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Friday, April 8, 2011


Today I have been a trespasser.  I, recklessly, have crossed the boundaries of my land to move onto my neighbor's woodland acres. I'm hoping that the kindness of Jim allows him to forgive me.  This is how it happened. 

I take medicine in the morning that prescribes me to wait one hour before eating. It was finally not too cold out so I put on my hooded sweatshirt, draped binoculars and a camera around my neck, put another camera in my pocket and my phone in another pocket.  My plan was to go into my garden then spend some time re-learning how to identify some common birds. I would find a place to sit quietly and search for birds.
Then I decided to just go out the gate to walk along the edge of the field where a pair of Towhees scratch. A White-throated sparrow led me along the wood's edge to where I had to make a decision.  I chose to turn left away from my home.  For a moment I quietly paused to look past the tree house through a small strip of trees into the hay field beyond.

Birds kept calling me onward until I was walking on the gas line and deciding to go check if there were any frogs in a wet spot I remembered from last year. Next thing I know, I can see the neighbor's gravel road off in the distance.  I had not been on the road since the gas company had graveled it so that they could get their equipment through the woods in an effort to cap some old wells. Naturally I wanted to check out the road. I followed 
it and sure 'nuf, it lead to one of the capped wells. The hills around here are covered with old gas wells from the early twentieth century. The gas companies abandoned them once they no longer produced gas. Our government - with our tax dollars - is now finding the wells and capping them.
One step led to another as I found myself being pulled toward the old home site that I described about a year ago. I think of it every spring. You may click HERE to read it for yourself.
For reasons you can read about at the link above I haven't been out there in awhile but perhaps it was time.  Even though the road has changed as has the vegetation I knew just where it was.  At that spot I turned deeper into the woods. At one time cedars lined the drive leading up to the house that has been gone over a hundred years. Today briars protect the site.  Like the prince in the old Rose Red and Sleeping Beauty fairy tails, I tried to force my way through an army  of briars.  Multiflora rose branches pulled at my pants and caught my sweatshirt.  This wasn't working.  My new strategy was to go around the bushes and approach the site from a different angle.  Still too hard. While crawling on the ground in an attempt to go under the bushes, I heard a sound behind me. . .eeek!  Slowly I slid backward and stood up. There was the sound again.  It was too slow for a deer who would have snorted and run by now. What was it? Then, coming right toward me was a turkey.  
I saw several more behind it.  While I slowly pulled my camera up to my eye, the turkey finally noticed me and did an "about-face" before I could take its picture.
Once it turned, so did all the rest.  They ran then flew away.
I turned back to the task of crawling under the multiflora rose bushes. Finally through, I then maneuvered through a maze of grape vines until there I was.  I was standing on a forest floor covered in periwinkle. This periwinkle had been planted more than a century ago when none of the surrounding trees were standing. Some of it still bloomed blue though buried beneath a mulch of debris.
I kept searching through the vines until I saw what made my heart race and my eyes water. There they were, her daffodils, still blooming though the woman who planted them has long returned to dust.
It was just one clump that I found at first.  From a bulb planted by that long gone ancestor of my friend.  She had gently placed  the bulb in the ground, covered it with dirt and waited. It is an act most of us have done, an act that connects us to women through time. We plant, nurture and enjoy the beauty of what we have started.
As I wandered on I came into a clearing with more bulbs growing.
I've never understood why brush doesn't grow in this ancient front yard.
Was it because it was trampled by children, dogs and horses or is it because the ground is sacred. A family of our pioneer settlers sat in this yard, enjoying the daffodils, the yucca,
and the view.  What a view it must have been . . . looking down the river with no buildings in sight.
I enjoyed thinking about what had passed before me then decided I needed to get home.  My detour had left me very hungry.  I didn't look forward to fighting my way out of the surrounding briar bushes.  I didn't have to.  One of those roads built to cap off wells had been built right in close to the home site.  I stepped out of the past and onto a gravel path homeward.
Oh well, my way was more exciting.


Rose said...

I really enjoyed this made me think of a neighbor here in my little town. Strange, maybe. But she was from Lithuania...she lived two doors down. Every inch of her yard was planted either in gardens or flowers. When she died, the house was auctioned off, and not a single one of her flowers survived...just so sad.

Jane said...

That's my kind of trespassing. I would gladly have someone on my property to shoot photos, instead of the wildlife (which is the trespassers I get). I keep thinking in a few days, that entire area will look so different. It will be alive with green.

KaHolly said...

Excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed your dialogue. I can picture that time, long ago, like a film being projects on the backs of my eye lids. Still a lovely spot, it must have been a little piece of heaven back then.

Beyond My Garden said...

The owners must have thought differently. I understand that they moved when they became tired of fighting a muddy road. Their descendants now live down on the river (well, not on but overlooking). Living on this hill, I understand. It would be very hard without many MANY loads of gravel, gas-powered road graders, etc.

retha said...

Wonderful place to have wondered.
I think animals do that on purpose, they wait as soon as you are ready to click they give their hind side.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello, this is my first visit and after reading this post, I will be going backwards to catch up on past ones. On back road drives we have seen many abaondoned homesites where flowers are still growing. And I too have thought about the former inhabitants I did follow the link in this post and read about the old home site you descrived earlier. Thanks for the walk today.

Beyond My Garden said...

Rose, That is a sad story. I hate watching a dozer bury old plants. If you read the link I put in this post, You'll see the little remains of another home site that is on Jeff's Dad's part of the farm. The daffodils are blooming there, too.

Jane, we get those gun toting trespassers also but not as many as when I first moved here. I tend to make lots of noise during deer season to urge people to stay far away from the house.

Retha, you are most correct. I had some ducks do the same thing this week.

Beatrice, Thanks for visiting. I hope you come back often.

Razmataz said...

Gorgeous gorgeous photos. What a beautiful area.

Stephanie Berry said...

This is a wonderful post. What a pretty spot you live in! You reminded me of a painting I did of chimney left standing from an old homesite. We used to visit a site like that near here where lilacs grew (probably still do).

Coy said...

Enjoyable story. I gives me a sense of melancholy to visit the old mountain homesteads and finding the spring bulbs planted long ago flourishing and to think back what life there was like those many years ago.
Your patience paid off getting the shots of the Kingfisher, they are one elusive little bird!

The Boston Lady said...

What a wonderful description of your journey! You have a beautiful property that was so well photographed then brought to life with your commentary. Thanks for a lovely time in your world. Ann

Rick said...

Thanks for taking me along on your walk, Nellie. I'm still picking a few thorns out of my skin, but it was worth it ! I love walks like that - in areas where pioneers struggled without the use of modern equipment and yet they made these places their own. So great to see that some of their efforts are still visible - a link to the past.

Wonderful post and photos !

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Nelli .. that was a wonderful morning adventure you had .. I had no idea what was coming next but it was like I was there too ! You have the knack for describing the atmosphere .. the turkeys would have startled me , but what a chance to take a quick picture : )
The connection to so many women who loved gardening the way we do is so deep and strong it surpasses time .. truly ! to see those daffodils there was such magic ..I absolutely loved reading this story this morning !
Joy : )

floweringmama said...

Wow, this is a great post. I just couldn't stop reading!

Andrée said...

I am so glad that you dropped by and visited my snowy barn today. Without your visit, I never would have found you. What a lovely post. The turkey in flight photo is outstanding. The periwinkle photo gives me hope. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful story...almost like a fairy tale. The woman is lured into a magic land by the birds. Great photographs. Thanks for sharing this adventure.

Carletta said...

Hi Nellie,
I saw your comment on Willard's blog and came to check out your turkey shots.
I too live in the Mid-Ohio Valley of WV so Hi,neighbor!
Turkeys have been visiting under my bird feeders for a week now. I've never got a pic of one in flight - you were quick.
I enjoyed your post both narrative and photo.
Lovely blog!

Carletta@Round The Bend
Carletta's Captures

Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Carletta, Are those blogs? I'll go look for them. Maybe we have seen each other around.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I felt like I was on the walk with you and then crawling under the old rose bushes. Pretty amazing to think about how long ago the Daffodils had been planted and how much they had multiplied.

Marvin said...

Quite an extensive morning ramble you ended up having. Thanks for taking us along. Daffodils are sure signs of an old homestead here in the Ozarks too. I'm told that our place has been a "house place" for a very long time, but almost all signs of non-modern habitation have rotted or been bulldozed into oblivion. We did inherent daffodils, but there's really no way to know if their origins stretch back into history or if they were planted by the previous owner.

Mia said...

A nice post, a stroll around in the morning. I never knew Turkeys can fly, thought them to be to big somehow.
Ha a nice day :)

Willard said...

I enjoyed reading about your outing. That is how it usually goes when one encounters turkeys while walking along. You were lucky to get the photos of them. I usually hide in a blind and wait for them, but then they still have to get in the right position and the waiting can be boring, while a walk like you took is not.

I have noticed what you write about in reference to the old homesteads. A lot of them here have a walnut grove growing around them and I had suspected that maybe the walnuts created some type of soil condition that kept other plants from growing, but then maybe the inverse is true and the walnuts grow because they are one of the few that can grow in that soil. Red Bud,and Spice Bush, also seem to do well in this situation.