Thursday, February 21, 2013
Building Unity Farm - Naming the Landscape
I'm a great admirer of Edwin Way Teale's Pulitzer prize winning work about his travels across the United States during the four seasons and about his last 20 years of life on an old farm in northeast Connecticut.
I was recently asked to keynote a conference at the Mohegan Sun and took the road less traveled so that I could visit Teale's property, which is now an Audubon preserve.
Trail Wood is very similar to Unity Farm - We have woodland, meadow, wetland, streams, and pasture. I've created about a mile of trails thus far and we're busy crafting place names like Forgot-me-not marsh, Bluebird meadow, and Old Cart Path.
As I mentioned in my Tuesday post, the mapmaker of the Teale property will help me create a similar map for Unity.
Here are the features we'll need to name:
Paddocks - we have one for the males and one of the females
Pasture - we have a large grassy pasture which is available for our animals to graze from May to October. We halter and lead a gender specific group from paddock to pasture in the morning and lead them back at night.
Duck Pond - we're building a duck pond this Summer for the Indian Runner ducks we'll raise this Spring.
Orchard trail - a 5 acre trail that begins at the barnyard, travels near vernal ponds, and climbs a drumlin before passing the neighboring apple orchard and descending into the most dense, oldest forest we own - 150 year old cedars, 100 foot pines, and maples. This trail passes by
*A hollow containing our Shinto Jinja - the shrine which houses the kami (the spirit of Unity Farm)
*Deep forest - the oldest trees
*Top of the drumlin - an ideal place for viewing the sunset or apple blossoms in the spring
Firefly trail - in the Summer, the fireflies congregate near a bridge I built over a seasonal wetland. Although it's covered by the forest canopy there are many low bush blueberries, and moss covered rocks along the trail that connects the Orchard Trail to the Old Cart Path trail. We need to name the bridge and wetlands.
Old Cart Path trail - this trail connected the original 200 acre farm property with downtown Sherborn in the 1700's. It follows old rock walls and winds through old cedars staying fifty feet from the border of our marsh.
Marsh trail - this trail borders our northern woodlands through a dense pine grove and crosses a bridge (pictured below) on its way to our cattail grove and the football field sized forget-me-not marsh. The trail ends where another bridge crosses the stream to a large wildflower meadow filled with bluebirds. I recently built bluebird nest boxes and a bluebird feeder, which I'll describe in a future post. This Spring, we're adding bee hives under the swamp maples in the meadow near the stream and bridge. We need to name
The north wood
The pine grove
The cattail marsh
The forget me not meadow
The bee hive area
Orchard - This year, we're clearing an acre of poplar (as I described last week) and expanding our orchard to include additional apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pecan, and plum trees as well blueberries and raspberries. We selected the species very carefully to ensure a staggered harvest over an extended growing season. Here is the detail. We're also adding additional wildflowers to the meadow to support the bees. We'll have to name the new orchard on our map.
We purchased the property a year ago this month. Edwin Way Teale had 20 years to develop and name the features of Trail Wood. As soon as my first map is ready, I'll post it on the blog.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM