Peak Foliage

Peak Foliage
October on Preston Pond

Brief History of Preston Pond

Born from glaciers about 13,500 years ago, the original pond was only what is now the wider north end. Probably about 10,000 years ago, as the modern forest started to take root, beavers colonized the pond and expanded it (old dams are under the water surface).

With the arrival of Europeans in New York and coastal New England, a vigorous fur trade grew in the 17th Century. Beavers are particularly vulnerable to trapping since they are easy to find and they were wiped out by the 18th Century. With no beavers to maintain the dams, Preston Pond drained and appears on 18th and 19th Century maps as only the smaller original glacial north end.

Reintroduction in the 1920's and 1930's led to beavers recolonizing Preston Pond. By chance, they arrived the same year my grandfather bought the property in 1946. Ever since then, beavers have lived unmolested (by humans) on Preston Pond - until February 2016. They have never caused flooding problems or over-eaten the surrounding forest stand to the point that they abandoned the pond. Their population has doubtlessly had its ups and downs, but they have managed their affairs here for the last 70 years as beavers did for millions of years: on their own, despite some of their top predators having been exterminated by humans.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

After over a year navigating the USCIS immigration process, this past summer, Bonnie and I started to focus on settling back in to West Bolton. Bonnie was finally legal - well permanently: she was legal before, but a woman without a country. She received her Green Card in July and after I returned from a canoe expedition in Alaska (22 Grizzlies), we settled down to get our late summer/fall chores done before freeze up.

(None of these guys in Bolton yet: Kobuk River Alaska)
October ushered in one of the most remarkable foliage seasons in many years. We live about 100 yards from the southwest shore of Preston Pond, so it is easy to be out every day.
In any weather.

And any time of day.

I usually take the dogs up around Libbys Lookout
We pass the Upper Pond on the way.

Which you can just see peeking through the foliage from Libbys.

It is usual to see one or two beavers which is always a pleasure and sometimes very entertaining.

Charlotte (who we lost in December) was well known to the beavers. One loved to play with her, and as reported by other people on the trails, with several other dogs too. It would swim in close and then as Charlotte chased, swim away, easily outdistancing her. But then it would start a slow curve so that Charlotte could cut to the inside (photos from last spring on Preston Pond).

Charlotte would get pretty close before ...

SPLASH!!! and gone. Only to start all over again. Charlotte was not a young dog anymore, so after a bit I'd call her in. The beaver would follow us to the end of the pond.
Then the leaves dropped off
 The geese dropped in  


And the pond started to freeze

"First Freeze" Snows in the Air: Preston Pond  12" x 15" acrylic

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