Mystery of Broken Pottery in a Vegetable Garden


| 7/6/2014 11:09:00 AM


Tags: history, soil health, natural fertilizer, Ontario, Canada, Rachel Conlin,

Homestead Creek Waterfall

Although I am partially in the shade, it is still hot enough that my skin is clammy and my clothing damp. I dig the hoe into the ground again, chopping at the saplings and weeds that are growing up amongst my newly sprouted pumpkin plants. This ground has not been worked in at least fifty years, perhaps longer. Although my husband has cleared it, persistent new growth emerges from the root system of long overgrown trees.

Something in the ground I have dug catches my eye. It is another piece of broken china. This one is white with a tiny, delicate floral pattern. I put down the hoe and pick up the china. The pattern is in a soft, almost romantic green colour. Immediately, I am intrigued with thoughts of Ireland.  Hands sore with calluses, hot and tired with the relentless work of roughing out a garden in overgrown bush, this new discovery is coaxing me to sit and daydream for a moment. At the edge of the garden is a small waterfall, fifteen feet from where I stand. The cascading water calls to me. With hoe laid down and broken piece of china in my sore hand, I sit on a rock by the waterfall and begin to be swept away by the intoxication of the moment.

My husband was born in this area and I moved here as a child, both of us growing up here. We have deep roots to this area and knew this farm and the family that lived here. The very same original family that received this land in 1871 as a land grant from Queen Victoria. Back then settlers were encouraged to come from the old country — England, Scotland & Ireland — to open up the Canadian wilderness in this part of Ontario. If they could clear a patch of land, build a log dwelling and scrape up a subsistent living in the first year, the Queen provided the new settler with 100-acre parcel of land, known as a land grant, usually free of charge, or for a nominal fee. The land we are on remained in the same family all these years until we were fortunate enough to purchase the almost 300-acre parcel in 2005.




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