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What is Old Crow Hill?

A: I don't know.


But, to set a baseline, at this point Old Crow Hill is not (yet) a real place. It is just a set of mildly connected ideas inside my head. I see a biergarten, a lot of blueberry bushes, and the best neighborhood haunted house each year. I see trellises of blackberries, and fig trees, and little winding paths to hidden goodies. I see my suburban neighborhood, now with a town square, starting to look and feel more like a community. I see potlucks, and movie nights, and so many celebrations. Mostly, I see my home becoming more than an address, more than just another house in the roundabout of similar houses on this street. I see my house becoming a place.


Old Crow Hill.


So, to answer the question, Old Crow Hill is a dream, but one which I intend to make a reality. To start, I'm making my property into somewhere different, something that is both public and private, that provides room for the seedling of community to take root. That starts with converting every square inch of grass and scrub brush into a food forest and pollinator habitat. I don't have unlimited means, so I'm gonna have to build it the old fashioned way, bit by bit when I have the time, resources, and inclination.


I've gotten started on my backyard since I'll be able to make my mistakes out of view, and my neighbors won't have to look at my agricultural abominations. But, with one season under my belt, I've learned a tremendous amount about my property, the flows of water and sun, and the types of plants and soil I have to work with. While most of my backyard is forested, I had a strip of scrubby grass that ran between my back patio and the start of the tree cover. I tore up the strip of grass and replaced it with three new beds, filled with blueberries, clethra, a dwarf fig tree, and a host of other pollinator species. In total, I added 10 yards of compost, 10 yards of mulch, and over 50 plants to an area that was originally just turf and compacted soil.


While I tweak the backyard design and add more plants, I'm getting started on my side yard, a nearly .20 acre area of turf that will become a mixture of fruit trees and pollinators surrounding a central green where we'll be able to host parties and celebrations. I plan on making a lot of progress this Fall, but I'm sure the bulk of the work will have to wait for Spring.

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