March 5, 2008

The Farm Report

After many requests from well wishers regarding our little farmstead to share more photos - I am posting a few more .....

Here is our neglected farmhouse. The house has been vacant for almost a year and the lawn hadn't been mowed in quite some time. Amazingly the turf underneath all this overgrown mess was in pretty good shape. We will have to do reseeding and fertilize in the Spring.

Below is the sad little hoop house that I can invision being useful and not quite such an eye sore with a little TLC.

I have been planning my landscaping design for our farmstead.
Now that I have the room to grow anything I fancy, I am surprised at how selective I have become in determining the plant material I want in the various locations around the house and barn.

I couldn't believe my good fortune when we found the fruit trees. They will definitely be pruned on my next visit as they are sadly overgrown and neglected. I know we have pear and apple trees. The jury is still out on whether the plum tree is capable of bearing any fruit.

I have also inherited a hen house with the property. I am busily educating myself on the care of chickens. They seem to be a troublesome lot from what I can tell and further invesitgation will be necessary to determine whether I will ever have a flock of chickens on our farm. The idea of gathering dark brown and green eggs is so romantic isn't it? This month in Midwest Living there is an article about a couple in Lathrop, Missouri that supplies Whole Foods, Wild Oats and many upscale restaurants in the Kansas City Metropolitan area that was very interesting. They gather about 10, 000 eggs each week!

I am still trying to decide whether I want a flock of 6 - 8 chickens. Will I allow them to free range in my garden or keep them in their coops? Any the different types of chickens are amazing and daunting to say the least. I have it from Cory, that the Ameraucana chicken lays the most beautiful and delicious eggs of all that are various shades of blue and green. They lay about 3 eggs per week. If I had 6-8 chickens that would be just about right for our needs.

But, onto landscaping...

I plan to have red twig dogwood in the beds along the gravel road at the front of the property. The former owners poured a footing and 6" tall concrete edging along beds that run 30 feet next to the gravel road in the front of the property and another 30 feet along the driveway leading to the house. I think the red twig dogwood will be perfect for these enormous beds and have good all season interest.

I like the idea of mugo pines around the front porch area of the house. The porch is about 4' off the ground so I think the mugo pines would work well. This will give the house an evergreen color and texture during the Winter months.

I am planning on having a huge flower garden at the back of the house. I hope to take the entire area for my perennial garden if I can convince my husband to aid in the back breaking work of planting and creating different elevations. Natural stone is available on the property to create focal points and create a natural looking informal garden with seating, a water element and statuary.

I plan to use loads of peonies - one plant I cannot live without. I carried a peony blossom to my favorite school teacher, Mrs. Zula Oldham when I was in third grade. I remember smelling the heady fragrance on the school bus as we bounced along gravel roads picking up the other kids in the area on our way to school that day. Mrs. Oldham loved peonies as much as I did.

Felix Crousse Peony

Sarah Bernhardt Peony

Kansas Double Peony

It's fun to dream about a future garden, isn't it? I can see it in my minds eye as if it were already there and established. I can't wait to walk through deadheading along the way.

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