Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 8

F

From the
Farm

Text and photos by Elizabeth Hunter

Pathways
THE WORK AROUND THE HOMESTEAD HAS THE DOUBLE RESULT OF
CLEARING THE PRESENT AND REVEALING THE PAST.

Deer trails webbing a hillside provide a bushwhacking alternative.

ON THE 28TH OF FEBRUARY,1952, an
article appeared on the local newspaper's front page. Even in rural counties like mine, such articles no longer
get front-page billing. The article
noted that Marsh and Etta Putnam,
who married when she was 15, had
marked the 69th anniversary of their
long life together "with a family dinner at their home." They were "in the
best of health," as the accompanying
photograph of the smiling couple
suggested. "She does her own
housework, he saws up their wood in
the timber. They raise a garden which
is the pride of the neighborhood."
8 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

Someone gave me this article
because I own the house where that
celebratory dinner was held. By the
time I bought "the Marsh Putt place,"
as many of my neighbors still call it,
the land had changed hands several
times. The garden so well maintained
by the Putnams was completely overgrown by 1976; a neighbor chopped
a path around the house through briars that waved in front of my windows. Since then, I've repeatedly
fought back the wilderness, a task
more onerous now that Japanese stiltgrass, Chinese yam and hog peanut
have joined forces with the honey-

suckle, wisteria and briars there from
the outset.
Last year, the electric cooperative
that serves our area began using herbicides on its power line rights-ofway, making a lot of people, including
me, unhappy. The electric line runs
right along the edge of my organic
garden, and the thought of spraying
occurring anywhere near it made me
sick. Since opting out of the spraying
program was possible if you maintained their ROW for them, I spent
most of the month of March removing debris from a long, wide swath,
not only on my land, but, with the
adjacent landowner's permission, farther down the ridge, on his. The coop's ROW maintenance head came
out, inspected my work and pronounced it adequate.
I hadn't done it all myself. Friends
helped me reduce to manageable size
the slash the co-op's maintenance
crew had left behind a year earlier; we
sawed the larger branches to lengths
we could carry to the house and cut
into firewood. Still, I'd done the followup work myself - hauling brush,
pruning away new growth sprouting
from stumps, raking. It was work that
exhausted - but also empowered -
me. Looking over the newly cleared
land, I understood I could transform
other areas on my land that I'd
thought were beyond my ability to
make attractive.
I started with the wisteria thicket
that had swallowed the bank on the
south side of my house. Clipping the
sprouts before they leafed out and
pulling out as many lateral roots as I
could took many days, but I stuck to
it. Then I turned my attention to the
land that slopes into a ravine on the
other side of the house. The winter
before, a neighbor I'd hired to fell two
trees growing too close to the house


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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Table of Contents
Print to Mobile
From the Editor
From the Farm
Festivals & Events
The Hike
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Potomac Highlands Adventures
Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Saving Mabry Mill
Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Signature Mountain Dishes
Waterfront Living
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Print to Mobile
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Potomac Highlands Adventures
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Saving Mabry Mill
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Signature Mountain Dishes
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Waterfront Living
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 80
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover4
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