Deep roots wrapped by a meandering stream

Shortly after my week-long hospital stay with double-lobed pneumonia, I came to stay in my parents’ second home in Winterport for a calm place to recover during such a chaotic time. As days turned to weeks, we decided to purchase the property. It had grown on us.

I will be the fifth generation to care for this unique property surrounded mostly by the shore of a lazily looping stream. Ample road frontage offers an opportunity for a farm stand, and to sell sheds and lawn furniture. Before we sailed off into the sunset, I had gotten pretty good at building sheds, coops and barns.

Marsh Stream is deep, lazy and wide on one side. Thick grass lines what was once flooded before a dam on the property was removed. Now it’s a lush macro-shag carpet that is too tangled for our dog to walk through.

Around the other side of the property, by the house, is where the dam once stood. The liberated section is now shallow and wild, pouring over rocks and varying greatly with spring melt off and long, soaking rains. The dam keeper’s quarters are still hanging out over where the dam once stood. If you look between the deck boards, there is water running under them a good 25-feet below—depending on the water level and season. I’m looking forward to wetting a line and seeing if I can pull any trout up.

The looping stream flows under a bridge on one side, and nearly reaches the road on the other end of the property. My grandparent’s farmhouse is across the road, and my parents live a few houses up the road. The neighbors in earshot (that I’m not related to) are like family. My parents had a terrible accident and they took care of the place, mowed the lawn and made sure there was nothing to worry about for months while they were in the hospital recovering.

I’m a little weird about plants, trees, fungus, lichens, wildlife… a nature nut, if you will. I got that from my grandmother and mother—who have both looked after this property.

Before we’d boarded our boat, I’d purchased books about preparing fish and seaweed to eat. I like to know things, fully immerse myself, and be one with my surroundings in an intimate way. Back on the farm I’d known where the wildlife was, when it passed through, and how often—I had five game cameras on trails and entered all the data in Excel.

My grandmother, who passed last year, planted rare and beautiful trees here. There’s dozens of black walnut trees, an elm tree overhanging the stream near the house, and an likely a few American chestnut somewhere.

I have been eying a long stretch of alders to weave into a living tree structure like I’d made back on the farm. The longest one I’d made there was 104-feet and was a long curved S-shape with six species of trees. There were also four trails I’d flagged and begun to prune back for snowshoeing and hiking back on the mountain—now there’s well-kept existing trails waiting for me here anytime.

There is a maze of red pine my grandfather meticulously planted maybe less than a decade ago. I don’t recall if it was before or after my 9-year-old was born. I spent the better part of an afternoon mowing the trails with my beloved tractor yesterday—one thing from the farm I held onto.

The downsides of living here for me is the road being in sight and earshot, thick patches of poison ivy, and eagles that might dive-bomb my precious Chippy. Luckily, Mr. Mittens is much too fat for them to consider. I’m looking at privacy hedge options to cut down on road noise, how to kill poison ivy, and keeping Chip close when we are outside.

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