Tuesday, March 05, 2013

One Method I Use

One method to this madness I often use, in my "unorthodox" explorations, is to locate interesting stone work that includes stone rows I observe on the ground (in the field, as they say) that show up on the aerial photographs from 1934 that are collected here: 
I've written about this before, but some of those those links have changed. Some haven't, I've just found out - I took a look at this post that I couldn't find last night, searching using "1934" (in the field, as they say), but found easily this morning, http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2010/01/most.html
and the link to my neighborhood shows up just fine when I click on it.
I say this on that old post: "This photo series was captured back in the days when there were more cows living here than people, which was also about the time that small tractors were just becoming available to small farmers – or farmers of any size for that matter.
(I guess I just can't resist sneaking a joke or pun into something I'm trying to be serious about. Blame it on Mark Twain or Mr. Vaughn Brown, my Ancient History teacher from junior high school who knew how to open up the receptors in young people's brains by making them laugh, but also ensuring that the memory will be retained better.)
So this is just on the edge of the days of earth (and stone) moving machinery, perhaps a bulldozed State Highway or two, but the photo shows many a place where these stone rows were left alone for a long time. You can zoom in on stones now missing, see how things looked in 1934..."
My morning search also brings up this more recent post, that brings up my search (in the field) for a single case of a zigzag "stonewall" that isn't carefully made and fits the description found in books written by amateurs and experts alike: http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2012/04/one-thing-ive-never-seen.html.

I've found a few with the occasional chestnut rail surviving (and those may be what makes the zigzags show up so well in the photos), but it's as rare as an old photo of the rail fences.

Looking at my search results for 1934 on this blog, I find that I also have used these old maps to locate stones in Watertown, Westbrook and Woodbridge, giving the impression that I only look at stonework in places that begin with a "W" - which in turn might give someone the impression that I do so because zigzag stone rows look a lot like "W's" all stitched together but that's not true (although that joking business has sneaked in again with this statement). I find I've also been to other places that begin with other letters of the alphabet using this magic, but I must admit to looking (unsuccessfully) at some aerials from West Virginia, trying to locate a certain farm that I've seen some amazing photos from.
So I suppose that if you have nothing better to do, you might take a look at an old photo or two from such a collection, if one exists where you live, and if you find one of those zigzag stone rows, take a good second look at it. If it is built haphazardly, please send me a photo and prove me wrong. I still have not seen one...

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