Friday, March 27, 2009

At the Track

My friend Jim and I walk most mornings (3 miles/1 hour). We walk early so get a view of the world that's a little different than what you see once the rest of the world is up and about. Our rainy venues are Arundel Mills Mall and Columbia Mall -- sorry Laurel, much too short and VERY depressing. I'm always disconcerted when I visit those locales when there are actually people there.
But I digress.

Friday is "Track Day." We walk from our Old Town location to the Laurel Race Track where in the early morning horses exercise -- no crowds, no betting, just exercise people taking their mounts out. We've been going for years and the riders recognize us -- and we know enough not to rush up the steps to the track when horses are coming -- they get a little skittish.

This time of day can sometimes yield interesting photos like those here. One, at the finish line was taken the day Magna declared bankruptcy, threatening the survival of the 99 year old track. I thought it pretty ironic. The other was from this morning, when fogged encased the track.

What Lies Beneath

One of the benefits of owning an old house in Old Town Laurel is what you can find from the past. Our house is about 106 years old, and sits on a lot previously part of a larger lot and house. We have a former out-house (honey pot v. latrine) that now is used as a garden shed/home for stray animals/bees' nest.

When the shed floor finally collapsed beyond safety and ability to store our lawn mower, I persuaded husband Ken that all it needed was a couple of sheets of plywood, cut in half. Piece of Cake. Huh!

The collapse was due to rotten joists, so they had to be replaced, and the old cut out etc. Nothin is easy when old is involved. Delightful neighbor Kathryn found this fascinating, so joined in. I designated myself the digger to clear out the accumulation of dirt etc below the old floor so the new boards wouldn't touch wet. In addition to some really good dirt (from leaves. not....other stuff) our former outhouse dig revealed artifacts from the past. A bottle, a jawbone (possum I think) and large lumps of coal. Catherine found the latter particularly fascinating.

The dirt hump in the middle yielded the biggest surprise, however. A brick pathway -- two bricks wide, right under the floor. We decided that perhaps the shed/outhouse was once closer to the previous house, and this path led from it to the now-disappeared alley behind.

We've laid a new floor, but left the bricks. They'll lie beneath for another owner and another mystery.