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The Nearby Hayfield

RE: The Direction of Nature by Bill Duesing

In 1968 Interstate Route 81 opened up. The process of
eminent domain put dozens of farmers located along 
NY State Rt. 11 out of business by cutting off access
to the hayfields and pasture on the hills above their farms.

My wife and I own and operate a dairy farm across the
valley from Interstate 81. We have been looking at
those abandoned acres for nearly 30 years.

So far those fields are a haven for wildlife producing
an abundance of goldenrod, briars and a smattering of
young pines. The pines from the nearby woods have seeded
this land and established approximately 5 pines per acre.

Hardwoods are not detectable from our vantage point.
At the rate it is returning to Mother Nature it will take
300 years at the very least before those fields have reverted
to their original status of woodlands consisting of mostly 
hardwoods (predominantly maples).

I keep thinking nearly every day as I look across the valley:

In the beginning of the last century it took man only a few years
to clear this land with the help of teams of oxen and horses,
without interference it will take centuries before it returns
to its original status.

Does it make sense if I state:

What was destroyed by man must be restored by man!?

Dairy farms are going out of business at an ever increasing rate.
Thousands upon thousands of acres of cropland and pasture(some
fertile, some marginal) are left to Mother Nature.

New York has been and still is a dairy state. However, the rural
infrastructure is collapsing because everything revolved around 
dairy farming. Nothing seems to take its place. Much money and
effort is flowing into projects, studies and workshops aimed at
a rural renaissance. 

According to my way of thinking we owe a debt to ourselves and
to the environment, an inherited debt incurred by our forefathers.
We must pay off and we must therefore actively engage ourselves in
a reforestation program.

Reforestation could help develop a rural infrastructure partly 
dependent on the harvest of timber be that hardwoods or biomass.
It seems an economical least cost solution with a specific goal.

Let's reforest the land by the human hand....


George Vanderwoude
Hazy Dawn Farm
Lisle, NY 13797

e-mail: gvdw@ix.netcom.com

Our Web site:  http://people.delphi.com/gvdw/aa.htm