If “nesting” means I suddenly have the energy to clean all the things, organize like a madwoman, and tackle projects that have been on the “to do” list for years, then it very well may be one of the best parts of pregnancy so far.
I’ve heard other women talk about how the nesting instinct took over, and they began baking casseroles or painting the baby’s bedroom. Nurseries can wait as far as this horsewoman is concerned! I’ve got loads of farm prep to do, since I know that once baby arrives, the horses will move down the priority list for a spell.
Thus the last few weeks have looked something like this:
- Collect filthy winter blankets, catalog various repairs needed, and drop them off with my fantastic blanket cleaner.
- Wash all the other things. Boots, saddle pads, fly sheets—they’ve all gone through the washer, which has meant I’ve needed to re-wash a few loads of human laundry. Sadly, the hair, dirt and stinkbugs that went in with the dirty horse laundry don’t magically disappear into the great washing machine void. Sometimes they reappear in the next load…
- Bushhog all the things. Since I’m not riding as much, I’m looking for other things I can do to be useful around the farm. Even a pregnant lady can drive the tractor and mower, as long as I avoid the really rocky parts of the pasture. Unfortunately, as I get bolder with each pass, I’ve also managed to take down the electric fence on multiple occasions, which my husband generally replaces for me. He cheerfully reassures me that it takes him less time to put the fence back up than to bushhog himself.
- Disassemble the automatic waterer and scrub it out. This has been on the “chores” list on my white board since sometime last summer.
- Start weeding and raking the arena edges. Also on the white board “to do” list for at least a year. Because who wants to rake the arena and pull the weeds out from along the edges? No one. Except apparently this preggo lady suddenly has the motivation to do so!
And it turns out that my husband isn’t immune from this bizarre form of nesting either, because the biggest and most exciting chore we’ve checked off the list so far? Move into the new tack room! This one requires some explanation:
When we moved onto the property that I lovingly refer to as “the shouse and 20 acres” (shack + house = shouse), it didn’t have a barn or an arena or a run-in shed. My husband and I have slowly worked to make it into our dream farm around our full-time jobs. Fencing and run-ins first. Then the arena. Then the barn.
For a while I kept my tack on the front porch and tied my horse to the railing. He didn’t manage to pull the porch down, but almost. Then we cleaned out the old equipment shed, and my husband and I split it—half for a horse grooming bay and half for a workshop. He’s been eyeing my space ever since.
Six years ago we started barn construction. Between our “real” jobs and attempting to do most of the work ourselves, it’s proceeded at the pace you’d imagine. In fact, snails and tortoises probably move faster. Two years ago I started using the stalls, and last summer we broke in the new wash stall. But I was still tacking up in the equipment shed. This summer it was time to really move into the barn.
Every detail of the tack room has been crafted with love. For example, the floorboards were reclaimed from old fence boards. My husband planed the boards, trimmed the edges, put tongue-and-groove on each one, and painstakingly laid the floor in a herringbone pattern before staining. This probably took most of last summer, and while I’m aware that we could’ve laid laminate in a weekend, this will last FOREVER. And it’s pretty.
Many of the hooks were handmade by my childhood farrier, and the ones that weren’t have been gathered over the years by various kind relatives at antique stores and flea markets. The saddle racks required new tools and multiple coats of stain, but my goodness how they gleam! If you’re going to be on the 10-year plan for barn construction, you might as well do things RIGHT!
But this weekend it was finally time. No, the sink isn’t finished, and we haven’t installed the barn washer that will eventually protect my clothes from being re-dirtied during the spin cycle, but all the rest was ready, and I made the move! I can now bring my horses in, tack them up, untack, and wash them off all in the same space! I understand many people take these amenities for granted, but if getting pregnant was what it took to make this happen at my house, then bring on the baby!
What’s next on the list? Will the good hormones combined with a still relatively small baby bump conspire to motivate me to finally finish painting the barn? The arena fence? Or will heat and fatigue chase me into the air conditioning? Only time will tell!
Every so often, we feature a blog from a member of the Chronicle staff. We’re just like you—juggling riding and competing with work and family. And Sara Lieser is adding a pregnancy into that mix! Since we know so many amateurs out there wonder about how to fit a pregnancy and children in with horses and a job, Sara’s blogging about her journey! You can read all her blogs here…
A graduate “C-3” from Penobscot Pony Club (Maine), Sara Lieser spent a year working for Denny Emerson before attending Amherst College (Mass.) and is now learning the sport from the ground up by training her own horses. She and her husband, Eric, share their 20-acre farm with two dogs, three cats, and an ever-changing number of horses.