The Wood Miser

He had cut down the tree with a chainsaw, dragged it down the hill, and loaded it into the pile with all the rest. It was an oak of high grade – not quite a cherry, but good enough to slice into long boards and sell at a greater profit than the log alone.

The horses were already hitched in, so my son urged them to walk and turn the wheel. The bandsaw jiggled, and we loaded the log onto the carriage. A mighty heave of both man and horse shoved the log one step closer to a finished product.


This was written for the Carrot Ranch prompt, long board. I’m descended from a bunch of loggers, and my grandfather had used a horse-driven sawmill long past the time when it was typically profitable in the US. But he sold high-quality wood, and he bred good draft horses (Percherons).

A Wood-Mizer, however, is a modern, portable sawmill for small-business loggers. My dad wanted a Wood-Mizer for so long, and I can’t even tell you how many hours of footage of watching people saw logs I have been forced to withstand. Yes, apparently you could at one time buy multi-hour-tapes of people sawing logs.

25 thoughts on “The Wood Miser

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I’ve seen it done because my grandfather would do some exhibits for the community with his horses. The sawmill was eventually abandoned and turned to rust and rot, but I was able to go down and see it. The main thing I remember from the whole mess was that it was pretty dangerous looking.

      And, to this day, my grandfather (grandmother passed in December) has the giant sawblade sitting on the floor of his living room. No rug, just this enormous piece of steel with sharp edges on the floor.

  1. Liz H says:

    Your mention of videos of people sawing logs reminds me of the many happy hours my son, when very young, spent watching videos of construction equipment (Here comes the front end loader!).
    ‘Course, some of Mr Rogers’ videos were also fascinating to an exhausted adult (The crayon factory! ā¤ ).

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      My grandfather did a lot of his horse bargaining and breeding with people in the Pennsylvania Amish community. They didn’t want to work with anyone else in my family, so if you wanted anything Amish, you had to ask him.

      I think it might have been that he and my grandmother would actually take a week off to drive their wagon up their with the horses. They were a little crazy.

  2. Chelsea Owens says:

    šŸ˜€ Now I’m picturing your dad perusing the used tape section of the Goodwill, pulling out a VHS on logging; a slight smile tugs at the corners of his roughly-shaved face.

  3. Jules says:

    Hubby’s one grandfather spoke a few languages. He did some sales I think with his horse and wagon and could tell by the way the farm was laid out and decorated or not what language to use. Too bad that when some of the folks come here they want to forget all the troubles of the old country and refuse to teach the younger ones the language. I actually saw that with some families that we helped move in the city who came as refuges from Burma(?) – anyway while they kept some family traditions some of the adults (even just ten years ago or less) said they didn’t want to teach their children their country of origins language because they never wanted themselves or their family members to ever return.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Wow, that’s intense. I think I can understand, though – I’ve had to work hard to shed myself of my accent in order to fit in sometimes, and I think I seem pretentious now when I go back.

      • Jules says:

        I probably have too many relatives I don’t know… even some in the ‘old’ countries… so to speak. Do I want to know them all? I think I have enough to deal with, with just the local relatives I do know šŸ˜‰

        I’ve lived in a few different states. I seem to adapt to not being ‘different’ except for certain key words that are ‘tells’ of certain locations. But then the states, and even within the same state areas are like their own little worlds.

        We do what we must to strive and survive. And can only hope that others will cut us some slack because they too have their own issues.

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Your explanation expands the meaning of watching people sawing logs! I kid you not, I came downstairs the other day to the sound of chainsaws revving on my computer to find the Hub engrossed in tree-falling videos. He watched them for hours! He struggles with focus, so it was impressive that something held his attention. My Dad was a logger because he rebelled from his family, not wanting to be a cowboy and desiring to be a hermit in the forest! We could talk logs. Great flash as it portrays a vivid scene.

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