this sand farm in Wisconsin, first worn out and then abandoned by
our bigger-and-better society, we try to rebuild, with shovel and
axe, what we are losing elsewhere.”
- Foreword, A Sand County Almanac
The sandy soils, outwash from the glacier, had produced one or
two crops of corn, perhaps a crop of buckwheat or rye before the
soils were exhausted. The fields were coming up in sand burs and
quack grass. Any timber had been cut.
There was little left to support a farm family. The previous owner
had given up and moved to California, the farm house having burned
to the ground. The only remaining structure was an old chicken coop,
waist deep in chicken and cow manure.
Here in the sand counties, Aldo Leopold initiated a different relationship
with the land, at once more personal and more universal. From his
own direct participation in its restoration, he was to come to a
deeper appreciation of the ecological, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions
of land, at the same time finding new dimensions to his sense of
place. And so, too, did his family members and colleagues.