Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Naturalist Walks an Old Farm

Early this past last summer I had the privilege to spend some time exploring an old hill farm. A farm it once was, but now the property is a rural get-away for folks from the city.

In an aerial photo from 2016 the property appears as almost entirely wooded with only a small area of open ground –

From Google Earth

But in a 1938 aerial photo the proportion of fields to woods is almost reversed –

From PennPilot

The area that was woodland in 1938 was a sugarbush, where sugar maples were tapped to make maple syrup; a few of the large old sugar maples remain –

Those sugar maples are scattered in a forest containing a diverse mix of species –

I wandered through the young woodland that now occupies almost all of the old fields –

Past a seasonal pool that early in the spring is a breeding site for frogs and salamanders –

And along what had been a fencerow between the old fields – the large trees, some containing remnants of barbed wire, spoke of its history –

Because the old woodland had been a sugarbush several old roads gently climb the hillside. Sleds laden with tanks of maple sap had been drawn to the sugar house along those roads, there the sap was boiled into syrup –

One of the roads is bordered for a short way by a stone wall that had edged a field –

While other stone walls bisect young forest –

This isn’t an especially large property, but it’s quite diverse, has an abundance of wildflowers in the spring and is one that I’ve been fortunate enough to walk upon a number of times over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - I'm thankful for the lady I've shared my life with for over 50 years, our daughter and son and their young folks (who now aren't so young) and the fact that I've been able to walk forest and field for well over half a century - and still can.


The Furry Gnome said...

I love the air photo comparison! The whole place looks so similar to places here in Ontario. Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert Folzenlogen said...

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for brightening my life with your nature photography!