Thursday, March 1, 2018

Homestead or Hobo Camp?

The homestead/hobo site is above the elbow of the horizontal track.
The Captain gave me a guided tour of some of the woods back behind his place.  One woods is about 90 acres and the other is 70.

The larger woods is primarily swamp and is 90% soft maple with a smattering of cottonwood, hackberry, burr and swamp white oak.  The primary trees were mostly 16" to 18" diameter with a few up to 20" diameter.

On the west end of the larger woods is a site that The Captain thinks might be an old homestead.  He bases that guess on the orchard of old fruit trees.

This is half of an enormous apple tree that split and each half continued to grow.  A scion from this tree fell into my pocket.

Another apple tree

Some of them are falling over.  The tree that is deepest in the frame is a pear tree.  The existence of multiple tree species and the fairly even spacing suggests human intervention.  I also took a scion from the pear tree.

An apple tree with good anchorage.  Based on this tree's size it could have grown from a seed planted circa 1960.

Plum pits at the site.  So one more species to add to the list.
The case for it being a hobo camp site is the distance the  site is from tillable land and the near proximity of a swamp.  The mosquitoes would be merciless in the summer but quite tolerable during fruit picking season when itinerant workers would pick fruit and possibly bring some back to camp.

Another factor suggesting a hobo camp is the complete lack of stone on the site.  Nothing.  No smokehouse, not chimney, no square foundation or root cellar pit.
A coyote skull.

Three drains coming together in the smaller woods and flowing from right-to-left.  Three drains, three different colors of water.  The tea colored water coming from the middle drain is interesting.

Portions of the drain have a gravel bottom and looks like it could support trout.

A prime squirrel woods.  Red oak, hickory and burr oak in about that order.

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