House For Sale: Goshen, New Hampshire
As to those 100-plus acres, now that’s where the value lies. Not in the ruins of the old icehouse — it collapsed a couple of winters ago. And probably not in the ’52 Jeep and ’45 International Farmall tractor — both of which still run — or the ’53 Pontiac that’s sort of sunk into the ground behind the barn. “That one has an eight-cylinder flathead engine,” Ed commented with pride as we walked by it.
No, the value is in those eight acres of mown fields, in the orchard and the sugarbush, in the acres of hardwoods and pines, in the land along the South Branch of the Sugar River (actually a brook) on the west side of the property, in the 2,500 feet along Ball Park Road, in the little-traveled dirt road on which the farm is located, and in the 950 feet along Route 10, the old road from Keene up to Dartmouth College.
Late that morning, we walked with Ed past Phyllis’s raised beds of daylilies all along the front of the house and on around the barn to the restored deck behind the kitchen, where Ed likes to sit and look out across the lawn, fields, and rolling hills. Gorgeous. As we stood there for a while, we noticed to our left the stone walls Ed built years ago. He also pointed out some rare Blue Pearmain apple trees he’d grafted from somewhere and a “snowball bush” he said he “lugged off the mountain.”
Then the top of what was obviously a dug well caught our eye. “Yes, I dowsed for that,” Ed said. Turns out that in addition to all of Ed’s other skills, he also knows how to use a forked wooden stick to find underground water. He’s done it many times for friends and neighbors — always at no charge. “Some of them make fun of me for dowsing,” he told us, “but they drink the water.”
He’s dowsed for other things, too. For instance, for fun his kids would hide coins around the house. “I always found every one,” he said. Once a friend hid a watch in a bale of hay; Ed located it within minutes.
Then he told us about the most remarkable and dramatic dowsing experience of his life. It occurred well over 50 years ago in a place many thousands of miles from Goshen, New Hampshire. At the time, Ed was an artilleryman in Korea. The Chinese were about to overrun his unit, and the only way he and six of his buddies could escape being captured or killed was through a minefield.
“I found a forked stick on the ground,” Ed recalled, “and with that I discovered I could locate the underground mines. So, with the others following me single file, we dowsed our way out of there.”
He paused, probably thinking our look was one of skepticism, before quickly adding, “But, of course, we could have just been lucky.”
We felt lucky to have been able to spend a morning with Ed and Phyllis. We hope to keep in touch. We also hope that whoever among you becomes the new owner will be happy to have them keep around three of those 108 acres as a place to build a small cottage so that they can continue living on their land. Just think — if you ever needed something fixed, Ed would be just down the road. Or, say you found yourself craving some homemade coffee cake … Well, Phyllis probably would have just baked some.
Now, isn’t that the sort of real estate deal on which you could never, ever, place a price?