The last few years have brought many changes to households across the country. In the madness of the covid era, likely everyone you know has made changes to their lifestyle in one way or another. My home, of course, is no exception. We were very fortunate that we were able to choose our change, and I truly hope all of you were as lucky!
You see, we were in the midst of changing our work-life balance and seeking a more relaxed lifestyle. Aging parents needed tending to, and to be honest we were getting older and slower ourselves. I have always dreamed of a more self-sufficient life and my husband was looking forward to retirement. Owning our own business afforded us many opportunities and it was time to put it all in place.
Living in the mountains of Colorado was beautiful.. and extreme! At 7,000 ft elevation, the environment was different than anywhere I had lived before. The weather was a challenge with very long winters and dry summers. Although we had many sunshiny days, the elevation made the U.V. intense and the change in atmospheric pressure made for less available oxygen, which has more effects on you and your plants than you might first imagine. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that high altitude gardening has its challenges, and a greenhouse was necessary to extend the growing season for a more sufficient yield. I loved my greenhouse, it was one of my favorite places ever, but I did not love the long, cold winters.
We began talking about what we wanted and needed out of life and began looking around the country for what would fill our checklist. That’s what we called – our checklist– what could meet most or all of our needs? The in-laws were living on a large ranch and could no longer keep up with it. And again the extreme environment was taking its toll. Hey, keep things simple – find a way to make life flow with ease when and where you can! Long story short, turns out the area where my husband and I liked to vacation, the place where we would go to hide from snow storms, well nearby was a nice little town that met all the parents needs and was nearly everything on our checklist. The place where we wanted to move to ‘someday’ we decided to make a reality.
I found the most adorable house on the edge of town, with a nice landscaped backyard with just enough space for the parents. (What was on that checklist? Doctors and hospitals close by; not a large city, but must have good grocery store, restaurants and necessary shopping nearby so there is no need to drive to the big city; good work environment for hubby and I; nearby airports for visiting family; and a relaxed social environment. Less winter, yet still a change of seasons, outdoor recreation opportunities, good soil, water and weather. Not that we were asking a lot!)
While checking out properties in the area, I fell in love. One house we looked at on the lake just made my heart pound. Lakefront, 2 acres, which is plenty for a family food garden and room to roam. This property was perfect for our business and the lifestyle we were looking for. Guess what? We bought it!
Yep, we moved two families at once to a different state in the middle of covid. This is another story in its own, so we will just skip ahead here. Moving to a new homestead and settling is an adventure in its own.
I know some of you may think we’re bananas to leave our mountain cabin, with all the hard work we put into beautifying the area and making it our cozy home. Trust me, I get it! We’ve poured countless amounts of energy, love, hours, and resources (literal blood, sweat and tears) into this place. Honestly, our gardens and greenhouse feel like part of my identity now, and that was a strange thing to walk away from. Yet from day one, it was never intended to be our forever home! We did not let the fact that we’d eventually be moving stop us from landscaping and building and creating a lovely home. Leaving our little mountain home behind was bittersweet for sure, but we were headed on to greener pastures- literally.
The new larger property and home will enable us to learn about and cultivate a wider variety of plants, explore new DIY projects and growing methods, enhance our product line with more healing garden-to-body offerings, have a workshop and studio, maybe even start a local farm-stand, and so much more! And of course, I’m thrilled to document the transformation of a new garden space with you all! We feel incredibly blessed to have this new opportunity with room to grow, in every sense of the word.
I will take more photos of the new property and gardens in the next few months, and share more about transforming your space in a dream garden in upcoming posts!
Our old garden was at 7,000 ft elevation in garden zone 4; the new property is in zone 7 at 617 ft elevation with rich soil, humidity, and a long growing zone. There are plenty of trees on the property, including persimmons, and a gentle slope that helps with irrigation and prevents flooding in case the lake rises. There are lots of resources here to make a wonderful backyard habitat!
Unfortunately, we had to leave the greenhouse behind, along with all of the raised garden beds, trees, and other in-ground plantings. Those things are part of the landscape and ecosystem we’ve created, and we’re happy to leave them for the new owners to enjoy! They belong here. We also decided to leave the irrigation systems, water barrels, timers, and tools. Luckily, the new property has a nice outdoor shed too, so I was able to move my art & garden supplies into the new ‘sheduio’!
There was a playground area in the backyard, which I am very excited to transform into a cottage garden (aka my kind of playground!) We sold the swingset to a nice family that will give it a good home and began working on cleaning up the rubber chips and marking out our garden beds. Now I’m in the process of restoring the soil and establishing ground cover. It will take time to create a flourishing cottage garden such as I envision, but I’m excited by the possibilities and opportunities.
In my next post, I’ll share with you how to map out and plan your garden, along with some valuable permaculture tips and resources. Cold winter months are an especially great time to read, soak in new knowledge, and plan for the next season. For now, the sunshine is calling and I must go charge my solar batteries!
Just love this photo of my strong, hardworking man driving off into the sunset!