Boundary marking ritual

Boundary marking ritual

keith and samantha burnsThe day came at last when Keith and I could go out to the old Burns farm to mark out our 50 acres and we were bubbling with enthusiasm and excitement.  We’ve been together since our senior year of high school, some fifteen years–married for nearly thirteen of them–and building this old farm up to its former glory has always been a dream that we shared.  The work is only just beginning, but thanks to Runamuk we’re optimistic that we will see that dream come true.

A couple of weeks ago I met with one of Sappi’s foresters, Amanda Farrar, on the property to discuss marking the lines.  I need to be able to provide our lawyer with a detailed description of the boundaries so that he can draw up a Deed.  Mandy was more than happy to help, and loved the idea of Runamuk’s mission of pollinator conservation, and promised to buy all her seedlings from us in the future.  Last week I received an email from Mandy with an attached map of the lines she’d drawn and marked.  So I lined up a sitter for Sunday when Keith has the day off from work and we geared up for a trek through the woods.

We considered it a sort of ritual–or rite of passage–into property ownership, and we were both eager to begin.  We ate a picnic lunch in the truck before embarking on our mission, but  I think we both more or less gulped down the sliced pizza we’d bought at Casey’s Market before heading for the hill five miles out of town where Runamuk will be located.

marker number one It was a beautiful day, one of those rare balmy winter days with the sun shinning down on the forested hillside.  We started with the lower line, which is directly adjacent the Burns Road, and follows a rock wall westward into the forest.  This where Keith realized that he would be doing the real work of the day, while I documented the occasion, and took notes to be able to create the description for the Deed.  Then we turned west and followed the rock wall–easily spotting the pink tags that Mandy had left for us.

following the rock wallI adore these old rock walls, they seem to me like a historical monument paying tribute to the past.  They are beautiful to me, precious and deserving of preservation to commemorate a time gone-by.  A sign of our New England heritage.

So we followed the rock wall and the pink tags for a while with no trouble, and then Mandy’s pink tags ended altogether–not sure as to the reason why on that–but we knew that we would meet up with a rock wall at the other side, so we continued on.  The going was a bit uncertain at this point, Keith had his compass but I veered off course in favor of an easier walking path, and eventually we did come to a rock wall and found another of Mandy’s pink markers.

marker number 3

We bickered a bit here like the old married couple that we are, as to whether or not this was actually the lower corner of the far side of the property, seeing no pink markers heading south along the rock wall, and a clear line of pink tags going north-east through the woods.  We marked this corner while we discussed what to do next, and took a moment to rest and drink water from the bottle in the hiking pack.  In the end we opted to follow the tags–and THAT was how we missed marker number two.

marker number fourThe going was tough for a while as we picked our way through the thick undergrowth of the forest, following the pink tags that Mandy had left every fifty feet or so.  Eventually we met up with the rock wall that runs parallel with the site of the trailer we lived in five years ago.  And that was marker number four.

From there it’s a clear shot along the old cow-path to the pasture and farm house, where the truck was parked at what the family refers to as “the Turn-Around”, and we took another well-deserved break.

marker number 6old farm dump siteAt the turn around Burns Road ends and become “The Old County Road”, and it was easy to get at marker number six, which, we discovered, lay amid one of the old dump sites on the property.  Apparently that was what people used to do before there were town dumps and local ordinances against dumping.  This is the second that I know of on the Burns property, there may be more.  Add that to the list of things to do once we’ve moved back to the woods.

marker number twoAt marker number five we would have been finished if we hadn’t had to go back to find marker number two.  And as we went back through the woods for a second time our enthusiasm had definitely begun to wane.  But our determination saw us through, and we planted marker number two as the sun sank behind the trees.

And so we returned home victorious–and with any luck we will have the best of gifts this holiday season.  A Deed of our very own for the future home of Runamuk Acres.

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Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm