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  • Last modified 109 days ago (May 3, 2017)

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Scratch landscaping is a lot of work but has its rewards

Staff writer

When Kim and Deb Unruh purchased a small acreage southwest of Marion 21 years ago, there were no buildings. It was a brome field. Now it boasts a house, horse barn, and craft shed plus beautiful landscaping.

They dug a basement close to a hillside and moved a modular home onto the foundation.

Using the excavated dirt, they developed a terraced area on one side of the house using railroad ties from a track that had been removed from behind the grain elevator in Marion. Deb Unruh was bookkeeper at the co-op at the time. She retired a year ago February.

Some of the terraced area was covered with fine rock and holds several antique items including an old hay rake. Many flowers bloom on the dirt terraces during the growing season.

Water hoses are on timers, which was convenient when Unruh went to a job every day.

When the co-op dug footings for a new grain storage bin, Deb took home some of the unearthed boulders to place around the yard.

She bought decorative rock to place as accents. Limestone slabs from the area were used to line the bank behind the house.

A fenced yard includes a play area and a purchased craft shed. Unruh likens the shed to a “man cave,” calling it a “she shed.” She created stained glass items there in the past and now uses it to transplant flowers and store bedding plants.

Antique items such as old wagon wheels decorate the landscaping around the house and yard.

The homestead also includes a fenced-in vegetable garden and a few chickens.

Unruh said she doesn’t know why she does all that yard work but she does like the way it looks. It’s her life.

“I live out here all the time,” she said. “I hardly ever go to town.”

She is trying to figure out what to do to replace a large tree in the front yard that was blown over in a windstorm two years ago. She plans to develop another flowerbed this spring.

The Unruhs bred and sold horses for a long time. Now, they are down to two mares, Cash and Tango, one stud, Dude, and a donkey, Daisy, for their 6-year-old granddaughter, Kaylie.

Kaylie named their cats Martha, Taffy, and Cane.

They have two dogs, a Rhodesian ridgeback named Abby and a Toy Poodle/Chinese pug mix named Pugsly.

Last modified May 3, 2017

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