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04 June 2005
Old Farmstead reclaimed by nature

Read this beautiful little story from a blog called 'A WhipPoorWill'. It's about one formerly agricultural landscape making its way back toward a natural state. The story was included in Tangled Bank #29, hosted at Organic Matter this week.

Kids at the ClubhouseI think this story caught my attention because it reminds me of the 110-acre home where I grew up in central NY. In 1970, my parents built a new home in what had been an orchard on an big old family farmstead. We moved in when I was 7. The house and all the barns and outbuildings still stood, for the most part. We slowly took them down, burned them, removed them, bulldozed them over the next 20 years. But as kids, my 6 siblings and I played in the Old House and the barns almost daily - making up adventures and stories to fit our environment. We converted a small pigshed in the orchard into our 'clubhouse.' That's some of us posed at the clubhouse in the picture. Cute dorks. That's me adeptly holding a kitten.

Inside the house, skunks had taken up residence underneath an old davenport left in the livingroom. We were scared to return to the livingroom after we startled one away one afternoon. Most everything else had been removed from the house. For fun, we jumped on a naked bedsprings that remained upstairs and we climbed out onto the front porch roof for the adventure of it. One extra dark, shaded room on the back side of the first floor still had intact wallpaper - pale cream background with big pink roses and smaller flowers between. The green shutters were still on the window. We called this room the 'scream room' because if you stood in the middle and screamed, a faint echo would reverberate for a couple seconds. We enjoyed this.

A few fruit trees and vines, an elderberry bush, a few ornamental plantings all went on as though the old caretakers were still looking, picking, planting, watering, etc. These reclaimed-by-nature farms are somehow very beautiful places and I'm not sure why.

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