We live in an almost 300 year old house on a pretty busy two lane road. While the speed limit is 25 MPH and the road twists and turns with multiple blind spots, cars and trucks race by quite often. So when I’m walking the dog along the non-existant shoulder of this two lane death road, we don’t have the luxury of gazing at things in the woods for too long. A few weeks ago, however, I did notice a rock wall not too far from our yard that caught my eye. There are lots of small rock walls that just pop up here and there along the road. I think they were used to mark off land hundreds of years ago. We have dozens that start and stop around the property, meandering through the 5 acres we borrow. While they are really interesting to see – and I’m wondering what might be shoved in between the stones – I am also getting used to them. But this one small rock wall led to what looked like a big hole in the ground and big holes in the ground are not that common in the woods.
Two days ago I suddenly remembered about the big hole and then realized I could access it by hiking through the brush just behind the playhouse. We started walking the dog back there, yelling when we got caught up and pricked with thorns, and trying not to poke our eyes out with dead tree branches that were mostly at face level. And there it was. A giant house sized hole in the ground with neatly placed rocks lining the entire thing at about six feet deep. Of course the dog was ready to jump in there and we struggled to hold her back. Clearly the foundation had been there awhile since there were mature trees growing out of it. There was also the remnants of some kind of hippy artist sweat lodge that had collapsed on the other side of this foundation. There were the caved in remains of a tree branch roof, lots of plastic sheeting, rusted patio furniture, piles of glass and nail infested wood fragments, and trash. Lots and lots of trash. Perhaps it wasn’t so hippy-inspired after all. For all I know this mess is in a second foundation that borders the first or the original one is much bigger than I think it is. All I know for sure is that I am much less interested in exploring the contents of the party hole than the moss covered hobbit hole.
In the 15 or so minutes I spent at the site I unearthed an aqua glass utility pole insulator from the early 1900s and an apothecary syrup bottle from the late 1800s. Both were just peeking out from mud and moss. If I can ensure the neighbor’s chicken sentry German Shepard is locked up for a couple of hours I will work up the courage to climb into the cellar and try not to succumb to tetanus.
Is a metal detector in my future? Am I turning into one of those History Channel guys?
Update: I met a neighbor today – an actual Mummery owner! – that told me about the debris in the cellar hole. Apparently there was a very festive party thrown in the foundation during the winter of 2008. The structure was covered with plastic sheeting and chimneys spewed out steam. Hay bales were used as seating – along with some old couches from the Swap Shack (at the transfer station or dump) – and there was live music as well as an outdoor pig roast. The roof of the structure twinkled with lights. That would have been something to see. The aftermath isn’t nearly so festive.