New Pathways to Old Places

Getting Around Windy Thistle has never been easy. When we first came to our glen, it was pretty bare bones. There weren’t any gardens or paths through the property. It was very pretty to look at, with the green meadow and deep woods surrounding us. It was, however, no where near our dream of a place in the country to share with folks from the city who need a break around a campfire or who want to learn something old that is new again, like soap making or how to preserve the harvest.

We just mowed a path through the tall grass meadow to the pond.

We knew we needed to put in paths but it was slow going. At first, we covered the ‘paths’ with cardboard and then about four inches of wood chips. We didn’t even get to other paths for the first year but just the long herb garden and the path that leads from our deck to the lower meadow gate. We mowed a path to the pond through the tall grass. We also mowed a path to the lower meadow’s corner – where it enters our woody bottom land.

The long path down to the campground.

We also needed a path from the lower meadow to the garden paddock and chicken pen, so my Darling mowed a path down but that was as far as we got last year – we inched along. We were joined this year by Boyo #1. He had a vision of how to work all of these pathways. We also had a water problem – the dry creek that runs along the bottom woodlands of our property drains five different dry creeks when it rains. It was starting to undermine the bank nearest to our lower fence.

The dry creek bed drains five other creeks so it really roars when it's full of water and needed diverting.

So, Boyo #1 has dug a new channel for the creek and that has lessened the impact of water on the bank but it has also displaced tons of rock – water washed creek rock. It’s full of very interesting stones and so we are using it all over the place. Now, we’ve gotten some work started on several new paths and I am cobbling that first long path with fist to foot sized river stones and it is coming along slowly but beautifully. Boyo #1 wants me to set the stones in concrete and I will probably end up doing that but first, I just want our feet out of the damp dew in the mornings.

Cobbling together a footpath from our backdoor to the lower meadow gate.

We have used pea gravel to provide ground cover for the campsites – and larger rocks to make firepits. We’ve used the medium size gravel to cover the muddy ground by the chicken pens and entrance to the market garden and it’s improved the look and the problem with folks getting their feet covered in muck.

The larger gravel makes keeping our feet out of the muck so much easier!

We also installed a fieldstone walk going down to the pens - stepping stones down the hill to keep us from sliding on dewey grass in the mornings. We’ll be adding a few more stones to this walk as we locate the right fieldstone. This area gets a lot of daily foot traffic so it’s really great to get better footing.

The fieldstone path from the work tarmac down to the chicken pens and market garden.

Our mowed path down to the corner is only going to be for family and farm hands and so we are building a gate at the lower end. Our wood lot is there that we’ll provide to our campers for them to enjoy around their private campfires. Four of our paths come together in the lower corner, go right to the creek path to the Ant Hill (site 1), over the bridge to the Raven's Nest (site 2) and to Site 3 (unnamed as of yet.) Go right for the pebbled path to the firepit recreation area and the house.

Where paths come together.

This path also leads to the entrance to the bee yard and the hügelkultur bed of squash and melons. We really don’t want people wandering into the bee yard by mistake so Boyo #1 is making a new path that leads down the fence line, then up to the firepit area and then up to the house. He’s paving it with pea gravel. This is a lovely walk, with deep woods on one side and the bee yard & hugelkulture beds on the other side of the fence, a safe distance to watch these fascinating insects at work but not close enough to put anyone at peril. Honeysuckle covers part of this fence so there is a lovely aroma wafting through the air now that it's in bloom.

The Camper's Path to the House and Main Firepit - a work in progress.

We’ll be using the larger gravel to pave the firepit area. This area is a mud morass. It was formally an above ground swimming pool, long gone before we moved in. The packed dirt is impervious to water, though, so draining and redirecting water from this area is necessary if we’re to make it the recreation area that we want – with a seating area, a central firepit and a handmade cob baking oven. We have the BBQ pit there already along with a woodshed now as well as the central bonfire pit. The crescent shaped berm is planted with flowers that will make a stunning display later on this summer.

The next big project - Our firepit / bbq pit recreation area.

We also completed one more project that was bothering me. Our iron deck table and chairs were here when we got here. They were so rusty but otherwise in good shape. Lots of sanding, scraping and five cans of Colonial Red paint, 1 can of Black for the pedestal and new cushions for the chairs later - Check it out! :) I'm really pleased with the way they turned out. Right now, this is the favorite spot for evening star gazing.

Repainted Deck Set

It’s always a work in progress here at Windy Thistle. We’re hoping to be open for business again very soon. While we are waiting to welcome our friends back, we are still providing market baskets of fresh produce – every Friday! Just write me at or contact me on Facebook at Eileen Stewart or Windy Thistle Farm Stay B&B to get on our produce list and I’ll tag you on Thursday’s FB message about what’s available.

We miss you all. Stay Safe!

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