The Winthrop Field Committee in Manchester has reported that this year, this summer’s rainfall has been the big news at Winthrop Field.
Usually, the hay in the field is cut and baled soon after July 15 (in accordance with the Audubon Society recommendations for fields with grassland birds). By mid-October, the plans would be in place for a second rotary cut to keep woody weeds in check.
According to WBZ, as of September 2 Logan Airport received 40.17” of precipitation in 2021, 12.02” higher than the usual average of 28.15”. While the drainage system installed in the field over 100 years ago by the Winthrop family is working well, areas of the field are still too soaked to support the weight of mowing equipment.
All projects and expenditures connected to Winthrop Field are funded by donations from the Clara Winthrop Charitable Trust, members of the Winthrop Field Committee, and friends of Winthrop Field. Labor for clearing brush around the field is typically provided by neighbors and the Committee with the brush being hauled to the compost site by the DPW. As a public field, town residents may use the field for passive recreation 365 days a year, for walking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and dog walking. Limited parking is available on Bridge Street that abuts Winthrop Field, but walkers may easily access it from Jersey Lane or via Bridge Street (a.k.a. Route 127).
This year, the Winthrop Field Committee has worked with the haying contractor, Seaview Farms of Rockport to mow and bale the hay in as much of the field as possible. Unfortunately, that leaves us with a patchwork of mowed areas that could be described as looking like a “bad haircut”.
Happily, more normal weather year is expected in 2022 that will enable the field to be completely mowed according to the usual timetable. Also, as the ground firms up enough to support the necessary equipment, the committee plans to work with local contractors to rebuild two of the drainage manholes in the field that had failed in the 1970s and were filled with crushed stone.