July 22 • 10:48 AM

A tour of The Shack by 'the pond' with Daisy

September 26, 2007
What a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It is the first day of autumn and could not be more perfect. Temperature about 75 degrees and not a cloud in the blue sky. Daisy and I are at our favorite hide-away, 'the pond.' We thought of different names 'way back when but, always called it simply, 'the pond.' The afternoon is perfect except, someone is shooting a gun and that sends Daisy into a tizzy. She is beside me shivering and shaking.

'Way back when? Just how long ago was that? Daisy and I are at the south end of the pond with a willow and two spruce back of us and The Shack is at the north end, containing the story. I typed the story, burned around the edges of the sheet of paper for 'purty', glued it to a board, shellacked over the story and hung it on a wall in The Shack for posterity. We will go up in a little while, take a peek at the story and fill you in. For now, I just want to soak in the quiet and the beauty.

Beside me at the south end of the pond Red, and now Alan has allowed to grow, a nature garden of white asters, goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, yarrow, long gone milkweed, marsh willow and cattails. Across the pond at this end to the west are staghorn sumac with their cone-shaped clusters of red, fuzzy fruits. If you pull off a tiny berry and crush it between your fingers and then lick your finger, it will taste like lemon. I learned this at Seven Ponds Nature Center when training to be an assistant naturalist. The Indians used to use them to make a false lemonade. There is also a tree in all its red-leaved glory. I'm not sure what it is. Then there is a huge, tall willow which is a favorite parking spot for whomever arrives first with their trailer for family gatherings. Behind that is the horseshoe pit. Then a white pine that has been struggling for years to grow big and tall. Next to it is a flowering crab tree. Back of it is a small cedar swamp hosting a long ago used, now unused outhouse. Directly across from me at the north end of the pond is another huge willow tree, a tall white pine trying to tell the little white pine how to grow, a doggie cemetery, the great-grandchildrens' swing set, another willow and The Shack. It contains a bed, table and chairs, reclining chair and kitchen cabinet. We used to stay overnight there, I stayed one night last summer. Now it also has a lot of swimming stuff and sand toys. There is an opening which is the lane from Alan and Pauline's leading to the pond and through it I can see John Patterson's ripening soybean field. As you make the circle around the pond there are a couple of maple trees, a tall spruce, a mountain ash tree, and a couple of silver maples and black willow by the sand beach. Now, coming around the east side of the pond property is about 100 feet of Mother Nature's wildflower garden. White asters, lavender asters, goldenrod, purple asters against a blackdrop of red-osier dogwood bushes that separate the pond property from a hayfield.

This is the story in part that is in The Shack. "Digger Dan" as 2-1/2 year-old Curt called the big crane, came onto our spring-fed cow pasture in the fall of 1969. Whenever I babysat for Curt, we would go down and watch Digger Dan do his stuff." Then I go on a little further to tell where the trees for our nature center came from. "The spruce south of the pond are from Red's brother Neal's place near Fairview, 1972. The white pine closest to The Shack came from Neal's in 1974. The cedars came from Ron Godo. The mountain ash was bought at Lovell's Elevator in 1976. The same spring, Red bought me the flowering crab for Mother's Day. The spruce by The Shack came from Chuck in 1977. Two maples by the sand beach came from the road ditch on General Squier Road. In 1978 Red got maples from Doug Sexton. The black willows are from Hough's bridge on Hough Road.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

— Country Cousin

Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.
Castle Creek
07 - 22 - 19
Site Search


Thanks for visiting Tri City Times