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Poachers and Lilacs

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Radnor Reflections, April 1, 2011

The fragrance of lilacs is unmistakeable. They are blooming next to the old caretaker’s house at Radnor Lake this week. The state naturalists take care of Radnor Lake, now, but there used to be a caretaker when the lake belonged to the L&N Railroad. Radnor’s website has a charming remembrance of the McElyeas by their granddaughter, in which she tells of her grandfather arresting illegal fishermen and handcuffing them to the porch rail until the sheriff came for them. If they were there at breakfast time, Mrs. McElyea would feed them right along with her own family. Presumably, in spring, they would also have the benefit of the wonderful smell of lilacs blooming beside the porch as they waited.

House on Radnor Lake

The lilac bush can barely be seen to the right of the house.

Rocking chairs

Waiting for the lilacs to bloom, or for breakfast, or for the sheriff.

4 responses »

  1. Your photos and reflections are like a wonderful candy, always good and always leave one wanting more. Delightful!

  2. Or parent and child….learning to whittle, shelling peas, listening to Father relate unlikely fish stories….

    Lovely timeless moments, courtesy of your evocative capture of the two differently-sized rockers.

  3. Lol! Beautiful flower cluster portrait, but I’m not even gonna ask what was involved in having it float about with no visible means of support. Just kidding, the picture is lovely and concentrates my eye right where I like to the blossoms. Now you just need to incorporate Smell-O-Vision!
    Can hardly wait to start smelling lilac wafting in from the front’s just starting to bloom, here.

    I can’t imagine the poison oak/ivy, i’ve forgotten which you have there, was as prevalent while there were executives from the railroad enjoying the area. Wonder if a shortage of deer eating it (i assume the place was a hunting vacation place?) allowed it to run riot for a decade or two. *Something* must’ve been really favorable for it!


    • Hi Pete,
      Poison ivy is absolutely everywhere, although it hasn’t revealed itself yet this spring. The L&N dammed Otter Creek to form Radnor Lake to supply water to their steam engines. The executives did use it for fishing and boating, but I’m not sure about the hunting. There are plenty of stories about illegal poaching from the RR days, but maybe that only applied to non-railroad executive types. I think poison ivy is just exuberant, and the rangers encourage its growth because it keeps a million visitors a year on the path! I admit to a few sneaky trips off the trail in the winter, but I will do no such thing at the first sign of P.I.


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