April 6, 2017
The last year of Grandaddy's life, I took over his garden and he was going to teach me. He passed away in the middle of the summer. The weeds ended up getting the better of me. The next year, which was last year, I felt compelled to try again for Granny. I wanted her to be able to look out the window and see the garden like she always had. The weeds overcame again but I did sell my first bushel of blue lake green beans.
Now I have cut his garden in half and then half again. It is a forth of the size it was, so hopefully I can conquer the weed monsters. It is the beginning of April and I have planted early peas, onions, spinach, and kale. Sometimes I think I hear him say something to me and I look up from the dirt but he's not there. It's weird how you can forget in the moment what time you are living in. The other day my grandmother said that Grandaddy would be proud of me. She has never said anything like that before and somehow it was what I needed to try again.
I work from his shed with his tools in his overalls and it still feels like his garden. Gardening isn't my thing or something I even naturally like, it is just something I have to do right now. Easter week, it will be time for green beans, tomatoes, peppers, thyme, and basil to be planted. Even though I know that he is not actually here, I will still be gardening with my grandaddy.
3rd attempt -
June 18, 2018
There is no way I can do what Grandaddy did but I wanted to give it another go this year. I happened to be visiting my friend Kayla and saw her garden. It seemed to fit my personality better as I am not much of a farmer. She had hers made from wood planks and I chose concrete blocks. I used left over fence from the chicken house and another garden, bricks from someone's old patio, an arch that wasn't in use to make it cute, and my cousin's gate.
Take a look and see what you think!
Michelle Gill is a writer, barista, trail walker sometimes runner, disc golfer's wife, Jesus lover, book collector, mama, and old house explorer. Learn more about her story on her website www.maceyhollow.com.
Fullhardt Knob is part of the AT that passes through Botetourt County. There is a shelter, outhouse, and water source on the second peak of Fullhardt's coming from Route 11. It was once a fire lookout for the surrounding mountains and community. A gentleman that has lived here for over eighty years told me that he remembered as a boy going up the mountain and an older man named Bage Shay lived in the lookout cabin during fire season as the lookout. He recalled Mr. Shay showing him a nine-foot pine snake that he had killed up there.
If you climb the cut-in trail from Mountain Pass, you can still see the remnants of the communication line for the lookout. The cabin is no longer there but there is a shelter. The mountain that was my great-grandfather Gibson's is part of two peaks that is considered Fullhardt. Fullhardt is the last name of a family that once lived in this area.
My great-grandfather bought a large amount of property in this area to farm. He left his family of moonshine and prostitutes behind in Franklin County and started fresh with his wife and children in 1905. He was the father of my grandfather. In the 1930s the mountain was taken for the creation of the Appalachian Trail. He was given a little money for it and was able to keep the field at the foot of the mountain, in which he grew tomatoes. There was a cannery over the hill and one around the corner.
When I first moved back from Florida there was a lady in her sixties who kept squatting at the shelter and the town would try to get her to leave. She had been in politics in Georgia and lost her mind. She would sometimes claim to be a queen. My cousins even put her on a bus and sent her home to her family but she returned. People would see her hauling her groceries from time to time up Fullhardt Knob. I can't recall where I got this picture but this is a picture of her.
I created this list on the Ward Haven Camp website. There I also included a few maps and more information so take a look at www.wardhavencamp.com/hiking.html
Some of these trails are not for young kids so do your research!
Hoop Lower & Upper in Craig Co.
Mill Mountain trails
Belfast to Devil's Marbleyard
Rt. 11 to 220
Sarver's Hollow in Montgomery County
Meadow Creek Falls in New Castle
Dark Horse Hollow
James River State Park
New River Trail State Park
Cedar Creek Falls
Big Rock Falls
St. Mary Falls - Staunton
Explore Park trails
Bottom Creek Gorge
Sharp Top and Flat Top - Peaks of Otter
Spec Mine Trails
Blackhorse Gap (to Camp Bethel)
Andy Layne Trail
Buzzard's Rock (Read Mtn)
Greenfield Trail System
Blue Ridge Springs Trail Loop
McAfee's Knob (one of the harder trails so plan ahead but the view is worth it)
Woodpecker Ridge - Troutville
Apple Orchard Falls
Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve
Waid Recreation Park
Smart View Loop - Ferrum
Craig Hall has thru hiked the AT, the PCT twice, the CDT, Long Trail, John Muir twice, Foot Hill Trail and worked in Yellowstone National Park. He currently travels the country as an ENO rep and is an awesome photographer. Listed below are Craig's recommendations of what to take on a day hike.
1 Footwear is the most important thing. A good trail running sneaker like Montrail, Brooks, New Balance, Vasques, Solomon,...
2 Shoe Inserts - I prefer Super Feet.
3 Socks - merino wool
4 Trecking Poles
Under layer - short sleeve of natural fiber
Base layer w/ hood
Outer layer - fleece with zipper
Outer shell - raincoat (Gortex)
Same idea for your bottom half (swim trunks, tights, fleece pant, rain pants)
6 gloves, fleece hat, ... depends on the weather
7 polarized shades
8 30-35 liter pack (Granite Gear, Lowe - if you are taking a big camera)
10 bug spray (doTERRA's Terrashield and Lemongrass in a spray glass 4oz bottle)
11 trowel and toilet paper (always burry your waste 6" below)
12 head lamp
14 map and compass
16 water and a filter if you will be out all day (Sawyer)
18 eno hammock and straps, of course. :)
19 I take a camera and tripod everywhere I go. There is always an opportunity for great pictures in nature. Check out my facebook page for some of my photographs.
Greenfield Disc Golf Course
Mayflower Hills Disc Golf Course
Fishburn Park Disc Golf Course (9 hole)
Walrond Park Disc Golf Course (9 hole)
Highland Park Disc Golf Course (9 hole)
Sontag Disc Golf Course in Rocky Mount
Moneta Park Disc Golf Course in Moneta
Falling Creek Disc Golf Course in Bedford
Golden Hills Disc Golf Course in Christiansburg
Mountain Lake Disc Golf Course in Pembroke
Check out the Roanoke Disc Golf Club for more information!
3 1/2 cups of unbromated/unbleached flour
1 tsp. real salt
1/8 cup avocado oil or olive oil or your favorite oil for baking
1 1/4 cup of warm water and 1 packet of active yeast (set aside for 5 minutes with a touch of sucanat until bubbles slightly)
Set aside to rise with towel covering for 1 hour.
Set aside in bread pan for another half hour, covered.
Preheat oven to 450. Place in oven for 28 to 30 minutes at 350.
See Casi's tutorial below! (2010 - she was 3 years old)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur non-bromated)
1 stick of cold butter
1 teaspoon of salt
Put into food processor or Ninja. Pulse till crumbly.
Add ice cold water until firm dough.
Split into two lumps.
Line a greased deep dish pie pan. Add one flattened dough.
Boil 2 chicken breasts with 1/4 to 1/2 chopped onion.
Remove cooked chicken and pulse in food processor to chop.
Add 1 chopped sweet potato and 1 chopped regular potato, 2 chopped carrots, and a can of drained green beans to water that you boiled the onion and chicken in.
Boil until the vegetables are done.
Add 1 teaspoon of sage and 1 teaspoon of thyme.
Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Mix 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water to make a paste and then add it to the vegetables to thicken.
Then add chicken and stir filling.
Pour into pie shell.
Top with 4 pats of butter.
Top with remaining flattened dough.
Press edges with finger to make a scalloped edge. Punch top in 4 spots with a knife to allow air.
Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
The area that we live in in the Blue Ridge Mountains is called "Black Hill". This page is for sharing my family recipes and some stories of the Blue Ridge.
*my great grandmother