The healthy growth of forests was a later phenomenon, he told me. When he was young, there were few trees; wood got cut for heat. And sheep kept everything else trimmed back. If you went fishing, you followed the fisheries’ seasonality, farmed, and did work for summer residents. Spinney had gone to work as a ship’s carpenter but still had helped out on family activities.
He explained that it had been too labor-intensive harvesting such a small bog and getting the cranberries to market. Once the family got the Roadhouse on route 47 going, they let the bog, chickens, and orchard go. Serving dinners and drinks paid better and less work too.
Spinney explained this as we snowshoed into the swamp. We climbed through fresh snow onto the hillock in the middle of the swamp. On top sat a tumbledown tar papered shack. “this is where us kids would camp while working on the bog.” Off to the southeast, you could peek through the trees and see the bay.
“So why didn’t you leave?” I asked. He looked at me for a while: “Wes, you’re going to leave here to go back to graduate school. You’re going to remember this view someday and wish you had stayed. Then you’ll understand.”
And I do.