Saturday, August 28, 2010

My neighborhood

I live in a very rural, farm town, population about 6 thousand. One flashing light. All my life I wanted to live in a small town. I would joke with my SMother that if I ran away from home, it would be to a small town. She reminded me when I moved here 14+ years ago, that I got my wish.
Both SM and my father came from a small town, one in Pennsylvania (DuBois), and one in New York (Salamanca). SM told me that they met when he was working for the railroad and traveled to her town where he ate at a hot dog stand where she was working. So, there must be a small town dna marker, and I have it.

We have some neighbors/friends who live in the family homestead, fields are still worked, most by others, but he does do some of the tilling. This is a picture of their place as we drive towards our place all you can really see is the majestic barn, the house and yard are hiding behind the trees..

His father was a cooper by trade (Barrel maker), and our friend has given demonstrations and talks concerning this near-extinct skill, bringing along many pieces of equipment that his father used. If you ever get to see this type of demonstration or can see a special about coopers on TV, I suggest you watch-it really is fascinating how many steps are involved to get those metal rings around the barrels.
His property is so immaculate, maintained beautifully. His wife, also our friend, is just what you would expect from a small town woman, hardworking, smart, always friendly and welcoming. We are blessed to call them friends.
He keeps a beautiful garden, and shares his hosta cuttings with so many, 99% of our hostas reflect his generosity. He also has a hillside floral garden, that is especially beautiful in the spring. This is a picture of the garden that he tends.
Notice the pattern of the red and white flowers-those are annuals, so he rotates different plants through there yearly.
A bit further down the road (which just had fresh oil and stones applied before the winter comes-how many of you can say that about your streets eh?) is a farm-very modern because besides the goats and sheep-it also raises a big cash- maker for these times: ALPACAS. See them here:

On the other corner from our place is a building that dates back to 1879, it has had many lives, a small mercantile (think Wal-mart type of items-only 130 years ago-everything you would need at that time), a sandwich shop, antique business, post office and now, A pizzeria! SSon loves it there, but because of healthier living he is restricted to eating there no more than once a week, and then with good choices. SBrother-in-law #1 joked that he was going to string a rope and bucket between SSon's bedroom window and the Pizzeria to make things easier for him! Look how little this structure has changed between 1813 and around 2004 (top is the older photo):

On the corner opposite our home is a lot that we own-all woods-so our birdies that come to feed have a haven nearby.

On the other corner are dear friends who have helped us in many different situations, we have watched their kids grow, and they are a true reflection of their family values-good people all. They just gave us some tomatoes from their garden when the son came to show and discuss rock specimens with SHusband that the son collected in Crete at an archaeological dig this summer. And he brought SH a rock-truly unique and sparkly (see, I don't know the name, only what it looks like) .

Next to our house, we have a church, with a sincerely kind Reverend and his family living there. Too bad it is not our denomination, sometimes when we attend specific services there for funerals, etc, we feel very much at home . That church has been there since 1871, so many lives have been touched by the happenings there. Here is an old picture of that church and parsonage around 1910:
Our home has only been here since 1904-a mere youngster. It was built by the Hasselbeck Cheese Company for it's Cheesemakers. In those days, the Cheese factories needed to be near the milk since there was no refrigeration available. Farmers pulled their horse-drawn wagons up daily, milk cans were weighed, samples taken for testing of milk fat (more milk fat content=more pay) dumped their milk, their milk cans were washed out and returned to them on the other side of the building.

Here is a picture of what that building looked like around 1910:

North of us and over the knoll (nice that I can actually use that word in a sentence), we have very dear friends and their dog Riley. They have a lot of property, ponds galore, but the nicest part is when you drive in the trees are old growth, so a sheltering canopy is formed, you really feel like you are entering into the woods. SFriend has lots of bird feeders, corn for the squirrels, and today they had a piece of watermelon out there that some critter-maybe a deer in the early morning was working on. Very tranquil, and always a warm welcome when we see our friends.

Up and down the area are more friends and neighbors in town, some we know better than others, but we know and we hope they know that neighborly kindness is always available here and there.

Sometimes we see the same walkers, but lately one lady who has walked for many years in all weather is not making her rounds as usual. I did see her walking a new dog near her home-so maybe she has had to adjust her route to accommodate her pooch. I used to walk these roads, not anymore-maybe if I get some hi-tech knee surgery that can resume-providing no one is burning leaves or wood and it it not too hot or too cold-what a picky set of lungs I have eh?

I hope your enjoyed my little tour, You'all come back again now-yah hear?

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