A Tour of Our Property

Last week I took a long walk around our eight acres – which I really ought to do more often. I took a bunch of photos to give you an idea of our space, how we use (and fail to use) it, some antique curiosities around the place, as well as some projects that would be great to do.

Early fall is a gorgeous time for our hydrangeas. They start off white, and as they age, they turn this lovely pink color. Add that to the honeysuckle that climbs into our hydrangea tree, and you’ve got good looks and good smells.

Out in our pasture, the kale continues to thrive (sigh).

The colors in the pasture are lovely. Here’s some grass dying back and generally being gorgeous.

Here is our riding ring.

We don’t have horses, which is why it’s so horribly neglected. It’s pretty inexcusable that we’ve let weeds and other growth pop up here. There’s a special type of turf that we just need to turn with the tractor a couple of times a year to maintain and prevent this from happening, but clearly we failed. This material is expensive, so even if we don’t use the ring, it adds to the value of the home and maintaining will prevent us from needing to replace it down the line.

What are those giant logs in the riding ring? Oh, just some ambitions to make hand-hewn beams for – something? Maybe for when we fix up the barn. Maybe when we replace our shed. Let’s be honest – in five years I will likely post another photo of them still sitting there. We also had a huge dead branch fall down in the ring that we need to remove (you can see it in the background near the middle of the photo). It’s a lot.

We think we may use this as an archery ring as the kids get older.

In this same pasture are our blueberry bushes.

These produce wild blueberries (which are the size of a pencil eraser, if you’re lucky). This summer the four of us went out there, spent an hour and a half picking blueberries, and came back with less than a pint of blueberries, but more than a pint of mosquito bites. For this reason, we leave these largely to the birds. It’s too bad, really, it would have been much easier to pick from them if they’d been maintained and trimmed down years and years ago. Now they are about 12 feet tall and spindly, which makes them extra difficult to pick from, since the berries only come out at about six feet high.

Around the corner at the barn, we have our firewood stacked.

The wood in the foreground is now two years old and we’ll be using it this winter. The wood in the background still needs to be split, but has already aged a year. All the wood is from dead trees we cut down on the property and split. I say ‘we’ but I did absolutely nothing – my husband deserves all the credit for that project.

Behind the barn is our graveyard.

The original owners of the house, and (some of the) two hundred years of their descendants, are buried here.  I never know quite how to maintain this – it gets very overgrown in summer, but I don’t want to risk mowing and hurting the very old, and in some cases very delicate, stones.

Also in the graveyard are these strange pattern of bricks:

Our theory is that because these squares of bricks measure about two by two feet, that perhaps a previous owner buried pets here and marked it with bricks – but honestly we have no way of knowing.

Near the graveyard is the entry to our forest path:

It is always gorgeous in here, with so much to see.

Growing up in the Colorado mountains, I’m much more used to pine forests or aspen forests, combined with big vistas. But I’ve really come to appreciate the variety of trees back East, and most of all, the GREEN:

Colorado is so dry, that even though it’s perpetual drought conditions where we live in New England, it looks beautifully green to me here.

We have tons of rock walls in the woods around our property. They mark long-since-gone pastures.  I’m sure many of these walls are as old as or older than the house.

The most mysterious one is this wall one at the edge of our lawn, which has these steps to NOWHERE:

Must have been different when these steps were built, but right now it pretty much descends into a bog.  And look at that poison ivy!  SO FUN.

In front of the house is this area of mess that probably should be lawn but isn’t:

At some point (probably during an excavation for a building project somewhere on the property) a bunch of large stones were left in this area. In the years since, they’ve been overtaken by huge weeds, but most of all by evil, evil poison ivy. I don’t even know where we’d begin with trying to clean this out.

Here is our second pasture:

This pasture has our vernal pond. If you are a deer, this is where you hang out and look scenic at dusk.  This whole area is gorgeous year round. Irises around the pond in spring, beautiful grasses all summer, and lots of color in autumn.

At the front of the pasture, though, is this shed you can see in the distance.

I refer to it as the “shame shed” because it is so hideous, yet we have literally zero plans to do anything with it. I mean, there are holes in the roof, paint flaking off, the whole nine yards. It’s hard to prioritize it until we deal with all the stuff the house needs!

I hope that gives you a general idea of what it looks like around our property day to day!  We’re always finding new things – on the fun side are old bottles, antique bricks and the like.  But then there’s also … literally tons of disgusting trash.  Before we bought this property we’d only purchased an apartment.  We totally failed to realize that during the inspection and walk through we should have walked the entire property, not just the house, barn, etc.  In the first few months we lived here, we removed a rusted out hammock frame, two metal trashcans, decaying furniture, and more bottles and balls than we could count (the balls! So many balls), all of which had been summarily tossed into different parts of the pastures and forests.  So much trash that we had a trash removal company come and take TWO FULL TRUCKLOADS of trash and scrap metal to the dump for us.

Even now (two years later!) I never go for a walk without finding and picking up an absurd amount of trash.  You’d think we’d have it cleaned up, but more and more junk keeps showing up.  To give you an idea, just on this walk here was my trash haul:

This is: a broken toy helicopter, a child’s plastic cup, a golf ball, a decayed baseball, a disgusting old tennis ball, various bits of twine and plastic and an empty potting soil bag.  I also came across that most infamous indicator of teenagers: a pile of discarded booze bottles in the middle of the forest (darn kids!).  I didn’t have a trash bag with me so couldn’t get those on this walk.

As someone who had it drilled into her from childhood that we should always leave a campsite or hiking trail more pristine than when we came, this drives me BONKERS.  Indoor mess I’m cool with, outdoor mess?  NOPE.

So learn from our mistake: walk your entire property and require sellers clean up their OWN trash!  Until then, I’m looking forward to the day when I stroll around my own place and don’t find one or more balls in various states of decay.  A girl can dream …

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