from dog kennel to garden? {before & after}

from dog kennel to garden? {before & after}

We’ve lived on our new “future farm” for a little over a week. Yesterday, I had my first panicked, “OH NO. What have we done?!” thought, but thankfully, it vanished pretty quickly when we drove into our old neighborhood (and right past our previous house) for a pool party. Lovely as that neighborhood is, we simply feel such a peace on our new, crummy property with views for days.

First things first, we are still in a neighborhood. It’s outside of the town limits and zoned rural, but we live in an airpark. In fact, our road runs parallel to a small runway a few hundred feet away. In the early mornings and evenings, we can see small planes taking off and landing; it’s pretty cool. Not only do we have 2.4 acres, we also have an area on which to build a hangar near the refueling station on the runway. We don’t quite know where that is yet, but news flash – we also are not pilots. :) There are a few of us in the airpark who do not fly, which is ok. There’s a little symbiosis between us all. One man uses his hangar as a place to store and restore antique cars, one man uses his as an indoor batting facility, one man and his wife are going to build an observatory (he is VERY in to astronaut things). There are some GIANT homes in here, as in HOLY MOSES big. And then…our little ranch. It seems a little out of place, but as we shine ‘er up, she’ll fit right in.

In with the airplanes are horses in pastures and a burro or two. Our property backs up to agricultural land for about a mile and a half, and most of the owners on our side of the airpark have lovely white pasture fence (or no fence at all), so when we look around, we see open fields with horses and barns, and then the glory of the mountains rises up to our west. We find ourselves just standing outside and staring in the evenings, quietly being small in all of this space. It’s quite lovely.

The previous owners of our home raised German shepherds as show dogs. They built a good-sized kennel at the back of the formal yard, and our first order of business (immediately after closing) was to pull out the kennels and convert the inside into a small barn/storage. We had to have the indoor barn area available the following morning to store our garage things in, since our garage is currently holding all of our furniture.

As always, we had friends come help (thank GOD for them), and they knocked it out in no time. Our home hasn’t been lived in for about a year and a half (but it was “maintained”), and the area has been overrun with weeds and by neglect.

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The pile of rolled chain link fence and posts. We plan to reuse some of this material as we build a goat pen and chicken coop area and sell what we don’t use. Not pictured here are all of the gates the guys removed.

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Cleaned out interior of the small barn.

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Believe it or not, we’re going to convert this area into an outdoor eating area with two long farm tables, ceiling fans, and patio lights. The barn is already wired with electric, which is a bonus. We’ll spray the gravel with kennel spray designed to kill all odor, and move this gravel to the raised bed garden area just east of this area. We’ll truck in some new grey gravel for the eating area and unsheltered fire pit area (the spot with all of the weeds, currently), repair and paint the siding to match the house, and we’ll end up with a fantastic outdoor room that overlooks our garden. Can’t wait!

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Below is the west side of the old kennel/new barn, which will be the gardening side and grill area. We’ll split the overhang area between cooking apparatus and the potting bench, gardening tools, and heavy duty riding lawnmower/small tractor thing.

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Looking in the direction of the picture below will be a removed fence so we can see into the new raised bed garden spot. Hank has already done a great deal of work in that area and built his first bed, but that is for another post. :)

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While these photos aren’t a true before & after to completion, I guess it will serve as an “in-progress” project, yes? I’ll post more tomorrow on fence progress. It’s pretty impressive. Until then…

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