Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You can't go home again!

How many times have I heard that old saying, "you can't go home again"? I guess it means that after a while, your old home bears no resemblance to the home as you remember it. Today I took the dogs down to Carver, MA for a swim. This is right behind the area where we used to live and over the years the boys and I spent many hours hiking and fishing this area. A few years ago, when we were up here, the area was closed to travel as it was being developed into a housing development. I went anyway because I knew I could find a  way around the gate. Surprise! Surprise! There was no gate and there was no development. This must have happened as the housing market was crashing. I drove in and let the dogs swim in the pond we used before. After they had their fill, I dried them off and got them back in the Jeep and investigated further.

I found a crew building acres and acres of new bogs. This was not low land that they were converting to bogs, some of this was hill and woods, now taken down to a level that would grow cranberries. Of necessity, a bog must be very moist to grow cranberries. For many years it was the only use for land that was too wet to farm normal produce. I saw two bulldozers running back and forth over one area leveling a deep base of dark, rich earth. In another area another crew was spreading a thick layer of sand on top of the rich soil. I would find out more later.

My next place to check out was the railroad line that ran around the big reservoir of Edaville Railroad. Edaville is named for Ellis D. Atwood who built a narrow gauge railroad that ran through cranberry country, especially around the large pond in the middle  of the property. This too was very low land and in order to have a base for the railroad tracks, dirt was excavated from both sides of where the track would be to raise a substantial berm that the rails could sit on. This left a deep channel all around the pond right next to the railroad tracks. The raised area was wide enough to drive beside the tracks and there were numerous places to pull off and fish, allowing others to pass as well as the occasional train. It was a good place to fish because the channel was so close to shore that even the smallest child could cast to great fishing spots.

I found myself in the general area of where I thought the tracks were, but could find nothing. At least nothing I was expecting. Of course it has been more than 30 years since I've been here but....... What I did find is a number of huge, magnificent homes, much larger than any I had seen in Carver before. I encountered no "No Trespassing" signs and headed toward the pond, sure that I would find tracks before we got to the water. Nope, didn't happen. Heading back out to the paved streets a met a man in a new pickup truck heading my way and he stopped. I opened my window and he asked what I was doing. I explained that I had fished here 35 years ago with my boys and was now looking for the same spot to take my grand kids. He told me that as an employee of the company that bought all this land, he cannot grant me permission to fish here, BUT, his policy is to ignore anyone on the property unless there is vandalism. He was the foreman of the A.D. Makepeace company who owns most of the cranberry bogs in Carver, Plymouth, and the surrounding area. Then he gave me a little history lesson.

Edaville Railroad has been sold several times. The previous owner ripped up the railroad tracks, moved earth, and built the large homes that now abutted the bogs and the pond. This was again around the time of the real estate crash. I guess he lost his shirt. A. D. Makepeace stepped in and bought all the bogs and adjacent area and someone else bought what was left of the railroad. In fact, I contacted Edaville RR before the vacation to check about being able to take the grand kids there and found that the new owners are operating at a much reduced size and are building a multi-million dollar water park. An expensive water park in the woods of carver? Someone else is going to lose his shirt.

As for the new bogs. Using the technology of three spaced laser generators, the bulldozers at the first bog had the blade levels controlled to a laser level so the bog would be absolutely smooth. The deep layer of rich earth is for nutrition of the cranberry plants. The 6 inch layer of sand is because the cranberry plant likes the sandy soil and the sand keeps weeds from growing. Why so many new bogs when berry farmers were always complaining about losses? There were never losses, the old farmers just wanted to keep a good thing for themselves. Now with a world wide market and cranberry hybrids that triple the crop it's almost a cash cow.

The bottom line for me as that all these bog systems have little ponds of water to irrigate the crop and they're usually full of fish. I'm hoping that I can introduce Kolbie and Kourtnie to the fishing their Dad used to know.

More silly data. When Helen and I moved to Carver in 1970, there were 2700 residents in a town of 39.7 square miles. The 2010 population was 11,509. There are a multitude of stores of all kinds and they have added traffic lights. There was one traffic light in Carver in 1970. The rural atmosphere of Carver will remain because of the large percentage of land taken by the bogs. They may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it beats the view of a housing development or industrial plant. In addition, the woods that surround the bogs are home to many deer, fox, rabbits, and other wild animals.

The End.

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