A while back, I wrote about two areas we were considering building a permanent, accessible raised bed garden outside the inner yard, and asked for feedback. You can read about that here.
While walking with my daughter this evening, it occurred to me, we could start in a very different location.
I hadn’t considered this area before, because I had something else in might for it.
This is the space.
This is the area in front of the garage, where I’ve been able to keep up with the mowing. As you can see by the tire tracks in the foreground, there is traffic here. The red lines mark where we tend to drive, either as part of our turning radius to get in and out of the garage, or in the access lane to the barn, and the “gate” in the fence beside it. The opening has a chain across it, as well as the renter’s electric fence. I found the remains of the barbed wire gate that used to be there, buried in the tall grass.
This is actually where I was thinking we’d want to build a new fire pit/outdoor cooking area. Our current fire pit is too near trees and a collapsing log building. A wide open space like this would be much safer for a fire pit. With the winds we get, we were thinking of building a sheltering wall of around the fire pit, as well as making sure the ground around the pit was fire proofed with bricks, stone, gravel, sand or even just bare soil. I’d also like to build an outdoor clay oven, and a shelter of some kind, and turn the whole arrangement into an outdoor kitchen. The practical purpose is to have somewhere we can cook if power is lost.
These plans, however, won’t come into fruition for some years yet, and can either be moved, or be integrated into any garden layouts we end up doing. I’ll go further into that in a bit.
The most obvious advantage of this location is that it’s flat and dry. There are also no buried pipes we need to work around, no rough soil to level, and now low spots that gather water in wet years. While the one shed, with the wide open front, is not worth salvaging, it can still be sort of used until it finally collapses, or we take it down. The other shed is worth salvaging, and we can use it for storing garden tools and equipment.
There is that pile that needs to be dealt with. While it has branches on top, those branches are on top of what I was told is a pile of insulation. !! I believe my late brother salvaged it from a demolition job or something, and had plans for it that never came to fruition. We need to clear it out. However, there is enough space that we could probably build a few raised beds around it, even taking into account the dimensions needed for accessibility, until we can figure out what to do with it.
Getting water to it will be a bit harder than the area to the west that I was thinking off, but not as difficult as the area even further west that we were considering. Plus, it’s an area we can see from the house.
We will still need to figure out how to deal with deer, of course. In fact, as I started writing this post, I saw some movement on the security camera, flashing through this area. A look out the door, and I could see two deer standing by the pile. The deer cut through the old hay yard at the fence between the two shacks, as well as going through here to reach the “gate” by the barn. That’s one downside to this space. It’s a higher traffic area, both for humans and animals!
We have broader plans for this part of the outer yard, as we work towards getting rid of most of the fencing around the inner yard, making the inner and outer yards are one, large, usable space.
This is the other area we want to work on, in the short term.
In these photos, I am at the North end of the old hay yard. In fact, we never had hay stacked this far from the barn, and it was used as pasture. When hay wasn’t being store here, this area was used as a corral and/or pasture area. The orange lines in the above photos mark the fence around the area that is functional. The black lines mark a collapsed fence line. I believe this second fence line was added after some trees were planted, to keep the cows away from them. Here and there, I can see the dead remains of trees that look like they were planted in a row, rather than self-sown.
I want to get rid of the fence marked in orange, but that can’t be done until we have something to replace it. In the short term, I want to put temporary fencing where the fallen fence marked in black currently is. It needs to be strong enough to hold back the renter’s cows, but it will eventually be removed, too.
This is an area I want to get worked on.
The blue is a low area that used to be a dugout, and should be filled with water right now. It’s so dry this spring, there isn’t even mud in there. One of these years, I want to hire someone with an excavator to dig it deep enough to be a pond in all but the driest of years. It’ll be a nice water feature, and the intention is to allow bull rushes (aka: cattails) and other aquatic plants to grow, and hopefully have a little haven for other creatures.
Trees would be planted along the property line in the background for privacy from the road, to keep out road dust from vehicles driving by, and as part of a shelter belt from those wicked south and south-easterly winds. The trees that are there now just aren’t enough to shelter from those winds!
The black lines in these photos mark more or less where a permanent fence would go.
As you can see, some clean up needs to be done behind the shed. What the shed hides is the space in front of the barn, where the fence surrounding the outer yard ends, and where there is a collapsing ramp for loading cattle onto a truck.
Shelter belt trees would also be planted along or near these lines, though not all the way to the barn. There would likely be a gate of some kind, there, too. We may shift the whole line so that it lines up with the corner of the barn, instead of lining up with the shed. That decision can be made when we are in a position to start building the fence, which will be a few years from now.
So if we build the permanent fence here, there will be plenty of room to build the outdoor kitchen/fire pit area, if we wanted it to be closer to the future pond site. Or, as mentioned before, we could integrate it in with the garden beds, which I think it more likely to happen.
So, what do you think? Is this a better idea than what was written about here?
Ooh… I just had an idea. That old shed that’s starting to fall apart will eventually need to be cleared out. It could some day be replaced with a greenhouse! Again, no need to level or raise the ground. It’s already flat and dry.
Hmmm. Something to think about!