(more photos on flickr)
It was early Saturday morning. A brisk wind whipped partially frozen hair around our faces as we prepared ourselves, mentally and physically, for the task ahead: horse logging. After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and mysterious vegan patties, we drove to Cushman Mountain, one of Chewonki’s logging sites. Amid groves of Eastern Hemlock and White Pine (which we can identify now, thanks to Peter and Bryce) emerged our math teacher, Bill. Russ, Bill’s horse, stood in front of him, sporting a large harness whilst dragging a recently felled tree.
After the initial exclamations of, “oh, horsey!” and, “that’s a huge tree,” the students clambered toward Bill and Russ, eager to take part in the art of horse logging. Bill showed us how to drive the horse and successfully loop the chain around the log without the risk of loosing a hand, foot or head. We each got to steer Russ and help clear undergrowth and smaller trees to create a pathway for the logging team. It was interesting to see a task usually preformed by machines completed by a small group of people and a very patient animal.
Meanwhile, back on campus, machines were whirring away milling logs into useable planks. Students gathered around the Wood-Mizer LT 40 Hydraulic sawmill and watched as the bark was stripped away from each log to create smooth, wooden boards. The boards were then stacked, swept clean of sawdust, and left to dry…for a year.
Horse logging was a new and exciting experience for all, whether driving Russ or milling wood.
– Lexie Ziegler (Chicago, IL) and Kat Harling (Long Island City, NY)