A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Pile of Eyesore

These days, many people move to new developments in the suburbs.  Their houses are built on land that was once farmland or a natural area, and it doesn't have much of a cultural history, at least not that the homeowner can trace.

For me, though, moving into a small town that was first settled over 200 years ago, there's a lot of history on the land, and I mean that quite literally.  Because my property is right in the heart of town and less than half a mile from the site of the first mill, my plot of land has been put to some kind of use for - this is an educated guess - at least 150 years.  I also know that it hasn't been a residential property for all that time, either.  The previous owner mentioned to me that before the house was built, about 80 years ago, this was the site of a...I forget what he called it...not a factory, but something like a workshop.

As I survey the property, and especially now as plants die off with the coming of fall, I notice random junk strewn around the yard.  Some of this junk, for now, I leave in place, and some of it I pick up and move to what I call my pile of eyesore.  The pile of eyesore sits on a pile of broken concrete slabs, which were themselves an eyesore, making it the perfect place to aggregate the junk that I don't know where to put anywhere else.  Right now, the pile includes a concrete block, a piece of wood discovered in the garden, a moss-covered brick, a couple of chains, some string discovered just outside the garden, a plastic tarp, and a rusted piece of metal that appears to be quite old.

That's not all; there's even more junk around the property.  I've seen a few more moss-covered bricks and several more cinder blocks.  There are shards of broken glass (they'll be a pain to clean up!), an empty, overturned glass bowl, smashed beer cans, and discarded wrappers that I have to collect.  And then there is natural "junk" as well - piles of branches, large and small, that have been felled by the wind, and tree trunks that were never removed after the trees were cut down.  I'll eventually get to it, but for now, if it's causing no harm and it's out of the way, I'm not worried about it.

While it's all a bit ugly, the pile of eyesore represents the history of my little patch of land.  That rusty piece of metal, found in the wooded corner of the property, could date to the workshop days, and so could those moss-covered bricks.  The cinder blocks could be of some use in the garden; right now, cinder blocks line the perimeter of the garden, helping to keep the fence in place.  And even if this stuff isn't useful to me, it's interesting to think about where - and when - it might have come from.

Related posts:
Freeville History - Origins 


  1. Over time your junk could find a few useful spots in your garden. We have a rock pile, which sometimes comes in handy for putting around plants so Ben doesn't dig around their root system. Bricks and peices of wood can also be useful in gardens. That way you can keep those little peices of a bygone era, except for the glass.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I've thought of this, and it's why I'm not discarding these things right away.