Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 17, 2011

A Trip to the Cranberry Bog

While I was at mom's, I decided to take Pepper across the street for a walk at the cranberry bog.  This turned out to be a mistake because she picked up a ton of ticks and we saw a rather large coyote staring at us which unnerved me as well.  Still, I have always loved this place and I used to play, and ice skate, here all the time while growing up.

The dirt road into the bog from the street.  There never used to be a gate to get in, but the owner installed it in the 80's to keep people from helping themselves to his cranberries, something my parents strictly forbade me to do. If I was going over there, I was told to stay off the bog itself and don't wreck the man's crop.  

Cranberries are grown on vines on the ground.

They have their own bees to pollinate the flowers in spring.

Not sure when this old truck was abandoned but it wasn't there when I was growing up.  I sort of recall it being there by the mid-80's.

There's a tree growing up through the window on the door.

Pump.  This looked a little bit different when I was living here, and there were always HUGE bullfrogs in the water.

Water channel to the pond, which supplies the irrigation for the bog, and allows the owner to flood it for harvest, to keep the plants from freezing in cold weather and during the winter. Once it's flooded and frozen, it's suitable for skating but it also makes for very bumpy and uneven skating, unlike a pond.

To my knowledge, this pond has never been named.  It's very small.  There is an old rumour from the late 1800's/early 1900's that a railroad caboose plunged into this pond and rests at the bottom.  The railroad tracks run along the edge of this pond, on the left of this picture.  I have never been able to ascertain if that story is real, and believe me, I have asked around.  I once asked some 'old timers', 3 women who were children in the 1890's if they knew about the caboose and they told me that it was a rumour when they were children too.  I had a childhood friend who had a home on this pond and we once took her rowboat out and around it, trying to peer into the murky depths but we couldn't see a thing.

Some spillage from the harvest.  I was bummed that I missed harvest time this year because that process is pretty cool.  They have a machine that the run over each bog island that loosens the berries from the vines.  Then the bog is flooded and the berries float to the top, where they are gathered together with floating booms that are pulled to the edge of the bog, then sucked up from the surface of the water into the trucks.

I loved walking these tracks.  I wouldn't do it today but back in the 70's, the world was still a safe place for children to play in remote areas without worrying about pedophiles and predators. I used to put pennies on the track and wait for the train to squash them.  I liked waving to the engineer of the freight trains, and to the tourists on the Scenic Railway in the summer.

Despite my parents' admonishment to stay off the bog itself, when I was a kid I couldn't resist going out there and jumping over the water channels.  Although I did try to limit that activity to spring and the post-harvest, as fun as it was to listen to the popping of the berries under my feet.  It's like popping bubble wrap.

Mr. Halunen lived in Wareham and owned the Standish Bog Company, of which this bog belongs. He has since passed away but his family continues to operate the company. The cranberries grown here go right to Ocean Spray!  The cranberry juice in your fridge just may have been made with berries from this bog.

I always called this area 'the sand pits'.  It was way more sandy with less trees in the early 70's, but this spot fed my imagination and I would always play here, either alone or with Diane and Sharon.

Next year I hope to see the harvest!


  1. Very interesting blog. I love traveling through your blog. :-)

    A Ladybug's Life


  2. I think 'Cranberry Bog' sounds like a good name for a band ;0)

    Lovely pictures, thank you for sharing.

  3. Oh, I love the train story, it would be great if you could track it down. (No pun intended!)

  4. Can I have your life? What a Fabulous way to spend the day :)

  5. Wonderful photos. I love your hometown! And I hope you get to see the harvest next year, too. I bet you'll have some more great photos to share then. :-)

  6. I never understood why the cranberries are floating in those bogs but as you explain it, the cranberries are flooded to make them rise to the top?