I have always been draw to the hills, whether ancient geological features such as the Occooh Mountains of Southwest Wisconsin or the Rocky Mountains out west. I love the twisting roads, the hidden valleys the mystery around the next corner. There has been times in my life when I have lived in flat country but I found myself missing something. It wasn’t a clear emotion, more like a back of the mind something isn’t quiet right sort of feeling. It wasn’t till a little later in life when I feel like I figured it out. Hill, valleys, topography, this is where I find my heart drawn. It’s funny because I have talked to people who grew up on the plains and they have the same feeling of
place in flatter areas. One of the aspects of hilly topography I marvel at is all the different microclimates created by the changes in elevation. Yesterday we received our first light dusting of snow on the farm but when I drove down into the valley it was all rain. Just that small amount of elevation was enough. On Friday evenings I play croquet with a group of friends. Our court is nessled in a tight valley, if conditions are right you can feel a stream of cold are moving down hill and often at a certain time of day a fog will begin to form below us as the colder air moves over the warmer ground. When the games are over and I return to my ridgetop perch I often find the air a couple degrees
warmer. The first and last frosts of the year happen in our valleys before we see anything on the ridge. The first year I gardened on a professional level I was working for a farm nessled in one of the bigger valleys created by the Kickapoo river. We often had to pick hundreds of pounds of salad greens in a day by hand. By the end of the year I was so tired of picking salad greens I rejoiced upon seeing that frost valley as I drove into work. It was short lived joy though as I learned it wasn’t cold enough to kill or even damage the greens. It was my first lesson in hardy vegetable production. Whether it’s a ridge top view or getting lost in a valley I will always find my soul in the hills.