Outside my door is a giant clump of chocolate mint. I didn't even plant it. It was in a planter on the ground for one summer and spilled over. The plant, like every member of Lamiaceae in these latitudes in North America, became a successful practitioner of colonialism. I don't care for invasive plants, but I have little complaints about the mint. Whenever I want a cocktail, it's handy to spruce up some lime and grenadine.
Visible from the only road access, the first thing you're likely to see is a giant Weeping Willow and an ancient Southern Magnolia. Also there is a huge Higan Cherry(It is a solid pillar of pink in the Spring), a Flowering Dogwood and finally a great Weeping Corkscrew Willow. Underneath the Weeping Corkscrew Willow, I keep my inoculated logs of Lion's Mane and Shitake. The house is hidden behind and underneath the Magnolia and Dogwood.
In the side yard is a concrete and aluminum patio(the newest structure, built by yours truly), connected to the main house via a path of broken cinderblocks. Two Amethyst Falls Wisterias have grown over the side and started to brave the hot aluminum roof. Next to the path is a great green bell on a ten foot pole, with a red rose growing underneath.
The bell was from an old Methodist church from a nearby town, about 12 miles away. They auctioned it off when they rebuilt the church(Not the Red Brick Church or the old chapel from the Ertan Deep). My Grandmother used it to signal dinner to those working the fields, located on the other side of the road. Now, it's supposed to be silent, but it's rang twice three or four years ago and last year, both times at night. I have no idea who rung it or why, but I put up cameras to catch them if they did it again. I'm surprised it even can be rung, I thought it was rusted solid.
On one side of the patio is the old garden patch, about a third the size of a football field. It's only current occupants are Blueberry bushes and a Goji Berry and wild roses. On the other side of the patio is the Strawberry Patch, Figs, Raspberries and Grape Arbor. Beyond the Patio is a great Japanese Birch and a collection of fruit trees, mostly Plum and Pear.
Behind the Ranch is a dog pen, the old Schoolhouse(where my grandmother taught piano and where my Sister and I went to school[Yes, we were homeschooled]). There is also an overgrown herb garden, a clematis and a short grove of pine trees. Beyond these pine trees is the valley that becomes the Ertan Deep. In that valley are several fruit trees, mostly apples. The Ertan Deep carries on for several football fields where it ends, punctuated by an old cow pond.
On the other side yard is just a barn, a lilac bush and the Apple House. The Apple house was built in '85 to dry apples. It's just full of gardening tools and brown recluses now.
On the opposite side of the road is the Tile House. A ruined building built god-knows when. Further on is a modest-sized lake.
Everything else is either a field I lease to local farmers or useless land belonging to the Ertan Deep.
Now, do like me, put some simple syrup in a shaker with some chocolate mint leaves; cut open two limes and squeeze the juice in that same shaker and add the gin and ice. Find a shady spot, some book you've been meaning to read and let things take their course.
Do like Martin Luther said: "Love God and