Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29


Written by
Published on January 2018

As the weather began to get colder a big job was in the cards – building a wooden trough around the house at ground level about 18 inches high and about a foot, give or take an inch or two, from the side of the house.  This was then filled with sawdust from a store in the big barn.  Why go to all this trouble?  Well, as you older folk will know, it was to keep the cold winds out and help to keep us warm when the snow came, which was inevitable sooner or later, it helped to keep out the drafts.  I played my part by helping to fill the troughs with the sawdust with the aid of the wheelbarrow. 

The snow surely came and out came a big horse-drawn sled and with the team hitched up, Harry and Allister were the two men who felled a goodly number of youngish trees, mainly birch, I thought.  Prior to our approach to the density of the woods, I saw my first moose.  He was a grand creature and as we drew closer and he caught sight of us, he retreated into the density and shelter of the trees.  I never did see another moose in all my years in Nova Scotia.  Deer a-plenty but never a bear.
On our return to the homestead the timber was unloaded.  My part in the woods was to tend the team and I was allowed to drive them home.  As we started to unload near the back of the house, I again was entrusted to take care of the team whilst the timber was stacked on one side.  No time was lost and Harry and Allister started to get ready to saw up the timber for use in the stove in the kitchen.  A circular saw was brought on the scene to be driven by a small petrol engine and with a pulley and a belt connected, sawing commenced. The trees were sawn into small lengths about ten inches long.
Some were thicker than others and required splitting later.  After all the trees were sawed, the engine and saw were put away and that was a good day’s work done.
Next day after the chores were done for all of us, Harry, Allister and I approached the sawn logs and prepared to split the larger ones as afore mentioned. I was drawn to the work by stacking the sliced up logs in the adjacent woodhouse.

All was going well and Harry and Allister worked with gusto until all of a sudden tragedy struck, which I witnessed and it struck horror into my young heart! 

What happened was this: as the two split the timber they had between them a block off an old tree and each one put his timber on the block and split with an almighty slice.  Then it happened.  Harry reached out to pick his split piece up and at the same time, with the speed of lightning, Allister hit the same piece and came down fully on his Dad’s hand, slicing the fingers.  It all happened in a flash but the two men did not quiver. 

Harry ran into the house where Jean wrapped his hand in a towel and Allister ran to the garage and had the pickup truck at the door in no time at all and in no time at all the Father and son shot off to New Glasgow.  Allister returned later and it was up to him and I to manage the farm. 

As much as I was able, I endeavoured to increase my effort.  I milked two cows and sometimes three, cleaned them and looked after the horses.  I still had to go to school as well so I was kept pretty busy. 

Weeks later, Harry came home but he could not keep still and before long he was doing odd jobs.  He certainly was a tough old nut.

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