For a long time, my mother wanted to name the farm. This was before we even moved next door. We would throw names around but nothing seemed to stick. The farm sits atop the old Kanona-Prattsburgh railroad bed so we tried to incorporate that, but nothing sounded right. It was forgotten about but once we moved here and I wanted to start an instagram account sharing photos from the farm, I had to come up with a name. I went back to one of the earlier names we thought of, and thus Fivemile Creek Farm was born. It’s not very original but I’d say it’s pretty appropriate for where our land sits. The property spans 13 acres but it’s a long and narrow swatch; pretty much it’s the old railroad bed: 150m wide by about a half mile long. Along that length runs Fivemile Creek.
The creek begins in the township of Italy just outside of Steuben County’s northern border. It runs through the historic town of Prattsburgh, Wheeler (where we are), Kanona, then into the Cohocton River. It’s a shallow stream with a few small swimming holes. It’s never been great for fishing but there’s plenty of crayfish and leaches. Every summer one of our favorite things to do is to head down the right-of-way* and make our way to the water for some creek walking. It is covered on either side by heavy brush and trees, and the way the light filters in makes for stunning photographs, especially the last 3-4 hours of daylight.
*The right-of-way or how we say it – rightaway – you’ll see a lot in my writings. It is the path that stretches north & south along our property which the railroad tracks were once on. It’s been kept wonderfully groomed by my parents and offers a beautiful 1/2 mile walk down and back. Our road splits the property in half, and the entrance from here has big weeping willows on either side of the path.
Our usual access to the river is down the rightaway almost to property line. It is a beautiful area however with quite a few stagnate water sources the mosquitoes are horrendous especially at dusk. I remembered there used to be an area closer to the house which was also very beautiful and last night we went searching. My mom grabbed the trimmer and began cutting a path through the field, which had grown above our heads in some areas. Once to the creek bed I went in to see the best place to continue trimming to gain access to the water. It was like walking through a veil that stole away your worries and strife upon entering. All I could hear was the bubbling of the soft waters, grasshoppers playing their song, birds gleefully chirping… There were pebbles lining the “beach” and low growing grasses mixed with beautiful wildflowers, a weeping willow had fallen and stretched itself over the length of the creek which is low enough to climb on, even for the smallest of humans.
After Mom finished the path we hung in this spot for some time while my daughter and “Teddy” the cat played on the tree. I even climbed it for a different perspective with my camera. There’s a “Y” in the branch about halfway across and is perfect for sitting. Mom walked the creek a little and found a beautiful long and flat rock which she already has plans for.
With as much hatred, turmoil, & war in the world today we have to do something for ourselves to escape from it just for a time. We can’t save the world in one day. If your peace comes from being among creatures as great horses, then go be among horses. If your peace comes from talking a walk down a country road, then go take a walk. If your peace comes from hanging out with your cat(s), then go hang out with your cat(s). If your peace comes from spending time with your favorite people, then go spend time with them. If your peace comes from grabbing your camera, exploring the land around you, and taking photos of whatever speaks to you, then go do it.
Last night as I was getting ready to head back to the house I asked my mother, “With summer quickly ending, what is the one thing that you’d like to do or one place you’d like to go before the kids go back to school?” Her response although simple really resonated with me. Yes it’s fun to go places and experience things, but there’s also an importance of home. Instead of going somewhere, trying to beat the seas of people, she would rather invest her time here on the farm. Watching movies on the big screen in the barn. Swinging the grandkids on the big swing in the tree, watching them squeal with happiness while splashing in the pool, brushing the horses, walking the creek… time spent with family, enjoying what we do have instead of going out looking for more. Don’t get us wrong, we BOTH love to visit places like museums and historical landmarks and parks and will still do this from time to time, there’s just a value about being home, a place we work so hard to make our serenity, our escape from the world.
I hope you enjoy these photos from last night.