Digging

A Shirtless Man and His Dog

  • August 17, 2015

We had a rough week. While my kids suffered through a nasty stomach bug, I suffered through the final days of Comm 101. The good news is, I survived the class–the same class I’d been putting off since I started working towards my Associates Degree in 2008. The topic of my speeches, you ask? Well, metal detecting, of course:

http://www.youtube.com/embed?listType=playlist&list=UU9D3lVCpT6kljc61gm6h_Yg

So in the midst of completing my final assignments, I fell into the role of Dr. Mom–cuddling on the couch, watching a million-and-one episodes of Sesame Street, and cleaning partially digested crackers off the living room floor. It was marvelous.  But as you can imagine, when presented with the opportunity to sneak away–if only for an hour–I jumped in my car and escaped to some secluded homesite in the middle of the orchards.

In a few posts, I’ve mentioned the Fickle House. Other than the name of the family who once owned the property–the Fickle Family, I know nothing of the history. I couldn’t tell you if they were farmers or tradesmen, lutherans or baptists, educated or illiterate. This has been quite frustrating since I like to give an identity to the places I detect.

I suppose that frustration fueled my procrastination on this property. That frustration… and well, all that invasive greenery. But heck, I had an hour to kill and I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge–especially when that challenge involves recovering history.

So… using the serrated end of my shovel, I cleared a path to the stone steps that once led to the home. I could almost envision someone seated on those steps after a long day harvesting peaches in the orchards.

I powered up my Makro Racer and searched beside the stairs. As I tuned into the language of my detector, I became completely oblivious to the shirtless man and enormous dog standing behind me. When the man finally spoke, I nearly jumped out of my skin.

I’ll admit… this was not the first time that someone has snuck up on me in the woods. Apparently, I was due for a reminder to stay vigilant. Fortunately, Tim and his massive dog were just curious about my endeavors.

In speaking with Tim, I discovered that a few hobbyists had already detected property a few years ago and raided the bottle dumps. In a way… I guess that kind of sealed the deal for the Fickle House, but I was having a hard time getting into it anyway. Perhaps–once I uncover more history on the family–I’ll revisit it in the future.

Now even though my new friend scared the living daylights out of me, I’m thankful to have met him. Tim was a wealth of local history–having lived in the area his entire life. He told me about the bottle dumps in the woods, the abandoned houses in the orchards, and the people I needed contact for permissions. (As it turns out, Tim is actually a distant relative of the Busheys–the same Busheys who built the Bushey House.)

Before parting ways, Tim pointed me in the direction of a nearby sheep farm riddled with old bottle dumps and sordid civil war history. I thanked him and set off over the hill towards the sheep farm.

11889633_1668471313388649_8210631254502797262_nAs most of you know, I’m very particular about asking permissions–maybe a little too particular at times. I very rarely knock on doors, opting instead to catch the owner while they’re already outside fiddling around in the yard. As I drove by the sheep farm, the owner just happened to be chatting with her brother-in-law beside the road. I pulled over and struck up a conversation with the two.

I learned that the sheep farm dates to about 1830. The property even saw a little action during the Civil War. The owner suggested that I meet with her father for all the spectacular details and I’m pretty darned excited for that opportunity–which I hope to bring you all very soon.

The brother-in-law lives a short distance away on a property that was originally deeded by William Penn.

I’m starting to think that my adventures in this hobby are rarely coincidental. There is always history to be told when you seek it out.

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