Burnt Hill
The Benson Place

This was Burnt Hill in Heath, MA on June 7, 2014. Burnt Hill is named that because it's been used for years to grow blueberries on and it used to get intentionally burned over every year. Being a ridge running north and south there's sunlight from earlier in the morning until later in the evening than anywhere else around. The elevation is about 1800 feet.

I mostly lived across the valley from this and I don't think I've ever been here to walk around before. The farm is a big seasonal employer of local people especially high school students when the berries are ripe. Legend has it a former owner used to shoot trespassers or at least was nasty to them and I never worked here. This day I walked around taking pictures and didn't see anyone at all. Evidently someone lives here but they either weren't home or they're not concerned about people wandering around. Most of Burnt Hill is posted land (blasted city people) but here at the end of Flagg Hill Road there are no posted signs. The unusual color of the ground is because there's very little grass, just a covering of blueberry plants. The bigger pictures here are scaled down by about a factor of 5 from the originals.

I was a little disappointed in not having a better view east and west but if I'd walked up higher there might be. This is 200 feet higher than where I live across the valley but I couldn't see that from here. I thought I was getting away with something as it was and didn't want to press my luck by staying longer.

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Those are bee hives inside the electric fence, which I guess is to keep bears out(?). There are a couple old cups on top of posts, I think those have something to do with the bees.

The Polinator Project sign reads:

The Pollinator Project
at the Benson Place is an ongoing effort to increase the number & diversity of native bees on the farm. Native bees have been on the decline worldwide due to habitat loss, pesticide use, & diseases spread by the transport of commercial pollinators. Three species of bumble bees, once abundant in the eastern US, are now on the "red list" of the Xerses society, an invertebrate conservation group. As low bush blueberry farmers, our crop depends on these splendid creatures. We want to see them thrive!

We invite you to walk the farm roads and see the project! Two informational signs are located along the way.

Phase One of the project:

I couldn't read this sign until I got home and enhanced the picture so I didn't know about the open door policy or the other signs. I wonder what this looks like when the blueberries are all in blossom? You used to be able to come here and pick your own berries but that was 40 years or so ago, I don't know about now.


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