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, ... thank you!


We have only 2 acres, here in Zone 5, the plains of Colorado. Sandy loam (mostly sand!). Most of our space I can easily plan... paddocks for the goats and chickens, with crops growing in some of them. Areas for a small orchard, berry brambles, nut trees. But there's one place that stumps me.

That red line ... we are gonna put telephone poles where that line is ... we park right there anyway. The driveway goes down to the right, which is west. Notice the really weird front door of the house: open the door and try to hold the dog's leash as I hold on to the railing to get down the (now) icy steps ... very difficult. We can't move it to there the pentagonal window is because there's a heat vent on the floor right there. So as much as I hate it, the door has to stay where it is. Grrr.

When we have money, we want to replace the steps with a handicapped ramp (since I have problems walking).

That being said, we need a place to sit and look out at the mountains (to the west). Beyond beautiful view. Very very hot in the summer, not to mention the bugs. VERY windy. Would like to enclose a part right against the house (see the blue lines in the below pic, #2). The green lines show my son's service dog's "business" area (how he managed to train himself to do everything in that one spot, I'll never know!)

In this third pic, I've added a white line which shows where we plan to put up a big 4-6 foot solid fence, white, so that the back acre will be completely cut off. Just to keep the front acre animals separate from the back acre animals! Where the blue lines and white lines meet, will be the gate to that section plus to the back yard. Well, one of the gates.

Working with a limited budget.

Anyhoo, in that front area, it's rock and some dirt on top of landscaping cloth. The last owners ruined original landscaping ... scooped up almost all rock to sell for money. Wondering if we could do like an outline of where we want the enclosed porch area to be when we can afford.

Thought we'd scoop up the rest of the rocks (and hopefully landscaping cloth that's really in tatters), then dump top soil on the area, and maybe build some planters. We want edible landscaping, but between the house and those two trees, we get only about 5-6 hours of sunshine there (in the summer, about 2-3 in the winter). Will wrap around another 30 feet towards the side of the house, which is the south side and gets a LOT of sun.

Recommendations for herbs or berries that would do well there? Maybe some roses too? Something that's easy-care because I have two other acres to look after PLUS lots of animals and a special-needs child.

Would you recommend pots or making planters with concrete blocks or bricks with dirt in the middle for plantings? Or straight in the ground once we dump the top soil there (I'll amend with chicken and goat poop).

Help! I want to start sketching it out so we can budget then start in the Spring.

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p.s. Our oldest doe (girl goat) just had TRIPLETS on Monday, Dec 5! I'll write about that soon, with graphic pictures that I'm sure (ha ha) you'll love!  Here's a couple of cute pix as a taste!


Anonymous said...

An icy ramp may be more hazardous than an icy stair step, because it is sloped. I have no idea how to do it, but maybe you could build in some sort of heating element or such to melt the snow as it falls.

Pots don't require any firm commitment - if you don't like them, move them, or get rid of them.

Planters or raised beds are more like getting married. but the raised beds are both easier to work on, and can be planted earlier in the spring since they heat up faster.

Pressure treated lumber is cheaper than concrete block, and the new pressure treated lumber (ACQ - Alkaline Copper Quat) doesn't have any EPA listed nasty chemicals in it - just an anti-fungus chemical. Construction is probably the same amount of work or less. The wood should last twenty years in direct contact with the ground - use stainless or at least plated hardware, lest the hardware rot before the wood does.

The old stuff was CCA which had arsenic in it (Chromium-copper-aresnate), which was bad to burn, and bad to inhale the sawdust or smoke.

Don't make your raised beds any wider than four feet, so you can easily reach the center - three feet is even easier. Consider some sort of garden seating so you can work on the garden sitting down. Our beds are close enough together that a board between beds is mostly good enough.

Rachel-NE CO said...

Hi Vikki! I also live in NE Colorado - farm of about 20 acres and raised a disabled daughter. Currently live with my sister on our farm (same hearts!), also have goats, chickens, 1 horse, peacocks, guineas, cats 1 dog and assorted wild critters roaming the place. We grow "chemical free" and just put up a huge greenhouse last year all by our selves (except for the cement work - and the double poly ply roof - needed extra hands for those parts of the project). A lot of what you are looking into we have already tried - i can give you a lot of input on what works and what doesnt. I just started my first blog about the greenhouse endeavour since we did it ourselves and did not get a loan from any bank. Its been a wild ride that we are still not done with. But its getting into spring now and i have lots to share with you if you are interested. I am also guessing that your sandy loam produces tons of bind weed and goat head - have cures for that! If not-prepare yourself! The minute you start to amend the soil for good planting - they will find you. My blog shows pics of our garden(s) and the greenhouse stuff if you want to see it let me know and i can pass that url on to you. The first thing i wanted to share is about berries in our hot (sun intense) summers - tried everything then found that purchasing an inexpensive shade cloth (we get ours from gardeners supply online) and using electrical conduit from HD cut into 5 or 6foot lengths )bends easiest over your plots) staked down on either side of your plot works! Drape the cloth over the top and stake it down...we now have blueberries up the wazoo where i could not get them to grow before. Hope this tid-bit helps!