jackson’s cow fields.

Every now and then Mr. Q tells the story about the time he and his friend Jimmy set Jackson’s cow fields on fire.  Mr. Q was … well … let’s just say he was a bit of a rebel in his youth and leave it at that.

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That spring he and Jimmy fashioned a ‘polish cannon’ out of Coke cans and made a practice of setting it off out in the cow fields behind Mr. Q’s childhood home in Marine on the St Croix.

Those fields were pretty dry in spring.  It was probably not the best plan to be playing with fire out there.  I’m not even sure I should share the part where the cans were overfilled with lighter fluid and Mr. Q dropped a match in them and swung them around shouting “hey look, it’s a flame thrower!”

Remember, I already admitted he was a bit of a rebel.

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Once they realized they had set the field on fire, panic must have set in.  They tried to put it out themselves but eventually realized that wasn’t going to happen and they had to call the fire department.  This was absolutely a last resort because you see, Mr. Q’s dad was the Fire Chief and Jimmy’s dad was the Assistant Fire Chief.  Mr. Q was just hoping that his dad was still at his day job (the fire department was all volunteer) and that someone else would show up.  But no, the fire truck rolled up with both of their fathers riding up front.

The fire was put out and Mr. Q says that several weeks later the fresh new green growth was just lovely.

Back in those days Jackson’s cow fields were just that, cow pasture, but today they are Jackson Meadow.

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You can read more about Jackson Meadow on their website.  Basically it’s a housing development based on the cluster-housing model.  Over 70% of the land is preserved as open space.  The houses themselves have a very Scandinavian feel, an homage to the early Swedish immigrants who settled in Marine.

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Last Saturday Debbie and I decided to take a scenic fall drive up to Marine for lunch at the Brookside.  After lunch we headed up the hill and noticed a sign for a neighborhood garage sale at Jackson Meadow!  I’d always wanted an excuse to snoop around in there without looking obvious.

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 Have you noticed something about Jackson Meadow?  All of the houses are white with galvanized metal roofs.  Their website states that you are not allowed to paint your house any other color than white, and I suspect that there is a huge long list of other requirements for buildings here as well.  Their website also mentions that only “native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plantings” are allowed.  So you can just forget about that Limelight hydrangea if you live here.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I definitely think that there is a kind of beauty in the austere buildings set into a natural landscape.  But it also kind of gives me the heebie jeebies.  That feeling of everything is beautiful on the outside, but controlled with an iron fist just beneath the surface.  You can live here, but only if you fit into their very narrow definition of what is acceptable.

It doesn’t help that the last time we were visiting old friends from Marine they mentioned that Jackson’s cow fields were always haunted.  Debbie and I had heard rumors of ghostly goings on in Jackson Meadow, so it was interesting to hear that these stories pre-date the Jackson Meadow development.

Maybe the fact that my sister and I stopped off at the cemetery next was really what left us in a spooky mood.

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Not only is it a very picturesque cemetery, but I was betting my sister that they’d have a porta-pottie there and fortunately I was right.  That glass of wine I had with lunch had caught up with me.  Debbie scoffed when I first suggested it, “they don’t have porta-potties in cemeteries!”, oh yes they do!

This particular cemetery has some really cool old headstones too.  It looks like poor Sophrona was only 28 when she died.

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After leaving the cemetery, we headed out of town the back way just to admire this stretch of road which is always gorgeous this time of year

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By the way, I hope the residents of Jackson Meadow don’t take offense if they see this blog post.  They were all exceptionally friendly and welcoming.  I even came away from their garage sales with this fab vintage find …

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But I do wonder if they ever see the ghost of Sophrona wandering around in those fields on spooky misty evenings, don’t you?

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15 thoughts on “jackson’s cow fields.

  1. Mr. Q’s story is hilarious! I can only imagine the Dad’s rolling up in the firetruck. Couple of punks 😉 We recently took a drive through Marine as well (always start at Brookside!) and made our way to Jackson Meadows. The homes are quietly graceful and I quite like the native plantings, but you’re right, there was just something about it… Marine is so enchanting, what a great place to grow up.

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  2. Wonderful post how charming those houses look. Interesting homeowner covenants but it does look lovely. The issue with homeowner covenants is the body of people wanting to enforce and police. I have a house painted white so I am partial to them. I love the style of these and the metal roofs. The window shapes are also very cool.
    Oh my goodness great story Mr.Q. I bet it had a pretty interesting ending to go with it. I have a fire story too. My dad suffered a bully as a youngster. In fact several of his friends also suffered due to said bully. He grew up in Utah and one summer day they decided to take matters into their own hands. They all invited said bully to play Cowboys and Indians and tied the bully to the stake. And proceeded to gather firewood and put it around the bottom. Then they actually tried to light the fire. Utah has a fairly dry climate lots of desert areas. Lucky for the bully and my dads gang it had rained the night before. He often reminisced how grateful he was for that rain otherwise they could have fried the bully.

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    1. It seems like we got away with a lot more when we were kids, don’t you think? On another note, I like that you noticed the windows. They did have some very cool windows, and certainly some very large picture windows. I imagine the views from inside looking out are stunning.

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  3. Beautiful homes in a beautiful setting. Looks like you are stepping back in time. I’m assuming that’s the reason for the native plants only rule. Really gorgeous.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Jackson Meadows pix. The homes are so Scandinavian! (my heritage) I have visited Sweden many times & the homes/landscape look just like this. Beautiful & minimalist!

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  5. I have to say, if someone wants to buy me the home and pay the associated taxes, then I will live there and follow rules BUT as long as I pay for my home and taxes, no one – no one tells me what to do. As for Wallender, I loved that series but I found the landscapes barren and sad looking. He’d be driving his auto and the camera would pan out – all you could see was miles of nothing at all. It was almost like a moonscape. I was sorry the series ended as it did. So sad. But I did see the guy who played Wallender (don’t know his name) on the Graham Norton show (also BBC and highly recommend!) and there was a moment when I thought “Oh all is well”, and then laughed at myself mixing fiction with reality.

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    1. That ‘guy’ is Kenneth Branagh, one of my favorite British actors. And the storyline at the end of the series is pretty much a downer. But I think it’s mainly we Americans that prefer to see a happy ending to everything. Mr. Q and I are also big fans of Graham Norton. We recently nixed our cable TV though, so I’m not sure where we are going to get our Graham Norton fix now! As for the landscapes on Wallender, if you didn’t appreciate their serene, albeit sparse, beauty you probably would not like Jackson Meadow either. I thought the cinematography for Wallender was stunning. I’m thinking in particular of some of the aerial shots of farmland and pine forests towards the end of the series. But that huge field of yellow flowers in the very beginning of the series was also amazing.

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      1. I don’t actually require a happy ending. That would be all too “fairy tale”. It’s just that the Wallender ending coincided with a good friend of mine having the same issue and it has only gotten much worse. It was simply too much to bear. I hope our disagreement about the landscape doesn’t land me in the big red chair and your hand on the lever. 🙂

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      2. LOL, if I had the red chair, you totally would have been tipped by now 😉 I totally understand where you are coming from on the Wallender ending (spoiler alert! for those who might be reading these comments and haven’t watched the show and are wondering what in the world we are talking about, at the end of the series the main character is diagnosed with an aggressive early onset form of Alzheimer’s). That would have been very hard to watch while also experiencing a similar situation in real life. My heart goes out to you for that. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch Wallender packing up his office knowing that his career was over. I’m sure that was even harder for you.

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  6. Although the vintage-look houses of Jackson Meadows are pretty, the unremitting white would do me in. I’m already so sick of nearly universal white/neutral décor inside.. And I’m allergic to homeowners’ associations. They seem to be run by petty dictators who probably have no power in other parts of their lives & take it out on their fellow homeowners. My house, my choices. And if someone paid for it & gave it to me, I wouldn’t live there. I’d sell it.

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    1. Hi Chrisk! We’d be great neighbors and friends. I already imagine you and I sitting in rocking chairs on my front porch, a hound dog at our feet, and shotguns close at hand (ala Granny on Beverly Hillbillies) ready to “welcome” the homeowners association to come tell us the rules. Until then, please pass the jug with the rheumatism medicine in it. 🙂

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