Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

Under the leaves

So we were making lots of progress with the clearing and grading.  Ok, correction, JIM was making lots of progress with the clearing and grading.  I was keeping the kids occupied picking up sticks mostly, but we kept finding broken glass.  And then there was the ravine filled with glass.  Just a little issue to deal with.  Ha!

This property used to be an old homestead.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find out much about it though.  We did manage to learn that the property had been passed down from the original owners to their children and was now owned by the grandson who was having some health issues.  We had hoped that after purchasing the property we would be able to talk with him and maybe even get some stories or old photos if their were any.  Unfortunately, his health prevented him from being at the closing and he passed away only a few weeks later.  Sadly, we were never able to talk with him.  So we don’t know a lot about the property other that what weve been told by neighbors and others who remember it.  (I have LOTS of pictures of the old house and buildings for another post!)

We did, however, discover that they threw their trash in a dry creek bed like most people did years ago.  We discovered that ravine by nearly walking into it one day.  Now, that would have been a story and a half!  We tried to clean it up but it was years and years of glass that went layers deep.  Fortunately, we didn’t find anything we felt was toxic, but we found lots of glass at the bottom, mostly broken.  Everytime we got into the ravine to pick up the glass we stepped on more glass which broke.  Being hard headed (Not me, right?) I kept trying to clean up the glass which kept breaking under the layers of leaves and more glass.  I managed to save some of the big pieces of glass to be recycled but trying to pick up the tiny pieces of broken glass proved impossible.

After a few afternoons of trying to do this I gave up.  I know how terrible that sounds!  But honestly, I hadn’t gotten anywhere.  Literally, Zero progress!  I had taken out something like 50 garbage bags of glass jars, broken glass and other items like old shoes and I hadn’t even gotten past the first 2 feet.  There was still another 20 feet or so of glass along the ravine bottom that was close to 10 feet deep and who knows how many layers deep the glass went.  Yes, it was really that deep at the bottom of that ravine.  I had horrible images of kiddos or animals falling in that ravine and well,… disaster is the only way to sum it up.  Images of horrible disasters!  Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.  Ok, had to get that image out of my head!

Thankfully, it was winter when I was climbing down in the ravine and I was up to date on my tetanus shot, so that was a bonus.  When I was at the bottom I couldn’t see out or get out either really.  I kept telling myself the cold was a blessing so I didn’t have to worry about critters in there with me…. too much.  Jim has a teeny, tiny, little aversion to snakes though, so he stayed above ground and NOT in the ravine.  My whole talk about snakes being cold-blooded and it being winter didn’t have any influence on him.  Hmm, I wonder why?  Anyway, he magnanimously took time away from his dozer work to watch the kiddos while I tried to collect glass and clean up the ravine.  Oh, the fun afternoons!

                  We quickly used up the garbage bags I brought so we started filling up any empty bags we had.   

 

                 Some of the neat bottles I managed not to break.  I think this one is some kind of liquor bottle.

After several days we decided it might not be worth it.  Ok, I think Jim knew it wasn’t worth it from the start but he let me try anyway.  I love that man!  I once again asked people if they were interested in old glass bottles.  Yeah, not many people jump at the chance to climb into a ravine that deep filled with glass.  Go figure, right?!?!?!  When I started asking people for suggestions on what to do I didn’t get much useful feedback.  (Deep sigh….)

We both knew we couldn’t leave the ravine like it was though.  Fortunately, all of the glass was at the bottom of the ravine so we made the decision to fill it in with dirt.  Jim spent an afternoon pushing dirt and covering in the ravine.  It wasn’t what we really wanted to do, but without a trackhoe and dump truck (and a wallet full of cash) to dig it up and haul it away we didn’t have much choice.  I had to satisfy myself with the fact that this ravine wasn’t going to be in the pasture.  It was just at the bottom of where the front yard was going to be.

Problem solved, right?  Nope!  We thought we buried all the glass under about 10 feet of dirt.  Now, that would have been too easy!  We kept finding glass bottles hidden under the leaves around the base of other trees.  The problem was in finding the glass BEFORE the dozer did!  The glass was hidden under leaves that were sometimes 6-8 inches deep.  Not easy to see!  But they were even harder to pick up once the dozer had run over them and broken them into hundreds of pieces.  Fortunately, all the glass seemed to be concentrated in an area around the old house and barn.  So the kids and I switched from picking up sticks to looking for glass and picking it up.

 

                         Small little bottles like this were so hard to find before the dozer did.

I tried making games out of it for the kids.  I gave them each a bucket and told them whoever filled their bucket first got to pick what they wanted for supper.  That worked for a little while.  Then, I switched to telling them whoever filled their bucket first got to quit and watch the rest of us.  (Obviously, I gave them bigger buckets for this game!)  Eventually, I started paying them for the glass they found.  We would weigh it and pay them accordingly.  Nothing like fostering a little entrepreneurship in kids.  And NO, I do not have any pictures of the kids picking up glass.  I was a little afraid of something called child labor laws!  Just kidding, we gave the kiddos gloves, a safety talk, water breaks and a ride home afterward to eat and go to bed.  What else could they ask for??  Thank God, no one ever got cut.  It really was a miracle!  Just for the record, my 2 year old probably worked the hardest.  He thought he was finding rocks and well, he’s still in that stage where he loves his Mommy and wants to please.  Ahhh, sweet babies!

                              Some of the glass we found hidden under the leaves before the dozer did!

 

 

                                    I have no clue what most of them are, but I think they are pretty cool just the same!

We still find the occasional glass piece around the old house and barn after a heavy rain and probably will for a time still.  Maybe forever!?  Darn glass…   So, every so often we get out the old buckets and look for glass again.  (And I scramble for creative ways to get my kids to want to find and pick up glass.)  Probably not quite what most people imagine when you say you’re trying to build a farm, right?  Yeah, we might not ever be the typical farm family….that was probably pretty obvious though, huh??

However, the upside is that I did find some really neat bottles I’ve never seen before though.  In my afternoons of ravine-dumpster diving and kicking leaves at the bases of trees, we found some cool stuff.  One of my favorites is a set of the same small glass jars.  So far we’ve found 9 unbroken, useable ones.  My mom said they are old jelly jars.  How cool!  I’ve cleaned them and we use them as breakfast glasses.  I love the idea that the previous owners of this farm might have had them on their table for breakfast at one time.  And now we have them on our breakfast table!  Our dream might’ve once been their dream….I LOVE that thought!!!

 

                                                      Our breakfast glasses!  I soooo love these little cuties!

 

 

 

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