Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category

Life is an Adventure for Jo Lucas Master Gardener of the Year 2018

 

Jo Turkey hunting 001

Turkey hunting has been a long time family tradition.

Everywhere she goes, Jo Lucas finds something to enjoy. For her, life is discovering new things on a daily basis. Part of this she credits to meeting the love of her life, Don Lucas, who had a spirit of adventure like no other.

   Their adventure began in Cody, Wyoming where they were married…with an elk hunt for a honeymoon. Since then hunting, fishing, gardening and many other activities filled their lives until just recently when Don died as a result of an accident.

   Their adventures could fill a book and have created many fond memories for her. They made friends wherever they went.

Jo with bear 001

Don and Jo with the bear she shot in New Hampshire.

   In New Hampshire, they both shot a bear and the bearskins still hang in her house today. She was sitting in a log yard when a bear appeared lumbering through the logs, getting closer and closer. She decided there was no choice but to shoot it and killed it with one shot.

   But bears aren’t the only thing on her hit list. Moose, elk, antelope, turkeys and other small game have all been part of her adventures from Maine to Alaska. She’s visited 49 of the 50 states with Hawaii still on her bucket list.

Jo Ice Fishing 001

Ice fishing in Maine was a very cold but fun experience.

   Ice fishing in Maine provided an unusual experience as temperatures were down to -20 and -30 degrees when they took a snowmobile out on the ice. Sometimes when they were ice fishing, they had a portable shanty to use as a windbreak. In Alaska, salmon fishing captured their attention.

Jo Cooking Tent 001

Their cooking tent is packed with supplies.

   Sometimes they used a camper, but most often tents. They had a special cook tent and then several sleeping tents a short distance away just in case an animal would decide to invade the cook tent overnight. Two dogs and a pistol kept her feeling a little safer wherever she happened to camp.

Jo Farmers Market

Jo sold her salsa and jams at the local Farmers’ Market.

   Back home in Guernsey County, Jo enjoyed large gardens and a fruit orchard. From these, she made delicious salsas and jams that she sold at the Farmers’ Market during the summer season.

   As a youngster, she grew up in the 4-H program in the Millersburg area, where horses were her passion and project. But on Thanksgiving, everyone went turkey hunting. It was a family tradition!

Jo salmon 001

Fishing for salmon in Alaska was a real success.

   Since Jo’s move to Guernsey County, she has been involved in the community in so many ways. Jo was the auxiliary president who brought back the idea for Wonderland of Trees at the hospital. That first year, there were six trees and six wreaths.

Jo fruit trees covered

Fruit trees are covered with parachutes to keep birds from eating the fruit.

   Other community organizations that are lucky to have her assistance are the Soil & Water Conservation Board (vice-chairman), Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (district treasurer), Mt. Herman Church (treasurer), Hopewell Homemakers, and Adair Ladies Bible Study at Antrim. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Jo has a degree in accounting.

Jo Raspberries 001

Her raspberry patch is used for jams, pies, or just a bowl of berries!

   In the last couple of years, she decided to go back to that early passion from 4-H of training and showing horses. These days she assists at Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center near Norwich. This facility helps the handicapped improve their physical, psychological and cognitive behaviors through association with a friendly horse. Veterans are always welcome.

   Working here has given Jo real pleasure as she volunteers as barn manager. She gets horses ready for riding by exercising them beforehand. Yes, sometimes she even rides herself.

Jo Tomatoes 001

Her delicious salsa was made possible through this large tomato patch.

   Jo Lucas loves the out-of-doors in so many ways but gardening is one of her favorites. She was recently named OSU Extension Guernsey County Master Gardener of 2018, a well-deserved honor. Jo was one of those original Guernsey County Master Gardeners.

   She remembers her days in 4-H and all the help the advisors gave, so felt it was her turn to “give back” to the community. She has shared her knowledge of gardening with hundreds of Guernsey County elementary school children.

Jo Cherry Tree Pruning

These trees were used to demonstrate proper pruning methods.

   Ag school days, master gardener classes and workshops are a few of the ways that she has given back. Over the past few years, she has hosted three pruning workshops at her home.

Jo Lucas and Clif Little

Clif Little presents Jo with the Master Gardener of the Year Award.

   Local OSU Extension Educator, Clif Little, praised Jo by saying, “I can sum up her work as a Master Gardener volunteer as hard-working, energetic, friendly, generous and very interested in learning. She is the type of person that will always help when we offer gardening classes.” That says it all!

Jo Flowers 001

This flower bed contains crazy daisies, daylilies and iris.

But one place that Jo is a bit dangerous is in a plant nursery. She enjoys trying new plants and searches for them wherever she goes. Sometimes she comes home with almost too many.

   There are still a few places on her bucket list and both relate to ancestry. Her grandparents came from Austria and Ireland so those are two places she would enjoy exploring.

Bear Skin 2

This bearskin hanging on her wall at home makes her smile as she remembers her adventures.

   Of one thing you can be certain, Jo Lucas will not be sitting in a rocking chair watching the world go by. She’s always ready for an adventure as she strives to learn something new each day.

If you have interest in becoming a Master Gardener in Guernsey County, contact Clif Little in the Guernsey County Extension Office at 740-489-5300.

Hoover Historical Center Displays Sweeping Changes

Hoover Herb Garden

The Tannery and family home showcase an award-winning herb garden.

Spring usually brings thoughts of ‘Spring Cleaning’ to many, especially those of the older generation. It seemed like a great time to explore methods of cleaning through the years at the Hoover Historical Center in North Canton, home of the Hoover Company. Here you’ll find the most extensive antique vacuum cleaner collection in the world.

Hoover 2300 BC early broom

We’ve come a long way from this 2300 BC twig broom on display.

   Although the museum is located inside Walsh University’s Hoover Park, the building where it is located is actually the Victorian childhood home of William H. Hoover, founder of the Hoover Company. Tours begin in a modest building behind the house on their original family farm.

Hoover Tanning Tools

Tools used in the Tannery by the Hoovers are on display.

   Located here was a tannery, a business the Hoovers engaged in before the vacuum cleaner idea caught his attention. This building served as the first home of the Hoover family with much of the inside being original.

Hoover 1910 Kotten Suction Cleaner

Ann Haines, our guide, showed how moving her feet side-to-side on the platform created suction for the 1910 Kotten Vacuum Cleaner.

   In the tannery, there is an exhibit of their tanning equipment and the leather goods they produced. You’ll also see an exhibit of all early manually operated cleaning devices.

Hoover cartoon Husband rocks to run sweeper

In this early method, the husband rocked to provide energy to run the wife’s vacuum cleaner.

   The first upright vacuum cleaner was invented by a friend of the family, James Spangler, in 1908. James, a department store janitor and part-time inventor, had a problem with asthma and thought the carpet cleaner he was using at work was the cause of it. He created the Electric Suction Sweeper and produced it himself for a while with the help of his family. But they only completed two or three machines a week.

Hoover Gates

Gates leading to the Hoover Museum are made of original bricks from the Hoover Co. smokestack.

   Spangler sold one of these vacuums to a friend, Susan Hoover, who was so impressed with it that she told her husband ‘Boss’ and son Herbert about it. Quickly, Hoovers bought the patent and opened the Electric Suction Sweeper Company in New Berlin, now North Canton.

   That first vacuum weight 40 pounds so not the easiest thing to push around the house. The cost was $60 for the vacuum and an additional $15 for attachments. Only the rich had electricity at this time so they were proud to purchase a new idea such as the vacuum.

   Spangler became production supervisor receiving royalties in addition to his salary. The company name was changed in 1910 to Hoover Suction Sweeper Company with Spangler’s family still receiving royalties until 1925.

Hoover early ad 2

This ad was placed in the Saturday Evening Post for a ten-day free trial of the Hoover.

   In order to gain public interest, Hoover placed an ad in The Saturday Evening Post offering customers ten days free use of his vacuum cleaner to anyone who requested it. He thus developed a national network of retailers for his vacuums. Before long, Hoover had companies in Canada and England.

   The “Sweeping Changes” chronological display shows the evolution of Hoover appliances throughout their history. In 1932, the Hoover Company was the largest maker of vacuum cleaners in the world. By 1999, Hoover employed 2,800 workers in Stark County.

2000 Hoover Headquarters

A rebuilt smokestack still stands where the Hoover headquarters was in 2000.

   Sales conventions were a special summer event in North Canton. Salesmen from all over the United States and foreign countries met in Hoover Park. A circle of large tents was set up for their housing with a large tent for meals. Salesmen were taught how to sell and how not to sell through lively skits.

   Here they learned about the three kinds of dirt: litter, dust and grit. All three were spread on people’s floors when salesmen went to demonstrate their vacuum, which would pick up all three.

 

Hoover Ann with later models

Ann explains some of the later Hoover models.

  While touring the house, listen to an old recording of Hoover salesmen singing, “All the Dirt, All the Grit,” the Hoover theme song in the 1920s and ’30s. They’ll give you the words so you can sing along if you like.

Hoover WWII children

This picture shows the Hoover employees’ children brought from London during WWII. The bottom one shows them at Thanksgiving dinner.

   During WWII, 1500 children were moved out of England and shipped to Canada for safety purposes. Hoover families in London sent 83 of their children to stay with Hoover employees in Canton in 1940.

   Boss Hoover took great care of them and paid all their medical expenses as well as treated them like family. These children were delighted to taste watermelon, hot dogs and hamburgers for the first time. All 83 returned to London after the war.

Hoover war time products

Hoover switched to making products for military use during WWII.

   A special display shows items that were made during WWII. Since the men were all at war, 240 women worked in the factories in 1940 and no longer made vacuum cleaners. Instead, they made liners for helmets, parachutes, and fuses, which were said to be second in importance to the atomic bomb. By 1945, the number of women employed had risen to 3900. Hoover Company received many awards for their WII efforts.

Hoover products

Hoover branched out to making more than just vacuums.

   After the war, the Hoover Company expanded into household items making a stand-up iron, apartment size washers and driers, and refrigerators. Back in 1988, they explored using robots to make their vacuums. This was a very forward-thinking company.

Hoover William Boxx

The well-loved William H. “Boss” Hoover founded the Hoover Company.

   As you can tell, this small historic center is packed with interesting information about the history, not only of the vacuum but of our country and its people. Everyone loved ‘Boss’ Hoover, a name given him affectionately as he cared for his employees and their families. Perhaps that is how he became the first mayor of North Canton.

   Hoover Historical Center is open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons with tours beginning hourly 1-4 pm, March through October. No admission is charged for the tour, although donations are appreciated. There’s something here for almost any interest.

   Every day is better with a Hoover. It Beats….as it Sweeps…as it Cleans!

Hoover Historical Center is located on the campus of Walsh University in North Canton. From I-77 take exit 109A  to Whipple Avenue and Maple Street. The center is located at 1875 E. Maple Street. 

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

There is always something interesting going on outside in nature.”

Daniel photographer

Daniel enjoys being close to nature in his journey through life.

Daniel Caron’s favorite place for photography is in nature because it’s always available and changes almost every moment. When people ask where he takes his pictures, they are surprised that often Daniel replies, “In my backyard.”

Daniel Falling Transition

Falling Transition

   Not only does Daniel take great pictures, but he also adds meaning to them. Take the simple autumn leaf as it fell to the ground in his backyard with colors ranging from green to red to yellow. To Daniel, this leaf signified transition.

   Nature teaches a lesson to many people who are in transition just like the leaf. The green is a time of growth, while red signifies that robust time of life. Yellow mellows out for their golden years.

Daniel Late Blooming Rose

A late-blooming rose covered with dew

   Obviously, this photographer observes and sees things in nature and people that others don’t see. When he does senior portraits, they capture an extra special side of each individual.

Daniel watching the sunset

Watching the Sunset

   Two people have been a tremendous influence in his life. His dad gave Daniel his love of nature through National Geographic specials the family watched together. His wife taught him more about kindness and caring than anyone else.

Daniel Ancient Art by Fremonts

Ancient Art by Fremonts in Utah at Dinosaur National Monument

   Often he gives talks on photography at various libraries and community functions. At a recent lecture at Crossroads Library, Daniel impressed those in attendance with his skill and photographs. He was willing to give instructions and ideas to improve others’ photos as well.

Daniel Bee

A bee sips sweet nectar

   This award-winning photographer didn’t promote any certain camera for pictures and even acknowledged that the handy cell phone produced some nice pictures. Not only is Daniel a great photographer, but also a great teacher of ways to enhance your photography skills. Be sure to bring your camera or cell phone to his lectures for some hands-on experience.

Daniel painted bunting

Colorful Painted Bunting

   When talking to Daniel about his pictures, it was surprising to discover there was much more than photography on his mind. Previously, he had worked in administration at a West Virginia college where he provided wellness and substance abuse education. He also has been an adjunct faculty member at three West Virginia colleges.

   But then 9/11 happened!

Daniel at Conference

Daniel prepares for annual APCA conference where he found outstanding connections.

   When he saw the caring messages shared that day, he decided to leave the field of education and spread the word about improving people’s daily interactions. Since that time he has worked with thousands of people across the United States, Canada and several foreign countries. He makes it clear that he is not a motivational speaker as he focuses on skill development to help people get along with each other.

   Most people don’t want to be butting heads with traffic, family, and society, but people don’t know what to do about it. That’s what Daniel is trying to teach in his engagements. We all need that kindness and love connection.

Daniel winter purple finch

Purple Finch in Winter

   His talks are made in many different places such as senior centers, correctional facilities, service men and women, colleges and universities. The farthest he has traveled was to South Africa where he worked with children at a school for the deaf showing them that someone cares.

   One of his recent speeches was entitled “How to Play with Difficult People”. It’s all about building a better life and living the way we really want to be. “Few things build community faster than showing people how everyone is connected.”

Daniel with Smokey the Bear at Wayne National Forest

Daniel met Smokey Bear while helping at Wayne National Forest.

   When asked for the first tip to better living, the answer was surprising. “Pay attention to your breathing.” When we are upset our breathing changes. By taking a deep breath and letting go with a sigh, you can feel the body relax.

   Daniel takes his work seriously. “If you knew that kindness and connection benefited everyone, why would you behave any other way?”

DanielNorth American male Cardinal in snow

Northern Cardinal in Snowstorm

   Returning to the original topic of photography, Daniel gave this advice, “Quick and easy doesn’t always work. A photographer takes his time. There are no shortcuts.” Daniel recalls sitting in his backyard early in the morning just waiting for the sun to come up and hit the frost on the trees. The photographs he captures makes the waiting all worthwhile.

Daniel Flower

Life in Full Bloom

   His dream would be to have an assignment from National Geographic as this wanderlust would enjoy visiting every zoo in the world. While he already swam with dolphins, wolves and bears, he’d love to see the penguins and seals in Antarctica before they are gone. There is so much going on in the world that Daniel said, “I don’t want to miss the adventure.”

Daniel Nature Waterfalls

Sounds of Nature

   But Daniel is content wherever he is. He commented that when he grew up in Massachusetts, he would never have believed that someday he would live in Ohio with his wife, two rescue horses, six chickens, four roosters and six cats. His love of nature certainly is evident in everything he does.

   Daniel’s advice for everyone is simply, “Be kind.”

To reach Daniel Caron to engage him for a talk about photography or kindness, call him at 740-314-9198 or email him using: daniel@danielsprograms.com .

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

Field of Corn Pays Tribute to Agricultural Heritage

Field of Corn Overview 2

109 ears of concrete corn form this unusual memorial to farmers.

One Field of Corn in Dublin will NOT be harvested this autumn. This field is rather unique as it has ears of corn taller than the stalks we usually find in farmers’ fields. However, they are made of concrete!

Frantz Farm Aerial view

This photo shows the original farm of Sam Frantz on this site.

   Years ago from 1935 to 1963, this was an actual cornfield farmed by Sam Frantz, who worked with Ohio State University on creating several species of hybrid corn. When his farming days were over, he donated this land, now called the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park.

Frantz Certified Seed Sign

Sam Frantz posted this sign for his Certified Corn Seed at his farm.

     The concrete ears of corn were placed there to honor Frantz and Ohio’s farmers. In 1850 Ohio was the leading producer of corn in the nation. Even today they still remain in the top ten.

Corn Visitors

These young ladies from New Albany and Cleveland wanted to have a unique experience.

   Field of Corn with Osage Oranges was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council and finished in 1994. There are 109 six-foot white ears of concrete corn sprouting right out of the ground.

Field of Corn Malcolm Cochran

Sculptor Malcolm Cochran, OSU professor, designed this Field of Corn.

   Artist Malcolm Cochran, professor of sculpture at OSU, designed the concrete cornfield. Molds were made from three original sculptures and these were used to cast ears which were rotated to produce a variety of angles. In that way, each ear of corn looks different to the observer.

Field of Corn Malcolm 001

Sculptor Cochran works on one of the prototypes from which the ears were made.

   There’s a deeper meaning to this display than first meets the eye. The field of corn resembles the regimented grave markers of a military cemetery to represent the death and rebirth of individuals and society. Cochran was designing a tribute to a way of life no longer present in this area, which has been taken over by offices and housing developments.

   Casting was then done by Cooke & Ingle, Co, in Dalton, Georgia. Each cob weighed 1500 lb. requiring four trucks to transport the complete load. The foundation for each cob is concrete at a depth of three feet.

Field of Corn Osage Orange Trees

Two rows of Osage Orange trees with benches for viewing form the west boundary.

   A row of old Osage Orange Trees grows along the west side of the field, and a second row was recently planted. Here you will find brass plaques describing the history of corn from the Native American days until the present.

DSC02572

Clusters of Osage Oranges hung from tree branches.

   Osage Indians used the orange wood from these trees to make bows and tomahawks. Early farmers in Ohio planted it along boundary lines as its thick, thorny branches made a secure border. The fruit of the tree is chartreuse in color and is a natural repellant for pesky insects.

Corn Orsage Orange Fruit

An osage orange fell on this brass plaque, which tells the history of the orange.

   The sculptures look like the Corn Belt Dent variety, but many locals thought it wrong to spend tax dollars to honor food farmers with statues of inedible food.

Field of Corn in Snow

It’s a great place to play Fox and Geese in the snow.

   Today that field of concrete ears is a local icon and locals are using it for many purposes. Weddings are held in the field, office workers play in the snow in the wintertime, children play hide and seek, and families think it’s a great place for pictures.

Field of Corn Family

Families enjoy exploring and taking pictures among the ears of corn.

   Field of Corn has received “Best of Columbus” honors by readers of Columbus Monthly magazine. It’s been voted #1 four times as the best public artwork in central Ohio. 

   If you ever happen to be in the Dublin area, it’s worth a side trip to view this unusual tribute to our farmers. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is Dublin’s light-hearted way of honoring the community’s past while shaping its future. While there, take some corny pictures!

Find this unusual attraction off I-270 at the Tuttle Crossing Exit. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is located at 4995 Rings Road at the corner of Frantz Road. 

The Basket Farmer – Howard Peller at Rosehill Farm

Howard w Baskets

This showroom contains baskets that Howard weaves from the willows.

Willow Baskets and Pottery. Those are the two main features at the Rosehill Farm in Roseville where Howard Peller and Maddy Fraioli ignite their creative flames.

   Howard enjoys working with things of nature. “I value homemade objects created from materials that are closely related to the natural environment from which they are grown.” That’s the main reason he surrounds himself with a willow grove on his farm in Roseville.

Howard Garden

Even the garden has naturally grown willow fences and a beautiful willow archway.

    His goal is to use the willows he grows to make useful and practical products that people can use every day. You’ll be surprised at the things that can be woven from the willow reeds.

   From his willow grove, he wants visitors to see the connection between the willow farmer and the artisan who creates finely crafted baskets as well as live willow structures. He appreciates the value of simple hard work.


Howard Bees

Beehives are important for pollination of his orchard and gardens.

   Howard is no stranger to the creative process as has designed artisan made tabletops, home decor, and personal accessory products.  He co-founded a national ceramic tableware company Fioriware Pottery with his partner, Maddy Fraioli. As Longaberger VP, he founded their Design Center to develop new concepts in weaving.

Howard Beaver Dam

Take a walk around the farm and discover a beaver dam that Howard dug himself.

   During his time in Europe, Howard studied with master weavers and learned how to weave with willows. In Lichtenfels, Germany, he attended a basket school where he developed an appreciation of the natural properties of the traditional willow basket.

   He spent time in Haiti and Jamaica where he could easily walk out of the village and gather bamboo. Eventually, he put all these ideas together and came up with his own techniques.

Howard Willow Workshop

It appears everyone is welcome at Howard’s office door.

 On his 140-acre farm, he has a willow grove of 5000 willow plants in 100 different varieties. He enjoys watching them develop with their beautiful colors, texture, tensile strength, smell and their magical property of intensive growth.

   The amazing willow plant has qualities you wouldn’t expect. It’s a medical source for salicin, which was used before aspirin. Therefore, the bark of the willow can be used to make tea, which is good for headaches, fevers, arthritis, and even a great mouthwash.

Howard Drying Willows

Willow rods are stored in a cooling unit where they can be used for living landscapes.

   Each year the plants are cut at the proper season near their base so they can regenerate. Then the willow reeds are dried for two years downstairs in the barn. Bundles of willows are sent around the world for baskets and furniture. The sturdy willow was even used for building ancient boats.

Howard Willow Fence

Willow rods can be used as a natural living fence or divider.

   Home gardeners will find many uses for the willow reed. This living plant can be erected for backdrops, walkthroughs, around gazebos and even made into furniture. One interesting quality is that it can be trimmed, morphed and enjoyed for multiple seasons.

Howard Shelter 2

Workshops are held in this shelter on the hill.

   Howard gives workshops at the farm or they can be arranged for your organization so you can learn to put these ideas to practical use at your home or business.

Howard Willow Dome

Willow domes have been included in living playscapes that he has created.

  The possibilities for their use seem endless. Howard creates beautiful baskets, handbags, bird feeders, and even room dividers. He has also created natural playgrounds using the willow for tunnels, domes, and walkways.

Howard Tag

Their willow baskets all carry the Willow Farmer Basket Maker tag.

   Styles of the baskets alone are amazing and too numerous to list them all. Some that caught my eye were: large shoulder bags, bread baskets, deep bowl baskets and fruit baskets.

Howard Showroom

Howard and Maddy have many creative outlets.

   His basketmaking creates a relationship between the field crop and the hands of the maker, who transforms the willow reeds into products to be used in the home or to collect and transport objects. Or they might just be used to create beauty and happiness in everyday life.

   Rosehill Farm takes you back to a time when everything was natural. Stroll down their trails to see the beauty of the willows, their gardens and flowers, and enjoy being in touch with nature.

   They will be having an Open House this fall where you can enjoy all this beauty. Check out their website at www.basketfarmer.com for further information.

Howard Maddy

His wife, Maddy, makes beautiful pottery on their farm near Roseville.

   Howard and Maddy bring new possibilities into people’s lives with their willow and pottery creations as they honor the Appalachian history of the region.

The Basket Farmer can be found at 7680 Rose Hill Road, Roseville, Ohio, From I-77, take exit 141. Then there are several turns, so hopefully you have a GPS system to guide you over the back roads to the willow farm. It’s worth the country drive.

Find a Taste of Fall at Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek

Hillcrest applesSurely the apple is the noblest of fruits.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Apple cider becomes a favorite drink during autumn, and apples are ranked number one in the top ten healthiest foods. So harvest time felt perfect for a trip to Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek to get fresh apples and cider. Rain or shine, this is a bustling place in the fall.

Hillcrest front

   With over 20,000 bushels of apples this year, they have over twenty varieties from which to choose. Two customer favorites are Golden Delicious and Honey Crisp, my personal choice. Their newest variety is now available – Evercrisp, a combination of Honey Crisp and Fuji.

   Hillcrest Orchard has been in the family since 1968. Today Merle and Lela Hershberger own and operate the orchard with help from their children. Their grandfather, Jacob Hershberger, still helps out as often as possible.

Hillcrest view from overlook

An overview features their orchard and beautiful Mud Valley.

   With over 75 acres of apple trees and 5 acres of peach trees, the Hershberger family works all year round. When the new year begins in January, it’s time to trim trees and remove a block of old trees.

   Then in April, it’s planting time each year for approximately 4,000 dwarf trees – most of them being apple. Luckily, they have a tree transplanter, which is pulled behind a tractor. They can sit on the transplanter and drop in the new trees three feet apart. With this method, they can plant over 1,500 trees in one day.

   There’s always work to be done. After planting trees, the trunks are hand wrapped with wire to keep them straight. Trellises, holding two wires that go through the trees, keep the branches from hanging to the ground. During the summer months, the apples need to be thinned on each tree. An apple tree cannot be too full of apples for best production.

Hillcrest Apple sorter

Matt Hershberger often runs the apple sorter.

   In the fall when picking begins, some extra help is needed from young people in the community. All the apples are hand-picked from ladders. That is one of the reasons they switched to dwarf apple trees so they could more easily be reached.

Hillcrest Cidermill

Mark Hershberger and his son, Adam, explain the cider press.

   Fresh pressed apple cider is made at their business operation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During October they make 4,000 gallons each week. One Friday/Saturday last year they sold 2,250 gallons.

Hillcrest Sample

A free sample of fresh apple cider tasted refreshing.

   Their cider is unpasteurized so it’s placed immediately in a cooling tank. That also means that it’s only good for about two weeks. Be sure to get a free sample while visiting.

Hillcrest Vinegar

There are many uses for apple cider vinegar.

   Whatever cider isn’t sold is placed into wooden barrels for one year. There it becomes apple cider vinegar, which is also available at their store.

Hillcrest Apple butter

Their fresh apple butter was a popular item.

   However, apples and their products aren’t the only things on hand. Hillcrest Orchard’s the perfect place to find organic fruits and vegetables while in season. Their products look picture perfect. You can also buy pumpkins, mums, baled hay or straw. You’ll be surprised at all the treats available.

Hillcrest Kettle Corn

In the parking lot, Hostetler Kettle Corn provides an extra treat.

   Outside during the fall months, you’ll enjoy the flavor of Hostetler Kettle Corn. Freshly popped in the lot, the smell draws you to their tent. Pick up a bag to munch on while driving home through beautiful Amish country.

   The children and grandchildren feel part of the business as they have grown up in the orchard and store. Hopefully, those youngsters will someday continue providing apples and peaches for all to enjoy.

Hillcrest Welcome

Bags of fresh apples greet you – The First Taste of Fall.

   Merle’s son, Mark, lists pressing cider and picking apples as his favorite chores. When asked what he’d like to do in the future, his answer, “Plant more trees.” What do these hard-working young men like to do for fun? Deer hunt! There’s evidence of that around their store with several deer head mounts.

Hillcrest Cider Sign   Hillcrest Orchard is open from July through April. It has even become a requested stop for tour buses. Many people make an annual visit there in the fall and some stop by often to pick up fresh produce. One man said he took the cider home and froze it in small containers so he could have fresh tasting cider for months to come.

Hillcrest Check out

Area young people help out during their busiest season – September and October.

   Stop by the orchard and pick up some apples straight from the tree. Apples can be enjoyed in so many different ways: apple pie, applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, dipped in caramel, or just take a bite of a fresh, juicy one. However you decide to use the apples, they will taste delicious.

   Remember, apples are also healthy, so that old adage of ‘an apple a day’ is a good rule to follow. Stop at Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek on your next trip to Amish Country and experience the fresh taste of fall.

Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek can be reached off I-77 at Exit 83. Go left on OH 39W until you reach 515. Turn right at the light, then go straight back about a half mile to the Orchard on the right. 

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