I spoke to one of my neighbors yesterday. His name is Skip and he is about half a mile from me as the crow flies. I learned a lot about my property talking to him for a few minutes. Skip is 79. He has lived in Derry all of his life. He used to go to school in the 3 story schoolhouse that was where Duck Pond Road was laid out (behind my barn). The history books don't have pictures of that school either. I've checked with the town historian.
Skip said he tended chickens as a boy on my property - when it was called the Higgins farm. He knew all of the Higgins and rattled off a list of names I won't ever remember. I've only met Billy Higgins - a few times. He must be about 80 himself.
I don't know a lot about this property. We are far enough out of town that the history book writers seemed to have lost interest by the time they got here. The earliest pictures of my house that I have seen are from the 1950s. There are no pictures of the barn or other buildings from before I bought the property in 2001.
As a side note, Billy told me in the summer of 2015 "I see you put the garage back." I said, "What do you mean 'Put it back?' I've never seen a picture of this place with a garage. I designed and built this garage." Other people had told me the same thing - that I put it back. Billy informed me "It looks exactly like the one that was there when I was growing up." Chills.
Skip asked me if there are rose bushes around the property. I told him I had to remove them before planting grapes and yes - everywhere. Incidentally, the base of these brambles were 3" in diameter right behind my pool when I started to remove them. I constantly have to cut back brambles from invading all around the edges. Sometimes seeds drop and I have to cull them from in the rows too.
Skip told me that the rose bushes were planted on purpose. They were planted to keep livestock fenced in. Skip said they work better than fencing. Cows won't knock them down. The thorns are so strong that no animal (including humans) want to push against them. They will cut you bad enough that you'll need stitches if you reach into the bush. They grow fast enough that they barely need tending other than reducing the farm area constantly. I can attest to that.
So, in addition to Japanese knot weed (bamboo), we also have to deal with these invasive brambles. At least these once had a purpose beyond being ornamental.