Life On The Hill

Start a thread for your 'stead!

Moderator: matt walker

Life On The Hill

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:54 pm

Since Lolly has Lolly Land, and Matt has his place to show case I thought I would talk about my place on the Hill. I live on Reservoir Hill, the water company used to have a cement reservoir right next to my home, it was used for gravity flow preasure and they have now filled it in. We are 1210 feet above sea level and are really the 1st foot hill west of the Appilation Mountains. I can see the Chestnut Ridge from my place, it is 1800 plus feet above sea level. It runs from New England to Georga and is as small as you can be and still be called a Mountain. But from what I can see from my place to Denver Co there isn't anything big enough to be called a Mountain. I am about 45min to 1 hour from Pittsburgh depending on traffic and some people from this area used to commute to the steel mills around Pittsburgh. Our area was a Huge Coal Mining area and there were a major number of Bee Hive Coke Ovens in the area years ago. Because there was a water line that fed the reservoir I have city water here which is a big deal, my propperty is all undermined. I don't worry about the deep mine below me, that is 275 feet down, I have seen the maps, its the 3 small independant slope mines that are here on my property that concerns me. I have mine subsidance Insurance from the State of Pa. I bought the land in 1975 and built the house in 1978. We have about 35 acres more or less. There are about 4 level acres off the road, the rest of the land is steep, wooded and north facing. There are several springs that crop out at the bottom of my land. The roads up here on the hill were dirt when I bought here, so when a car drove by you just automatically waved with out looking up because you knew it was a neighbor, they are now oil and chipped so we get some out side traffic. We now have 20 homes on the hill and there is between 2 1/2 to 3 miles of roads. I never cared enough to actually measure. All of my neighbors talk about " Living on The Hill ", I find that rather surprising because our neighbors who live down off the hill are not really Flat Landers. They live in the same Township and pay the same taxes that we do, their kids go to the same schools, but everyone who lives up on the hill seems to feel that it makes a difference to be up here. Nice Neighbors, everyone. Two of my best friends live up here on the hill, both avid gardeners, both all organic, both quiet different styles of gardening, both think I am nuts to double dig as deep as I do. 22 acres of my land had been pasture field not many years befor I bought it. I debated about bulldozing the small trees that were springing up so that we could have a fantastic view, but decided that I control what I see here, and if I really want to see the view I can walk down to the Nieghbors and see it. I have not regretted controlling what I see from the back porch. I never gardened growing up, I stated when I moved out here to the country. I think it was the 2nd year we lived here that I decided I wanted a garden. A friend tilled up a patch about 10' X 15" and I started to pick rocks. There are alot of rocks up here on the hill, Glacier action I believe. We have about 6" of top soil, about 2 1/2 feet of sand and rocks and then a solid layer of Cap Rock. I planted beans, peppers, tomatos, zuccinni. Two days later I went up to see my garden and there was not a green speck in the garden. Ground Hogs or Rabbits or both had totally eaten every plant I put in. The zuccinni came up from seed later and they didn't like their leaves as well so they did great. It got to be a standing joke with my wife,,,,,,,,,,,well Hon, how are we haveing our zucinni tonight? I did not know anything about gardening. I put up a small fence the next year that kept the rabbits out. Since I had worked so hard the year befor and picked out all of the rocks I felt my garden would be great this next year, but when I got it tilled there were more rocks, and even bigger ones from down below. I was SHOCKED,,,SHOCKED I tell you. I couldn't believe how many rocks there were. That small fence lasted about 4 years befor it rusted away to nothing, so I decided to put up a proper fence, 4' high, welded wire 1" X 2" squares with 2 gates and an 8" section that I can remove to get the tractor in there. That fence has lasted over 20 years now, it was a good investment. Since the small garden was so much Fun I decided to make a Bigger garden. I am an American afer all, so if a little is Good, Then Alot must be Better. :lol: Turns out that a 40' X 40" garden is ALOT of work. Who Knew???? We raised 3 sons here so the garden was nice, and I added 3 strips outside the fence 4' X 25" long. Tried to plant stuff that the Ground hog didn't like out there like Zuccinni. When the kids left I stopped planting those 3 strips. Last year I re-planted 2 of then, 1 in Black Berrys, 1 in Gooseberrys and a couple of yellew raspberrys. After a couple of years of Gardening I decided to try planting some apple trees. I didn't know anything about apples either, are you starting to see a pattern here yet. lol, I planted 20 fruit trees, 4 pears and 16 apples, it cost me a total of $100 because it was late in the season and the nursery was stuck with alot of bear root stock that was going to die. A few years later I planted some Blue Berrys. I have continued to work the land and make inprovements over the years. It has been a labor of love for me. I will post some pictures and write more later, time for supper now.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:15 am

When we 1st moved here we made a line that was bordered by 3 huge old silver maple trees, from those trees to the house was Yard, above those tree was the field. My wife has a say so about what happens in the Yard, but I get to do what ever I want up in the field. The field was all grown up in brush and jaggers, [ Black Berry bushes and multi floral rose ] I had a friend brush hog it for me and have kept it mowed since. The yard has to be mowed every week, but the field can get high and its OK. There is also an Upper Field that gets mowed 2 or 3 times a year. All of the flowers I have planted, the shrubs, the butterfly garden, the orchard, the garden, the blue berrys, the grapes, all are up in the Field. It was the best deal I ever made, lol. Much better than the deal I made when she wanted a swimming pool. I was to open and close the pool, she would do everything else, chemicals, water testing, back flushing etc. I should have gotten that in writting because that deal isn't working for me at all any more, lol.
When I planted the fruit trees all of the Baldwin apples died, that was OK with me, I just figured that God didn't want Baldwin apples up on the hill, so I replanted golden delicious, macintosh, and Delicious trees instead. All are doing fine. Two of the pear trees died after several years from Fire Blight, it left a nice open area in the field for Volly Ball, I didn't replant. When I went to buy Blue Berry bushes I knew that you needed different varietys to cross polinate, so I asked the old guy at the nursery what types he had there. He said, well, this one has a red ribbon on it, that one has a blue ribbon on it, there is a white ribbon on that other one over there, so they must be different kinds and should work to cross polinate. OMG, the old guy didn't know anything, so I bought 8 plants, several of each color ribbon, 2 of the 8 died 6 are still producing well many years later. I really wish I knew what types I have because the one has huge berrys that taste great. Unfortunately I have No Clue what kind I planted, lol. I am now getting to be an old guy myself, I hope that Boo has time to read all of this because I have been making Learning experiances Happen for low these many years now. As a matter of fact, I may have coined the expression, lol
I have never tasted a Gooseberry, but I have read about them for years, so this year I planted 3 bushes. I really hope I like them when they fruit next year, ;) I don't mind taking a flyer here and there, trying something new or different or off the wall. That is why I bought an electric car. It wasn't because I wanted to save the planet, it wasn't to save money, it was because I watched a Video called " Who Killed The Electric Car " and it ticked me off so badly that we had the tech back in the late 1990's and let it go, I had to go out and buy one, I was that upset. I am normally more conservative than that, I had just been forced to retire and I think it was my mid- life Chrysler. :lol: I probably have more in Common with Youngblood than I do with many of the young Bucks here on this site. One young fella was telling Matt that he was Born in 1969, I graduated High School that year and met my wife that Dec. ;) talk about making me feel old. lol

Image

This is the line of trees that seporate the yard from the field.

Image

This was the 1st flower bed, the yellow Iris my Mom gave me, the timbers have not totally rotted away just yet.

Image
This bed is on the way to the garden, it has lillys of the valley, daffidiles, sun drops, and a couple of other flowers that I can not name. It is not bordered by 6X6 and so its shape just sort of grows with time.

Image

This is a patch of Tiger Lillys, they were growing wild across the road. Orange and black Day Lilly flowers They are done for the year. I do not bother to mow them off untill late fall. All of these planting are on the line of the field, so I just do what ever I want up there, ;) My pictures seem to show up small on here, just click on them and you will see a larger size, it you click again they will be full size and show alot more detail.
Last edited by pa_friendly_guy on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby boo » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:50 am

Wonderful story. I enjoyed reading about your life on the hill pa_friendly_guy, and I took notes(mwahaha). Looking forward to some pictures (hint, hint) AND I'm glad you coined the term "learning experiences" because it sounds a lot better than "OMG I stuffed it up again, quick- hide it before anyone else see's it" :lol:
User avatar
boo
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:56 am
Location: Central Victoria, Australia

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby Lollykoko » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:10 pm

Guy, thanks for the verbal walk-around of your place. I'm glad you have many years of experience to share because my getting started period has been very slow, so far. When should I be checking the nurseries for close-out prices? :D

Talking about having things in common with Youngblood ... Age-wise at least, I qualify. My eldest child was born 1969, so I know the younger folks here have a lot more energy to use than I do. Luckily however, I have learned to pace myself and to use a tool whenever possible to make the job go more quickly. ;) {Time to go to Lollyland and see if I can get the tractor started}

Guy, gooseberries are those grape looking things that you find in canned fruit cocktail. I've never seen them in a raw state, but the tinned ones are pretty good. Good luck with the new fruit bearing jaggers!
User avatar
Lollykoko
 
Posts: 575
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:04 pm
Location: Howard and Miami Counties, Indiana

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby matt walker » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:15 pm

Guy, thanks so much for this, I too really enjoyed reading about what you have going there, and I am inspired by your "go for it" attitude. Mid-life Chrslyer. LOL. I think I'm having one of those now, for some reason you sound way younger than I feel.
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1801
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:59 am

Well Matt, every day when I get out of bed, I look in the mirror and I ask myself, how do I want to be today, do I want to be Shitty, or do I want to be Terriffic!!! Most days I decide to be Terriffic !!! Its a state of mind, a choice, There are of course those crappy days, but here on the hill they are few and far between. I have some PBR in the Frig, and Life is Good today, Life is Good Today. I have had some fairly major Health issues in the past and I do truely thank the Good Lord every day for allowing me to wake up, just for this one more Day. I do really try to ENJOY each and every day. it isn't always easy, but look for the bright side. This has nothing to do with Life on the Hill, just with my life, and how I hope to live it. We often get so caught up in whats happening in our lives that we forget to actually Live our lives, Live the monent, live the day, enjoy the Hour. I was as guilty as the next guy, now I can look back a bit and reflect. When I was in school 1 of my many room mates asked me what my goals in life were and I proceeded to tell him, I wanted a House, a car, ajob, a wife and kids, I wanted the American Dream because I was told that is what we all should want for ourselves. Then I asked him what his Goals in Life were. He said his Goal was to be Happy. Well, that hit me like a Ton of Bricks. I too really wanted to be Happy, but I thought that all of that Stuff was going to make me happy. It doesn't. Turns out You can control your Happyness, you and no one else. Maybe that is why I sound Younger to you Matt. 8-)
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:25 am

Now that I am off my soap box, where was I ? Oh Yes, planting stuff on the Hill. After the orchard I decided I wanted some flowers. Didn't know too much about Flowers, but whats to know, they bloom, they look pretty, some of them come back year after year. That sounded pretty cool, and I like Flowers, they are sort of up lifting to the spirit. So I looked around and decided that Daffiddils, spelling was never my strong suit, seemed to be my kind of flower, they are pretty, they come back year after year with out any work on my part, and they are one of the 1st flowers to bloom and lift your spirits around these parts in the spring. So I drove up in the Mountain and dug up a bunch of wild Daffidilles, and by a bunch I mean 1000 bulbs, yes, I count them. These are the old fashioned double Daffy, the back looks like a regular daffy, but the front instead of haveing that nice trumpet looks like it has a wad of tissue paper stuffed there. Well I was pretty excited, 1000 bulds, I bet I get hundreds of blooms next year. I planted them in various places around the house and right on the field/yard line. When next spring came I counted the blooms, that is something that I do every spring now, I enjoy walking around looking for them as they pop up. But that 1st year it did not take me too long to count the 8 blooms that were going to give me color that year. The bulbs that I had dug up were all so in-grown and small that almost none of them were big enough to bloom. I have been planting Daffys in my yard ever since, I think I am up to around 4,000 bulbs that I have planted now. I was up to over 700 blooms a couple of years ago, now the number seems to be on the decline because I am letting them get in-grown like the original bulbs were, but 450 to 500 blooms in the yard, at the 1st showing of spring is still pretty great. And I an still going with the no work therory of Gardening, lol. When a Daffidille blooms it splits in two and neither of the 2 new bulbs are big enough to bloom. So the bulb that blooms this year may not bloom again for at least 2 or 3 years, maybe longer if the bulbs are tightly in-grown and there is no room for them to grow. I have many different colors, sizes, shapes, I love Daffys. Many friends have given me bulbs, 1 friend even gave me a 5 gal bucket full of bulbs she had dug out of her yard. I have given hundreds of bulbs away to friends and neighbors, I love Daffidilles, they are my favorite flower.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby boo » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:46 am

I loved the story about your daffodils (sp??) pa_friendly_guy....... my weakness is bearded iris (the flowers don't last as long as the daffodils, but I'm so hooked on them). I have so many excuses for having bearded iris popping up everywhere :lol: But we all need to be able to see something that brightens our day....it can't all be work, we have to make sure that we enjoy these little things. Sorry to hear that you're having health issues.....but it makes what you have achieved even more remarkable - a lot of people wouldn't put in the effort that you have (either with or without health issues).
User avatar
boo
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:56 am
Location: Central Victoria, Australia

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:10 pm

My next adventure into flowers was to plant a 16' X 4' rectangle of Giant Yellow Iris that my Mom gave me. I lined the bed with treated 6"X6" so that it would be easy to mow around it and double dug the soil. I have set the house landscape up with 6X6 lumber all around the house, and I have cut them at angels so that the mower can flow around the shrubs with out any trimming. I set this up when I was young because I was Lazy, now that I am a bit older I find it to just be easier, lol. I do not trim anything, if I can not mow it sitting on my Be-Hind it does not get mowed. :lol: The Iris bed was one of my 1st attemps at this program and I left the corners square, not a huge deal really, but not nearly as convenient as rounded or flowing corners. I used what worked dimentional lumber because it was cheaper and had less waste. The bed is right on the border line between the house and the yard, ;) I still get to do what I want because it is on the line. :lol: I also have a bed of Lillie Of The Valley, and a patch of Tiger Lillies, and a U shaped patch of Daffys with some peonies in the center. I did not formalize the other patches with 6X6s so my wife gets to complain that they are uncempt looking, oh well, what can I say, its in the Field, ;) I would like to say that she will get over it, but its been low these many years and she hasn't adjusted yet. Turns out I have adjusted to it pretty well though, lol
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Life On The Hill

Postby boo » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:55 pm

Doesn't the saying go "work smarter, not harder" ......... :lol: Nothing wrong with reducing the amount of fiddly work - that's why permie gardens are so beautiful.....wild, productive and oh so sexy ;)
User avatar
boo
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:56 am
Location: Central Victoria, Australia

Next

Return to Members' 'steads

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest