Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer and Living at Nature’s Pace, just published an article at OrganicToBe.org laying out a homestead landscape. For all those out there setting up your first homestead, your retirement homestead, or your the-bank-just-took-my-house homestead, you’ll find Gene’s tips helpful. Here’s an excerpt.
The kitchen garden should also be located as close to the house as possible, handy for a last-minute gathering of salad greens. The root cellar, if not an integral part of the house cellar, should also lie close by so that in preparing a meal, you need not bundle up in winter as you would for a long trip to the barn.
Just as the wood shed has come back into favor in many households, so could the summer kitchen of the pre-electric era. The summer kitchen usually was an annex to the main kitchen, a roofed step or two from the back door. The idea was, of course, to do the summer cooking where it did not heat up the whole house. If you have electricity, but not air conditioning, a summer kitchen is still a great idea when it’s time to can tomatoes, beans, and peaches—always in hot August.
The orchard should, ideally, be closer to the barn than the house so that livestock can be turned in and out conveniently. An apple tree under which sheep stand all day to escape the hot sun always produces bountifully. The scuffling hooves of the sheep “cultivate” the ground under the tree, and the sheep’s manure fertilizes it wonderfully.