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The Country of Gilmanton, New Hampshire

Updated on September 22, 2016

Our Farm, Our Home

I grew up on a fairly good-sized farm although the only "farm" animal we had was a horse. We did however have some cats (there were four at one time), rabbits, and a dog. The animals, although I loved them, weren't what mattered to me the most. It was the ten or so acres of hilly fields, huge backyard, and a garden at least double the size of most gardens. It was our "farm."

Across from our big, colonial house was a wide expanse of corn used for our neighbor's cows. We did however get to enjoy a view of alfalfa for a short time instead. We had two other buildings: a rickety old barn and a stingy shed. Before the inside of the barn was rebuilt for our horse, there were huge gaping holes in the floors, and bees buzzed around everywhere. I think there was only one stall. Tons of junk was piled up in there, most of it wasn't ours. Although it is completely stable, when you look at it from the outside, it looks as if it would collapse any second.

Our shed was exactly what you expect a shed to be like. The only difference was that it seemed almost the size of a single car garage, but when you are young, everything seems bigger than it really is. The whole land we lived on seemed immense while I lived there; I thought I would never be able to see all there was to see. There was also a small section in the shed where the tools were kept, and a little room that we used for part of my dog's house. He had a fenced in area right next to it, and he would go in the shed when it rained. Built off the side of the shed there was what appeared to be a big lean-to. There were a lot of planks of wood, and a lot of snakes. For awhile I believed that big rats lived there too .I was always terrified of that place and tried not to get too close.

Brook, Hills and Fields

Our neighbors owned land that had a brook running through it. It was smaller than a river, but bigger than a stream; we couldn't swim very well in it, though we tried. We couldn't ice skate much on it, but we still tried. A lot of my memories are from that brook. My sisters and I used to follow it to see where it went, and then explored the surrounding woods within about two miles. I was constantly out in the wilderness. Many trails stretched through those woods; some were too muddy to get through, others full of water sometimes. In the springtime, we would follow a familiar trail and suddenly come across a flood of water that wasn't there before. It was a swamp. We also found a few foundations of old houses, with paths surrounding the area. Down a little way was a quaint bridge over the brook that trickled back to us. I wrote a whole story in my head, about this place. It was all so beautiful to me.

Another special place to me was a small hill overlooking rows of Christmas trees (my father sold them). This was the perfect place to watch the sun go down, and I would sit up there to do my homework or even just to read or write. It seemed very peaceful. There were more hills covering the landscape where we would take our sleds in the wintertime. These were fairly small hills, but when we were very young, it was enough. I had plenty of exercise, even when I entered my pre-teen years. I would take my Walkman, traipse down to the fields and walk the perimeter, following the mass of trees edging the fields. This would take some time, but when I returned I felt full of life, completely energized and happy.

So Many Trees

As dull as this sounds to you, the trees surrounding our house were also a part of my life growing up. We had a small apple orchard that my Dad would diligently prune to keep the apples good. These were the best climbing trees. My sisters didn't seem as interested in this as I was, so the best one was "mine". For every one of them, there was a place to sit. The tree that I liked the best had a perfect little crook that my bottom fit nicely into. When I became an adult and went back to live there for a short time, I noticed something interesting that I never noticed as a child. In the wintertime, I awoke to find little footprints surrounding the apple trees. As I looked closer I realized that they were deer hoof-prints. The deer came right up (the orchard was not far from house) to look for apples on the trees. After that I thought about bringing an apple out and trying to get them to come to me so I could pet him. Wouldn't that be amazing?

A huge maple tree sits on the edge of the front lawn, shading the driveway. This tree was so big that when we had that ice storm (I think it was 1997), the trunk split, half of the tree went down on our phone lines, into the driveway where a car could have been parked. The tree is still standing, and is still huge, it just has an interesting split in the trunk.

There were other little saplings that my father planted when we moved there and baby Christmas trees bordering more trees.Most of the little trees are big trees now, shrouding the back in shadows, creating an alluring abode. In the small wooded area, a little path was packed down leading to another steeper hill. Even though it was covered with bracken, it was perfect for sliding down while we waited for the bus. One of the two majestic oak trees sits there, bright pansies and tulips covering the ground around it. This tree seemed old and decaying when I was a child, but it still stands. The other oak tree stands farther away, on the opposite side. When you pass the tree, you pass into field. This tree always seemed to be in the way of everything, except the clothes line, which was tied onto the trunk.

The Place that I call Home

This home that I always took for granted, I love and appreciate more now that I am not there. When I was a teenager it did seem like a "prison", but I think that all teenagers feel that way about their homes. Sometimes I ache to hear the birds singing outside my window every day, while the whole world seems so calm and quiet. Sometimes it's hard to remember that I am not there, and things are different here.


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