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    Hints of Balsam and Pine  from our  corner of the Adirondacks. Adirondack Letters
    No.14: An Old Fields Story.
    Hints of Balsam and Pine: Nature Reflections in a minor key from our quiet corner of the Adirondacks. For Fourpeaks Guests and anyone who ever dreamed about a wilderness getaway. CLICK & GO!  (On this page.)   Adirondack Letter No.14: "An Old Fields Story."   (On the next page.)   List and Links to all the Adirondack Letters in this series.  

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    "An Old Fields Story" Adirondack Letter No.14
    Subject: An Old Fields Story
    Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 16:04:45
    From: < >
    To: < youremailname@youremail.address >

    To:    Fourpeaks Visitors
    At:    < youremailname@youremail.address >

    Dear Fourpeaks Visitor,

    Once in the jeep heading out by Sugar Camp I saw it for myself
    close up. Favor Smith called it one of the largest birds of its
    kind, a major predator with extensive hunting grounds that
    evidently included my place. He had spotted it a number of times.
    It came down from behind me, following the narrow opening low
    between the trees, then swooped close to the road just ahead. But
    I couldn't see what it got, if anything.

    By Camp Gate I watch and wait looking up from time to time at the
    line of trees for a sign and scanning the empty sky for anything
    in motion. You could say I was birdwatching, but really I don't
    need a reason to just lie there, looking out at the field, the
    expanse of meadow grass and brush, and the familiar rocks and
    trees around. Years ago I'd have my camera with me all set with
    the macro lens for any interesting bit of grass, worn flower or
    stubble nearby. Today I look and lazy around, not even taking a
    picture of it.

    Face toward the sun, it helps to find a good slope to get more of
    it on you especially if it's low in the sky. This way I still
    enjoy the warm sun in any season. That's what I had in mind one
    day late Summer with time to kill waiting for a guest coming to
    Wolf. The hammock by New Camp seemed inviting so I tried it out. I
    remember it was three o'clock and the sun was going down. For some
    time I lay suspended on that rope bed at wood's edge, looking out
    at the dark outlines of Rattlesnake and Ebenezer. With the gentle
    motion of it I must have fallen asleep and dreaming felt a cold
    gust of wind over me and through the trees and brush around. For a
    while the sky was dark with clouds. A few leaves blew across the
    grass and some were lifted up over it. Farmers who watch the
    seasons say on mid-August days like this the onset of winter can
    be accurately predicted. Today the frost is deep there and the
    surface is all white for the New Year.

    Old farm fields have a history and character. The land at
    Fourpeaks was abandoned in the 20's when electricity first came up
    the AuSable Valley and backcountry folks headed out for easier
    living down below. By the time I got here in the late 60's pasture
    land was thoroughly overgrown, but the planting fields and gardens
    around each homesite were open and clear, chemical changes due to
    agriculture and grassy root systems (soil scientists say) having
    resisted the invasion of woody plants.

    I thought of each opening as something precious, a link with the
    pioneer past--all but one with a stone cellar and a hand-dug
    well--adding variety as well to the beauty of the land with
    mountain views and places to play and build. I got a tractor with
    mower, chain saws and an old Ford chipper and set about keeping it
    all open.

    The more remote fields were beginning to grow in with popple and
    pine. In the back lot at Halsey Straight's farm we cut out the
    edge, following plump till lines made over the years of plowing
    and the stone wall by the woods. There's a picture of me with a
    chain saw on a big woodpile in '68. But it took years to
    complete. Willy and I just put the finishing touches on it not
    long ago when we discovered a rough stone wall down in the swampy
    part. At High Meadow we found three planting fields, each one at
    the crown of a broad ridge with butternut trees of great size. The
    paths connecting them crossed over the wet spots with stone
    culverts. Up toward the end of Stonehouse Road we found a header
    for collecting logs. It was several acres in extent with nice
    views of Bassett and we cut it out and kept that open too.

    Come and visit. Our natural place is an ideal getaway for these
    stressful times. Stop and roam the old fields. Halsey Straight and
    Perkins farms are still up there across from one another on
    Stonehouse Road. And Jim Melvin's big field at Gypsy-- George's
    happiest run. He'll chase butterflies there. Even his own tail.
    CLICK to get started. Bring your
    dog, too, if you have one.

    Thanks for reading this. If you've ever been a guest here, go to for an attractive offer to visit us
    again. If you've never been--check our up-to-date Availability
    Calendar and make some time. There's
    a lovely quiet season coming up.

    Till then please visit On-Line: "Explore our 700-acre rest and play-ground." Upscale Camps in a Hidden Valley. Walks with views & Beauty spots. Meet our guests! (Photo Guest Book) NEW! "Stay Awhile In Style"

            Your Adirondack Host,

            Martin Schwalbaum

          Member Whiteface Mountain Visitors Bureau        
       Member Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau

    This is   No.14  of a really occasional   Letter,  "Hints of
    Balsam and   Pine  from our Corner  of the Adirondacks,"  for
    Fourpeaks guests   or  anyone  who   ever   inquired about  a
    Fourpeaks   Vacation/Getaway. To get off this list reply with
    "REMOVE" in the subject heading.

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    And receive occasional Adirondack Letters like this.

    .Are you in this picture? CLICK HERE to find out. 
    Are you in this picture? Fourpeaks hosts now welcome paying guests to a 700-acre rest and playground for vacations in the Adirondack Great Camp tradition. Couples appreciate Fourpeaks secluded settings. Outdoor loving families have fun exploring our accessible wilderness. Folks with dogs enjoy the open spaces to run their pets. A private nature rereat. For a vacation away from it all.    Are you in this picture?  CLICK HERE to find out!    [More about this at Frequently Asked Questions.]

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    'Hints of Balsam and Pine from Our Corner of the Adirondacks.' Keep up with us through occasional newsletters. CLICK for sample.
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