The Maine Adventure

The Property
The Site...  Landscaping... Outside Design... The Natural Environment...
Gentle Demolition...  Moving the Barn...  Moving the Cape...  Reconnecting the Cape...  The Cape Renovation... Becoming a B&B...
The Farmhouse
Prepping for the Farmhouse...Modular Farmhouse & Stick-built Garage...Farmhouse Interior...
The Homer Jones Barn
The original Homer Jones Barn...The new HJ Barn...Homer Barn Interior...Owner's Quarters

The Heroes-My Working Partners...  The Gallery... The Retreats... The Destination Weddings


   Project 1: Landscaping the Pond     Project 2: Clearing the View-way     
Project 3: Pruning the Apple Trees   Project 4: Clearing the Paddock  
Project 5: Moving the Rotten Elm

Project 1: Landscaping the Pond

Here you can see that the pond is surrounded by fast-growing scrub and brush and that the cattails, though lovely and healthy, are crowding out the Maine painted turtles' habitat. So I hired a local landscaping crew and asked them to use their small excavator to lift the scrub, without taking all the fertile soil, from around 3/4 of the pond; then we all planted bulbs and wildflower seeds around the perimeter and snugged them down with a blanket of straw to protect them through the long Maine winter. Can't wait to see how they set and grow in spring!

Then Mike and Ron donned their hip boots (really waste-high boots) and pulled some of the cattails by their roots, edging them back to the back third of the pond. I hope to find a way to keep them from spreading....and to invite the painted turtles back to swim in the pond and bask in the sun on their
favorite log!

The fill was hauled to another part of the property, where it leveled the sloping edge of a lovely glade.

Meanwhile, I took my trusty brush-cutter and cut the brush back in the back third of the pond, and hope to find someone to build a bridge across the pond----for charm, and also for visitors to be able to have easy access to "Ladyslipper Lane", an area where these endangered plants are thriving, and which I've protected for posterity.

Project 2: Clearing the "View-Way"

The view is of the Back River, a side-channel of the mighty Sheepscot River, and it's truly the main reason I bought this property. This river is tidal, bringing all the natural resources of the ocean to my doorstep. I had dreamed of  'rolling' down my lawn, into my kayak and paddling 'off to sea' for many years.

This view was great, but it was limited by the 4 foot high growth of brush and scrub and by the encroaching trees, and I couldn't walk down the hill, much less roll.

My first major project, after buying and building eight park benches, from which to enjoy my new 'park', was to buy a brush-cutter and spend 4 full days cutting the swath of brush from my lawn to the water---about 4000 square feet of brush. Then Mike and Ron helped with some small tree cutting and top-lopping.

And Harold and his crew helped widen the view further by taking out trees along the sides of the view-way, always following Maine ecological laws.

When the ground finally froze and became hard enough to hold big machinery, it was time for the next step.

Next, we brought in a large excavator to flatten the terrain of the view-way, and to fill and lay a lovely six foot wide winding path from the end of the lawn to the bottom of the view-way, allowing the wanderer lovely views all along the way. Next spring, I'll plant around the paths with wildflowers and low-growing shrubs.

But when the Cape was moved, it lost its views...and after a couple of months it became clear that the view-way would have to be widened to allow glimpses of the water from the new porch and dormers of the Cape.
Once again, in July, Harold and crew came to the rescue and we set out to take down the trees at the top of the view way that were blocking the view--without taking out the lovely old trees along the walkway.
To this end, I communicated with the men by walkie-talkie from the top of the view, as they took down tree after tree. To get just the right trees, I zipped up and down from the view to the walkway, and we all had quite an adventure.

Next, Casey and crew from EM Wood came back and straightened out all the hundreds of tree carcasses so that they can be chipped for the walkway. And then he and Ben and Steve cleared the walkway and replaced the organic dirt (which was used to fill in in front of the Cape) with bank run gravel, which serves as a stable layer for walking or driving trucks up to the size of my new dumptruck.


The walkway was planned to follow feng shui rules, wandering gently down the slope to the water, giving opportunities to sit and think, watch wildlife, as well as to see the lovely cove and Back River all along the way.

The next project was to have the trees ground into mulch for the walkway...and supplement with mulch from the Town dump.


Project 3: Pruning the Apple Trees

Several of the apple trees on the lot were big and old and lovely and VERY much in need in pruning.

 But two of them were so hidden that I didn't know they were apples. Right in the middle of the picture below is a lovely old hidden apple tree!

Here it is strenuously pruned and ready for spring.

Here it is fully recovered and setting fruit in July.

Below is another mystery 'bush' that turned out to be a wildly growing concord grapevine that had obscured an apple tree. The vine will be gently relocated to give the tree a chance to come back next spring.

There were many more apple trees to prune, and once the weather warmed up just a bit this summer, we took on this project. Luckily, Harold's brother, Richard, has lots of experience caring for orchards, so Richard has been teaching me the subtleties of pruning apple trees! 

Then, in the winter of 2008/09, the snow was so heavy that several apple trees lost limbs. This tree, one of the most picturesque, lost its whole upper torso...and I got to play with my chainsaw!

For the lawn, I found a wonderful, capable and energetic young man to care for the lawn and trim while I work on other things. He uses a wide hand mower and RUNS around the lot, mowing the lawn. What a way to stay in shape! But he moved on and then Richard and I began to do the laawnmowing together.

Press here to continue the Maine adventure-More Landscaping