MEMORIES OF LOGGING


| March/April 1995



P.O. Box 476 Jamestown, ND 58402.

In the Fall of 1938, Harry Burns and I went to Big Fork, Minnesota, looking for jobs. Jobs were not too plentiful. Harry took a job as cook in Syd Williams' camp. I don't know just how long it went until Harry came to see me. Two men had quit and we could get their shack and work for Williams. It turned out to be a cold shack, almost impossible to heat properly. There were three or four Finns who had come in earlier and built a good log shack. At times they left the door open.

I was given a strip to cut for pulpwood. It was mixed spruce and balsam. I had a poor saw and at times I couldn't make much of a job of filing. I had not been in the woods before and I was wearing leather boots. I was wet most of the time. One afternoon there was a wet snow. That is about the only weather that will stop work.

Four of us went to Bemidji and I bought the best pair of leather topped rubbers I could find gum rubber soles cost $3.75. I believe they were the best rubbers I ever had. Wore them two winters. On the breakup of my second winter I left them on banking of camp to dry the tops. I guess someone else figured they were worth taking.

Finally I finished my strip of pulp. The sealer, Oscar Ness, came. First thing he pointed out was that my road was too narrow and too crooked. The stumps were too high. I had cut too much small wood. It was supposed to be 4' tops. A big percentage of the balsam was called for rot. A sound stick showed no color. No one had told me. When Oscar finished, I wondered if there was anything right about that strip. Believe me, I learned more about cutting pulpwood than in any other winter I put in, in the woods. Got along pretty well from then on.

Williams didn't have a big job that winter, but he did have good timbers. I think he made money. He blossomed out with a new fluid drive Dodge. I said, 'You have a good car there, Syd. 'And Syd said, 'This is Martha's car. The Model A is more suited to an old jungle beast like me.'