Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Only On Loan

Those of us who live on old farmsteads often have the opportunity, as I do,  to discover the discards of past owners, located in middens, or maybe more accurately, garbage dumps, of former inhabitants.  We have several out here JOTOLR.  It used to be customary (before those "waste managment" trucks appeared in our driveways to whisk refuse away to be concentrated in something now known as "landfills") for families to find a dry creek bottom, hollowed out even more by the occasional burst of water from a thunderstorm gone frog-strangler--and fill it with whatever trash could not be put to use somehow 

On our farm, we have several of these "landfills" and--rather than finding them offensive--I rather like them, as they offer a modest window on local history:  old glass bottles--including wine, whiskey, soda bottles with mystifying brand names I've never heard of, milk bottles, canning jars; oddments of metal, bits and pieces of failed farm machinery; miscellaneous enamelware discards with a rime of rust around the edges...all sorts of interesting artifacts that invite me to ponder the prior inhabitants of what is, for the moment, my domain.  It reminds me that we never own the land.  We only borrow it for awhile.

Some pieces offer homes to wayward insects and rodents.  Others create model terrariums--lovely "found" hothouses beneath a blanket of spent leaves.

We even have a cemetery with a proper headstone for at least one resident.  I walk out to it frequently to capture the sunsets I post here from time to time and never fail to speak a few words to Hannah, who passed in the mid-1800's.  The stone--probably put there by heirs much later--is quite grand, actually.  OTOH, I do need to add a "tidy-up" of the area around the stone to my spring list!  I think it's  appropriate (don't you?) that it is sunsets rather than sunrises, that I follow out to that promontory!

The only legacy of Hannah's having lived upon this land, (other than the stone) contrary to other relics I find elsewhere on our homestead, is the carpet of Periwinkles smiling up at me from the forest floor, a beautiful blue reminder that the earth is only on loan to us, to borrow gently and with respect.


  1. Lovely post --we have one of those dumps ourselves. It's instructive to note how very little they actually threw away -- and that only when it was well past use.

  2. Beautiful and uplifting post.

    BTW: I am so old that I actually remember Upper 10!

  3. Hi, Elora...sorry to be out of touch. I've enjoyed catching up on your posts. How lovely that Hannah rests amongst the periwinkles! I think I'd enjoy those little old-time "landfills" too. Ours are remnants of the most recent owners and not nearly as charming. :-)

    Good luck with all your spring cleaning---I'm amazed at your energy!