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Burning Wood

October 12, 2011

After Carl and Floy (Bates) Aderman moved to Daggett in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they found themselves surrounded by forest. They had to clear the land in order to plant their crops; in the winter, Carl would go to work in the lumber camps. They heated with wood, they cooked with wood, they built with wood. It was plentiful and a renewable resource.

Lumber Camp

Lumber Camp found in Oscar’s pictures.

Their boys got good at handling wood from a very young age. In the winter, when Carl was gone to the lumber camps, it was up to the boys to get wood to the house so they could keep the house warm and their mother could cook meals in their wood stove.

The forests also supplied wood for the Kimberly Clark paper mill in Niagara, WI, where Carl, and sons Oscar, Virgil (Red), Edgar, and Edwin all worked. In the early years, the mill preferred spruce and balsam logs from Canada because they were more fibrous and better with which to make paper. (Later, as technology improved they shifted to more readily available poplar trees.)  One of Oscar’s first jobs at the mill was running the steam crane in the wood yard, moving logs from the wood piles to the pond in preparation for the first step of paper-making.

Boys cutting wood

Oscar and sons cutting wood by the Menominee River.

Wood was also crucial for Oscar and Ann’s family and a primary source of heat. The family lived near the river and would cut logs from the river side. The boys would row up the river in their boat and choose which trees they would get. When they had ear-marked the trees they wanted, they would row back down the river and cut one tree, pound a stake in it and drape a tire chain over the stake. They would row further back down the river, cut the next tree and pound a stake in it, then drape more of the tire chain over that log. Down the river they would row, cutting logs and holding them together in a raft-like form with the tire chains draped over the stakes, holding them together.

Once back to shore near the house, they would use a cross-cut saw to block up the logs, split them, and bring them to the house. The logs were stored in the basement and were thrown down there through a chute from the outside of the house.

Hauling Wood

The Fifth Generation loading wood onto the wagon.

The tradition continues. Oscar’s sons continued to use wood heat as do several of their children. The fifth generation is now learning how to work with wood. It is a generous resource in northern Wisconsin and as Oscar used to remind us, “think of how many times this wood heats you up before you ever get it in the stove!”

From → Aderman/Bates

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