It was in the 1950s that the mining of aggregate rock began on the Gorge road, in Stilesville, just a kilometer away from the farm. Over the years the gravel pit grew larger, as the need for more asphalt grew. Gradually the five farms in the surrounding area would be sold and the gravel pits would flourish. The Gorge road was diverted in the mid seventies to accommodate for the dump trucks getting up and down the hill with ease. To add to the industrialization of the area an asphalt plant was built in the late 60s to early 70s. By the mid 1990s the gravel to pave the confederation bridge would be sourced in from this area. Meanwhile, my familyâ€™s farm began to appear as a small needle in a pile of rock.
In recent years the barn, along with the farmhouse, the sugarcamps, the two other houses, the garage and the remnants of a few other buildings, (used as chicken houses, in my memory) remained in good repair. The barn and pasture were used to house and feed beef cattle until the early 2000â€™s. The garden grew smaller in recent years, but it was still planted year after year. As the pit closed in on the farm, the dust and the noise came with it.Â The crusher grew closer, and the dynamite blasts did too, shaking the houses each time they blasted. My own parents who live 4km to the east have felt the shake of the blasts. It had turned from a serene farmland into a heavily industrialized gravel mine, you could have closed your eyes and not known the beauty and landscape that was there.
I started documenting the farm when I first heard the news that the property had been sold in its entirety. It was when I was living in England working on my Masters degree in 2006. I had been making works based on colours that came from the New Brunswick landscape (seen in the photo below, the work entitled, north of the trans canada). It seemed very fitting with my body of work at the time to continue with addressing New Brunswick landscapes through making artwork about the farm, and thus the farm project began.
Now that I have introduced this place I have hopefully given you an idea of how plentiful it was. In future entries I will talk more specifically about the artwork that I am making about it.
The aerial photographs shown below were collected from DNR, Service New Brunswick, the Atlantic Geomatics Center (Amherst, NS), and the National Air Photo Library (Ottawa, ON).