This is a serialization of the new book written by Carl Flowers, owner of Silveus Plantation, the subject of "Groton's Anonymous Mistress." The 300-year-old home is accessed by Kemp Street near the boundary of Groton and Dunstable.
By Carl Flowers
During the summer of 2010 an unknown individual herbicided the woody vegetation. In 2011, as a result of the herbiciding, the entire area was being taken over by bittersweet. I don't believe the (rare) morning glories are going to survive since the bittersweet is taking over the area.
Dirt bikes, all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and trucks are another threat to farmers. As soon as I get a field ready to plant, it's suddenly an open invitation to drive over the land to cut donuts. Drivers run in a circle over and over, then move on to another section of the field and do it all over again. No trespassing signs are ignored or torn down. These are not uncommon occurrences.
In the case of a Christmas tree six or seven years old, the destruction is a serious loss. One year, forty-three trees were destroyed. When I call for assistance, no one shows up 50 percent of the time. I'm told just because I don't see anyone, it doesn't mean a police officer isn't on the scene. When an officer does show up, he's usually from Dunstable fifty percent of the time and not from Groton where my land is located. I've been told the trespassers are just having fun, my insurance should take care of any damage or, the police can't do anything except make a report.
Getting a copy of the report is another issue. In all fairness, pursuing an all terrain vehicle on a cart path in a police car would be a considerable challenge, but the department also has all terrain vehicles. Now I have the suspicion some of these trespassers are being warned to go slow and not rev up their vehicles. If they don't make a lot of noise when they go over the farm, I won't know they are passing through. The police wouldn't be called. I hate to see good people get fined, but operating a vehicle on a farm without the owners permission is against the law.
Deer are another nonendangered problem. They'll snip the top off a young seedling, rub a tree's branches off, and eat branch tips when there's a lot of snow on the ground. Any tree a deer has taken a fancy to will never become a Christmas tree. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the options for dealing with the deer problem long-term is to put up a fence or use a repellent. The cost of erecting a fence on a hundred plus acres is not an option. Building a new house would cost less money than a ten to twelve foot fence.
A land owner or a family member may shoot deer out of season, but you have to have a license for a gun. I find this to be unacceptable. Paying for a license to protect your livelihood on land you own and pay taxes on is ridiculous. The only other option is hunting season which is in direct conflict with cutting Christmas trees. Who would want to be out cutting a Christmas tree if there's a possibility of bullets flying around?
Think about a produce farmer. Just imagine what two or three deer can do to an acre of beans during the night. Then, if you're overrun with turkeys and you grow tomatoes, the turkeys won't eat a whole tomato. They'll peck a hole on one tomato, take a step or two and sample another tomato. This can result in a serious loss to someone who makes their living farming.
It seems no one cares about these problems, but then, maybe they do. Could it be all about the fees the state charges for a license to own a gun and payments to get a hunting license so that pay raises and better retirement benefits can be achieved? If the farm is sold because of problems with nonendangered species, the cry would go out, "The farms, the farms, they're disappearing."