[editor's note: ok, i am almost done with my website conversion and will be going through these articles and updating image links. all images here are thumbnail versions - for larger images go to the referenced web-page and click on the link to that image (or just go to www.anthive.com and enjoy)... :smile:] site summary: mid-Michigan, USoA, climate zone 5, 1.84 acres (80,000sq ft), soil is clay with some sand, water table is fairly high most of the year with some dry spells during the summer, avg rainfall is 3 inches/month, but we may get most of it in one storm, full sun for most of the site, tree line and hedge to the north, to the east is the large drainage ditch which cuts through the property. this picture is from several years ago, but gives the general idea of how things are set up: [ed. note more recent now] the site was set up for a different purpose than gardening or permaculture as it was intended to be an artist studio and gallery. the crushed limestone was added to reduce mowing around the house (we were high albedo long before it became a topic of environmental conversations). many areas were intended to be left as grass fields, but eventually they had to be turned into gardens as the field mice population was huge. Ma liked gardens and working with cement so she picked different areas and just did her thing without really planning much of it at all. the artist left, stranding Ma out in the country and i ended up moving back in after several events with drunken or drugged people thinking they could drive cars through garage doors or chopping heads off 20 something scarecrows. now i help out and try to make improvements as i can, but i'm not the owner so i sometimes have to be patient. that means retrofitting and working around existing gardens and decorations. it also means that most gardens take much more work than they would otherwise (like the entire back area is pretty much flood bait (including the veggie gardens)): longer term changes i'd like to make are always brewing in my noodle. ok, for now this will have to be enough. descriptions of the different areas will have to be for another post or perhaps even a series of posts.