poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘oldfield


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In my posts this summer, the space I expect to feature prominently is our summer property.

I’ve talked about this place before.  One end of the property is along a lake (see ‘course of the creek’, September 12, 2012, and ‘ice is nice’, December 21, 2011, both under the category ‘waterways’).   The lake edge is a bright forest of cedar, hemlock, birch and oak, and includes a beautiful marsh.  We sit on our bench in the woods and look out at the lake, watching loons and deer and ducks.  Once I saw an eagle plummet from the sky and dive into the water with a huge splash, to emerge with a good-sized fish in his talons.

Most of the property was/is an oldfield.  When we bought the property in 2004, we bought an open field, thick with blueberry bushes and grass that rippled in the ever-present wind.  There were a few trees, mostly bushy pine, spared year after year by the farmer’s bushhog.  The field had been home to a herd of buffalo (bison) and we still find the dry, dusty evidence of their wallows.

The keyword in the last paragraph is ‘bushhog’!  The farmer offered to keep the field mowed, but we are very independent.  We were certain we could keep ahead of the various trees and alders sprouting everywhere.

The result has been the usual progress of an oldfield in the process of succession.  Today our pines still punctuate the property, and there are enough blueberries to keep us satisfied, but other spaces have emerged… the alder swale, the maple grove, the path through the birches, the blackberry barrens, and, of course, our tiny cottage.  There is a bit of grassy field still remaining and we struggle to keep it intact.

east boundary of our property, with our cedar rail fence, looking toward our neighbor's mowed field

When we go to the property I like to think about how it is changing, right before our eyes.  Those buffalo would have a hard time recognising the place.



evidence of buffalo


                         “…in this field, years ago, I kept buffalo….”

                                                       beef farmer, selling his land


massive posts brace a page fence

woven with wire birch

dusty wallows where soil is crushed

and only lichen will grow


three apple trees trodden

parallel to ground

grey feed trough

strung together with nails


cedar waxwings search the fence

coarse hairs for their nests

winds nuzzle and whisper

through the brush of pine



© Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 14, 2012 at 9:25 am

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