage, and work on the horse barns and riding rings.
In the woods on the hill, the sun came through the trees and we were sheltered from the wind. Our property manager, Alan, came up and met the architects. John and Thomas discussed which trees are poisonous to horses, which trees might be saved or cleared, and how to arrange the turnout pastures.
The hilltop field, and Philip way off between the trees:
Thomas in the lower meadow by the pond:
Sayin’ hi to the horses living on the adjacent five acres that will soon be part of our farm:
Philip by the little barn on the new five acres:
Alan is also the guy playing the horn in our wedding photos. He’s the ringmaster at some of the nicest jumper shows on the circuit; he sounds the call at the start of big classes. At our wedding, he sounded the call from the carriage that delivered me to the ceremony, and again when Philip and I rode away in the carriage as newlyweds, leaving our guests to enjoy the sunset cocktail hour.