09 Sep A Gateway to Another World
Conservation of wild land is one of our priorities. Wild land is essential to our education program but we believe there is value in being near land free from human influence. Watching wild geese pause their migration at the pond or spotting a sly fox are experiences that connect us with something beyond the noise of modern life. Our adult programs would be lessened without access to wild mushrooms and songbird thickets. Our children’s programs would certainly be missing something without great blue herons and wild frogs.
ifarm owns 19 acres of land that is kept wild. This land runs along the eastern side of Towne Pond to the south of the farm. It is a mix of deciduous and evergreen forests interspersed with ponds, vernal pools, and streams. Each of the trails ultimately connects with the Boxford State Forest, a 1000 acre forest linking the towns of Boxford, Middleton and North Andover. Much of the Boxford portion is land originally owned by the Towne family that built and lived in the buildings at ifarm from 1777 to 1933. We hope to work with our horses to manage select areas of the forest next year.
Access to the Trails
There is a conservation easement that connects Stonecleave Road with our trails and ultimately Boxford State Forest. After turning left onto Stonecleave from Hollow Tree Road, the easement is a dirt road on the left. It is just beyond 18 Stonecleave Rd. The easement passes alongside Towne Pond and continues into the woods.
A World Unto Itself
In the woods you may find hikers, birders, equestrians, mountain bikers, and even a few mushroom hunters. The State Forest and our connected 19 acres are large enough to support a broad diversity of species. Because of this, the land feels like a world unto itself. After a mile you will be in a peaceful forest, without the distractions of modern life. Explorers can find beavers busily building dams, hollow oaks home to barred owls, and lays left by sleeping deer. Depending on the time of year, there may be a host of different animals moving through the woods. Lately the wild turkeys have been passing through with their predators, the foxes, coyotes, and even fisher cats. Soon we may hear forest songbirds like the Wood Thrush and Canadian Warbler. These small migrating songbirds are a thrill to spot: their brief flash of color is a snapshot of a continental journey connecting Canada with Mexico.
It is just turning to a wonderful time to be outside in New England. The air will soon hit that perfect 65-70 degree temperature. The geese will start passing overhead and the insects will be gone. Colder air will bring clearer skies for stargazing, while animals become easier to find as they busily prepare for winter. It is a time of harvesting and appreciating the year. Our recent rains promise good autumn gathering for all. Come celebrate with us at our Fall Banquet! We will have farm-to-table food, celtic music, and Ipswich Ale while we listen for the wild geese to usher in a new season.