LIVING IN THE WILDS OF MASSACHUSETTS

Compared to most places in the Commonwealth, this is a very modestly priced place to live. That’s how come we wound up here. We could afford a house and some land, too for less than a tiny condo cost anywhere in Boston. I wanted to be out in the country. I grew up in a woods with birds and huge trees with the shadows of their branches overhead. If you want a house in a pleasant, quiet area and a nice piece of land with it, this is a pretty good place to look. New houses have a 2-acre minimum lot size and many — most — people have a lot more land than that. I have learned to say “We have only 2-1/2 acres,” because so many people have a huge amounts more.

I wanted to be out in the country. I grew up in a woods with birds and huge tree, with the shadows of branches overhead. If you want a house in a pleasant, quiet area and a nice piece of land with it, this is a pretty good place to look. New houses have a 2-acre minimum lot size and many — most — people have a lot more land than that. I have learned to say “We have only 2-1/2 acres,” because so many people have a huge amounts more.

Of course, unless you are farming or breeding horses, the rest of the land is woods. We have a lot of horse breeders, trainers, equine learning centers as well as a lot of places that breed the really huge horses — Percherons, Belgians, and Clydesdale — we are mostly woods. There’s still some farming. Apple orchards do very well in New England and will still get tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and a bit of corn. Not as much as we used to get because the farmers are giving up, either moving to better land in Iowa and Indiana where the ground is fertile and flat and not so full of rocks.

Or they are retiring. Like so many other family businesses, they sent their kids to college. Which meant the end of farming. I’m sure they knew it when they sent the kids off and I wasn’t surprised. Farming in New England is hard. Still, I miss the farms, the chickens, the fresh milk, and eggs.

On the up side, because we are so wooded we have birds, deer, foxes, coyotes, fishers (weasels), bobcats and a hint that black bears are waiting in the wings. I’m hoping we don’t get bears because then I won’t be able to feed the birds. Bears love seeds. For that matter, they adore trash. The price of ONE bear-proof trash bin would cost more than trash collection costs us for two years — and none of the bins are REALLY bear-proof if the bear has the enthusiasm to keep trying until the bin collapses. Bears can do a lot of destruction without even breaking the bear-equivalent of a sweat. Hungry bears prowling the woods looking for food could be genuinely dangerous, especially since we’ve never had to deal with anything quite that big. I’m pretty sure a bear on our deck would finish it off for good and all.



Categories: Anecdote, Birds, Blackstone Valley, farm, Gallery, Photography, Squirrel, Wildlife

16 replies

  1. What!? no snow?
    Nice pics tho Marilyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. EXCEPT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF BEARS, YOUR LOCATION SOUNDS IDYLLIC. I ENVY YOUR LIVING IN HORSE COUNTRY. THE ONLY TIMES I HAVE BEEN TO MASSACHUSETTS WAS TO VISIT MY DAUGHTER IN BOSTON AND MY FRIEND IN MARBLEHEAD. i LOVED THE LATTEER, MAINLY BECAUSE SHE LIVED ONLY A BLOCK FROM THE BEACH IN A HOUSE THAT HAD BEEN BUILT AROUND AN OLD ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE AND WANDERED ABOUT IN A CONFUSING WAY. i REMEMBER THAT THE GUEST ROOM WHERE I SLEPT CONTAINED A CHEST THAT ORIGINALLY BELONGED TO ADOPH HITLER. HER HUSBAND HAD ACQUIRED IT IT AFTER THE WAR. LEGITIMATELY WHILE HE WAS IN SERVICE. MY FRIEND WAS AN INTERESTING WOMAN. SHE WAS AN ENGLISH PROFESSOR AND A PUBLISHED POET. SHE WAS ALSO MOSTLY BLIND…ONLY ONE PERCENT VISION….AND WORE GOLD MESH SLIPPERS ALL THE TIME BECAUSE SHE SAID SHE COULD FEEL HER WAY BETTER WITH THEM THAN WITH SHOES. WE BECAME CLOSE FRIENDS WHEN WE BOTH LIVED ON A RANCH TOGETHER , EACH RENTING A HALF OF A CONVERTED BARN BUILDING. WE LIVED SIX MILES OUTSIDE RENO AND DROVE TO THE UNIVERSITY, WHERE WE BOTH WORKED, TOGETHER EVEY DAY. AFTER WE BOTH LEFT RENO, SHE TO MARBLEHED AND I TO HOLLYWOOD, WE KEPT IN TOUCH FOR THE YEARS AFTER UNTIL SHE DIED.ALL I HAVE LEFT IS HER BOOK OF POETRY AND A LETTER SHE WROTE TO ME WHEN I WAS IN THE PEACE CORPS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marblehead is one of those great old towns which has many legends and stories. There are rocky shoals off the shore and there were many shipwrecks there. Still ARE the remnants of many shipwrecks. The locals would stand on the shore waving light so the ships thought it was safe to dock. Then they’d hit the rocks and the people on shore got to keep whatever was on-board. True. The North Shore of Massachusetts were known to lure ships into the rocks. Thus the ghost stores.

      Back in the old days of “when,” there was one restaurant right on the Marblehead docks. They also ran whale viewing boats. One day, in the middle of dinner, they came up to us with tickets. Boxed up our lunches and we were off. That was one great show. We saw a LOT of whales! And I discovered that it’s a lot colder on the water than it is on the land.

      I wanted to live there, but it’s a hard place from which to commute and both of us would have had to commute. Unlike nearby Gloucester, no major highways get near it. Lots of little, knotty roads locally and because it IS such an old town, big problems parking. I commuted, but while we lived in Boston, Garry walked to work … until we moved out here.

      I’ve only lived in two states — New York and Massachusetts, though in five different cities. I don’t think we’ll be moving again, so I’m glad we are in a place we mostly like.

      Like

      • I can understand why you would like to live in Marblehead. I would, too. It’s true it’s hard to commute . Once I arrived, I had to take a taxi to my friend’s house and to Salem one night to get some pizza. Since she was blind, she did not drive, and there were no busses near her, so taxis were the only answer to transportation. That can get expensive.

        Like

        • There are places that are great places to live — if you don’t have to go anywhere else to work. A wee bit too cold for retires, though. Right on the shore, it’s one of those places that really gets nailed by our nor’easters. If there is an ocean storm, Marblehead is not the place you want to be.

          Also, because of its age, the houses were really SMALL — even for just the two of us. They were tiny and they had no backyard. We had two dogs and a cat. We needed a bit of land.

          Like

    • Patricia, the door is unlocked for you with an OPEN invitation – if circumstances allow you another New England visit. We’d love to have you as our guest. You would enjoy strolls through parts of our valley.
      OPEN INVITATION!

      Like

      • Thank you, thank you for this lovely invitation. I would love to accept it, but my traveling days are over I fear.During my lifetime, I ‘ve lived in 5 States: New York, California,South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nevada.Lived in Slovakia for two years, and visited the Czech Republic, Austria,Hungary,Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia,Denmark,England, Ireland, Wales, and Mexico. On a couple of cross-country trips, I cruised through a lot of the United States. I spent 2 Christmases in the Czech Republic with my friend’s family.My two trips to Mexico City were with Margo Albert to visit her family. I also spent a vacation in Mexico on a separate trip. I went to a friend’s wedding in Denmark and spent the time with her husband’s family. I wish I had the energy and ability to do all that again, but, alas, there is no wa will treasure your invitation and envision your beautiful countryside and lovely rivers and waterfalls.

        Like

  3. We had bears in Deep River. We had to store our garbage in a shed. The trash collectors would go to the shed to collect the garbage. That was the only way we could be sure that the bears wouldn’t get into it.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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