The Split Rail Fence

This last weekend was what we call a work weekend at the farm. Every spring we go through and clean up downed trees, rake leaves, deep clean the house, and various other projects. There is always another project that needs done and a tree or two that didn’t make it through the winter. In years past we have always tried to get together as many family and friends as we can for a big weekend push on things. As we all know 2020 has been a different year. Still, I was blessed to have a couple friends who braved the woods and virus fears to come out and help.

One of our projects that we have been working on since taking over the farm is a trail that was part of the original stage coach route that runs through our property and connects the cabin on the river with the house up above. When I was younger, after my grandparents bought the farm, my grandfather kept it mowed and all of the kids would explore it. It was completely overgrown when we started working on it in 2016. So much so that I had to show people where it had been based off my memories of going up and down it all those times as a child. It was very rough and brambly with downed trees across it in several spots. This year it looks like we will be mowing it for the first time in a good many years. We are hoping to have more hiking paths through the woods in the future that will be open to the public. As always, when we finish one project another one takes its place.

The fence in the 1980’s.

Probably the most visible project from this weekend is the repairing of our split rail fence. In 1979 when my grandparents bought the Cambre House it was very overgrown and they spent a long time clearing brush and trees. During one of their work weekends they discovered an original split rail fence hidden in the brush. This exciting find was published in the Fort Madison Democrat. The split rail fence is part of many pictures of the farm providing a frame for the yard with the pump house on one side and the forest on the other.

This spring before the repair.
Over the years it has fallen numerous times and been stacked back up again. This spring it was on the ground again and I had at least one person who looked at me with a skeptical look when I called it a fence. It was completely taken apart, leaves raked out, and restacked from scratch. I am so pleased that we were able to save this little piece of farm history and give the farm back it’s historic fence.

After the repair
Like everyone else our May plans have been changed. Though we will not be seeing you on Memorial Day weekend our annual craft show has been moved to October 24th. I am excited to have the craft show in the fall like my grandparents always did. It really is a beautiful time of year to be out at the farm and driving the country back roads looking at the changing foliage. I hope to see you all there safe and healthy!

– Becca



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