Sunday, August 07, 2005

Backyard Archaeology

Saturday Lisa was stripping the paint off the clawfoot tub so we can paint it again. After putting on stripper you need to let it work a while before scraping, so she was doing various things in the yard and garden in between. She somehow got it into her head to start looking for flagstones. We have a map of the yard that was drawn by Bess and included in a 1956 letter. The maps shows all the fruit trees, vegetable garden, grape arbor, fish pond, etc. AND flagstone walkways all over the yard. We can still see a few and figured the rest had been removed.

WRONG! They are all still there, but buried under 2-3 inches of soil. Lisa started excavating and when I came back from errands she had unearthed 11. We now have nearly the entire path from the back porch to the far yard exposed. I then caught the bug and worked from the gate leading to the old vegetable garden (no longer our property toward the back porch and found a bunch more. The flags seem to be concrete that were pured in place, I have found one large piece of limestone. We know from photos that the pond (currently filled in) had limestone all around it.

We had our friend Lori, the landscape architect over Sunday morning and showed her the map and tried to find any fruit trees left, but not much luck. There are volunteers from the completely overgrown plum tree out front that we can transplant and tend, there also seem to be some volunteers from a Red Leaf Peach. We found a filbert bush hidden among the hackberry and box elder scrub, and a few cherries, maybe black? at the back of the far yard. All the other pear, plum and peach trees are gone, as are the apple trees including the Northern Spy apple. Lori just finished working at the General Dodge home in Council Bluffs which had many Northern Spy apples in the orchard, apparently it was the hot item for horticulturists of the 1860's.

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