peach blossoms

A wee bit of paradise!

Imagine! Imagine a soft, apple-blossom-scented dawn, where you are sitting on the patio, surrounded by birdsong and flights of butterflies. Imagine yourself making friends with hummingbirds and orioles. Imagine the sweet taste of heritage apples, fresh from the trees, with no chemicals to mar that burst of flavor when you bite into them. Imagine dancing on summer solstice in the dewy grass, surrounded by trees of many varieties all touched with new light. Imagine your own little woods, full of birds and beauty, a private sanctuary where your heart can find peace. Imagine a deep star-flung sky just at your fingertips as you stand before the awesome Milky Way listening to the owl's call. Imagine a bright dancing bonfire on Winter Solstice, where you are singing with your family and friends, roasting your own homegrown apples over the flames, celebrating the passage of another year on your own magical farm. Imagine!

This imagined landscape was born from a family dream in 1978 in the Uncompahgre Valley. From a ramshackle old house and sheds we created a wee paradise that seems far, far from the hectic world, yet still has the lovely convenience of a nearby town and the glorious San Juan Mountains.

The place now features two houses, a small shop, a 30x36 steel barn (2008), a park with mature trees, a large pasture, a 45-ft studio dome, two greenhouses, and priority water rights, all on 8.05 acres. Lush, magical, full of peace, this place is home to more than 22 varieties of heirloom apples, four varieties of heirloom pears, four varieties of heirloom peaches, and other fruit and nut trees—plums, apricots, cherries, currants, Carpathian walnuts, Turkish hazel nuts, raspberries, gooseberries, Oregon Blackberries, mulberries, and more. The soil is rich and deep. The harvest is abundant and delicious. Since 1978 the place has been restored in balance with nature, the residents living in harmony with wildlife and more than 90 different kinds of birds. Located in a “rainbow valley,” the farm is at an elevation of 6,200 feet, in agricultural Zone 5: mild winters break into glorious springs in March, with warm and verdant summers eventually giving way to spectacular autumns.

In the autumn of 2014 this wee paradise was purchased by a new family, thus this website will now be only an archive of what our family once created. In new hands, the place will grow to be a new dream.

Song Dog

DOME HOUSE: Custom-built, two-story, 39ft diameter geodesic dome on concrete slab; 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, 1 ¾ bath, living room, library loft, den/office room, open floor plan among kitchen, dining room and family room with vaulted ceiling with two skylights. Begun in 1986, completed in 1994. Propane furnace/hot water baseboard heat. Propane tank is 500 gals.; goes with property (owned, not leased). Electric water heater (2011), built-in cooktop (2014), ceiling fan. Chimney and opening for possible insert wood stove. Cool clear Tri-county Water. Septic system. Living “outside the box” in a geodesic dome gives you embracing, peaceful space. Domes are fast becoming the house of the future with their energy-efficient construction, aesthetic beauty and ambience.
Dome House


COTTAGE HOUSE: Sometimes referred to as “The Hobbit House” or the “House that Jack Built,” this little English cottage style home has charm and character. It is atypical/unconventional construction and has been added on to by various owners since 1939, consequently it has anomalies—expect “character” not perfection. Most of the cottage was built before the days of codes and permits. It sits on a partial dugout cellar and has some walls slightly out of plumb; however, it is sound and cozy and has been occupied since it was first built.

Cottage House

main entry
The Hobbit House is a cozy two bedroom, two ¾ baths home, with an extra sleeping loft, a mini-garden room, a large living room, walk-in pantry, large office/library, a utility room, a small dining room and cozy kitchen refitted with new cabinets twelve years ago. Cheery and bright, this home features a large patio surrounded by lush flower gardens. Two large glass doors open onto the patio; four other doors conveniently located for access from nearly all sides of this wandering house.

Garden fence across from patio

STUDIO DOME: A 45ft diameter geodesic dome on concrete slab. This building is very spacious, completely open across the entire width and height, which gives it a lovely ambiance for an art or sculpture studio (which it has been since it was built in the 1990s).
Studio Dome

STEEL BARN: The new 36x30 barn, built in 2008, is all steel, on a concrete slab. This has heavy-duty foamed interior, which keeps the building above freezing in the winter and cool in the summer.

SHOP: This 21.5 x 23.5 building has a new steel roof. It has two rooms, with a partial third room partitioned by a curtain, where tools and a large upright freezer unit stands. The trumpet vine on the front is a buffet for numerous hummingbirds.

inside shop


FIBERGLASS GREENHOUSE: 8x14, where we grow tomatoes to extend their season.


LARGER GREENHOUSE: (converted from a chicken coop in 1980) has a large section of new steel roof with skylights, and the front section with white poly over greenhouse fiberglass.
large greenhouse



This is not what you'd call a commercial orchard operation with trees in rows. It is the rejuvenated remnants of an antique orchard dating to 1890, with trees in various locations across the farm. They range from early apples ready in mid-August to late apples ready in November. These are old varieties nearly lost to apple culture, which we have saved, sharing scion wood across the country. We've also started other heirloom trees from our Seed Savers connections and developed a few of our own varieties, unique to this farm. We have had such an abundance of fruit over the years that we've sold from the farm and given it away to the local food-banks. Over 22 varieties of heirloom apples sweeten the air here in spring, which means generally one tree of each. Among them are Macintosh, Colorado Red Delicious, White Transparent, Golden Delicious, Snow, Arkansas Black, Maiden's Blush, (George) Washington Royal, Winesap, Amazon Baby, J&P Early, Jonathan, Pink Pearl, Granny Smith, Gala, Royal Gala, three old-fashioned candy or jelly crabs, and others.
Arkansas Black

Basket of various heirloom apples

jelly crabs
Three kinds of jelly crabapples

Heirloom pears: Bosc, Bartlett, D'Anjou, and Comice.

Heirloom peaches shown: Sweet-pit, Elberta, Polly (a low-acid white-fleshed old favorite), and Red Baron (a spectacular and rare showy tree with the sweetest of fruit). We also have John Losasso's Red Leaf (a late season smaller peach with whitish flesh).

ALSO: succulent table plums, sweet black cherries, apricots, gooseberries, currants, Oregon blackberries, raspberries, Carpathian walnuts, Turkish hazel nuts ("Trazel" variety—Corylus avellana x colurna).
Hazel nuts

NOTE: Although we practice organic farming, living in deep ecology without heaping chemicals on the earth, we have never had the need to be certified; however, the new owners could apply with the appropriate agency to become certified if you so choose, since the place is already chemical-free. FOR MORE PHOTOS CLICK HERE


hammock in the park
PARK: This area features many specimens of trees and shrubs unusual for the region, including Ruby Hill locust, Horse chestnut, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, weeping birches, black maples, water maples, aspen grove, weeping mulberry, Royalty flowering crabapples, Hopa flowering crabapples, flowering hawthorn, Canadian redbud, spruce, balsam fir, Eastern and Western White Pines, and many others. The grass has been kept mowed for many years, leaving a lovely place to frolic with the dogs or to hold picnics and outside gatherings, but it is not a manicured park, as it has shallow furrows to carry the water down the length of it and is mowed at 4-5 inches. This would be a great place for small Farm Festivals, with music and booths and the fruit of the day. It could also be a bird watchers paradise/botanic gardens if one wanted to add paths and benches, etc. The numerous botanical specimens are already mature and gloriously beautiful in spring, summer and autumn. The area is bordered by a long line of weeping birches mixed with a few other trees and hemmed with outstanding iris specimens of countless colors.



Veggie garden gate to orchard
The main veggie garden (or kitchen garden as we call it) is 30x90 feet, and near the cottage house. It is fenced with a beautiful white PVC-vinyl, picket fence with graceful arches and several gates. Showy flower gardens are around the houses and extending beyond, some in the park area. Many varieties of perennials are established in these gardens, including roses, delphinium, columbine, foxglove, Schriener's award-winning iris in various stunning colors; Japanese, Siberian, and Large Dutch iris; uncounted varieties of showy (and edible) daylilies; glorious peonies and "tree" peonies, lavender, hostas, ferns, and some unusual plants, such as the fascinating "rattle snake plant" and others.






This is a wooded area left wild, which we established by planting a variety of trees, including Autumn Blaze maples, willows, aspen, oak, catalpa, apples, and others, allowing a place for the fox and birds to be relatively undisturbed. The edge of the copse has a huge Oregon Blackberry thicket that keeps growing bigger every year, giving us an abundance of the most succulent, sweet and juicy berries - we have eaten untold numbers of them and froze more than 10 gallons this year. The thicket is thorny but we've made "trails" into it, so we can reach to the heart. The berries are the best anywhere in this valley, started from a few cuttings from the Pacific Northwest years ago. We share a few with the birds and skunks.


pasture in summer

Pasture with high hay grass in summer, looking north to domes.

Pasture in March

Pasture in March, looking SW to hogback.

This is the middle field between the park and the copse, a large section of hay grass, alfalfa, clover and other green things. We've had a truck garden here for commercial purposes in years gone by. It is a large enough pasture to sustain a milk cow or a few goats or sheep. An intermittent pond is at the bottom of it.

FENCE: The entire farm is surrounded by an 8-ft high DOW deer fence, protecting the fruit trees from deer. It also makes the property more private.

IRRIGATION: The farm is on one of the oldest irrigation ditches in the valley, with 0.7 shares, priority water that has always been available even during droughts. The headgate is concrete; with 6-inch diameter PVC gated pipe running the length of the acreage, forking at the lower point into the orchard and the vegetable garden. Two pumps are on the section of ditch that passes the cottage and the dome house, each set up with a system for watering the lawns, trees and shrubs at these two houses. Where the ditch runs through the property it looks more like a creek, with trees, flowers and shrubs on the banks, giving a more natural atmosphere to the irrigation system.
ditch bank planting ditch bank planting



The property has numerous showy trees, not only those in the park and copse, but others throughout the acreage, including two varieties of magnolia, bur oak, northern red oak, black maple, water maple, Skinner cut-leaf maple, River birch, catalpa, 2 varieties of mulberries, sycamore, aspen, spruce, juniper, arbor vitae, various types of poplar, weeping willows, globe willows, numerous flowering trees, redbud, golden rain tree, oak-leaf rowan; Bechtel, Hopa, Royalty flowering crabapples; black locust, Idaho pink locust, Ruby Hill locust, horse chestnut, Western white pine, Eastern white pine, Canadian hemlock, Balsam fir, Japanese Tree Lilac… and more. Shrubs and perennial vines include giant Snowball Viburnums, "Black Beauty" elderberry bush, wisteria sinensis, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, tea roses, climbing roses, species roses, juniper, show-piece varieties of lilac in white, yellow, pink, burgundy, purple and picotee (this is "Sensation" a stunning specimen).

Redbud tree


Fox baby
The farm has had a resident fox that had several litters of kits over the last few years; also resident skunks and raccoons, with whom we live in peace, unless they make a nuisance of themselves at the houses—which is rare. When this occurs, and they don't listen to our lectures, we live-trap them, sentence them to transportation, and take them to the wildlife refuge lands along lush river and creek areas. They never complain. Currently no known skunk or fox is in residence.

We also have hard-working bats, shrews, and an occasional weasel. Infrequently a badger passes through and a few coyotes visit in the winter to clear out the voles, mice, and wild rabbits. We have long lived in peace with all these wild creatures, because they keep the land balanced. Skunks do a great service for the farm, clearing out grubs and worms and grasshoppers. Raccoons have also been welcome here, as they clean up the windfall fruit from the orchard.

We also have a host of beneficial snakes, mostly Western terrestrial garter snake, Thamnophis elegans—we encourage them to be fruitful and multiply, as they clear the garden of slugs, voles, beetles et al. They are part of organic farming life and have made such a fabulous comeback since they were devastated in the 1970s before we arrived here. We allow them to use the cobblestone pit beneath the Hobbit House as their winter hibernarium. When they emerge in the spring they are a fascinating sight to behold—almost as good as the tourist attraction in Manitoba… yes, you could sell tickets for the spectacle. They gather in large snake balls, coiling and writhing in a gentle ballet of satin scales and smiling faces, numerous males vying for a chance to fertilize the large females. These are harmless, toothless creatures that we admire and protect. An occasional corn snake (Elaphe guttata), smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis), and bullsnake (Pituophis melanoleucus) slide through in search of food—all beautiful creatures that are welcomed.

Fabulous native Northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) and striped chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata), Woodhouse's toad (Bufo woodhousii) and a few salamanders and lizards also live here. All have been welcomed as part of our natural farming practices.

Another great member of the wildlife kingdom here is the Praying Mantis. We've brought in their egg cases many moons ago and now they are firmly established, helping us keep the grasshoppers and other annoying insects at bay. The Mantis is one of the most beautiful insects around, with an intelligent face and great disposition. We let them scamper across our hands and arms—they protect us while we're picking fruit —many live in the blackberry patch.

We also have an abundance of butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs, all beneficial to a healthy organic farm. We encourage the Blue Orchard bee and other native pollinators, as well as the bald-faced hornet, which protects orchards from coddling moth by eating the moth larva. Although we practice organic farming, we have never been certified; however, the new owners could easily become certified if they so choose, simply by applying, since the place is already chemical-free.
baby raccoon
chorus frog
frog prince
baby skunk

A very wet Western Tanager
For more than thirty years we have encouraged the birds to nest here, and now, with the numerous mature trees and variations of habitat from dense to open, we've found many birds have taken up residence, raising their young. Between the nesting birds of summer and the migrants of fall and winter, we've identified more than 90 different kinds of birds on the farm, which led to the offer from the Division of Wildlife to include us on the Colorado Birding Trail. We have not done this, but the new owners might consider it, as it is a great way to bring people to the farm. Bird watchers are quiet and content to sit among the shrubbery for hours watching the fine feathered friends sing and frolic. This could be a source of farm income also—yes, you may charge a fee for bird watchers on the CBT… and another fee for a farm-to-table meal, and another for lodging. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination or desire.


San Juan Mountains
NEARBY: Montrose is only 10 minutes away. School bus services to schools in town. The mountains are only 30 minutes away in one direction and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is only 45 minutes in the other. Just 12 minutes away is a reservoir and state park. Fabulous downhill skiing an hour away. Division of Wildlife (public lands) just behind and above the farm—a short walk via the headgate and along the irrigation canal—where elk and deer winter, coyotes sing to the stars all summer, and ravens and hawks nest their young. Only a few hours away is the wonderful desert landscape of Moab, UT, Canyonlands, Arches, and other wonders of the world.


location on Hwy 550

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