We have a really big yard up at the Red House. Actually, it’s more than a yard, it’s over four acres of property, a meadow really, that’s framed by five or six houses on one side and lots of trees and bamboo on the other.
That’s just the bottom half of the hill. On the top half of the hill and above the trees, we have a whole other little piece of property and part of a forest that leads to a hidden waterfall.
Like all pieces of land back in the late 1800’s, this was farm land. I’m not sure what kind of crops they were growing back then but as recently as the 1980’s the fields were still being cultivated to grow potatoes and corn, green beans and tomatoes. The crops are long gone but I do have a ton of mint and what looks like burdock.
There’s also lots of berries and a old well that’s an eye-sore, boarded up as it is in the middle of the property, that we have to think about what to do with.
I casually planted a few flowers and they grew so abundantly that next year I’ll definitely plant some more.
Then there are the weeds. I know weeds aren’t supposed to be beautiful, but look at these.
There are also oak trees that have fallen and their twisted branches have taken up shapes (the antlers of a reindeer, a large wishbone) that remind me of some very highly priced artwork I’ve seen at ABC Carpet in Manhattan as well as in a couple of furniture catalogs. Perhaps I need to sell some of these pieces to help with the renovation? (If any one wants one of these, please let me know.)
Watching the seasons change up at The Red House has been breathtaking. We watched the meadow go from nearly still-frozen turf when we acquired the house in late April, to lush green by July, to a cornucopia of color when the first red and gold autumn leaves fell.
While the house renovation is consuming us, we have started thinking of ways we can landscape all this property without losing its inherent natural aesthetic or breaking our non-existent budget.
In this week’s (11/24/2010) Dining Section of the New York Times, I came across an article about people who forage for edible plants for high end restaurants. Perhaps I should share some of my sumac fruit with the chef at Del Posto? For a price of course.