Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The road allowance
Then there is a sort of gap. It's slightly overgrown, and on its other side (the right in this photo) there is a much larger pile of boulders and stones going in a straight line parallel to the edge of the field. It has, in many places, remnants of a split rail and barbed wire fence atop it. The dogs often clamber or leap across it into the bush on its edge.
The gap is a road allowance. When this part of Ontario was first explored back in the early 1800s, a surveyor came in and laid out all the roads, or potential roads, and property boundaries. So this road allowance is very old. It may at one time have been used by the farmer who owned the bush on the one side and the field on the other, to get from one place to another. It's overgrown in spots and trees have fallen across it.
When the field is planted I don't like to walk on its edges. The dogs will go with me and leap through the growing crop destroying young plants. So when I really looked at what this was I decided this would be one of the paths I would take. The dogs then either go with me along it or into the bush lot, looking for raccoons, porcupines, the scents of deer and coyote. It's not a large bush lot, but it's very pretty at all seasons. Right now it's quite fragile with tiny flowers and plants growing - fawn or trout lily, trillium, hepatica, blood root, may apple, black cohosh, herb Robert to name a few. I could go on but I've run out of names at the moment.
One of the things I often catch myself doing while I wander around, is wondering what it was like in this part of the world before Europeans discovered it, and then when they did the backbreaking work of clearing endless forest to try to create a small farm.
The countryside is changing. Old style apple farms are being bulldozed to make way for the vine apples - 7000 acres up here. There are still large beef farms and some dairy farms, and many small farmers find themselves now renting hundreds to thousands of acres to plant crops. But it's changing. And that of course is the only constant.
Something to think about on this rainy morning. Hope you have a great day.