38 Lake Farm Circle, Jefferson ME 04348 | (207)549-3836 | email@example.com
“I look downward from the wide expanse of window above the sink. The hayfields are under deep snow, and the pond has closed the marble lid of its eye and now seems only a level field where the wind patterns the old snow. Loon Island is no longer a dark ship moored in the bay. It seems a ridge rising above an unfenced meadow. Where are the loons which have nested there for as long as anyone can remember? Gone, and gone are all the birds, even the crows. On most days we shall see no living thing from any of our windows; but then unexpectedly a blue jay will call or a squirrel run along a stone wall, and when we walk in the woods we shall find ourselves surrounded by a tale of tracks of rabbits and mice and fox and partridge and deer, and know that we have secret neighbors whom we do not see, and that the drama of life and death goes on intensely behind the screen of trees and rocks.”
-- Elizabeth Coatsworth in "Maine Memories," 1968.
One conservation project, Chimney Farm, is particularly exciting. This lovely 89 acres of land on Nobleboro’s East Neck inspired nature writer Henry Beston and children’s book author Elizabeth Coatsworth, who lived and wrote together there for more than 35 years. Their eloquent chronicles of Chimney Farm’s pastoral beauty, including Beston’s "Northern Farm," are part of what makes this conservation project so special.
In the case of Chimney Farm, DLWA conserved more than just land, but also a valuable historical and cultural site that inspired an American literary tradition of nature writing that continues to thrive on the farm today. Protecting Chimney Farm also preserves the land and history of the New England farming tradition.
Easement donor and former Maine Poet Laureate, Kate Barnes, negotiated an easement with DLWA that encourages Chimney Farm to be used as active farmland. Working with caretakers Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard, their donkeys Jenny and Emmy Lou and neighbor Henry Oliver, DLWA is working to reclaim pastureland at the farm.
Efforts to save Chimney Farm from development began in 1997 and reached a resting point late in 2007, with all but 6½ acres preserved in perpetuity. Easement protection of 8.7 acres of fields with views to the lake was purchased for $225,000, thanks to some very dedicated fundraising and more than 180 individual cash donations. The remaining 6½ acres, including the farmstead buildings, is owned by the Beston/Coatsworth family and remains unprotected. However, DLWA has a right of first refusal should the property come on the market.
Sara and Alexander Buck, Sr. bought the Chimney Farm property on the west side of the road. They donated an easement on the field and cemetery (and had a lovely replacement picket fence built); and in December 2007 donated an easement on the remaining woodland between the road and Deep Cove. This 60+ acre woodlot is managed as a working forest.
The writing shack where Beston spent time has now been restored. Volunteers reclaimed this shack over the period of a year and a half, culminating in 2009.
Henry Beston's writer's shack at Chimney Farm
Twice annual events are held at Chimney Farm for people who are interested in visiting this historic literary landmark. Check out the Events Calendar page for more information, or contact DLWA at 207-549-3836 or firstname.lastname@example.org