Posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 05, 2007
In Reply to: Two in a hill posted by R. Berg on September 05, 2007
: : : My father, now deceased, often used this phrase in respone to someone asking him how he was. He'd reply, "Oh, about two in a hill."
: : : I never got around to asking him what it meant, and I don't recall anyone else ever using it. However, I always 'assumed' it had to do with planting a field - probably with corn or beans - by hand. That is, the person would walk the plowed rows in the field dropping seeds in the hills that had been formed as you go. I supposed the better one felt the more seeds he/she could usually drop into a single hill.
: : : Has anyone else on this forum ever heard that expression or have any alternative ideas as to its meaning?
: : Not worth a hill of beans?
: I hadn't heard "two in a hill" before. Here's another speculation: Bean plants are usually grown four or five to a hill. If only two of your seeds in each hill sprouted to produce vines, you don't have an abundant bean crop, but it's better than nothing. Your father's expression might therefore be a colorful equivalent of "So-so" or "Fair to middling." ~rb
It could be a garbled version of an Irish saying: "small potatoes and few in the hill" (i.e. [the potato patch produces] small potatoes, and not many even of those").