5:30 a.m., the alarm clock in my tree house starts to beep, faster and faster until the snooze is hit, something I’ll do every 10 minutes for the next hour. I roll over and pier out the screen to the right, the sun is just rising over the eastern forest across the oxen field, spraying the horizon above the tree line with a deep earth-toned orange. My mind begins to fill with thoughts of animal chores and blueberry pancakes. During the next hour the early morning sun rises into the sky spreading its warmth over the gardens and fields that surround the age-old farm. I crawl out of bed and begin my daily walk to the outhouse; my feet and lower legs begin to soak with that good old mountain dew, reminding me of the times spent on my grandfather’s farm in West Virginia. The day continues to unravel as weeds are pulled, plants are harvested, and seeds are covered with earth, and I, gazing at the White Mountains to the North, begin to sweat under the sun.
It’s a fairly unconventional lifestyle, sleeping in a tree house by night and working on a wood-fired hot tub by day, all things I find inspiring and well worth the effort. Yet, it’s the forest that really settles the mind, with its large quantities of Hemlock, Spruce, and Maple that appear amongst the nearly 200 acres of forest. They are a remarkable feature of this land, the Hemlock by far giving the most to the wooded hills’ calming and tranquil notes with its dark green shade and lofty branches. The stream that flows from the hills on the Western side of Streeter Mountain provides and ideal ground for these trees. Yet the Hemlock grows in abundance everywhere, as well as Maples, Pines, and White Birches, as there are many a beaver damn and small pools of spring water that feed and nourish these beautiful trees. A day will come though, that we may call upon the dark grains of a Black Cherry or the abstract boards of a wavy Birch to help expand and maintain the land of which has become so crucial to the livelihood of us, the stewards of the land of Dorchester.