June 9, 2009

The Land

Now that I've show you the house, Sue asked if I was going to show you the property. The answer to that is yes indeedy. In fact, that's the reason I haven't blogged in a week. It's taken some time to get the photos and get this post written out.

We have five acres, just outside of town. This is convenient in some ways, but on the other hand, it isn't strictly rural. There is some farm land behind us, but down the road is a suburban type housing development.

The road is not a main road, and the several times we visited the place before we bought it, it seemed fairly quite. I was somewhat dismayed after moving here, to discover that there is quite a bit of traffic, especially in the mornings and afternoons when folks are going to and from work and school. However, this place did fulfill all our other criteria, and considering we've been looking for such a place for a number of years, I figure that a good privacy hedge along the road will be the improvement we need.

This is an ariel shot, courtesy Google, rotated so that the road runs left to right.

The gray blob just right of center near the road is our house. You can see that the tree lines on either side form two legs of a triangle, and indeed, the property is triangle shaped, coming to a point in the woods. We have a several cleared areas, badly overgrown.

Behind the house are two barn red outbuildings...

...and lots of pecan trees.....

Behind the out buildings.....

.... is a nice cleared area.

I confess that it this is after it's been mowed. It had not been tended to in a number of years and was becoming badly overgrown.

Behind this and all the way to the back of the property ....

... is wooded. It's mostly pines with a few hardwoods left. It slopes downward, giving good drainage. I'm pleased though because I found some muscadine vines growing back in here. (Wild muscadine jelly is my particular favorite.)

The clearing in the back connects to one to the east of the house.

This one is much more overgrown. We could have it brush hogged, but I think the best solution is goats. To do that however, we first need to put up a good sturdy goat fence.

Between that field and the house is a row of trees, badly overgrown...

.... some with yard plants that have gotten out of control. Also quite a few oak and pecan trees which have seeded in recent years. But also lots of poison ivy, and unfortunately, some kudzu.

The the west of the house, is more park-like....

And has a more pasture like clearing, which several clumps of trees growing in it....

We're contemplating what to do with this. Pasture? I tend to think Shetland sheep, but DH is partial to alpacas. Crops? Perhaps wheat and hay? All of this is still under discussion and would make a difference with what we do with those trees.

Coming up to the house from far side of the pasture...

You can begin to see where we chose to put a garden in this summer.

I'm not entirely satisfied with this as a final spot for a vegetable and kitchen garden, but for this year, it offers the most sun. It was grass, but a tiller killed out most of that. There is a volunteer pecan tree growing by the road, which will probably need to come down as it shades this spot too much in the afternoon. But it's a start.

And speaking of start, I'd better get back to some "real" work. DH is involved in his project outside, so I'd better get on with mine as well!


bspinner said...

Well worth the wait to find such a wonderful piece of property. Since it varies from wooded to open you both should be able to get what ever you want on your wish list. Our home is on a township road and we were worried about the traffic noise too but we're lucky enough not to have to much. Of course you wouldn't say that on a Sunday morning when the Amish buggies are going by. We planted nine pine trees near the road for noise, privacy and wind break. Works great.
Whatever you decide to do have fun.

m said...

Wow, that is some property you have found.
You are introducing me to new ideas of what to do with some space.
Goats and sheep both on you wish-list. Any plans to go back to keeping rabbits?

I'm looking forward to seeing more details of how you will use the outdoor space.
Now I must go and look up the words I don't know.

Life Looms Large said...

What a beautiful property! Thanks so much for all of the pictures and the explanation! Very interesting and very pretty!!

Too bad about the road sounds, but hopefully they'll fade into the background once you're used to living there.

Our neighbor put in a beautiful mixed hedge - kind of staggered so it's natural looking. He's got a mix of trees and shrubs, things like lilacs, and I don't remember what else, but it looks really nice and gives him a very private side yard. Then in front of his house he has a more traditional straight hedge of rhododendrons with an arbor for the walkway from the street.

Pecan trees! So does that mean you'll have your own pecans? I'm pretty sure pecans don't grow up here - or even in PA where I grew up.

I love that you guys are discussing what types of animals you'll get!! Have either of you raised anything with hooves before? I notice an emphasis on fiber-bearing animals. Any thoughts of chickens? I'm ever so slightly tempted to be part of the backyard chicken-raising boom. (I like how your commenters are suggesting animals for you to raise!)

That is a big garden!! I'm sure you'll raise much deliciousness....but yes, you probably do need to get outside and work on it!!

Thank you for the property tour!! It was worth the wait!! Hope you have many happy years in your new home!!


Woolly Bits said...

I love looking at your "garden" (park is more like it:)), even more interesting than the house. if I had a property like yours, I'd keep some of the wooded area as a low-input forest garden (you can grow a lot in there, or rather harvest a lot without too much effort!). and I'd put up a mixed hedge along the road, that would give me loads of pickings such as elder, rose hips, sloes etc. I think with a large property you have to be careful with the planning - because intensive gardening of this size would leave you with little or no time for your textiles! I don't see why you couldn't keep alpaca and shetlands though - they are supposed to go well together with a flock of sheep.... looking forward to your "progress". and I found it funny that I tried to grow some kudzu in pots here - while you don't want yours:))

Leigh said...

One of my planting priorities this fall is some sort of privacy hedge along that road. Of course, it has to be useful as well! :)

M, we have talked about rabbits. I used to keep angora rabbits for their fiber, but we've discussed rabbits for meat (as well as manure). I'm curious though, what words didn't you know???

Sue, I used to have a dairy goat. And part ownership of a Jersey cow (I did the morning milking.) At first, the goats will be for brush control, to keep the forest from reclaiming that field. And chickens, definitely! I've had those before too, though except for the rabbits (and cats) the farm animal part is new for DH.

Bettina, that's too funny about the kudzu. I would send you some if it could get through customs. Over here, kudzu is invasive and a real nuisance. It completely takes over, covering and smothering everything in it's path. For some interesting photos of this, click here.

Michelle said...

I am not unbiased, but I highly recommend Shetlands. They tend to browse like goats but aren't nearly as difficult to fence in, are easier to shear/find someone to shear than alpacas and don't make nasty faces like the camelids. How can you possibly resist friendly little sheep that often wag their tails when scratched and give lovely fiber in a rainbow of natural colors???

Leigh said...

Michelle, you and Mim have certainly given me something to think about. I've wanted sheep every since I learned to spin. Shetlands sound as though they are a perfect fit for our situation.

Michelle said...

Leigh, there is a website with a TON of information about Shetland Sheep - http://www.shetlandsheepinfo.com/. Check it out when you have some time! There are also several active Shetland lists on Yahoo - a general list, and ones for those particularly interested in finer fleeces, spotted sheep, and polled rams (Shetlands have a wide variety of genetics, including horned and hornless ewes, and horned and polled rams). You can ask questions and learn a lot from the archives on those, too. Let me know if I can help in any way. :-)