Category: Building Cool Stuff

Bringing a Vision to Life — PARADISE!

Tender ones.

Tender little ones.

Visions are evolving things.  As we journey through life we are drawn to things that interest us.  I have often wondered about my vision in life because my view of anything in the future, other than children, has always been vague.  The present always felt intense and exciting or scary depending on what was going on.

Lately, with the freedom to create my reality thanks to all the supporting factors, I am finding things are beginning to come together.  As I have been working on this website, revamping everything about it, I am finding the process to be a vision quest of sorts.  Over and over, as I explore different themes, I find my focus changing, moving toward several facets I am extremely passionate about:  children, animals, plants, art, survival skills, building, writing, and teaching.

If my list seems a bit long, blame it on attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which my daughter says I have.  You could say I am a Jill of all trades.  Throughout my life I have had so many interests, each of which I have pursued with obsessive intent until I feel I understand and can create within it to my satisfaction, then I find myself drawn to something new.

I will admit, with a bit of embarrassed pride, that I am an explorer.

As my new website design takes shape, so does my vision for the near future:

  • A petting farm for the most wonderful of humans — children — and their adults.
  • Workshops in primitive wilderness survival skills. like friction fire and survival shelters, for older children and adults.  I love to teach friction fire.  Friction fire was, in my opinion, the most important thing to learn when I went to Tom Brown Jr’s trackerschool.  Where else could I learn this.  Before trackerschool I thought friction fire was a myth!
  • Art workshops like felting wool and spinning wool, because I would not be happy if I couldn’t share this skill which brings me so much joy and bliss and peace all at the same time.
  • This blog space because writing is a large part of my vision and I love sharing my stories and perspective with others.  I believe each of our stories essentially belong to all of us because we are all connected.  As we share our stories, all those who hear are changed in some way.  One person’s story becomes another person’s story, and consequently moves them forward along their path.  They progress.  One person’s success is everyone’s success.  Their pain is everyone’s pain.  Their lesson is everyone’s lesson.
  • My store so I can offer my designs and art to others to enjoy.
  • The business that goes along with all these things.  The ability to work with my family, the animals, the plants, and the structures we have built here on our little hobby farm; to create an income to help provide for the costs of living while doing what I love and sharing that with others.

My desire is to offer the many things I have enjoyed learning. To pass on the knowledge that has come to me.  To complete the cycle.  I hope you enjoy what I am creating and that somehow you can benefit from what I have to offer.

Paradise is the name I have chosen for this new venture, and there is a story behind the name.  Maybe a year ago, my grandson was sitting in our back yard with his grandfather, my son in law’s dad.  He looked up at his grandfather and exclaimed with glee, “This is just paradise, isn’t it?”  Looking around at our disheveled process of building and growing this space, his grandfather, who may not have previously described our little bit of heaven that way, looked at his grandson with fresh eyes and said with a twinkle, “Yes!”

Child learning to lead a horse

A child or an adult can feel the connection between themselves and a horse as they learn to communicate though cues such as leading and riding. Very empowering!

Progress on Horse Barn

Pictures from top to bottom:

First picture is of all four stalls looking down the hallway from the end stall which will be an open area.

Second picture is showing one of the stalls and the front wall.

Third picture is showing the barn roof from the roof of the art cottage next to the barn. The red roof area is where the hay is stored in the horse barn.

The fourth picture shows where the corner of the barn roof ran into the art cottage roof so I modified the corner of the barn roof to fit over the art cottage roof.

So far the barn is made of eight small sections. Once the overhang area is completed there will be 12 small sections each under 200 ft.²

Barn roof on!

As you can see our opaque white roof is on now. I used Suntuf opal white roofing panels which I made of poly carbonate, which allows light to come through but not as intensely as a clear roof would. It’s a beautiful soft white glow inside.

Next we will put in the stall walls and doors and then the overhang that will extend out beyond the stalls.

I’m so glad to get the roof done. On the bright side, I burned a lot of calories up there the last few weeks.

My brand spanking new yellow scaffold!

A girl and her tools! Ha ha.

The scaffold is helping me feel much safer as I work up on the roof. I can stand slightly above my work and it’s easier on my arms, wrists, hands, and shoulders.

And it’s yellow!

This scaffold cost $199 at Lowe’s home improvement center. The same amount I would have paid to rent the same scaffold from Home Depot for one week.

Rooftop construction yoga

When I’m on the roof, moving from Crosspoint to Crosspoint, carefully avoiding falling through the open squares, I find myself moving very slowly and very deliberately.

Then, reaching out, balancing with an outstretched leg, driving a screw just so into the boards, reminds me of holding a yoga pose.

It’s really quite enjoyable being up on top of the roof bones. I feel alive and strong. But the next day I am so sore; especially if I push myself with candy fuel to continue on for hours past my initial fatigue.

I finally have all the bones in place, however, and will start to put on the white opaque sheath which will keep the barn dry inside.

I love how the structure looks before the roof is finished. All of the lines in such a rhythmic pattern are very pretty.

Basking at the end of the day.

I was so frustrated around 1 o’clock this afternoon because I had no energy! I called my daughter Melanie and talked to her about it and she suggested I might not be consuming enough calories. When I looked, I decided that must be true because for the last few days I had only been eating about 1200 cal a day. So I went to the health food store and bought some gluten-free brownies.  I decided to not worry about my no sugar stars and just get some energy so I can finish this barn!

I ate four brownies and two slices of Munster cheese and drank some Kombucha. This added up to 900 cal.  After that I worked for three straight hours with plenty of energy! 🙂

Then I went in, took a hot bath and went straight to bed! I was so tired I couldn’t eat any more vegetables LOL. Total calories for the day, around 1200 still. My breakfast was only 300.

Phase 2 – The Stalls

The three sections on the left will be stalls with a walk-through area between the stalls and the hey Barnes. The section on the far right we will be a place for tacking up or other barn activities.

Each section is individual and less than 200 ft.². After these I will be building four overhang sections for outdoor shade and cover in front of these four sections.

Taking my rock for a walk, ha ha!

We are putting in a new well because our old well is producing too slowly. While trenching, we came across this beautiful boulder which needed to be removed. We dug all around it creating a pretty good sized hole then used a large metal pole as our lever, against the dirt sides, to loosen the boulder up. After breaking my rope on the first attempt, and having three ropes slip off on the second attempt, we finally placed three main pulling ropes around the rock and then took some twine and wrapped that around the main ropes to hold the main ropes on. Success!

Above you can see the trench and the large hole we created while removing the rock. Next is the Toro dingo trencher which worked awesomely.

Tractors are Awesome!


Our back yard is going to be amazing!  Grading and moving dirt, creating the landscape I want, makes me appreciate big boy toys like tractors!!  I guess a tractor can be a big girl toy too!!


My husband is so sweet.  Here he is helping Cheryl move some wood around.  We have so many little projects going on in our back yard.  He is so kind to be helpful to my sister and me.


Round and round I go, round and round and round.  Moving dirt with a little tractor takes time, but for someone who had a bit of the obsessive compulsive personality, evening out the dirt and creating a gentle slope is really fun.  Especially when I get to make a little mountain of dirt and grass to top off the mound of old carpets we drug out of the now dry corral!  The baby goats will love the mountain . . . and so will the kids . . . I mean the children!


The new barn is going up. 

Yesterday evening we worked in the cool of the late part of the day. We had Ryan helping to place the hurricane ties for the rafters.

The last two nights I’ve had dreams where the 6 tons of hay we bought were being rained on! Makes me feel a great sense of urgency to get the haybarn part finished and the hay in it.

We have the floors and corner posts in the for the haybarn structures and the roof will be going on soon.

%d bloggers like this: