A Busy Year at the Old Squire's

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III A Bear's " Pipe " In Winter ATER ice-cutting came wood-cutting. It was now the latter part of January with weather still unusually cold. There were about three feet of snow on the ground, crusted over from a thaw which had occurred during the first of the month. In those days we burned from forty to fifty cords of wood in a year. There was a wood-lot of a hundred acres along the brook on the east side of the farm, and other forest lots to the north of it. Only the best old-growth maple, birch and beech were cut for fuel—great trees two and three feet in diameter. The trunks were cut into eight-foot lengths, rolled on the ox-sleds with levers, and then hauled home to the yard in front of the wood-house, where they lay in four huge piles till March, when all hands turned to, with axes and saws, and worked it up. It was zero weather that week, but bright and clear, with spicules of frost glistening on every twig; and I recollect how sharply the tree trunks snapped—those frost snaps which make " shaky " lumber in Maine. Addison, Halstead and I, with one of the old Squire's hired men, Asa Doane, went to the wood-lot at eight o'clock that morning and chopped smartly till near eleven. Indeed, we were obliged to work fast to keep warm. Addison and I then stuck our axes in a log and went on the snow crust up to the foot of a mountain, about half a mile distant, where the hardwood growth gave place to spruce. We wanted to dig a pocketful ofspruce gum. For several days Ellen and Theodora had been asking us to get them some nice " purple " gum. As we were going from one spruce to another, Addison stopped suddenly and pointed to a little round hole with hard ice about it, near a large, overhanging rock across which a tree had fallen. "Sh!" he exclaimed. " I be...
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