A walk in the woods

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I love walking in the woods.  There’s something primal about the trees and the fallen leaves that make me feel like a pioneer, searching for a perfect spot for my home.  Just the right mix of sun and shade, slope and flat, dry and wet that makes me comfortable.  The combination was very important to them as it could mean life or death.  New England is not forgiving to the unprepared.

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The summers can be in the 90’s.  The winters can reach 30 degrees below zero.  A house in the open will be an oven in the summer, and the wind in the winter can drift snow up and over the roof.  If you build your house on a flat area, it can get very muddy in the spring, causing mold and mildew problems.  To much slope and runoff can undermine the foundation.  It took some thought along with plenty of trial and error for them to get it right.

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Those that did, enjoyed a good and long life in what I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Maybe I’m a little biased having grown up in Maine.  I have traveled a lot, but I always come back.  I guess it’s all in where you grew up.  I enjoyed swimming in small ponds and lakes as a boy, and I still do.  The shallow ponds would warm up quite a bit, maybe reach 70 degrees!  As a kid, that was warm for Maine.  As an adult, WHOA…that’s cold!

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Every time I hear someone talk about how hard they worked today, I think about how hard the pioneers of this country worked.  Every stone for the foundation, tree for log walls, sod for the roof, hand hewn boards for the doors…all where done by hand.  It could take weeks to set all the stones, each one lifted by hand.  How many trees could you cut down, trim to size, debark and set into place in a day?

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If you wanted to plant crops, what do you do with all the stones you dig up?  You don’t know work until you try to dig a hole in New England!  Nothing but rocks!  But the pioneers were smart.  Build stone walls of course!  Some walls run for miles in the northeast.  Land boundary’s were marked by them.  Every stone moved by hand.  Now that’s work.

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I think we have it pretty easy today.  We walk our dogs with their LL Bean coats on, drive our cars, use our washing machines, order pizza delivery, buy our clothes online, call our friends on the phone.  In 1755 our dogs ran free.  We had to hook up the horses to the wagon to go to town.  We washed our hand made clothes in the nearest stream.  If you wanted to eat, you grew it, hunted for it and prepared it, or go hungry.  If you wanted to talk to a friend, you walked or rode a horse, sometimes for many miles to see them.  But unlike today, if you asked them for help, they came without question.

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There were no food stamps, no welfare checks, no WIC program.  No mass transit, no soup kitchens, no handouts.  People just helped each other.  If I came to help you, I know you will come and help me.  Those that could not help themselves, they were provided for by all in the community.  You brought them food, washed their clothes, fixed their roof, picked them up on Sunday to go to church.  Filled their wood shed so they wouldn’t freeze.  No one wrote a check to UNICEF, or Save The Children, then wrote it off on their taxes thinking they did their part.  People finished their work, then worked for others without question.  That’s what a true community is.  It’s sad to say, but in many areas of America, I think those days are gone.  (Sigh)

 

 

 

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34 thoughts on “A walk in the woods

  1. Ahhhh.. Ruby Lake.. Have you ever looked into the water ? Its really clear and you can see the these long underwater fern looking plants.. and they’re super dense in the lake.. When Stewie goes swimming he comes out looking the Creature’s from the Black Lagoon dog, with these lake plants hanging on and trailing behind him..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I rarely take my phone to catch a picture there only because my hands usually stay wet throwing his eek eek toy in the lake continually.. but I’ll have to get one, its instant halloween costume lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can u tell I’m tired ? Just look at those typos and sentences.. Pure gibberish I say !!!
    Delivering in Ma. tomorrow morning and had to split my hrs.. arrrgh.. but it will give me 2hrs at wegmans to shop tonight.. 😆
    Then del. and have to take a reset in Ma. somewhere around Springfield..

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  4. I’m glad you’re on your way home.. I hope your visit is wonderful.. just got off the phone with dad and looking forward to my fla hometime at the end of the month.. we had a short too fast visit last week..

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  5. I’m forcing myself to NOT look that up right now.. gotta sleep.. I’ll have 34hrs after my delivery to find out what a triffid is and how they terrorized our generation in our vulnerable phase.. lol
    Good night 😌

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That photo of the freezing over pond.. you’re onto something very nice there.

    Way back in the day there were still all the outcasts who suffered at the whim of society, you were either part of the in-group or you were dirty and mistrusted (and often beaten, if not murdered for it). Life was harder, shorter, more brutal. I think we’ve come far as a society since then, but we could do so much better.

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  7. I loved this post. Wonderful pictures (Pan – I love the comment about Stewie the Creature from the Black Lagoon Dog) and it is so good to feel the history with you. We don’t know we are born now in comparison to our forebears but we can take their example to heart and remember that we all can if we will.

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  8. Yes, sadly I think you’re right. Our definition of hard work has definitely changed over the years and life is so different from those of our pioneers. I wonder what it will be again in another 50 years – kind of scary to think. Sometimes I wish we could turn back time to when things were simple, though I’m sure there were problems back then too. Just different. Perhaps we should just be grateful for what we have and focus on the positive. Wonderful, insightful post, thank you.

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    1. I’m starting down that road with the future purchase of a sailboat. Everything I own fits in this truck and a 5 x 10 enclosed trailer behind my car. It’s funny how you come to realize all the “Things” you don’t really need. It’s quite liberating!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. When I’m overwhelmed by atrocities around the world committed by people on people, animals and the earth, I sometimes believe I was born on the wrong planet.. Or accidently left behind on a flyby visit.. We are backwards.. The easier tasks become, the more we tend to get lazy.. With more idle time on our hands, we care less about what’s important and more about fulfilling desires, some which are harmful.. When given handouts, entitlement replaces gratitude.. On the whole, the human race seems to live and die by, Given an inch, well take a mile !
    But the world does have some who just aren’t built that way..
    I see that difference in you and your commenters..

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a prediction.. You will stay on your singleminded focus until you set sail on that sailboat.. And that in your travels you will be beckoned so strongly to aid ppl along your way, that you won’t be able to resist, even though it will often throw a monkey wrench in your otherwise, best laid plans.. We all have a degree of selfishness but we also all have a degree of heart.. Some have more selfishness than heart.. Others have more heart than selfishness.. Honestly, which do you think you have more of ?
        😞 I’m feeling pretty confident in my prediction.. I also think the opportunity for you working harder helping from your sailboat is much more likely than popping up while you’re in the house watching tv.. And its all good, helping is good for the soul.. I think its an exciting adventure you’re going to set sail on.. I only hope you’re safe and able to keep a blog log of all you see and do.. And pictures!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I read a story of a family living on a boat sailing around Papua New Guinea. The mother was so focused on helping others that she made her young daughters give up their favorite stuffed toys to children on the island. I think that was going a little to far. I will always help, but some things will not be offered. (I don’t have stuffed toys!)

        Liked by 1 person

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