Doing a land survey is a critical part of getting the most from your land. In a recent survey, I found some shocking and exciting things in the woods. Will your land survey be this much fun?
Why Walking Your Land Can Be An Exciting Adventure
It was one fall Sunday looking for a landing place for a 10-foot by 16-foot shed when I found something unexpected. The first find is highly unusual, a clearing in the woods, but the second is scary.
Curious findings in the woods can tell you about the history of land usage. How was land used in the past? How could the land be used in the future?
Dirt mounds in the woods tend to be previous clearings for loading logs or the result of cutting a road. Clearings in the woods come from trees falling, land clearing, or hard rock underground. In this case, I do think these mounds are related to land clearing.
When you find tulips, daffodils, and iris, then you can be sure there is a homesite nearby. Changes in types of trees help you find boundaries, even roads. These are all clues that help you get more from your land.
And when I returned from exploring a clearing, I noticed odd rows of hollow ground. The one closest to the road looked like an old perk test, but it wasn't. Then I remember there was a faded symbol for a cemetery on the plat.
How many bodies lay below the ground in this family plot? At least six people are buried here from the indentations alone (each with a large rock on one end and a small rock on the other).
What To Do When You Find a Cemetary On Your Land
Out of respect for those whose circumstances make this their final resting place, you want to keep gravesites in good condition. Who knows, someone may come in the future doing genealogy.
Respect the dead, learn from them, do not follow their follow or avenge their battles. Remember their stuggle, lift up their goodness, and honor those who have gone before you.Justin Hitt, Publisher / Consultant
Think about the living family and their loved ones spending an eternity on your property. Don't get me wrong; I pray for their souls that they have comfort and find rest on this land. No sense in disturbing those at rest or creating any ill will for their condition.
Marking the boundaries of any burial site and removing any large trees that might disturb the graves is a good start. Some counties have rules about building near cemeteries or burial locations.
If you want an ecotourism element, then the family buried there supplements the story of your farm. You can even go as far as registering the cemetery with the local historical society.
Forest Surprises and The Mortality of All Humans as Death Becomes Us All
To be blunt, you may have a historic cemetery on your property. That's great as it is a unique element you cannot easily duplicate. Findings may mean additional context to the land, hopes of a natural burial for yourself, or a joint family cemetery grandfathered into zoning.
Yes, it sounds morbid, yet many subscribers dream of their forever family farm or estate where they can become one with the land. This dream includes working and growing old on a piece of land of their own.
Many counties have limits on establishing new cemeteries or burials on private property. There is a workaround like building a chapel on your land, then petitioning burial as part of a religious auxiliary. Adding to an existing private cemetery is easier.
If you can connect with the family of those who has gone on before you, then you may gain valuable details about your land. Are there old homesites? What kinds of animals were on the ground before your purchase?
At a minimum, you will want to maintain the space; perhaps even an information station will mark the entrance of this cemetery. While there were no headstones, I was able to determine rock placement was deliberate as markers.
When finding surprises on your land, here are some points to consider:
- Access to burial sites or historical monuments. Be respectful of living family members, make sure they can access graves and pay their respects.
- Understanding previous use of land and features. The clearing I found in the woods is a clue to look for historical roads. Even a trash site can tell you more about your land.
- Map land features in your design plan. You may not do anything with your strange finding in the woods today, but keep track of where on a map.
- Discover the history of your land. You may gain a few stories that add character to your land. At a minimum capture these stories as a way to connect with the local community.
- Regularly walk your land for adventure and discovery. A casual walk can help you get farmiliar with your land, even help you find new opportunities for useage.
If you want to get more from your property, then write my offices with questions. There are many opportunities to maximize the value of your land while respecting nature. You might even discover historical features that give your land character.
If you want to get more from your small farm, homestead, or estate, … Justin Hitt is a Permaculture Design Consultant with more than two decades of experience with organic gardening. He teaches the practical application of critical thinking, entrepreneurial ecology, and homestead management. Practical insights for practitioners, estate owners, and homesteaders. To see if his insights are right for you, join our free newsletter.