Posts tagged ‘stone wall’

May 22, 2013

Where Does My Garden Grow?

Last weekend Jim and I headed to the country both to enjoy the spring and to open the house after a long, if snow-less winter. We were also preparing the house for The Arrival–Alex comes home on leave this Saturday!

Based on my experience last summer, I have decided to move my garden to the country. Now that I am thankfully gainfully employed, it proved tough tending my garden. I would get home late and tired. Weekends we went to the country. My tomatoes felt unloved and unkempt. Weed growth soared.

So here are two views of my newly planted beds.

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The tall stuff growing at the right end of the upper photo is garlic. I have tomato plants and a wide selection of herbs. The tomatoes have spilled over into the bed below our stone wall where the rhubarb grows. This is where once long ago, pre-children I first grew tomatoes. It is an excellent spot as it gets lots of sun which reflects warmth off the stones. It will be fun to see which bed yields best.

Here are a few more photos of Frosts enjoying the first sit on a newly washed front porch:

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So very wonderful to have summer coming right along. And even more exciting to have Alex and Ferd both about to arrive for a great visit. More on that shortly…

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July 8, 2012

A Country Walk

When Jim and I are in CT, we love to take long walks. Most often Dakota accompanies us on our walks. He’ll walk along grinning like a fool. He loves walking along with us when we’re talking. He feels like one of the gang. Sometimes we leave him home. While I love taking Dakota with us, he does tend to dawdle and sniff and sometimes he tries to sit down because his feet get tired. When we walk without him, we can move faster.

One of our favorite walks is up Grantville Road. The short walk is up Grantville to the White House No One Lives In. The long walk is to the end of the road. The long walk is about 4.5 miles round trip, but it features a killer hill. The short walk takes about 45 minutes and the long walk closer to 90.This is the beginning of the walk. Our neighbors, Jim and Sandi, are right next door. We’ve been neighbors for 29 years. Once past Jim and Sandi’s, we quickly hit a hill which is a bit tough when you’re just getting going.

Jim really hates that hill. It is deceptive looking. It is goes on for quite a while.

While we live in a rural area, there is some multi-family housing. Above you see an example of a local condominium. Look closely up high and you will see there are many tenants. We can hear them pecking as we walk along.

We call this the Gifford’s House. The Giffords haven’t lived there for at least fifteen or twenty years, but they used to. It is a very attractive farmhouse. The addition went on after the Giffords sold it. After the Giffords a couple lived there. The woman died about 18 months ago and in the last few months some new people moved in. We haven’t met them yet other than to wave as we walk past.

I am not sharing every house we pass, just the ones we really like.

This house we think of as the Webster’s. I believe Mr. Webster was a Judge. He passed away quite some time ago and now his granddaughter has the house with her family. They are exceptionally nice and have a large garden. They also put in a pool. I think it is the only pool in the area I can think of. It doesn’t really get warm enough to need to swim that often and there are lots of ponds and lakes around just perfect for swimming.

The Webster’s house is also obviously quite old. In front of it stands a hitching post. There is lots of stone around, walls of stone, slabs of stone protecting mailboxes. There is just plenty of stone. At the beginning of the 21st century twice as much land was farmed as it is now in this area. There are lots of full grown forests with stone walls made hundreds of years ago through back-breaking labor as a farmer cleared a field for planting.

A perfect example of both the stone walls and the size of the boulders. Lucky that boulder was on the outside of the fence because nothing was going to move it. These are all souvenirs of glaciers long ago. They carved hills and lakes and dropped much debris as they went. These stone walls are all dry walls–as opposed to walls held together with mortar.

Walking up the road, the sun breaks through the trees. Every time of day has its own show of light and shadows. Sometimes the light slants through the trees, sometimes it seems almost dark in the middle of the day. It is always cool and comfortable walking up the tree-lined parts of the road.

This house, which is quite hard to see, has no one living in it. It belongs to a family who own quite a bit of land up here, but they had a falling out. This house’s owner hasn’t been here in twenty years. It is in worse and worse condition. It sits on a gorgeous piece of property which will one day be sold as part of the woman’s estate. For years, I coveted the property. It has a gorgeous sweeping field and beautiful stone walls. But I finally realized that our property is cozier and our pond more beautiful. I still love to peer at the house as we walk past and wonder what will happen to it.

After the White House No One Lives In comes a giant hill. Heading down the hill isn’t too bad, but the way back up is a killer. The hill goes on forever and at the bottom is Dale Marchione’s place. Dale is an artist and grew up on this farm. They still have sheep and chickens. Dale has a rustic studio in which he displays his art. It is bright and colorful and I very much like it. Dale and his partner, Ben, live in a 17th Century farmhouse with tiny rooms, low ceilings and a giant fireplace. It is quite amazing. A few years ago they turned the farm into a land trust so it will stay farmland forever and their animals are protected.

After Dale and Ben’s place there is just about a quarter mile to the end of the road. There isn’t much else until you get to the very end where Grantville intersects Grant Station Road. Grant Station Road has quite a bit of traffic and the zoning is for small lots. It isn’t that nice.

On the top of the hill at the end of the road sits this log cabin. It was built a few years ago and the owners are still working on the yard and the garage. They have two giant dogs who come running and barking. It is a little unsettling, but they never leave their yarn.

To the right at the end of the road is a very cute little old house. The owners put a metal roof on it and they have a nice yard. It is quite sweet.

At this point there is nothing to do but turn and head for home. After passing Dale’s house, the big hill begins. The photo below does nothing to showcase the long, torturous ascent. Driving down the hill in the winter is also quite un-nerving. Somepeople drive miles out of their way to avoid driving down that hill in January. Retracing our steps along the road and through the woods gives us a chance to see everything from a different angle.

We walk past all of our favorite landmarks. The same trees, rocks, stone walls, houses, and other markers we have passed at least a hundred times over the past 29 years. Some things have changed. There are some new houses, but much has remained the same. We are almost the longest term people living on the road. Jim and Sandi best us by two years. Lots of times not a single car will pass us as we walk along. Those that do all wave hello.

And when we get to the end of our walk, we get to see the most beloved, prettiest house of all.

August 31, 2011

A Visit to Frost’s Spring House

Happily we’ve gotten up to the country almost every weekend this summer. It makes up for not being able to spend a couple weeks up there. The house looks quite good and things are pretty ship-shape.

Thought I would share some of it…Let’s take a walk around the place.

Welcome to the Spring House

A couple years ago we made the radical switch from white with black shutters to this sort of sand color with blue shutters. We also put in a new welcome light for the front. And then there’s the welcome dog. Actually, he makes such a ruckus, any passerby thinks he’ll take their leg off.

The back terrace

When we bought the house this was just some grass with a couple giant rocks to step on. Jeff, who takes care of the place, built this patio and we love to eat out on it. This year my perennial gardens looked fantastic all summer. I have a lot of trouble with weeds growing up between the pavers. I read on line that boiling water is the best organic way to kill the weeds. It works. One woman on line said she always saved her corn water for the back and that’s what I do, too.

Our back yard

Our back yard has changed a lot over the years. When we bought the house, it had a big metal drum for burning garbage. Not so nice. It also had large overgrown arbor vitae. There were two huge trees, a catalpa and a fir tree, right about even with the baby catalpa.Then we added a swingset and sandbox. About three years ago a microburst of wind knocked down both the big trees. We decided it was time to deep six the swingset and sandbox. Now we have the baby catalpa, which came all the way from Pennsylvania, and the pretty stone wall. The hammock is one we got in Mexico two Christmases ago. Many, many years ago we were cooking dinner when we heard a very odd noise. We rushed into the back (this was before the patio even) and there was a hot air balloon thirty feet in the air. It was truly other worldly. I often think about it when I am cooking dinner on a lovely summer Saturday night.

Looking from the back of the house to the pond

One of the all time best views. Standing behind our house looking out at the pond and the side yard. Just off to the left of the pond is the gazebo–the best place in the world for an afternoon nap.

The tin roof is our woodshed. It is full of wood which we bought for $100 when we bought the house 28 years ago. Might just last our entire lifetimes.

Swinging chairs from which to view the pond

We’ve had these old wooden swinging chairs for at least twenty years. Good place to sit with a gin and tonic and contemplate the pond.

Walking down to the pond

To walk to the pond you descend some stone steps and walk across this lawn. We love this big old maple tree and the stretch of stone wall.

 

The Gazebo

 Here’s a good peek at the gazebo. It is nestled under a stand of slender birch trees. It is always shady and when you sit in it you can look out at the pond, back to the house or up to the woods and a field. Sometimes deer wander by if you’ve been still for a long time. It is always cool and breezy.

The pond and the dock

Jim built this dock during Alex’s first summer. That means it is 23 years old now. It is a tremendous place to sit and watch the pond and listen to the frogs. When the kids were little we spent hours circling the edge of the pond on inflatable boats to visit the frogs. One time a frog jumped into Jim’s swimsuit and I couldn’t tell you who was more undone the frog or Jim. The frog hopped out and sat on the boat trying to catch his breath and Jim was doing much the same. The guys used to go skinny dipping after dinner until we saw the giant snapping turtle crawling up the bank of the pond. We don’t swim in the pond that much anymore, but we still love its proximity.

View of the house from the pond

Here you can see the stone wall, the woodshed, the stone steps and the house. Ellie’s room is in the top dormer. She has the best frog noise in the summer. This house was a tavern in the 18th Century. This is the old side and you can see the bones of that old building. There are stories about troops overnighting in the nearby woods on the way to or from the Battle of Saratoga. There is supposed to be a ghost of a soldier who died. The story is that he was buried with a headstone, but one generation of farmer got tired of messing with it so he threw the stone on the wall. Our house painters swore they saw the ghost. I never have. The old well used to scare me and I had it blocked up with stone so the kids wouldn’t fall in.

Dakota

Dakota enjoys the country. He is a bit gentrified, but he does like running around the yard in crazy puppy circles. He also likes to scare the frogs at the edge of the pond but he never swims. He fell off the dock once as a puppy and I think that that ended his swimming career.

Let's head back to the house

Dakota will lead the way. Probably time to start dinner anyway.

Sunflowers

This house has changed so much over 28+ years. I guess we have, too. But it always feels like home and it is a peaceful and relaxing place. Sometimes in the dead of winter when the eaves ice up or some horrendous thing goes wrong, we feel it is a burden, but on a gorgeous evening or a brilliant summer day, it is the best place on earth to be.
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