M E E T I N G   P L A C E
Another existing part of the old farm are the mature trees that grow on our acre and a half. The most important tree for me was a standard apple tree which needed a lot of pruning but reminded me of the orchard where I grew up. Every winter when I prune that tree I am reminded of when I was a boy. On winter afternoons, after I got home from school, I would go out into the orchards to help my father prune the last apple tree of the day.
   When a butternut died, Nate and I cut the tree down but left an eight-foot-high stump with its roots still in the ground. Mary, knowing about such things having grown up in England, contacted Gerry Prozzo, a neighbor and sculptor, to carve the face of the Green Man, a 5000-year-old Druidic image of the meeting place between man and the world of plants, into the top of that eight-foot- high trunk.
   All kinds of artifacts also helped us link our new garden to the history of the place. We used three old milk cans from a dairy in Washington, Vermont that we bought at a tag sale to mark the entrance to what we call our Vermont Ruin Garden. Fifteen years ago, when we were clearing the northern end of the property, out behind the barn, we uncovered the cracked concrete floor where no more than six cows would have stood in their stanchions – such small herds were the rule back then. We filled the cracks in the concrete with sandy loam and compost and then planted drought tolerant ground-hugging perennials in that soil to create a tapestry on the gray concrete, all the time thinking about the cows and the people that had spent so very many years right there on that same surface but in such a very different way.