Eight years ago I drove down a quiet dirt track with the woman who was soon to became my wife. At the end of the road we discovered 7 flat acres with a for sale sign in front of it. There was a clearing for a house and the property was dotted with huge ponderosa pines. It was also covered with buck brush higher than our heads so thick that we couldn't walk through it. It was a warm day in March and the open patches of ground were covered with a covering of new grass and wildflowers. I was so excited that I failed to notice that the electricity was 1400 feet distant and later the real estate salesman didn't mention it. That first year Joyce and I pulled out two and a half acres of brush with a pickup truck and burned it. At the end of the day we would put a dutch oven filled with vegetables and meat on the coals of a burn pile and a couple of hours later have a delicious meal. I owned an old 30 foot travel trailer and we lived in that for a year while we developed the property acting as our own sub contractors for the work we couldn't do ourselves. A well was drilled and the pump ran off of a generator until the electric was brought in a year later. We took baths in a black plastic 55 gallon drum that was set in the sun to take the chill off the water. After the well was in we could get a four minute shower from a 100 foot garden hose stretched out in the sun, a real luxury . We bought a used 2000 Sq. Foot manufactured home and had it moved to the property. We had a home and the start of a hobby farm for $70,000 and no mortgage. There has been an unending series of projects ever since. The first was a pump house. For two years Joyce and I pulled brush and burned it. We discovered things after we moved in. Our property boarders BLM land and a national forest with a hundred mile hiking and riding trail is a quarter mile away.
It wasn't long before we had a horse and then two. We became interested in driving and joined a club with people mostly our own age. Paddocks were built for the horses and stalls. A half acre around the house was fenced for the dogs. I felt that it was not safe to train a young horse to drive without an arena. I cut juniper posts and hand dug 44 holes for the 200 foot square arena. If you have horses you need a tack room. Last year I build an insulated tack room and a breaking pen for my new horse, Trampus a five year old quarter horse gelding. Joyce's first horse did not work out and Gilly, my five year old driving and riding horse died last fall from Potomac fever. It was a huge, irreplaceable loss. Trampus turned out to be too high powered for a dependable driving horse although he is turning out to be a great trail horse. In September we bought a 9 year old off the track Standardbred gelding. So far he has been Mr. Calm.