'It's Out Of The Way, Quiet'

December 13, 1992|By John Camejo

Ok, I confess, I'm a city slicker at heart, a transplanted New Yorker, no less, prowling Harford County for the sake of art.

Whenever I can, I get in the car and explore, fascinated by all the trees, the open space, the rolling fields. For a New York boy, after all, this is the country. To others, perhaps it's just the suburbs. To me, it's Shangri-La.

My most recent journey led to the 60-acre farm of Winfeld Archer, a lifetime Harford County man I happened upon while driving aimlessly past Wheel Road through Sommerville Road.

There he sat on his tractor, leaning down to pick up his daily mail.

The transplanted New Yorker, never having seen anything like it, did a double take, then reached for his camera.

For this image must be preserved to be drawn later.

Then I chatted with the 60-year-old retiree who works alone on the farm, where he grows grain and raises beef cattle.

We sat not far away from the heart of Bel Air, but centuries removed from suburban life, in a lush green valley surrounded by woods, prime real estate, to be sure.

You could almost picture developers at the edge of the land, eyeing it enviously. But they'll find no deal here, not from Winfeld Archer.

"I've lived here all my life. We have managed to hold onto the land while everyone around us has sold their property," he says. "This is home, and we are not about to sell it.

"We are surrounded by town houses and new roads. We are fortunate to be in this location. It's out of the way and quiet."

He gets some uninvited weekend visitors who plow into his cornfield when they try to make a sharp turn too fast. Sometimes, he finds the tire ruts and beer bottles revelers leave behind.

"This doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it reminds you how things have changed in the county," he says. "This never happened in the past. I guess that civilization is closing in on us."

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