Orange Marks the Spot

Orange Tape

Orange Marks the Spot

Navigating through 20 acres of completely raw land can be a bit overwhelming. In fact, the very first time we walked the property, we kind of got lost. Though I guess there isn’t such a thing as “kind of lost.” We flat out got lost. We entered the property at one spot where we parked, and after we got a bit turned around, we ended up exiting quite a way from where we’d entered. It became clear pretty quickly that 20 acres was probably going to be enough. Even more so when those 20 acres are completely wooded.

Stefanie tying off a tree to save.

Stefanie tying off a tree to save.

Stefanie wrote a couple of weeks ago about conducting a site analysis. One of the things we’ve had to do as we prepare the property for work to be done is mark a general perimeter for where we want to contain any clearing that’s to be done for the main homesite and farming area. Yes, we have to do some heavy clearing in order to function on the property. We are generally against going in and bulldozing a nice piece of land to put up a house, but this is a bit different in that there’s almost nothing beneficial about the acreage as it exists today. We don’t even have a way to safely and easily access the property, so pushing in a road to the property is essential. And since a bulldozer will be doing the clearing for the road, it makes sense to go ahead and utilize it to do some general clearing of the homesite area. Our plan is to go in and clear what we must in order to give it a fresh start, while keeping everything as native as we can. Almost all of the grasses present are nice clusters of native species. We’re hoping that since these grasses have been reseeding season after season for god knows how long, they’ll be able to recover sometime after the bulldozer cleaves its heavy tracks into the soil. One particular prevalent plant species on the property (that’s a lot of p words!) that must be destroyed as soon as possible is Poison Ivy (Update-actually, this is Poison Oak)!

Look at all that poison!

Look at all that poison!

The acreage is loaded with the stuff! Now for me, this isn’t a problem. I am a mutant. I am not allergic. It’s my superpower. But Stefanie is incredibly allergic. So a few weeks ago when we slathered ourselves in bug repellant and headed into the wilderness to begin marking the areas that we want to be sure and keep, Stefanie had a borderline panic attack when she saw how incredibly thick the poison oak was. I’m not kidding. It was everywhere. But she was strong, and we were able to completely mark the perimeter of what we want to keep. And really the only reason we want to keep anything in the general homesite area is to serve as a buffer from the surrounding properties. We’d like the homesite to feel as secluded as possible, so we want to be sure to preserve a nice thick tree line on the outer edges of the property. As we continue to work on developing and cultivating the property, we plan on going in and doing some “fine tuning” clearing by hand, and replacing many of the spindly little worthless blackjack oaks and eastern redcedars with more beneficial or harmonious species.

This tree lives to see another day!

This tree lives to see another day!

We prepped the land for clearing exactly one month ago. We’ve been getting so much rain in Oklahoma lately, that it’s put us way behind schedule. We’ve got so much we want to do out there, but it all depends on getting that road pushed in and the homesite area cleared. We’re super anxious to get “Dori,” our newly acquired airstream trailer, out on that property so we can begin living on the property, begin observing it more closely, and get a feel for how exactly we want things to come together. And believe it or not, we’re actually really looking forward to spending some quality time living in our 28-foot long trailer. We think it will help us realize how little we actually need in a home, and help us plan our dream home accordingly. But for now, we’re still just sitting and waiting for that dozer to get out and get to work.

Beau Leland

Beau Leland is a video editor working in Oklahoma City. He has worked with his wife, Stefanie Leland, on various documentary projects, and now focuses much of his energy on developing their 20-acres into an organic farmstead.

4 Comments
  • Debbie Leland

    Well I did not see one picture of me wielding the machete in one hand the Eskimo Joe’s cup in the other as we were sinking in the mud and running water., As you know, I have the anti poison ivy super power too! Poor Stef and your brother for having the anti anti poison ivy gene. Blame that on Wanda Grandma.

    June 3, 2015 at 6:18 PM
  • Beverly White

    I would love to see the picture of Deb with the machete and the Eskimo Joe’s cup! What’s in the cup…love to help, depending on the answer.

    June 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM
  • Debbie Leland

    Beverly, you know what was in the cup! Nothing like a bit of wine, and a machete in a forest with running water, poisonous plants and mud up to your ankles!! Can’t wait for you to come out with your boots and tools to help out.

    June 8, 2015 at 5:04 PM

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