by Hallie Porter
I first met Beth when I was a newbie at the Land Trust. She appeared in the office one August day, as she did every year, to drop off a donation in memory of her father, among others. Over the past twelve years, I was fortunate enough to form a friendship with Beth and began to learn more about her, her father, and the 320-acre Limestone County farm that she held so dear. Each time Beth took me down memory lane about life at the farm my understanding of why she was so adamant about preserving that land deepened.
Her stories painted pictures of summer days accompanying her father to the farm. While he worked, she rode her horse down to the spring to lie on his back in the sun. She didn’t have to carry a water bottle as the “dipping cup” was located at the spring where fresh water abounded. Sometimes her adventures included playing and swimming in Piney Creek, a Tennessee River tributary which flows through the property. And with only one rule (return to the barn at dusk to go home for dinner), she had plenty of time to explore everything wild and wonderful that the waters, pastures, and hillsides offered.
Those early years on the farm helped fashion a woman who was passionate about the outdoors. She loved to hike and treasured all creatures great and small. Her suburban home garden was a haven for local wildlife and “her ducks” that walked a quarter of a mile daily from their pond to her garden for food and respite. Her appreciation for animals did not exclude creepy crawlies either. The rat snake that frequented her yard occasionally trespassed onto neighbors’ properties and it would not take long for them to call Beth aka “the snake lady” to come rescue it again.
Beth made sure that her farm, its incredible natural treasures, and the memories that accompanied it would be protected permanently by willing it to the Land Trust. To her it was so much more than just the crystal-clear spring, the meandering creek, and the fields of sunshine. It really was a part of her soul. I am honored to have known Beth and to have been given the opportunity to keep her family legacy alive through the Land Trust.
There are no plans at this time to open the property for public access and agricultural use will continue. The Land Trust will care for the land in perpetuity, protecting it for wildlife habitat, providing a buffer for the creek, and conserving the watershed area.
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