Kentucky Dreamin’ Part 1

I can’t wait to move to Kentucky.  To live on that land, to get to know it, to see it in all seasons and weather and light.

I can’t imagine being bored.  The property is 92 acres.  It has been logged recently.  It’s scrubby, with some thorny brambles (blackberry?) running wild.  To log it, some roads were bulldozed, which we want to maintain as paths.  Since we plan to do that with hand tools, I think we’ll stay in pretty good shape.

I see our ownership of this property as a temporary stewardship.  It is our responsibility to leave this place healthy and thriving across all eco-systems.  Assuming, of course, that humans don’t destroy the world first.

Ownership is a silly concept, when you get right down to it.  Humans didn’t start off owning anything.  We lived as hunter-gathers for thousands and thousands of years.  Private property is such a recent idea.  No wonder the people who lived in America first thought the newcomers were crazy…..owning the land is like owning god.

I’m pitifully ignorant about the natural world.  There are beavers on our stream, which is a good sign, I think, of the health of the water way, but I don’t know anything about beavers.  I’m looking forward to watching them.  I know stream beds are eco-systems in their own right, but know nothing about what might be good or bad for them.  My choice is to do nothing at all, first.

One of two beaver dams on the property.

Other than maintaining the paths, putting in a house and a few other structures, the only other grand plan is to put in a garden/orchard.  Our southern most flat land is where I want to put in raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peach trees, cherry, pecan and apple trees.  The ground is hard, compacted, sandy, rocky soil so a lot of work is needed to amend it.  Veggies will go into raised beds, I think.

Western looking view of the orchard/garden area.

Because the property is terraced (gently in some areas, steeply in others), hauling things around is going to be difficult.  My darling, wonderful husband, like most American men, would dearly love lots of power tools.  I am of the opinion that really bad stuff is coming, and it might be better if we invested in a mule.  Lexington bills itself as “the horse capital of the world” but I hear that mules are hardier, smarter and more sure footed than horses.  I can’t imagine having a relationship with a tractor, but I can have a relationship with a mule.

A few hens would be nice as well.  Still mulling over the idea of goats.  I do love cheese.  I do love milk.  I love the goat smile.  We’ll see.

So, we need a house, a garage/workshop/barn/coop for the above mentioned animals and our stuff.

Part of the home site, looking north west, I believe.

A root cellar/storm shelter is also on the list of structures.

A greenhouse in the orchard itself would be very efficient, for seedlings, tools and rainwater cachement.  Irrigating the garden/orchard by rainwater is my plan, which is based on zero knowledge of total rainfall and how you’d calculate what size cisterns you’d need.  I want cisterns at the house as well, for any landscaping needs.  Since we’ll be planting only natives, I think water use will be light, but if a wild fire ever occurs, it would be nice to have a supply of water that doesn’t come from our well.

Our land abuts a national forest.  Good fire management techniques will be useful information.  We’ll probably be more aggressive about clearing out the scrub around our home site, but I have no idea how far that radius should extend.

So much to learn!

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