Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Glaciers And Bulldozers

Contrast is a word that describes visible land forms left behind by retreating glaciers.  Our hummocky gravel bank exists in sharp contrast to the level fertile farmland visible in the left background.  One was deposited under water and one formed the dam that created the glacial lake.  Our 36 acres are so twisted that there is no place where one can stand and see all of the land.  Exactly how the glacier created this landscape remains some what of a mystery but a plausible explanation for the gravel bank aprons has been found.

I could never understand why so much gravel was pushed away from the pit.  The flat area formed by this fill is much larger than ever would be needed to mine gravel.  Successful farmers tend to be thrifty and I could find no reason for creating this broad flat area.  During the 1950's the barn was struck by lightning and burned.  I knew that the remains of the burned barn were buried on land we now own but I did not know where.  This large area of fill may well cover the charred remains of the old barn.

This picture shows the length of the fill pushed from the gravel bank by bulldozer.  Here the fill is shallow as  the natural contour shows in the foreground.  The gravel bank is a considerable distance away.

We have encountered blackened soil while digging in the garden.  These areas were campfire sized and may have been made by Native Americans.  An eel weir survives in the river very close to our land.  This vee shaped stone assemblage in the river forces the eels to all swim through a single narrow opening where they were caught in great numbers.  Native Americans are credited with building the weir.  An encampment nearby would have been necessary during eel season.  This may explain the small dark areas of soil we found in the garden or they may mark the spot where the farm children roasted wieners.

As I make my own marks on this piece of land, it's fun to consider  what might have happened here in the past.  I'm sure we are leaving intriguing puzzles for future owners to try to solve.


PlantPostings said...

Glacial formations are common here in Wisconsin, too. And I agree--it's fascinating to imagine what previous inhabitants did while living on the same land.

Pauline said...

Its always so interesting to try and trace the history of where we live and the people who were here before us. Our house has been built on farmland but we have an ancient oak tree, at least 350 yrs old, what a lot of changes it has seen!