The domestic expert tends to her horses at her estate just hours after leaving prison

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 04, 2005 08:00 AM

What a difference a day makes. Hours after her release from West Virginia’s Alderson Federal Prison Camp at on Friday morning, Martha Stewart was outside feeding horses at her multimillion-dollar estate in Bedford, N.Y.

She came out of her home wearing a quilted coat and long, knit scarf, and fed treats to five horses, then waved to journalists. Later, when asked about her animals, she answered, “They’re great. … You see how pretty the horses look?”

Stewart, 63, also told the journalists staked outside her estate that “it feels great” to be home.

Less than 12 hours earlier, the domestic diva was released from prison and driven to a nearby airport in a motorcade of two black SUVs with darkened windows. On the airstrip, a trim and coifed Stewart, accompanied by her daughter Alexis, turned to smile and wave at onlookers, then boarded the plane.

The prison khakis had been shed – as had some 20 lbs. she lost during her five-month sentence on obstruction of justice charges – with the mogul outfitted in a poncho, dark jeans and ankle boots.

Friday marks the beginning of Stewart’s five-month long house arrest at her 130-acre estate, where she’ll be required to wear an electronic surveillance ankle bracelet, and won’t be allowed to tend her garden, according to New York’s Daily News. She will, however, be allowed to leave her house to work 48 hours a week.

In a statement posted on her Web site, Stewart, said: “The experience of the last five months in Alderson, West Virginia, has been life altering and life affirming. … Someday, I hope to have the chance to talk more about all that has happened, the extraordinary people I have met here and all that I have learned.

“Right now, as you can imagine, I am thrilled to be returning to my more familiar life. My heart is filled with joy at the prospect of the warm embraces of my family, friends and colleagues,” she said.

“Certainly, there is no place like home.”

Stewart, will return to her $900,000-a-year job as head of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., and can get started on a range of already announced projects such as her Apprentice reality series with Mark Burnett, a daytime talk show and, of course, her memoir.

“I’ve got so much to think about,” Stewart told a friend, PEOPLE reports. This includes a March 17 appeal of her case that she hopes will clear her name and end her house arrest.