Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lawrence Homestead

Several of my recent excursions have been to walk through Bruce Trail properties, checking boundaries and other stewardship issues.  The past two days I've walked through a brand new property, the Lawrence Homestead, just north of the village of Kimberley.  It was purchased through last year's fund-raising campaign.

The trail here runs along the escarpment, just below the cliff face, multi-coloured with lichen and a dark line of cedars along the top.

Below the cliff is the talus slope, covered with large mossy boulders that have fallen in the distant past, this one decorated with a line of Maidenhair Fern.

These mossy boulders below the cliff are ideal habitat for the rare Hart's Tongue Fern, which is actually quite plentiful along this stretch of the trail, though it's very rare in North America.

Partly I was looking for property lines, and on the first day took these tools of the trade - a gps, an air photo, a cell phone, and a magnetic survey bar detector.  The cell phone and the air photo were actually most helpful.  The cell phone can show you where you are on Google Maps in relation to the air photo, which has the boundaries marked on it.

Then you start looking for clues on the ground, like this old bit of barbed wire fencing overgrown by the tree.

I found both property lines beneath the looming cliff face above.  And today I took the two volunteer Land Stewards who will keep an eye on this property to walk through it.  Very interesting walk as it turned out.

Along the way some Hepatica, now out in full bloom here.

Further down the slope a nice little stream, tumbling down from one of those five springs that drain out below the Wodehouse Creek watershed.  This property is an old farm, probably abandoned for farming about 40 years ago, so it's still quite open with just young trees coming up in the old fields.

At the bottom of our walk we found the old house foundation as well as the barn foundation.  This sort of evidence of the pioneering farm families in the valley always fascinate me, and I look forward to learning about this particular homestead of the Lawrence family.  As is typical of these homesteads, we saw Periwinkle or Myrtle spreading out around the house, a patch of lilies coming up, and some lilacs, much overgrown.


  1. How many tales could those old stone foundations tell, the women then had hard days, without maybe even running water, no power, and how did they heat their homes? Hard for the men too, as they struggled to clear the land, raise some stock, and keep at least milk and butter, and fleeces to spin coming into their homes. You have taken time to research this, and now the clues are there, just needing to be puzzled out.

  2. Looks like quite a site! How amazing to see all that Hart's Tongue Fern. That's something I might hope to see when I visit the Bruce Peninsula this coming June.

  3. It really doesn't take long for nature to reclaim, and for the signs of civilization to pass under its footprints. These shots remind me of an old lumber camp up in Algonquin Park.

  4. ooooo, so very beautiful!! I love the fern, moss combination!!

  5. What a nice tour you gave us!

  6. Nice taking that walk with you. Very interesting clues you found.

  7. you have such beautiful interesting places there :-)