Property Surprises

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mike in Ohio, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    This past weekend I wandered down to the lake to pick up DW and help her carry gear after she was down fishing for the day. We decided to walk over to a little spit of gravel where one of the spring fed creeks feeds into the lake. We started walking up along the bank of the creek.

    Now understand that we know where the spring is but we had never walked the distance between the spring and the lake (about 1/4 mile) because there isn't really a path along it.

    We found the neatest ledges and pools where the creek had cut down through the shale. The shale is pinkish in hue. In one of the larger pools there were fish (must have made their way upstream from the lake). Nothing spectacular like waterfalls or cliffs. Just beautiful in a simple way.

    So I guess my question is, does your property still surprise you with new found things? How long have you had your place and how large is it? Ours is 47 acres and we have had it about 2 years.

    Mike
     
  2. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    West River SD
    We have 1960 and it always suprises me what I can find. It's mostly prairie, buttes and hills. I've been over most of it with the 4-wheeler that you can ride on chasing cattle but it's not the same as walking. Walking I find little treasures like an old buffalo horn, eagle feathers, arrowheads and unexpected beautiful wild flowers. We also have mini caves in the rocks where animals live both large and small. I pick up petrified wood as sort of a hobby. We have the remains of a cabin of sorts made out of shale near one of the dams and I speculate a lot about who built it and whether or not anyone actually lived in it. Lots to find if you take the time to look.
     

  3. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I would probably be surprised if I could get around to hiking it. I am holding off for cooler weather and the end of snake season. I have owned the land for 10 years and I think I have hiked the whole thing maybe once. I want to see what Charley did to our swamp (it could be 12 feet deep now for all I know!). I hope to drag out some downed trees for the firepit this winter. I'm waiting to recruit a friend or 2 to explore with me, so at least one of us can go for help if a snake or gator bites.

    Does anyone have dreams in which you find out you owned more acres or found a totally unexplored section of the property? Must be my sub-conscious trying to get me to explore it finally.
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    My one acre "spread" surprised me for about 5 years.

    Some of my surprises are:
    Wild milkweed has the most HEAVENLY fragrance, but by the next day the scent is mostly gone.
    There is an ideal spot for a pond in the back, but it is too close to the property line so I will have to pass.
    If you don't drain the kids pool in a timely manner, you are likely to find several thousand tadpoles in it.
    A hive of wild honey bees is living in the back.
    The local wild grapes are tempting, but sour.
    Volenteer redbud trees happen.

    I forget the rest.

    By now, I know that the milkweed will show up SOMEWHERE, and so will the redbud, so it is no longer a surprise. But, since I have bought a few more acres, I can look forward to many more surprises, I think! ;)
     
  5. Future Farmer

    Future Farmer Member

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    Massachusetts
    I've got about 400 square feet of apartment space. There have been a few surprises, like when I found tiny bugs eating the leaves off the young bean plants that I have in window boxes. I tried dish soap in a water solution, but that didn't seem to work. Luckily, my "garden" is so small that I was able to eliminate most of them with a bucket of patience and a good pair of tweezers.

    I dream of owning land like you folks have. Someday, I will. I'm saving up my pennies, and every day, I get a little bit closer. Meanwhile, I read all I can (like the comments and suggestions found here) and soak up all the knowledge that I can.

    Your descriptions of your property give me something to daydream about. Thanks!
     
  6. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    My biggest surprise was also a spring. I knew it was there, but we had not really hiked all the way down. About a year after we bought the place (which is about 90% heavily wooded in hardwoods), we hiked the length of the spring from where it comes out of the ground on the adjoining property all the way down to where it feeds the lake. An old beaver dam near the mouth of the spring had created a pool with a small waterfall. In the winter, before the tall grass grows up to obscure the view, we can see deer playing in the pool from our dock. Really funny to watch as they take turns bounding through the pool, jumping on each other and splashing around.
     
  7. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've owned our 96 acres for two years, but have only lived on it since March. I am always finding surprises, even though the majority of the property is pasture.

    The beavers who cut down all the small trees along the diversion ditch in the field was a big surprise this Spring and we enjoyed watching the dam grow. I guess there just weren't enough trees for them, because they moved out. We're very grateful to them for clearing all that area out for us though!

    Every feather, turtle shell or tiny fossil found is a wonderful surprise. Yesterday I found an arrowhead!

    Each new tree or wildflower discovery is a thrilling surprise to us. We're getting immense pleasure out of watch how our place changes from season to season.

    I don't expect this to ever change. There is enough here on this 96 acres to keep me entertained and awed for the rest of my life!
     
  8. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oklahoma
    We have 32.5 acres all together and the north 17 has a natural spring fed pond. It always amazes me when we walk our acreage at the diversity of plants and animals.
    This year we had a resident squirrel with a stripe down her back, not a chipmunk either. I finally got close enough to figure out the hair in that area down her back was lighter and shorter. She now has babies, so hopefully, this anamoly will spread. We found blackberry plants we didn't know we had and this year we had LOTS of wild plums. We have an excellent population of deer and there's one older buck with a huge rack of horns. One of our friends, a seasoned deer hunter who comes here to hunt, doesn't have the heart to shoot him because he's so beautiful - I agreed and thanked him.
    I've also been told if the last occupants hadn't put the farm pond on the south end, that we would have a natural dew pond close to the house. Oh, well, can't convince hubby to cover it up! LOL! :haha:
    And, we always find different species of trees we didn't know existed.
    Gee, I love this place!!! :p
     
  9. I've also been told if the last occupants hadn't put the farm pond on the south end, that we would have a natural dew pond close to the house.



    Vickie: What is a 'dew pond'?
     
  10. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From what I understand it gathers moisture from the air during high humidity, or "dewy" mornings, and forms a small pool.
    The area he spoke about has a natural bowl area between 3 trees, about 10 feet across and 4 ft deep. Since I'm not a science major, I have no idea how having a farm pond affects the water collection of the "dew pond".
    Apparently, the original owner had a corn whiskey still/steel (?) and used the dew pond for his water source. The man we bought the land from said the old man was right, when he put the farm pond in the dew pond dried up!
    :eek:
     
  11. Isn't it wonderful to learn new things! I Googled "dew ponds" and came up with all kinds of information. Thank you so much!
     
  12. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    We once thought we had found Jimmy Hoffa but it turned out to be a buffalo skeleton :haha:
     
  13. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ROFL!! :haha:
     
  14. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Floyd County, VA
    I got my 4.5 acre place a little less than a year ago and have found tons of treasures as I cleared the brambles such as:

    An entire chicken coop on the back of the barn (steel nest boxes, roosts windows and all!)
    A pig barn in the woods with the old ramp for loading a truck.
    A barrel wood stove.
    A pig trough
    A concrete water trough
    A complete granite rockery - with huge boulders.
    Old print tins with pictures of old yearbooks, menues, etc still on them.

    For vegetation I found
    Lot's of holly bushes brought in by the birds
    wild strawberry fields
    wintergreen
    wild trillium, red columbine, and tiger lillies

    Then there were:

    Old tires,
    containers of used oil
    tons of barbed wire and regular wire
    old freezers, lawn mowers, lawn furniture, stoves and other cast offs


    I am still finding more treasures, surprises as I walk around in new areas, it's lots of fun!


    Debbie
     
  15. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We don't own a lot of land, only an acre and a half, but it joins farm land and it feels like more than it is. I grew up on a farm and as a child was always wondering off and exploring the land, and as an adult, still the same habit. There's a big old tree across the road from us that has woodpeckers, and a house wren builds its nest on our front porch every year, and most all my flowerbeds are in the process of naturalizing with fern, phlox, have a wild rose bush, snapdragons and new guinea impatiens seed out every year even edging the woodpile, a pumpkin vine is making its way around the porch and forming pumpkins and don't know how it got there, the apples and pearapples are ready to pick, there's a frog on the back doorstep every morning and night and have to literally pick him up and move him to get in the door, all the garden spiders are well fed and keeping down the pests around the house, the hummingbirds are many and fighting over the feeders while our cat jumps off the garage roof trying to catch them (no success yet for cat but it's a riot to watch), and hoping the cranes come and explore our creek again this fall, and looking forward to the geese migrating and using the lake over in the field as a resting stop, and my most favorite thing is to watch our dog and cat walk around the property doing their own exploring and playing and everything the dog does the cat tries to mimic and its so funny we just cry with laughter and living in the country does that to you and makes you appreciate even the smallest things. Life is good.
     
  16. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Texas
    Just got to our ten acres less than a month ago...so far we have found beautiful flowers by the mailbox, a small clearing in the midst of the seven wooded acres and that the county agent doesnt have a clue what our pond weed is :haha:

    Looking forward to many more years of discoveries...
     
  17. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I think we have the home 70 pretty well searched out. I grew up here and so had a lot of time to hike and discover. Alot of the neat stuff is gone, the heavy pine log embankment used for target shooting is bulldozed, so to the similarly constructed fall out shelter. Death traps the pair of them. We've long ago excavated the old original hoimestead, I guess there could be some mroe digging but one can only own so much junk. It was fun as a kid though, there were bee hives and an old wind up telephone (or parts of it) tons of bottles (medicine of various types and a few beer and alcohol bottles) we saved those and they're either boxed or on display. We still get to explore rented acres (with permision) so there are hundreds mroe to go, just not much time.