Keith and I met in 1980, soon after both of us had returned from serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  From that time, the desire of returning to Italy was never far from our hearts.  We did return as often as we could scrape the money together, but before a more permanent place in Italy could become a reality, we had a lot of living to do.  Keith completed his graduate studies in architecture.  We adopted four children from India, and we built Orchard Hill at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in northern Utah. 

We wanted our home to be a place of growth… both for Keith’s business and for our children.  We believed that teaching children to work on the land was an important part of teaching them to prepare for life as productive adults.  So, a big part was to grow a lot of our own food, in the form of an edible landscape.  I had been raised in the orchards of eastern Washington (Wenatchee), so was planning on continuing that tradition by planting orchards.  Orchard Hill just seemed the right name for our home place.  This was the place where we would raise our family, raising animals that we love, learning about the world, and occasionally leaving this lovely place to go exploring further.

 

 

 


Our Home

 

Orchard Hill was designed by Keith Bennett (KCB Architecture) to be a wonderful, unique home, in the craftsman style.  It is full lovely architectural elements unique just to us:  high, open ceilings, curved walls, unexpected turns and corridors.  The furnishings can only be described as meaningful.  They are a collection of family heirlooms, found items from searching here in Utah, and picked up from our travels around the world.  

 

Our Gardens

Before we even broke ground to start our new home, we started planting xeric vegetation that would complement the already-established scrub oak and other native flora of our hillside.  As soon as possible, our little children were out with us, terracing the hillside so we could plant an orchard and other gardens.  The idea was to enjoy an edible landscape that would be both nourishing and beautiful to look at.  We don’t always achieve all we would like, but we are still working toward making Orchard Hill a lovely oasis in northern Utah.

 

 

Our Animals

We have always loved animals, and have enjoyed a variety of various companions throughout the years, from cats and dogs, to rescued birds, chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, and an assorted menagerie of various critters our neighbors dropped at our door (including baby skunks and raccoons).  Our current animal companions are Mona, a fifteen-year-old Vizsla, Presley, an 11-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, Antonio Banderas (Tony), a yellow tiger cat, Mr Filch, a three-legged Maine Coon-type cat…. plus, chickens and Rex Rabbits.