My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, www.rosemary-ridge.blogspot.com ... thank you!

Sandy Loam Soil And Wind

I went to the "web soil survey" (http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx) to find out (1) what kind of soil we have here on our new homestead, and (2) to measure where we plan to place the fence so we can figure out how much it will cost.

(1) We have Bresser-Truckton sandy loam soil. I clicked on that and it told me that basically we have sandy soil, with clay underneath. It also said we get 14-17 inches of precipitation per year, well-drained, and more than 80 inches to the water table. We have 125-180 frost-free days. No chance of flooding or ponding, but available water capacity is very high. Severe slope. Too bad it doesn't discuss the wind! It also doesn't discuss the cactus and burrs that grow naturally here, or that fire is a major concern in this neighborhood, especially with the droughts from the last few years.

(2) I used the calculation and drawing feature to calculate how much fencing we'll need. I figure we need about 1,800 feet of fencing, which takes into account the 10-foot easement at the back of the property, and another 10 feet not fenced in the front, plus fencing/gate across the driveway. Not bad, I guess, for about 2 acres.

I hope the calculation is accurate. I have 2 fencing people coming tomorrow for estimates (the first will measure for free) and another one coming on Wednesday.

This website that I linked above is terrific. I highly recommend it to people whether they are just looking at a piece of property to homestead on, or whether you've been on the property for quite a while and wonder why you can't grow ... whatever.

My researching on how to create a windbreak shows which direction our wind mostly comes from (northwest) so we'll need to do the most intensive planting along those property lines. Best to do a row of shrubs, a row of evergreens and another row of shrubs.

Shrubs: serviceberry, chokecherry, nanking cherry, hazelnut, lilac and wildplum. All pretty much on my list. I guess.

Evergreens: Colorado Spruce (the only one that really suits this area)

I didn't want to plant any evergreens but I guess I have no choice. We need the evergreens to save the rest of our plantings (still to be decided on and ordered). How on earth am I going to "permaculture" this?!?!

Another list put out by the Colorado State University Extension says: "Dense shrub choices include peashrub, cotoneaster, lilac, sumac, buffaloberry, mountain mahogany, privet and willow. Dense tree choices for the foothills include Colorado blue spruce, Eastern redcedar, Pinyon pine and Rocky Mountain juniper." I looked up peashrub and it grows quickly, up to 10-15 feet tall. The buffaloberry is somewhat thorny and gets 6-20 feet high, with edible but sour berries. I think privet grows fast and thick, and I was already considering weeping willow for basket-making. Meanwhile, pinyon pines grow very large, but they DO produce pinion nuts/pine nuts so that would be a good choice for the northwest corner of our property. Hmmmm...

Can you tell I'm not completely thrilled with the wind? I wanted to go outside today and use yellow landscape marking paint to draw the line for the fencing people to follow tomorrow. Oh well!

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