By Maija Niemisto
Clearwater’s winter crew spent a warm sunny day up at the Seeger’s last week helping Pete with his woodpile. In exchange for a few good stories, a couple work songs and some delicious soup we felled a few old dead trees, bucked up the wood, and hauled the logs up to the house.
Pete pointed out the old stonewall in the woods that separated the potato farm from where sheep grazed over a hundred years ago. A few maple taps were in sight as we tramped through the waist-deep snow on the mountainside over looking the Hudson.
With sailor’s ingenuity, a rope and a borrowed saw, Captain Nick led his enthusiastic crew in a yelp, “she’s coming down,” as the first gnarley old ash tree lay down in the snow. Another thick ash obscured by vines was dubbed “Fern Gulley” by our team of apprentices and left to stand for another year. Cries of, “2 – 6 … Heave!,” usually heard on the decks of tallships as sails are hoisted, rang out through the woods as we carefully guided the fourth and final dead tree away from the power lines.
Up and down the muddy road the crew hauled loads of thick logs to pile next to the Seeger’s house for chopping. With an excited twinkle in his eye, Pete asked us not to chop up the logs. “It’s good exercise for me,” he said.
At the end of a satisfying day, the crew piled into the rumbly old pick-up truck and waved goodbye to our founder. Looking at a woodpile of logs to be split, Pete thanked us. You could see his excitement as he imagined the hours of ax swinging to the rhythm of a familiar song awaiting him.