EPISODE 355 WETLANDS RECOVERED 1958 TO 2021 FREEMAN/SKEOCH FARM ERIN TWP, WELLINGTON COUNTY
may 31. 2021
EDWARD FREEMAN, my grandfather bought this 25 acre farm shortly before World War I started.
He did not have much money having been burned out of his log cabin home near Krugerdorf in
Northern Ontario. Not many people would want the farm. Ages ago an ice sheet covered Ontario.
Beneath the ice was solid rock. Between the ice and the rock was rubble…millions, billions of stones, all sizes, rounded imperfectly…
great heaps of unsorted rubble was ground then left in heaps as the ice retreated. Along with the
rubble the glacier hollowed out several places on the farm which became wetlands until the farmers
arrived and attempted to drain the wetlands. Ed Freeman was successful…partly. He reduced
the wetlands but at least 6 swamps could not be completely drained. He piled the rocks in heaps.
Since we took over the farm we have reversed the process and expanded the wetlands so that the farm
today no longer looks like a farm. It looks much as it must have looked when the ice retreated.
POND #1: ONLY POND LEFT ON FARM IN 1958…AND MUCH SMALLER…ANDREW AND I BUILT A SMALL DAM THAT
RAISED THE WATER LEVEL. THIS POND IS ABOUT 6 ACRES .
This has been a life long job…getting back the wetlands. A job appreciated by at least one great snapping turtle, a large cluster of painted turtles,
families of Canada Geese, one couple of wood ducks, wild turkeys and deer that we rarely see and coyotes who leave their scat laden with rabbit fur
on the cedar clad forest that surrounds he pond. The trail gives access to the only field left on the farm. My flax field. But this year it will
be mostly sweet clover if all goes well. Why clover? Andrew is raising bees.
Hopefully, given time, the frogs, leaches, sticklebacks, snakes …the great pyramid of pond life will be reestablished. Right now the small
creatures are low in number…but present.
Lots of birds…this year wild canaries seem more than usual. No bobolinks though. The ravens and crows are present …deadly to the
young song birds nesting efforts. And high above hover the turkey vultures searching for dead things.
POND #2: WAS A HAYFIELD UNTIL WE HIRED RON SAUNDERS TO EXCAVATE…NOW OUR DEEPEST POND
POND #3 WAS A WET PART OF THE BARN YARD UNTIL RON SAUNDERS EXCAVATED. WHEN EXCAVATED THE POND WAS SOON
FILLED WITH A DOZEN CHILDREN LAUGHING AND DIVING FROM A WOODEN RAFT AND LATER MARJORIE AND VALERIE TOOK
A NUDE SWIM WHILE I WAS WORKING NOT TOO FAR AWAY. WATER ATTRACTS ALL KINDS OF WILD LIFE.
POND #4 WAS A HIDDEN SHALLOW SWAMP UNTIL JIM SANDERSON BROUGHT HIS BIG EXCAVATOR…AND THE MACHINE SANK
INTO THE QUICKSAND OF AN ANCIENT BEACH…TO GET IT OUT REQUIRED MANY MACHINES AND A RAFT MADE OF BIG TREES…
THE END RESULT WAS A HOME FOR AN AGED BEAVER…POND REMAINED HIDDEN UNTIL THIS YEAR, 2021, WHEN THE BRUSH HAS BEEN
SO WE HAVE RECREATED A WETLAND. AMAZING HOW MANY CREATURES THANK US FOR OUR LABOUR.
MAYBE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE WHAT THE FARM LOOKED LIKE WHEN EDWARD AND LOUISA FREEMAN ARRIVED IN 1914.
COMING IN ANOTHER EPISODE