May 16-17, 1993: A Weekend in Bartlett, Texas
April 10, 1993: A Day at Six Flags Amusement Park
Return to the Index for 1993

April 17-18, 1993
A Weekend at My Sister's House in North Carolina


During the week of April 12th, I had a class to do for ADP Corporation in New Jersey. I had no class the week after that and so, with airfares being what they are, I decided to fly to New Jersey, do the class, then fly to Fort Lauderdale via Charlotte and then fly home from there. After billing the client for a normal round-trip Dallas-Newark, I ended up paying just an additional $100 or so to stop and see my sister and then spend six days in Florida. So on the afternoon of the 15th, I flew to Charlotte, spent a day with my Mom, and then drove up to Elon to spend the weekend with my sister.

I've driven from Charlotte to my sister's house a zillion times. From my Mom's condo on Park Road, I just head a bit west to I-77 and take that north to I-85 which I then take northeast towards Greensboro. In 1993, one had to kind of go into Greensboro to pick up I-40 east, but now there is a new bypass that takes I-85 well east of town to meet up with I-40.

Another difference between 1993 and now (post-2010) is that one no longer has to go through the town of Elon to get out northwest to where my sister's farm is. So many new homes and business have been built since 1993 along I-40 that there is now a direct route to my sister's from I-40; it is University Drive. It takes you around to the west side of Elon and puts you just a couple of miles from my sister's house.

My sister and her husband have lived out northwest of Elon for many years now, having moved there around 1970. Bob is a pharmacist at his family's drug store in Burlington; my sister works part-time at the local middle school. Both of them like being out in the country.

Judy and Bob have about eight acres, I think in an area of small farms and large house lots. For all practical purposes, you are out in the country, although you can be in Burlington in 15 minutes or Greensboro in half an hour. (In the satellite view, you can actually see her horse Patrikk; he's the tiny white spot to the left of the word "BARN".

When they bought the property the only building actually on it was an old red barn down by the road; the two of them had just the house they wanted built a little over halfway to the back of the property from the road- on the high point of the property, I think.

Judy has always had horses and other animals, and for many years all these animals were kept in the old red barn. It served its purpose, but when Judy began to board other horses, she thought that the drafty old structure was no longer suitable. A year or so ago, I was happy to make a loan to her and Bob so they could build a new, modern barn behind the house and much closer to it. The barn would be much more spacious, built with a sturdy wood framework, concrete block walls, wood interiors and roof beams. Most important from a maintenance point of view, it would have a concrete floor (unlike the dirt floor of the old barn). This would permit Judy and Bob to keep the interior much cleaner (hosing out the whole thing periodically).

She and Bob designed a structure that would have seven stalls, each with an opening to the outside as well as to the interior of the barn, plus a tack room and feed storage. At either end of the building large sliding wood doors could be closed in winter or at night but left wide open in good weather and during the day. The barn took about two months to build, and on my visit this time it is essentially finished.

I spent Friday with my Mom, playing bridge in the afternoon, and then drove up here Friday night, in time to go out to a local restaurant with Judy and Bob. On Saturday and half of Sunday, we spent time around the farm, doing chores and just visiting and catching up. I would have taken more pictures on my visit, but I had a problem with my camera that I'll talk about in a moment. But here are the pictures I was able to take around my sister's house:

Bob and My Sister Judy at Their House Outside Elon, NC

It is Spring, and they are both outside doing a few chores- with which I helped when I could.

Here is Judy and Her New Barn

The barn is bssically finished. The opening near the peak of the roof is for ventilation, and most of it is covered with translucent plastic panels to let light in. Judy is very proud of it and rightly so- it was designed very well.

Judy Working in Her New Barn

My sister is doing one of the most common chores that horse owners face- the cleaning of the stables. Judy is planning on landscaping the front of the barn with both in-ground plants as well as potted ones.

Inside Judy's New Barn

The horse stalls are not completely enclosed; the wall between the center of the barn and each stall will only be half height, allowing easy feeding and watering. You can see here what these stalls look like. The tack room is finished, although Judy tells me she will be painting it green to match the barn doors, and some of the individual stall doors still have to be painted.

The stalls are lined with rough-hewn oak, estremely tough and long-lasting. Only three of the seven stalls have sliding doors that open to the outside. Judy has done a little boarding over the years, but has had only one boarder in the barn since it was built.

Judy has had many horses over the years, almost all of them Arabians. I don't remember the names of any of them save the one that you can see in the interior barn picture above. That is Patrikk, Judy's prize Arabian stallion. He is the one that was shown at the Buckeye show that Judy and I attended last year. He has been a joy to her, and has been entered in (and won) a good many horse shows over the years. He has been so successful that Judy is certain she will be able to earn significant income when he is put out to stud.

Looking Towards the Back of Judy's House from the Barn

Judy and Bob have started a major compost pile there in the center, and intend to have a large garden. It's April in North Carolina, and everything is starting to bud.

The Current Project: Fence Building

I spent the afternoon helping Judy and Bob put fence stakes in the ground and get them lined up. They will then stretch wire fence between them, making an enclosed pasture where the horses can be turned out. Two of Judy's mares are pregnant, so they are going to need this enclosed space soon, as she will not want to take the foals very far from the barn for a while. You can pick out her dogs Happy and Murphy.

At the Back of the New Barn

Judy and Bob bought standard red farm gates for the fence. The tree in the gray container is her prized Myers Improved Lemon tree, which gave her oodles of fruit before it eventually gave up the ghost.

The Fence Row Through the Woods

Here's what the fence looks like as it goes through the woods and all the way to the property line of Judy's neighbor Skippy. It will meet up with the fence that already exists between them, forming an enclosed area where Judy can let the horses out.

The new fences will enclose a large area, partially wooded, that will be a safe place for the foals that will soon be arriving via Judy's mares; they will have a spacious area to romp around in but will not be able to get loose. Judy says that at some point much of the underbrush in the woods will be cleared out, and then you will be able to see the fence and make use of that part of their property.

I would have taken more pictures today and tomorrow (and at my Mom's and in Florida as well) but after the eight pictures shown here my camera suddenly stopped working. It wasn't the film, so far as I could tell, but something was wrong with the shutter mechanism. So I have no record of the rest of my visit with Judy, the time I spent in Charlotte, or the week that I spent in Florida. At the time I thought this a great tragedy, but I had no way of knowing just how often I would end up visiting Fort Lauderdale (and my Mom as well), making the loss of a few pictures from this trip pretty much irrelevant.

I thought about trying to get the camera fixed on Monday in Florida, but found that it would have to be sent to the factory for service, so I decided to wait until I returned home to have that work done. I flew to Fort Lauderdale Monday morning, stayed the week and had a good time with Ty and Scott, and then returned to Dallas on April 26th.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

May 16-17, 1993: A Weekend in Bartlett, Texas
April 10, 1993: A Day at Six Flags Amusement Park
Return to the Index for 1993