Hi. I’m Kim. I am mid-50s, married (1986), mom of two (31 years and 30 years) caretaker of Jasper (5 year old rescue chorkie), and protector of five glorious acres. I have lived on 3 different continents and found much to love on all three. My favorite, besides this home, was living in the eastern desert of the Republic of Turkey. There is one place left on my bucket list and that is Wales. I want to go someday and walk the entire Welsh Coastal Path without speaking English. It is likely just a pipe dream, but I will continue to dream it.
Mt family lives on 5 acres in the mid-west. Our farm, in its past life was a corn and soy bean field. It had a few trees that lined 3 deep ditches. For the first couple of years we were here you could still see corn stalks and the waste weeds would get 6 feet tall if they weren’t mowed. Water would run off the soil in sheets. It was a sad sight. But I had a dream, a vision, and a calling to restore this piece of land to a more lovely and healthy place.
We fenced in the entire 5 acres, brought in sheep, goats, a Jersey cow and calf, a horse, chickens and rabbits. We fed them good local hay and left most of the manure in the fields. We began composting the bedding. For eight years we spread bag after bag of clover, vetch, rye, and grass seed. I was also known to stop on walks and dig up herbs and other useful plants in the ditches and along the creeks to add to the fields (with permission, of course). After eight years we got rid of all the animals except a few rabbits in hutches and chickens in a fenced run.
Year 8 was the beginning of Idlewild Farm. We stopped mowing all but the front acre and a narrow strip behind the house. We dug a cistern/ run-off pond and a drainage ditch system. Then we left nature to herself and let her heal her wounds. And she did heal. A few trees along three ditches has grown to 3 1/2 acres of woods and it continues to spread to fill the last 1/2 acre. The trees have also grown up along the fence line except along the western border of the garden acre. The three ditches ended up being the runoff of three stream heads. This was a surprise and a joy to discover. We will continue to plant trees and encourage wild saplings until the woods reaches 25 feet from the back door.
Today the acre in front of the house is divided in half. Half is being planted with trees to keep the house cool, a pollinator garden, clothes line, rabbit hutches. The other half includes the chick house and yard, 2 peach trees, 2 cherry trees, a plum tree, an apple tree, 100 feet of thornless blackberry bushes, 20 feet of asparagus, 4 grape vines, a compost bed, and 15 garden beds (5’ wide x 20’ long) with grass paths between them.
Future plans include planting 15 more trees, a new rabbit hutch and yard in the eastern 1/2 acre and a larger chicken house and yard, a green house heated by compost, and the addition of 11 more garden beds in the other 1/2 acre. The additional beds will be for herbs, strawberries, more asparagus, elderberries, currants, and food for the rabbits and chickens.
Nature has moved in and made herself at home. There is nothing as enjoyable as sitting on the porch in the cool mornings listening to bird song and watching the skinks trying to warm themselves as the sun comes up. Or looking out the kitchen window and seeing the mama rabbit with her litter exploring the edges of the mown space. Or walking the woods and seeing deer, foxes, owls, bats, chipmunks, and squirrels going about their lives. Or sitting in the quiet evenings and hearing the coyote chittering, the bats swooping, and the owls calling from their roosts. I was made to love this place.
*All pictures have been taken by me using my iPhone 8 with no filters*