Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 46 > Page 60 - Alex Gillis and the Big Sleigh or, "The Servant on the Mountain"

Page 60 - Alex Gillis and the Big Sleigh or, "The Servant on the Mountain"

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1 (180 reads)

the log tlirough them. And they're about 1200 feet long.) The ditches. (And they're going right up the mountain, right up a steep moijntain. Okay. That's done. And you did that at what season of the year?) Per? haps November. Far enough back that there was no frost. Sometimes it comes wet and frosty in December. (No snow.) No. We got the team of horses to twitch the heavy timber over, for the skids. We twitched them over, tied them in a way that they wouldn't take off on us. Let them down gradual until they both were (even). First one stopped, and (we) an? chored (it) to the tree. And then the sec? ond one. We likely used two cables--anoth? er rope of some type--for the second one. And we got them even. And put the cross We believe a nation with a suc? cessful small business sector is a prosperous nation. That's why we're here. 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Yes, with rol? lers , wooden rollers, under it. (What's a wooden roller?) Just blocks of wood (under the skids), so it would start when we'd let it go. (So that's done. Do you then begin to cut your wood for your firewood?) Yes. Yes, it was after, we cut the wood. (Did you have power saws?) No. Bucksaws, I guess, and a crosscut, for different size trees. And we built a little cabin. We'd leave home and take our lunches. He took an oil drum up, on his back, and we used it as a stove. And it's still up there! We had a bunk in there. Usually when we'd get up there, we'd have the lunch, and do the cutting. Oh, I think the cutting was done in about 4 or 5 days. (Did you stay overnight?) No. It was just a shelter from the snow. Just the fun of building it. (After 4 or 5 days your wood is cut, your sleigh is waiting, then what did you do?) My brother twitched it over. He was in bet? ter shape to go back and forth kind of fast like that than I was. Then we rolled it on. We had timber that would raise it the height of the sleigh, the back of the sleigh. We rolled them on. We had a stop? per at the front, in case they'd go too far: a pair of braces. (Once loaded,) the binders were put on-- cables lashed around the front of the skids, and back. And then put a long slim pole, hardwood pole, that would bend well. As the sleigh would travel, she'd settle. The logs would get closer together. And the extra spring in the pole was still holding it bound. A long binder does that better. We were short of steel cable. It took so many half-hitches on the cable go? ing back to the tree, we had to use some hemp rope or manila, close to two inches in size • that we doubled it. But when she got in the frozen ditch, it just cut that right off quick, and one binder--she ran on one binder then. Which was a good thing. We put windfalls on the front. They were good wood, too--dry--dead hardwood. We put quite a few on the front. And they started dropping off on one side, and going in un? der her. And they were clipping--her weight didn't raise her out--she was break? ing them off--different sized sticks. Aged PIONEER READY-MIX LIMITED SERVING CAPE BRETON • READY MIX CONCRETE • CONCRETE SEPTIC TANKS • PATIO BLOCKS PRIME BROOK, SYDNEY 539-5217 (60)
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