End of an era (trying to hold back the tears)

Tiny lanterns on huge marble piers because big lantern will continuously get stolen...lamp thieves exist!

Tiny lanterns on huge marble piers because big lanterns will continuously get stolen…lamp thieves exist!

I grew up on a 200 acre thoroughbred horse farm in Ocala, Florida. I cannot imagine a better way to be raised as a child. In the summers I was outdoors 10 hours a day. We didn’t have Nintendo and weren’t allowed to turn on the TV until the sun went down, and even then it was only for one hour max unless it was a special movie night.


This is one of my favorite views from the farm...per usual the picture does no justice

This is one of my favorite views from the farm…you can’t tell from the pic but it’s the highest point and those fields sloping below leading to my parents house are idyllic

Ever since I was a child, my friends loved coming to stay the weekend because there were just so many fun things we could do. All we needed was a little creativity and energy, both of which were had in spades.


The hope too was always that a mare would go into labor during the night. We would beg my dad to please wake us up if it happened and take us with him to deliver the foal. No matter how many times I saw a baby horse come into the world, it was always an incredibly moving experience for me.


After 29 years on the most magical place in the world, my parents are moving on to their next adventure. I am so excited to have them living closer to me in Georgia, but in the meantime my heart is breaking at the thought of never seeing the farm again.


This past weekend Marc and I drove down to say goodbye. I am hoping we may get one more opportunity, but the timeline of their move is in flux, and our busy schedules made it so that we needed to take advantage of this weekend in case it really was our last chance.


I spent as much time as possible outside walking around the farm or laying on the grass. Maybe I’m weird, but I love laying on the grass. I love to cover myself in nature.

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I’ve got company!

Plus my mother’s garden that she has cultivated over the 29 years with her own loving hands is simply put: spectacular.

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I’ve traveled through Europe and seen some beautiful gardens, but her’s is the most beautiful. I’m not biased.


We have had numerous guests over the years from various places around the world who all agree: Maria’s garden is something special. (Ok maybe I’m biased but it’s damn beautiful nonetheless).


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I’m also convinced that the farm is Pooka’s favorite place on earth. She’s leash and collar free from the minute we arrive till the minute we leave. And now that there are no longer any horses on the farm she really is free to roam undisturbed.

This is her happy face

This is her happy face


Another lover of the grass

I even took her to the racetrack at the back of the farm. I like to think as she was running the track she saw herself as a Kentucky Derby winning champion…right?

"And they're off!"

“And they’re off!”

Saturday I had a Garden Party with all my friends who love the farm almost as much as I do and who grew up on it over many, many weekends as kids. They all have kids of their own now whom they brought to experience a little bit of the magic themselves. What is it about a farm that makes ones imagination just spark?! Tree climbing, field adventuring, driveway chalk painting, imaginary club house building…


As we drove away yesterday afternoon I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face. I feel like I am leaving a little bit of my heart and my childhood behind.


But I’m hopeful that I’ll have onnnnnne laaaaaast chance to say goodbye, and if not, I certainly made the most of it.

So did Pooka.




  1. maria leon says:

    this was a great story Stephy…I read it with tears in my eyes…and am sooo happy that your childhood was sooo fantastic…and as we start a new life lets hope we are going to create some other incredible place to live and have lots of new memories…love you!…don’ t be sad!…just think how lucky you were!!!

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