by Leo Doucet
I donít remember Dad or Grandpa ever having to buy a stick of wood to
cook with or heat the house. Grandpa spent a lot of time on the beach in
the summer gathering driftwood that he would haul home with the horses
and then saw, split and pile in the woodshed attached to the house.
About the only thing I did was help haul and pile the wood into the
woodshed. When I was fifteen and had my own horse I would go into the
I.P.millyard about once a week, and collect all the ends from the pulp
sticks after each stick had been cut to four feet in order for them to
fit into the drums from which they would be ground and cooked to make
paper. These I would leave in a pile for about a month and split myself
because they were easy to split.
There was a lot of driftwood available, the problem was getting it off the beach and hauled up to the main highway. In July and August Grandpa would take a group of us (we were about nine or ten then and all cousins) with him in the truckwagon hauled by a team of jet black horses named Lark and Darky. Each of us would take a lunch. We would arrive at the beach about three miles above Cookís Crossing around ten in the morning. He would always arrange our arrival to coincide with dead low tide.
Grandpa would then make small loads to the top of the hill because the horses could not haul heavy loads with the wheels sinking six inches or more into the sand. After a number of loads he would build a fire and we all ate lunch. While the tide was real low we would venture out a long way to investigate weird types of marine animals left in the tidal pools. Things that we did not normally see on shore.
After lunch he would make up the full load near the highway and while the horses were still eating he would watch while we fished from the rocks on the beach now that the tide had come in. Fishing for smelts and tommy cod was usually pretty good. We would arrive home around four, tired but happy. None of us would have missed those trips for the world. When Dad had supper he would help Grandpa unload the wood.
When there were about twelve cords at home and the weather had turned a little cooler Grandpa would cut it all up with a bucksaw. He was a small man but could handle a bucksaw for a full eight hours every day.
One time it rained for a week and Grandpa not being able to haul his wood had arranged for Dad to make a load after supper. There were almost always a few fellows hanging around the barn (Barnflies?), so Dad got a few to come along and help. I went along as I loved driving the team. I suppose itís like someone now driving his fatherís car or truck and trying to be useful.
They had brought several small loads up from the beach and were in the process of top loading when it started to rain. I must have been in the way because Dad made me sit on the pile of logs on the other side of the truckwagon. The wagon was almost full when a log was thrown up and for some reason it did not stay in place but fell on my side of the wagon. The smallest a log could be was four inches in diameter at the small end, and since these logs were about fourteen feet long it was likely to be more than six inches at the butt. In any event I saw the log coming but I did not have time to get out of the way, the big end hit the ground and the small end the top of my head laying me flat. The next I remember was my head spinning and I was crying. Dad had a handkerchief and was wiping blood and water from my head, for it was now raining hard, .
I was about nine years old then and I guess I got over it, but it likely left me a little less smart than I could have been.
This page was designed by Irene Doyle Feb. 1998