Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How To Garden on An Historic Site.

This is more a "How in the world and I going to garden on an historic site," rather than instructions on how to do so. I guess you can all learn along with me.

I was asked to help with the landscaping of our county's old Poor Farm. This is a MG project to be done along with several others including rainwater harvesting systems and landscaping around other county buildings.

The farm was established in 1883 to house and provide medical care to the county's paupers. An individual was assigned to the farm after being declared a pauper and were to stay there until they could support themselves or died. Able bodied persons were required to work. Apparently, a few "lazy" people were given train tickets out of Kaufman County and the great State of Texas. A court order was required in order to leave the farm. During 1900 the farm was used as an epidemic camp during a small pox outbreak. Later it was used to showcase new farming technologies.

As we walked around today, I saw a hodgepodge of buildings, equipment, and overgrown fence rows. The old jail, 1960's era I believe, is being used for storage. This building gave me the creepy crawlies. I am not sure what structural problems exist in each of the buildings. Water is the first order of business. We found a spigot, but it is not working. The door to one of the buildings had to be kicked hard in order for us to get in. We found a rusted wrench and a rusted ring of some kind.

My challenge will be to find Earthkind designated plants that might have been available in 1883. A square foot garden is being planned for a fenced in "yard." The goal is to turn this into a museum.


  1. Sounds like a big challenge but a rewarding one. I look forward to seeing the progress. I love preservation of old stuff. Good luck on it and make sure you get your tetnus shot!!

  2. Oh man, I didn't even think about a tetnus shot. It has been ten years. Last time I had to get one was because I cut myself with a rusty pair of wire cutters. It was a gardening accident. I need to warn P. Thanks, really.

  3. Wow, Debbi, what a challenge! But what an honor, too. Keep us posted!

  4. Sounds like a Blast, Deb!!
    I'm not sure if they're Earthkind, but I have 3 types of bulbs in my yard that was passed down fom hub's great granny's Texas garden --
    Blood lillies, red spider lillies and milk and wine crinum lillies.

    The legend goes that they came with her as a young girl, from west Texas to Ft.Worth, when she was first married in the late
    1800's. Supposedly, she walked behind a wagon most of the trip.
    Btw, wonder why they walked BEHIND the wagon???? I think I'd have walked in front or beside the dang thing and avoided eating so much dust.

    Anyway, have fun and post lots of pics!

  5. Dust and ox poo. I know that there are some bulbs there already. Of course I have no idea about the fall bloomers. That is a neat legend. I love stuff like that.

  6. Wow! What a challenge! I wonder how long small pox spores live?

    You will post about the progress, won't you?

  7. Great, now you've set off my ocd thanks:P. Are we vaccinated for small pox? Of course I will keep an update on the project here. Hopefully, it will turn out well. I am pretty excited.

  8. Cool project. But it sounds like those buildings are creepy.

  9. Some are cool old buildings. Some are really creepy and stinky. I will have to be brave. I wonder if there are ghosts?