A Tour of the Back 40…I mean, 1.9

To those who have messaged me today, wondering where today’s post is, forgive the delay.  My husband is home.  ‘Nuff said, I know, but he is applying for jobs through the trucking school he’s about to complete.  Somehow I have become the family tech guru when I don’t even know what I’m doing most of the time here in the blogosphere.  Sitting and writing have been tough as I have been pulled in that direction all morning.  Men are kind of cute when they are helpless.

I have to say with great pride that, rather than asking me to go back to work (which I would totally do), Jamie’s always ready to do what it takes to provide for this family.  That may sound old-fashioned and is something I would have scoffed at ten years ago, but it is a gift in my forties.  It’s hard not to love the old curmudgeon.

Anyway, this morning it occurred to me, as I prepared to post the beloved Salisbury Steak recipe after much pleading from my youngest, that I hadn’t really given you the tour of the homestead.  I suppose I should show you around, so I maybe I can earn some street cred.

A little history on my evolution:

We purchased our first house in the Spring of 2005; a new construction with 35 acres on the Front Range in Colorado.  Our nearest neighbor was over 1/4 mile away and the solitude was nice, but when the urge to garden hit me, I was powerless to satisfy it.  The dry, high climate allowed for little to grow besides prickly pear and the rattlesnakes almost killed my husband (not from biting, but from scaring the crap out of him).  The wind was so bad sometimes that we couldn’t go outside for days and stir crazy was never far away.  Then there were the rabbits.  Zillions of them would invade all day, every day.  When I planted something and a seedling finally sprouted, those little monsters would immediately eat it.  Because of their appetites and the diseases they transmit, we tried fencing; electric and livestock, repellents, our dogs, and more, all to no avail.  I finally gave up, but luckily, the view helped to ease our pain.

Front Range
View of the Front Range from my parents’ house, about 4 miles south of our old place.

Jamie was working 6 hours away, near Grand Junction, Colorado and we had just gotten the boys.  He would be home for a week, then gone for two and it quickly became clear that the boys needed a dad home every night, so we sold our house and moved close to his rig.

We purchased a home on 6 acres near Delta, brought the horses and settled in quickly.  We loved it from the beginning, even though we had neighbors (not too close) for the first time in years, it still felt private.  We were on a plateau, surrounded by mountains, with the Grand Mesa in our sight.  It felt like we were living on vacation: fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, skiing, etc. all within 5-20 minutes from our home.

The best part was the boys reaping the benefits of having Jamie home every night.  That really solidified us as a family and they blossomed in that environment.  A huge surprise was how wonderfully my garden there did.  We planted a lot of different veggies, ate our fill, but I off-loaded cucumbers and tomatoes by the grocery sack full daily at work.  It was, in a word, awesome.

Mesa

A view from the top of the Mesa in Spring.  Our house was almost straight ahead, at the end of those foothills.  Sigh. 

Sadly, oil and gas tanked and money was getting tighter.  I’d spent 8 years working for the family business, but was very part time because of the kids and there were no jobs available in a 100 square mile radius of us.

We ended up moving to Louisiana to follow the work and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Nothing against Louisiana, but there were so many memories packed into such a short time; the adoption, friends and the vast beauty and peace of it all.  We had to find homes for our two rescue horses and rescue miniature donkey, store our belongings and then live in our camper for a while until we got our feet back under us.

Poncho
This is my beloved Poncho Villa, the only one who would let the kids ride and who would often go house to house around our pasture, calling to neighbors until they brought him treats.  I admit to sobbing like a baby when he left. 

We lived in a couple of rentals until we were able to buy a place with about three acres, very much in the country, in the small town where my father grew up.  It was a tiny house; 2 bedrooms (I had to shimmy around the bed because our room was so freaking small), 1 bathroom and was right around 1000 square feet.  Tight for someone who was getting into domestic hobbies and amassing  wide range of tools for said hobbies.

It was here that I started to learn canning, gardening, plumbing and more.  I tried my hand at a massive raised bed garden, having only moderate success.  We had lots of pecan and citrus trees, so I learned to process and bake with our bounty.

catahoula garden
My beautiful garden where I learned all the evils of growing things in Louisiana, fighting every possible pest imaginable. 

We had plans drawn up for an addition, but could never find a builder to agree to come out and do the work.  It was too remote for some, and things were too busy for others.  We sold the house to a neighbor’s son and bought a place closer to town, in a neighborhood with large lots, but actual neighbors.  It was strange, yet we’ve learned to love it because we actually have great neighbors.  Whew.  And I won’t lie, being two miles from the grocery store was new to me, a fantastic convenience, but sometimes a curse.  Best of all, I’ve only had to deal with one snake here, as opposed to the countless snakes at the other house.  Win!!

Charles
Our current place and, yes, I’m still painting the garage.

We knew we needed a pool because both Jamie and I are not fans of humidity and the boys needed a way to burn summer energy.  The place we bought was at a great price with a little land and a pool, but it was a bit of a fixer upper.  At 1.9 acres, it was not wide open space, but land is strangely hard to come by down here, so it would do just fine.

Luckily, I am ADHD and was able to get right to work updating and fixing, accomplishing a ton in the last year and a half.  I’ll bore you with the details later because I know this post is approaching long novel territory, so a quick tour of the new digs will wrap things up for today.  I hope it’s a great one for you all!

Homestead
The yard

 

Garden
The garden and greenhouse. Yes, I gave up on weeding after the stink bugs, slugs and all manner of plague drove me away, but I’m starting again.
rain barrel
Our rain collection for the greenhouse
Coop
The chicken coop my husband ingeniously built onto our existing shed.  Almost done.
Nesting closed
The nesting boxes
Nesting
The door is hinged so egg collection is a breeze!

 

 

 

 

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