And So Goes the Old

The past two weeks has been a crazy whirlwind, and not in a good way. For those that have been following me for a while, you know that my home away from home, my serenity and peaceful haven ~ also known at Equilibrium Horse Center has been given an eviction notice.

They only gave us 45 days to locate homes for over 30 horses and this rustic old barn with its charming and full of personality buildings will be bull dozed for the new. It has been with a broken heart that I had to scramble and drive through the nearby neighborhoods and country ways in search of a new home for Remy.

Fortunately I had recently walked the barn with my Olympus to capture a few low light scenes. I wanted to see how well the Image Stabilization worked along with the higher ISO’s. The IS worked incredibly well and I was able to get sharp images at 1/30 of a second. Although I did start to see noise in the images after pushing it over ISO 800.

Equilibrium Horse Center and its steadfast leader Kathleen Harjess has been here for over 30 years and she had raised countless young children in the art of horsemanship. It’s been a safe haven for young girls that love horses and many would spend their summers and weekends here getting dirty and having a wonderful time.

Large open spaces like these are becoming more and more encroached with development. The sweeping fields, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, large paddocks and most of all the surrounding woodlands are to be ravaged with high priced housing and a fancy and expensive equestrian facility. Or so the plan goes.

Watching this, I realize that all of the barn swallows that come to nest inside the barn will also have their lives completely disrupted. The home where generations of barn swallows have raised their young will no longer exist. With my concern for them, I enlisted a friend and Maryland Department of Natural Resources law enforcement member to come and see what he can to do help. Protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Protection Act, I’ve managed to get a stay of execution (or so I hope) for the bird’s home. While we may be gone by the end of June, they should be able to raise their chicks during the summer. Once they leave in late September then the developers can begin work. In the meantime, touch the nest, each nest comes with a financial penalty.

It is said with every door closing, another opens. But in this case it is an end of an era. Where nature and animals are treasured in a way that is a safe haven for all of those that have discovered it.

33 replies »

  1. Sadly, I understand your story so well. I’m glad you came to the defense of the swallows. If they knew I’m sure they’d thank you. Instead, I’ll thank you for them.

  2. I know how hard it is to find an amazing barn where everything is just right. I have uprooted my horse too many times. One more this fall and I hope that’s it! I hope you find your new happy place and barn family soon.

    • So comforting to know that someone else knows what we’re going through. I found a place and it’s ok..just not the same. I can’t believe you’re having to move so often. Where are you located?

  3. A painful loss, to you and the wider community. These are wonderful photos, the low light gives them a warmth that conveys the essence of the old barn. I’m really sorry it is going to be destroyed.

    • I truly am too Ellen. There are so many children that loved being there and the horses were so special. At least with the new facility all that mold and dust will be gone. 🙂 Thank you for your kind comment.

  4. Oh Emily, my heart breaks at this news. I’ve been away from blogging on a personal research project on the industrial revolution in the UK. Your thoughts on end of era, closing and opening doors is a poignant reminder that we must celebrate each moment. In our existence, we move ever forward in our timelines. What we experience is soon our past. (Thank goodness for the people that have given us photography) This is the quote that came to me when I was looking back: “History never really says goodbye. History says, See you later.” Eduardo Galeano.

  5. We become very attached to spaces, places that hold valued memories for us. I’m sorry to read of the eviction and resulting upending of animals lives (4-legged and 2-legged); land ownership comes with its own unintended consequences. You artfully captured the barn’s essence, personality that will live on in your hearts.

    • Such a kind comment Shannon, and you’re right we do get attached to places we know well. I think for me it’s just that there is nowhere else like it and the care isn’t the same. Thank you for your support.

  6. So sorry for your loss. I love these old barns and the sanctuary they offer. I hope you find somewhere equally inspiring as a home for your horse and you. Being a barn owner myself I appreciate the nurturing environment of peace these well-kept beautiful old places offer. Blessings …

  7. It really is a sad story. I’m sorry to hear, Emily. I can only hope that you’ll find a new hoem for your horse soon, and that – maybe – the equestrian center will find something convenient, too.

  8. I had hoped for some miracle to stop the development but at least you received a delay for the barn swallows so they can finish out their breeding season in peace.
    People call it progress but I call it destruction of natural habitat for so many animals including ourselves. As you know, I was recently told to stay off my “peaceful place” by a no trespassing order from the police. I can no longer sit and watch my bluebirds, foxes, and other animals because the owners would rather continue with their construction without my photographing their “progress”. The construction company assumed, wrongly, that I was photographing them.
    Sadly, as I always say to myself “if it is green it will be paved” is coming true.
    I hope a home can be found for Remy and you both can find a peaceful place again.
    Hugs, Rick

    • Dang development right Rick? Alas, the builders got the bird notice but it didn’t stop them from keeping our eviction date firm. It’s been hard to break down years of creation and now it’s sad to see the barn nearly empty and things in disarray. My woods and fields with all the life within will change forever.

  9. It’s sad, we loose so much in the name of progress.

    OTOH I enjoyed the Olympus tour de force.

  10. Such a sad time for you, but as you say when one door closes another opens. We are going through something like that too. Will miss the zoo this weekend, but hope to catch up with you soon.

  11. Emily, how very sad! I hate seeing places like this developed! As you said, there are too few of them left and it’s harder and harder to place the horses. Glad you found a new home for your horse and I hope everyone else will be able to re-home their horses as well. What a beautiful tribute you have written and your wonderful pictures will keep it alive forever.

    • As you can imagine Kathe, it’s been such a challenge. And while all of the horses have been moved, there are four of them that aren’t in good situations and need to be moved again. A truly true challenge. Thank you for your kind support.

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