May 10, 2012

Hidden Terrace Revealed

An exciting and ongoing part of living in a historical home is the occasional discovery of relics from Woodwind Farm's early days.  Previous owners were kind enough to pass these items on to us: belt buckles, square head nails, skeleton keys, primitive tools, pieces of broken china.

Perhaps the most amazing discovery was that of Gideon Wood's memorial marker in a neighboring field.  He was the patriarch and first of four generations of the Wood family (hence the property's name) who lived here.  Woodwind Farm was originally comprised of 200 acres (a little larger than its current six).  Perhaps this headstone was part of a memorial garden on the expansive property. It now sits next to the house.  I am told more than half of it is buried -- some day I may do some digging to find if an epitaph is written on the bottom half.

One of the items left for us was a newspaper from 1988 that included an extensive feature on the farm and its history.  In that article, a stone terrace is mentioned.  What?!!!  Where?!!!  We knew that in 1948 many of the outbuildings and barns were torn down and pieces of the barn foundation were used for the retaining walls and decorative structures we see scattered throughout the property.  But we never saw a true terrace.
A large rectangular area off the living room in the back housed a raised bed of overgrown herbs.  It was framed by a stone wall, most of which was hidden by plant material. Could this be the terrace?

It was!  My husband and I started digging and quickly discovered that the plants were growing in less than an inch of soil on top of stone.  Even the path was completely covered by lawn.

The walls were crumbling, the terrace stones were far from level, and a difficult set of stairs was the only access.   We a hired a gifted stone mason, who had already done much of the stone work on the property, to reset it.

Woodwind Farm's terrace is back in business. Check back for more posts once the landscaping is completed and adjoining patios are finished!  Now if I can just figure out what do with all these mosquitoes so we can use it...