Creeping Thyme and Firecracker Sedum contrasted with Stone pavers next to the Stone Circle at Alba Ranch. We are in New Era, MI in the woods near Lake Michigan. What a magical place to visit in Oceana County.
2015 has been a year doing a lot of out door projects. Some stone, some planting, some gardening, some tree clearing, and a lot of general clean up as there has been a lot of junk on the property prior to us purchasing here. The stone projects are numerous and seem to be ever growing as my creative mind gets loose and the property starts to take shape. The Stones tell us where they want to be, so as we clear and tidy things up, it will become clear where they will end up eventually.
We are clearing a small area that already has a merry go round and swing and have dubbed it “the park”. We do plan on having a fire pit area and setting a lot of standing and recumbent stones for a stone circle and sacred place.
I have been working more on my garden area as the three stone raised beds that I planted this year yielded a large crop and even today on December 31, 2015 with snow and ice outside, still has Kale, onions, beets and some Rainbow Swiss Chard in it. Many of my herbs are still growing, although I have lost my chives, basil, tarragon, and one of my more delicate thyme plants.
I built three more dry stacked raised stone beds and did some path and walk ways around it in stones and gravel. We did line those areas with some plastic underneath and used a deep bed of pea gravel because the soil is fertile and the weeds seem to run wild.
This will allow me to plant up a lot more vegetables for my family to grow our own food. I have been trying to buy organic produce as much as I can, but there isn’t always a large selection in the area as well as the quality isn’t always the best. I find eating the non organic produce and fruit a risk all the time. Some is covered more in pesticides than others and I get sick or slightly sick depending on how much is on it. I can’t wait until our fruit trees and vegetable garden is productive enough that I can grow our own food. I have a lot to learn in how to do gardening successfully, how to control pests naturally, and how to preserve and can the food once I do get it grown.
I also did a section of two walk ways between the sea berries and most of the beds that are flower and ornamental around the property were lined with field stones to give a definite edge that was still organic. It certainly helps when mowing and striming to know where to STOP when approaching the flower beds.
I was the only one that knew exactly where things were in all the beds and I still managed to strim off the heads of several of my lilies. Although Charlie says that is due to me being “dangerous” with the strimmer! I mean really, me???
Overall, I do believe the look is coming together. I recently had someone asking me if I was going for a “show garden”. BWWWhhhhaaaa, again….ME? NOT! It will never be a show garden as I hate weeding way too much for that.
I did hand pick out almost all these rocks and transported the bulk of them to the ranch myself. I did have a few loads brought of large rocks and boulders, and also some loads of the field stone. This is an on going project that will take a fair amount of years to complete.
I have the ideas in my head but have had a lot of help executing them with several local workers and Charlie helping out. Charlie and I did place the paving and stones mostly ourselves but a lot of the prep work was helped with from others. I have had several folks ask my how long it took me to build the three raised dry stack stone beds. I usually respond that “We will not discuss that”. It was not easy, I had to tear down most of what was there and re build it several times and I honestly don’t know if they will stay standing up. Dry stacking stone walls is fun, difficult, beautiful, an art form and something I am uncertain if I ever wish to try again. It sounds a lot easier in the books I read before attempting it. Isn’t that how it goes?
The edgings all lined with rocks serves several purposes. The rocks give a definite edge to the beds, they keep the weeds down and stop the advancement of the grass, it is organic and looks great, as well as it surrounds everything with lovely stone and rock energy. It doesn’t hurt either that is just LOOKS cool!