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The Other Features at Valley Falls Farm
In addition to the farm buildings the farm also includes an herb garden, an historic bell, an active colony of bees and an outdoor display of older farm implements.
Click on the photos for a larger view.
On the hill by the Stable, beneath the Norwegian Pines, and overlooking the Ice House is a large bell. The bell is likely from one of the Rockville mills, but we don't yet know which one.
The inscription on the bell says, 'Clinton H. Meneely Bell Company, Troy, NY, USA, A.D. 1887.' We have located the company's records at the New York State Library in Albany, NY and a future field trip may reveal for whom the bell tolled in Rockville. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
The mills in Rockville, Dobsonville and Talcottville all had bells and bell towers which were used to call workers to the job each morning. This bell still has a clear tone and visitors are able to ring it. The clapper is on an arm although this was probably not the case in its original mill setting.
We aren't sure who installed it here but it was likely Baron Munchow at the time he built the Stable and other farm buildings.
The Herb Garden
Early farms often had kitchen herb gardens for both cooking and medicinal purposes. After purchase by the Friends of Valley Falls the Vernon Garden Club was invited to create an herb garden in 2002 in the long-unused cold frame at the farm.
By the end of the season these herb gardeners had concocted many lovely and useful items including dill and garlic vinegars, dried sage and oregano, lavender sachets, and a recipe book filled with herb dishes members brought to the popular potluck suppers the group frequently share. It is maintained and seasonally enhanced by the Club.
» Learn more about Vernon Garden Club and its activities.
The Cold Frames
There are three concrete cold frames located on the hillside behind the main house to the east of the stable, on land sloping gradually to the south for optimum exposure. Vegetable and herb plantings were started in early spring in the protection of the cold frames. The structures were severely overgrown when the Friends purchased the property. Poison ivy and the herb tansy made the restoration task especially difficult. The Vernon Garden Club has established an herb garden in the upper frame; volunteer Betty Wardrop cultivated a perennial garden in the middle frame, and the farmhouse tenants maintain a vegetable garden in the lower frame. We thank these volunteers for ongoing stewardship of the cold frames.