Thought I would try something a little different this week. The prompts are down at the bottom, as always.
It was the summer of 1869 when Captain Joseph Beal and his crew of twelve sawyers felled the giant redwood on the north-west face of Loma Prieta Peak. In those days, crews would go out into the woods for up to sixty days at a time. They hunted their own food, they maintained their own tools, and they were charged with felling, limbing and bucking all the trees that they cut. Other crews would follow behind the sawyers to haul the logs to the mills. Sawyers were paid by the board foot. Most of the crews practiced clear-cutting but Captain Beal and his crew would seek out the giant trees, the monsters. They left the clear cutting to the weak and lesser skilled.
They had to braze two ten foot crosscut blades together to fell this tree. All of the crosscuts were Lance toothed with rakers except the ones that Sims used. Sims preferred his whips with Champion teeth. The stiffer bucking saws that they had brung were mostly Lance toothed as well. Thirty six axes and a dozen mauls had finished out the compliment of equipment that they carried. All told there were enough saws for each man to wield five at a time. Evenings were spent sharpening and cleaning their equipment. They made their own springboards and wedges.
The twenty foot long, two man misery whip, that they used for this tree, had a handle at each end and the men worked in shifts of two pulling from opposite ends, as they felled the giant tree. It took four days of labour, and when the tree finally fell, it fell at night when the crew slept. It fell with a sound that woke them all. It even rousted Vaughn, who had spent most of that evening in communion with a bottle of whiskey that he had smuggled up the hill from Santa Cruz. The weight of the giant Sequoia sempervirens brought its own self down leaving a hinge that was almost a foot and a half wide.
After limbing the bucking sawyers took another two days to cut it into twenty foot lengths, as was the norm, the tree was tagged, and they moved on. The crew were pleased to find that when the tree fell it killed an adolescent male brown bear. By all appearances a limb had snapped when the tree landed; the force of the limb, as it was flung away from the trunk was sufficient to kill the bear without crushing him. They butchered him before they moved. There would be plenty of fresh meat for the foreseeable future.
This week’s prompts are:
- I have to find a way to tell them
- Nothin’ special
- This was not what she needed right now
Try not to overthink it. Have a good time.
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