Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Once Upon a Time

A long time ago, the Perkins family lived in the cabin that used to be on this hilltop on my Polecat Creek Farm. The cabin burned (or was burned by the previous owner) before we bought this farm in 1986. The porch is still recognizable. It would have been added sometime after the cabin was built.

Who planted the English ivy that climbs the tree?

The chimney, still standing until the early 1990s, toppled during a high wind. Most of the stones remain, though, where they fell. They look like the tombstones in the old Perkins graveyard on a neighboring hill.

The hearth would have been to the left.

The only remaining sign that a family once lived here is part of a pitcher. Did someone use it for spring water, or for milk? The spring is far below the house. Someone had devised a way for a bucket to be lowered on a wire to the spring so no one would have to descend the steep hill. Part of a bucket remains above the spring—or at least it did a few years ago.

The patriarch, Benjamin Perkins, isn't buried on this land. His remains lie in the Northfield Cemetery a few miles away. My Aunt Belva, who died in 2003, told me that he died on his birthday—fell headfirst into his birthday cake.

The farm went through a succession of owners after the Perkinses were gone. My husband bought it when it came up at auction.

Another view of the porch.

An older man, who lives down toward Sandy Level and who used to show his horses at the same shows I attended in the 1980s, told me he'd attended some wild teen-age parties here. That must have been during the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Aunt Belva once said of the Perkinses, "Suicide runs in their family." Wonder what old ghosts linger on this hill or on the other hill where a half-dozen graves are marked by fieldstones?

The road into this homestead used to run through the middle of our top hayfield. There's no trace of the road anymore.

Maggie looks in the direction of where the road used to be.

How soon traces of life vanish. How temporary are the marks we make upon the world.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

Very nice. Towns can vanish in a generation. Mother Nature has a way of taking back and reclaiming what once was hers.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Maybe Maggie is checking out a ghost...

11:02 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I love your pictures Becky. How fascinating! Was this originally part of your family's land too? How special that you were able to buy it back.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Not family land.

But I've always felt a connection to this place, which used to be my favorite farm to ride my horse. Plus, it's the closest farm to my house.

2:00 PM  

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