Interested in our farm? This page has turned into a place to see what’s out here.
Updates with the interior will be available soon.
Historical Round Barn
The barn’s official name is the ‘Ramsay-Fox Round Barn‘. It is named after the original builder & the previous owners, John’s Great Aunt, Anita Fox, who lived here with her husband, Clem, and four children, for 45 years. The whole property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. It is the last true-circular barn in Marshall County & it was built around 1911. We purchased this homestead in 2012 & have used the basement of the barn to keep livestock with ease. Because of its rarity & historical nature, many grants are available for continuing upkeep of this very special barn.
Our Forest Garden has been a project-in-the-making for 6 years now. When we first purchased our land in 2012 from John’s Aunt, the back two acres were full of about 45 mature Black Walnut & Silver Maple trees, with pristinely mowed grass underneath. Yeah, we mowed that all once and said ‘Heck no!’ to that again! So, we kept mowing the middle open area, then let the rest go wild & mowed fun paths through.
As our children grew taller & wilder, so too did our ‘West Woods’, as we called it then. We ran races through her winding trails, took nightly walks to enjoy the beauty, watched in wonder as we discovered our first Luna Moth, & as each of us started noticing new plants popping up throughout, our questions started rising as well.
Each Spring, as old growth would emerge, we would greet the familiar plants that had taught us the previous year with excitement & gratitude. And each Spring, we would walk the trails with wonder, looking to see what new arrivals the birds had dropped in for us this go around….
Our woods were quickly becoming a source for not just beauty & insect identification, but snacking, adventure, education, & so much more. While waiting patiently for our plump Black Raspberries to arrive one year, we wondered what else we could use the expanding brambles for. So Henry & Amanda Jo stripped the long canes & taught themselves how to weave a pretty great basket that we still use & treasure today. When Nettles finally arrived to our neck of the woods, we rejoiced to find out how tasty & calming a cup of Nettle tea can be for the tummy. One year, when Autumn was waning & we felt sorry for our piggies, who no longer had fresh greens to munch, we collected baskets full of Acorns from our beloved woods to share with our snorting & grateful friends, down in the barn.
And when we wanted to do a bit of landscaping & add some decorative borders around our home along the Hastas, Amanda Jo thinned out our ever-growing Autumn Olive patch by hand, with an axe & made beautiful Wattle fencing out of the branches. And as we cut them back, we collected the berries to make a delicious jam like no other we’d had before! Then we started to think, ‘Well, wouldn’t the asparagus from the garden grow nicely in the West Woods along the fence?’ And ‘We love the Wild Leeks so much from Grandma’s woods, why don’t we put this on the North facing hill in the West Woods so we can have them closer & can teach others what they look like easier?’ And ‘Those Wild Oyster Mushrooms were amazing we found out there this year, let’s try & grow Shitake Mushrooms on a log next year!’ And ‘Wow, I want to grow PawPaws so badly, but I keep reading about how hard it is to mimic the conditions they like to grow in, why don’t we add them to the West Woods?’ And while roadside hunting for Elderberries, we thought ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if these were right out back?’
And this is the story of how our headache of a mowing job became the quiet lanes to reflect & whisper our wishes in to, the open air to let our dreams soar in, and the only & best classroom our children have ever had, known as The Forest Garden.
As of 2019, this is the list of most of the plants we eat or use medicinally in our Forest Garden.
We have had KuneKune Pigs, Goats, Chickens, Ducks, Guinea Fowl, Dogs, Cats, & plenty of wild children around here, so we have added a lot of fencing since we moved in. The whole backyard area is fenced in, there is a 1/4 acre area fenced in livestock area in the Forest Garden, & livestock fencing around the barn. Next to the barn, we use the small outbuilding as our chicken coop & also have a chicken tractor that would come with the farm.
The Main Garden
Our main garden has two large & fenced in areas, with a middle gourd tunnel providing a path (& vertical growing space) through the middle. We brought in cinder blocks to create raised beds in 2017 & have loved the results, finding many benifits. By creating raised beds, we are able to efficiently place our comopost within the beds and the cinder blocks actually warm up with the early Spring sun, in turn, helping to raise the temperature of the soil for earlier planting. We are also able to easily add hoops to the sections, for a reliable, frost-free Spring or extended growth in the fall. While the whole garden utilizes raised beds, the whole South section of the garden uses cinder blocks & the North garden uses rocks, bricks, wattle fencing, & cinder blocks for the beds. All practices at our farm could be described as organic & permaculture-although to be clear, while we did only use organic methods, we were never certified Organic.
Herb Spiral Garden
The Herb Spiral was added in 2019 & we’re excited to see it in it’s full glory this time around! The idea behind the spiral, is to provide different climates & soil types, in one space, that satisfies all kinds of Herbs, while utilizing water efficiently. This project took a lot of hard work and sweat! We hulled in the rocks from John’s Grandma’s farm by truckload, brought clay like soil in from afar, hulled wheelbarrows full of sandy soil from elsewhere on the property, & started most of the herbs from seed.
At the top of the spiral, you will find sandy soil, with sun & dry loving plants. As you get closer to the bottom you will find plants that prefer more clay-like soil, with more moisture. At the end of the spiral we have a small pond that provides moisture, habitat for critters, & it use to serve as a great spot to take a drink for our Honeybees. We have since relocated our Honeybees at a relatives, but it’s a perfect spot to add your own! We utilize this space for Food, Medicine, Education, & love looking out our front windows to this beautiful view!
Located right next to the main garden is a composting area that we have put to good use over the years!
To be honest, we work hard to make all of our property (outside of the fenced in animal spaces) a ‘yes’ space for all children! But having a dedicated space for children to dig, create, climb, rearrange, experiment, jump, & play as they see fit has been great for all. We have multiple different kinds of swings, a mud kitchen, slides, slack lines, areas dedicated to play in the dirt, logs to climb on and rearrange, & the main hangout spot for the kids in the backyard-a tree house that our Wild School kids helped build!
In the backyard we have a very handy outhouse that gets lots of use 3/4 of the year!
Info to be added.