The Driftless Region, surrounded by glaciated land, is an example of what most of the northern and eastern United States were like before the last ice age. It's this beautiful, fertile land my mom and her husband retired to several years ago.
They bought their 68-acre mountain home a few years before retiring, and spent many weekends and vacations renovating the spacious, light-filled house. Windows and siding were replaced, wallpaper was removed, flooring was replaced, a greenhouse was built, a high-efficiency, non-polluting wood burning stove and fireplace insert were installed, and painting was done, along with research and preparation for the active, highly self-sufficient, locavore (long before the term was coined,) retirement lifestyle they carefully planned and are now enjoying.
Their home is nestled in a clearing on the flattened top of an ancient, forested mountain.
This is a look into the forest as we climb the steep private road to the mountain top.
Mom and her husband are garden buddies and caretakers of their beautiful property. They have a huge vegetable garden on their mountain top, steps away from the deck off the kitchen and the greenhouse overlooking the back yard. They grow greens, melons, squash, broccoli, cucumbers, okra, brussels sprouts, herbs, all kinds of tomatoes, green beans, beets, sweet potatoes, peas, radishes, and lots of other delicious organic veggies. The garden is surrounded by chicken wire and low-voltage electric fencing to keep marauding wildlife out. Much has already been harvested and preserved for the winter months. Summer meals are a bounty of fresh organically-grown fruits and vegetables.
Besides the fruits growing in the garden, there are also grape arbors, berries, and fruit trees adding to the generous bounty of their fertile soil. Because of the elevation, their soil and water supply are free of chemical runoff and residue typical of most urban and agricultural land and water supplies.
Although it might be hard to tell the scale from this picture, this butternut squash peeking out from its trellised vine is huge - probably the biggest I've ever seen.A bowl of these delicious orange cherry tomatoes sits on a kitchen counter ready for snacking and salads.
Watermelons are ripening on their trellised vines.
Hopefully there will be enough remaining warm days for even more of the paste tomatoes to ripen.
I didn't make it down to their meadow this trip. It's in the meadow where a second garden grows potatoes, life-changing garlic, and onions.
A summer visit always means a care package of delicious produce to take home from the garden, and this trip was no exception.
It was here on a mountain top I spent my weekend enjoying the warmth and companionship of my mom and her husband/garden buddy. Their loving marriage is a true partnership, close friendship, and an inspiration to all who know and love them.