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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

The Farm in My Front Yard

Posted by | April 28, 2021 | Filed under: Culture

Liz Vezeau says she always had a soft spot in her heart for the place she describes as the "farm in my front yard.” In 1969, she could see the big barn’s cupola from her kitchen windows. 

I can remember pushing the baby carriage down Laudholm Farm Road and looking at the old farmhouse and wondering what was going to happen to it. [The house] looked like it was going to wither away. I was thinking, oh my gosh, I could be looking at high rise condos if any private enterprise gets hold of that property. One of my foremost passions has been having the farm in my front yard with just Route 1 between us.

The baby carriage gave way to a stroller, then daughter, Josee, taking her own steps down the road to the old farm. For Liz, what began with casual walks and wonderings led to an abiding commitment of membership and volunteering that has spanned decades, and a special relationship with the Laudholm landscape.

Growing up outside Worcester, Massachusetts. Liz loved the annual family trips to Nantasket Beach. But, she wanted more. 

I vowed that one day I would live where I could go to the beach whenever I wanted. I had come up [to Wells] one summer to work at Howard Johnson’s and I met this young sailor who was home on leave and 16 months later we got married. He had lived in Wells, down at the beach since he was 8 years old and there was no doubt in his mind that he was coming back. I wasn’t going to argue with that! 

Wells Reserve Rangers can be recognized by their bright orange caps!

In the 1970s, Liz purchased raffle tickets sold by Mort Mather and others who sought to raise money to purchase the property. After the Laudholm Trust was founded in 1982, Liz and late husband Norman Vezeau continued their support, and have been Laudholm Trust members since 1984. This 37-year commitment is what Laudholm Trust President Nik Charov describes as “incredibly impressive for our donor pool.” 

Liz began volunteering at the Reserve in the early 1990s, first at the Visitor Center, then as a volunteer Ranger patrolling the trails and beach. Later she joined the team of volunteers helping to park cars during the Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival and Punkinfiddle events.

It has always felt like a big family here. I was interested in giving back. I guess it is just the fact that I have a great life, I take in so much. What can I give back? It’s been wonderful during the pandemic for people to be able to come here. 

Nature inspires Liz in ways both personal and artistic. She sought out sunrises on Laudholm Beach, and learned how to cross-country ski so that she could enjoy the wintertime landscape. A graduate from the Massachusetts College of Art with a degree in Fashion Design and Illustration, she worked as an elementary school art teacher, visual merchandiser, advertising artist, as well as stencil and window treatment designer. In retirement, Liz taught herself the art of tapestry weaving.

I love working with textiles and soft materials. When I retired I looked at all the things my mother had in terms of leftover embroidery floss, leftover yarns from her collection, yarns from my collection. Nature often dictates what color goes where. I like to work this way instead of doing a drawing. Nature is always there, and probably has some of the most perfect design. I like the outdoors. It seems to lend itself to what I do. Tree trunks have the most beautiful colors. 

Liz finds artistic inspiration in nature. This 4-panel tapestry is titled, "Seasons of the Mind."

Take a walk down the Muskie Trail and you will come across one of Liz’s favorite spots. Just before the trail opens out to the wet meadow, a footbridge sits among the trees and ferns. Listen for the barely-there ripples and purls of the forest stream that passes underneath and continues away and off to the marsh.

I did a project one year, of taking one picture each week, I photographed that spot and have them all together in an album. I think of that project every time I do that particular walk. You can hear the water going under the bridge. I was just getting into Tai Chi [at the time] and the ideas of rooting into the ground and the bubbling spring of energy. I love standing by the bridge and hearing the bubbling water, it is very peaceful and energetic. 

Liz's spot

This is the first summer in a long time that Liz will not be heading out on the trails as a volunteer Ranger. A broken leg sustained last year is requiring patience, and a little more healing. Thanks to the enduring support of volunteers and members like Liz herself, that special bend in the Muskie Trail will be here when she is ready to return. Thank you, Liz!

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