We share the Farm with a variety of wildlife. Every morning and evening, the deer come to visit. In years past, they especially enjoyed congregating under the old apple trees for a snack. Porcupines and skunks have only made their presence known to a couple unfortunate family pets. Bluebirds, Cardinals, and Swallows share the trees with an occasional Hawk. Here's a family of wild Turkeys dropping in:|
Upon ascending Lackawack Hill, a visit to the Farm always starts at the Driveway (below, left). [Yeah, you can see that I've got a firm grasp of the obvious.] Be sure to check the mail before you turn! The elegant "Christensen's Farm" sign was a gift from Pete Ingvoldstad, a tenant from the 70's. The current chip and tar surface was put down in the early 90's. When it finally replaced the treacherous stone and dirt road, the speed limit increased from 15 mph to 25 mph almost overnight.
The house is viewed through the "Secret Passage" (below, right) from the front field. The "S.P." was a popular playground for us kids during the summer, due mainly to its proximity to the [old] house. Remnants of the Stone Fort still exist today. The fort overlooks the stream bed below and guards the house from enemy armies foolish enough to attack via the driveway! The front stream runs in the winter and spring, but dries up to a mere trickle in the summer.
The Front Pond has been worked on continuously since the early '60s. Although it is no longer the main swimming/boating area, it remains a monument to the persistence of my parents: dam rebuilt twice due to floods, emptied and dredged every couple of years, landscaping improvements made, stone walls built, bridges constructed, etc.
The House is less of a work in progress. After years of working on the old farmhouse, when the log home was built, my parents had a good idea of what was needed. The wood stove keeps it cozy in the winter and cathedral ceilings in the bedrooms and kitchen give it a ski lodge feel.
Ray's car is shown in the driveway.
Nearly 40 years after being purchased, the work goes on. One major improvement in working conditions came with the arrival of the Ford tractor. We can accomplish in hours what would have taken days back then. Here we are crossing the modern bridge after some work in the back in 1998. At right, Dad, Ken & Ray remove silt from the pond bed in June,1999.
Another improvement in working conditions is that now, instead of the 3 boys splitting a beer, Mom will mix a mean rum-coke for anyone interested.... A tall one!!!
Apparently, one pond was not enough! A second one was dug in the back part of the land, so it quickly became known as the 'Back Pond'. It was originally dug as a surprise gift by a guy named Ackerley (who had done some other work there) in the early '70s. It was arranged by the then-tenant Arnie Buley. Later, Franklin got to play in it with his infamous bulldozer. Fed by springs, it was warmer, but much smaller than the Front Pond. But as the years went by, the master plan called for an enlargement. It took until the 90's to put the plan into action and give Franklin a call to do the big job. Today, it's nearly 500 feet long, with up to 3 different boats available for a cruise.
Working on the deck over the front pond in 1993:
Installing an iron beam under the barn in July, 1995:
Nicole is the foreman, supervising her grandfather and uncles while they install a classy new outlet for the "overflow" from the spring in 1997:
Is it time for another break yet? Let's sit down on the new floating pier at the back pond. (1999)
The barn floor was sagging more and more, to the point of becoming dangerous. It was time to replace the old planks with stronger ones, now that the iron beams provided strength. Steve came up with the wonderful idea of using our own trees for the job, by cutting them down and milling them into lumber. And thus it came to pass! The chainsaw was revved up and the tractor was used to pull the falling trees in the right direction. Then came the task of dragging the logs into the field where a portable mill trimmed them into 2x8's and 4x8's.
Replacement of the boards......Steve looks up from below as Ken perches himself on a beam (11/99):
Dad and Steve proudly stand on firm footing.
The best of times are spent around the table. Arianna is joined by her mom and uncles Steve and Ken.
Playing on the ice. Even Uncle Weezy pays a visit in 1997:
Aunt Helen can't resist a tractor ride (2/98) * * * * The A. May family jumps in too!
Ray and Steve give Megan and Nicole shoulder rides:
A 1999 reunion found us in our work clothes as usual: