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Patricia Lay-Dorsey | profile | all galleries >> Portfolios (themed series) >> A Sense of Place tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

A Sense of Place

"There is something deeply spiritual about life 'on the land'. And we are all drawn to it by some hidden primeval urge, engraved forever on our DNA." Colin Clarke

Bill and Jack Balkwill were born 77 and 74 years ago in the old house pictured here. It had been built by their uncle as a home for him and his bride, but when the marriage was called off, the house was moved to its present location on Bill and Jack's father's 140 acre/56 hectare farm in Essex County, Ontario. This was just after World War I. Now these environmentally-conscious bachelor farmers have chosen to legally protect their woodland from development in perpetuity. On April 13, 2007, a Conservation Agreement was donated to the Canada South Land Trust by the Balkwill brothers.

I was on their land for an Earth Day Spring Walk organized by the Canada South Land Trust on Sunday, April 27, 2008. The Gaia Great Lakes Women, with whom I sing, had been invited to sing our Earth Charter songs as part of the event. And yes, the walk through their Balkwill Woodlands was lovely, but what captured my heart and sent the photographer in me into overdrive were the buildings on this old farm. Not the new ranch house but the old house and the machinery shed. Even the recently demolished horse barn caught my attention. By the way, these may be the last pictures of the old house as Bill says they plan to tear it down this summer.