Thursday, January 24, 2013

Caution, Barn Ahead!

Pipevine Swallowtail on Purple-leaf Honeysuckle
So, has the anticipation built enough yet?  I've stayed away from my blog because it is too cold here to even think about gardening.  The world is not  imposing any gardening musings on me either, since I've only received two seed and bulb catalogues in the mail this year.  Is the lack of catalogues a sign of the garden economy?  Next, will I hear that more mail order nurseries are cutting back or out of business?  I hope not.

I have been forced to brave the cold however to plan and keep track of my huge winter project.  I previously wrote about the home farm sale and my trip back home to gain some tools, but one of the biggest tools is yet to make it to Kansas;  a small tractor with all the trimmings for cutting pasture and garden cultivation!  And before it can come, I've got to have storage space built, so I've finally begun construction of an outbuilding/toolshed/barn which will house the tractor, implements, lawn mowers, hoses, and all the other gardening paraphernalia that Mrs. ProfessorRoush blames for dirtying up her garage.  In short, I'm building a big gardener's playhouse and being banished to it.

In my area, outbuildings have to match the design and roof line of the house according to the local homeowner's agreement, so, to limit the amount of brick I have to buy and to decrease the visibility of the structure, I decided to bury it in the hillside just east of the house, pictured above and below, with the 3-bay entrance facing the pasture.  This hillside was too steep to mow, and years ago I planted it with a dozen seedlings of purple-leaf honeysuckle, which spread rapidly to adequately cover the rocky hillside and provides me plenty of pleasurable perfume each spring.

One day, a couple of weeks back, it was an overgrown mass of honeysuckle, lifeless in winter, and infested with pack rats and snakes.  The next day it was a hole in the ground, exposing the rocky soil profile to the world as I noted in my last post.

So, goodbye to the honeysuckle, hello to the barn!  Well, at least temporarily adios to the honeysuckle because although I've never heard her mention it before, Mrs. ProfessorRoush has made me promise to replant "her" beloved honeysuckle that she now claims she enjoys so much.  I agreed in principle to keep some of the honeysuckle, but primarily for the benefit of the Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies and not at all due to the wailings and tongue-lashing from Mrs. ProfessorRoush.  Tomorrow or the next day, I'll show you the walls that have gone up this week.  One good thing about concrete walls;  they go up fast!


  1. It's always exciting with new projects small and big - yours is very big! Did you save all your honeysuckle or are you buying new ones? Looking forward to seing it finished :-)

    1. Saved a few; not sure I'll leave them on the ends here, though...too near the door and too "snaky".

  2. Jim, you are going to love your new playhouse! (Perhaps there will be enough wall exposed on the south side to have a small lean-to greenhouse ... just thinking out loud.) I always cringe when I hear about iron-clad building restrictions. I was once the president of a home owners' association, and the chairman of an architectural review committee, so I understand what neighborhood associations are trying to accomplish. I like living on a farm where I don't have to ask anyone's permission to build whatever I want. Regardless of your restrictions, I can tell that you have totally thought this out and that it will be wonderful in the end. Don't wait too long ... show us the walls!

    1. I considered making part of a second floor greenhouse on it, or making that south side a slab with a greenhouse. Ultimately, I think in a few more years we are going to add a greenhouse to the back of the house. The back of my house on the ground level faces due south and is a big stamped-concrete patio with a door leading from the walkout basement and a faucet right beside it. It'll be perfect for a small greenhouse/conservatory room accessible right off the house and about Zone 8 hot.


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