Monday, July 21, 2008

Enjoying the local parks

Our nearby Farmersville - Jackson Twp. Joint Park is where we go most afternoons for a short walk. The land for the park was a gift from Winter Zero Swartsel who died in 1953. He owned what is commonly called "The Bottle Farm" where he placed empty bottles atop posts. These would swing in the wind and make an eerie spectacle.

The 24 acre plot is now enclosed in a 0.7 mile walking track (below) which is asphalt-paved and stained red. Inside the park - unusual, I think, for so small a community - are two swimming pools, a sand volleyball court, two baseball diamonds (three if you count an unimproved field) and the pond shown above. It's the perfect place for spending an afternoon in some outdoor recreational activity.

I love pines, of course, and there are plenty at the park, particularly old and stately white pines. Right now, the sticky cones are growing larger and hanging in profusion. If a cone happens to hang above the track, you'll find sprinkles of sap on the asphalt. Is there a softer pine than the white?

Along the western edge of the pond, the white pines stand thick (you can see them in the distance in the first photo) and the ground is carpeted with the soft needles. That's where we find mushrooms after many rains. But this is the time of the developing cone and they hang starkly against the blue sky on this hot summer afternoon.

Just north of us is New Lebanon's Stanley Jones Park and the Fred O. Jenkins Pond. Tame ducks - both the common white farm duck and the little-wilder mallards - walk up to you whenever you approach and hope for a handout. It makes photography easy, they are so sure you'll give them something.

Between the two parks - one three miles west, the other five miles north - we have ample outdoor facilities nearby.