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Hunter: The Pond

06/24/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST) Sometimes, an old memory resurfaces to remind us of the history we leave behind. That's just what happened recently for commentator Edith Hunter.

(HUNTER) When Armstrong and I moved to Weathersfield in 1969, people were still dumping their trash over the banks of nearby brooks, or in the furthest corners of their own property.

Aunt Mary was no exception. Out behind the big house where she and Aunt Margaret lived, and beyond the 100x40-foot barn within which we had just built a 30x40-foot house, the hired man regularly dumped Aunt Mary and Aunt Margaret's trash. It was over a little knoll, not visible from the big house.

Soon after we moved into the barn house in May, we started to a cleanup campaign. We took out huge garbage bags to the dump site and filled them with the cans and bottles that had been dumped there for the last 30 years. We took our bags of trash to the beginnings of the town dump.

We were planning to raise a couple of pigs; so as soon as we had the area cleaned up we built a small pig house out there, fenced it in, and deposited a couple of pigs in their new home.

By the middle of summer, the pigs had made themselves so much at home that they had created a sizable pond within their yard. Apparently the land had some springs that the wallowing pigs had opened up.

In October, after we had bid the pigs a fond farewell, we hitched the small pig house behind our Land Rover and dragged it over to the end of the big barn. In the spring, we would do some renovations, and it would become our new chicken house.

At the same time, we hired one of the local land excavators and have him create a real pond where the pigs had made such a promising start. In May, this dream became a reality. And in the 40 years since then the pond has become a natural part of the landscape.

Every spring the self-planted willows keep me supplied with pussy willows, and the red wing black birds find nesting sites in the trees that have grown up around the pond.

Graham, my builder son, built a raft, so visiting children can paddle around the pond. With dip nets fashioned from wire coat hangers and old curtains, visiting kindergarteners are introduced to frogs, salamanders, tadpoles, mayfly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, giant water beetles, and other residents of the pond.

One day recently, when I was accompanying a group of children through our historical society musuem, one of the fathers who had come along as a chaperone asked: "Do you remember me? I came up to your pond when I was in kindergarten. I've never forgotten it."

What a nice memory for both of us.
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