by Micki Beck
tankYears have passed since those early adventures at Bumbleberry Folk Farm and there are many more stories to share. When I started to clear the long grass and brush I set out in true ‘folk’ tradition with scythe, clippers and hand saw but soon transitioned to more up to date tools! One evening my early neighbours, Kim and Gavin, heard me tackling a dead pine close to the road before the dense brush had been cleared. Thinking it was a bear they approached slowly and stopped to peer through the undergrowth from the safety of their car. Wondering why a car had stopped where I was standing, I peered through the undergrowth to see who it could be. No one spoke, we couldn’t see anything, it was getting dark and we must have stayed motionless for at least five minutes before I felt safe enough to venture into the road. We laughed over that several times before they moved away but I did add a few good bear stories to my experiences after they left. (For a later time)
I used that same handsaw to cut the tangled profusion of alders and willow growing in the swamp and stream leading to the beaver pond behind the barn. The roots we pulled out with ropes, chains and an old truck ….. as was I when I got stuck in the mud up to my knees! I was lucky then, to have my new neighbours, Anthony and Georgina, as Anthony had the equipment and skill to dig the pond where the swamp had been.
Family and friends helped to clean out the barn. Dead tamaracks were cut and made into planks for the downstairs floor as the byres were removed. Two or three windows were
added to the upper floor. Then the insurance inspector insisted on a new oil tank and furnace for the house so I added a wood burning stove for heat through winter power cuts. It was while they were removing the old tank that I thought how appropriate it would be to recycle it as a sign at the barn entrance. Reduce, reuse and recycle may be guide words for the environment today but they were a way of life in my childhood and a necessity in earlier, simpler times.
I discovered five different berries growing wild on the property that made me think of bumbleberry pie and as I bumbled around trying to make my dream a reality Bumbleberry Folk Farm was born! Masses of yellow daisies that bloom in July became the inspiration for the wooden daisies that mark the property and lead visitors along the highway.
There is still much to be done, there will always be much to be done but I have learned to work with nature. The days of clearing forests are over in this, the 21st century. The first owners cleared land for cattle. The piles of stones and cedar rail fences everywhere show how hard they must have worked but by the time I arrived the fields had all but disappeared.
I fell in love with a barn but that love has grown and expanded to include the house, the trees and every plant and blade of grass. How blessed am I to have so much to share!