SOLON & BEYOND: There’s a new business in town

photo: Simply Rustic Facebook page

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

I am so excited and happy to tell you about a wonderful, new shop that has opened in Solon. It is named Simply Rustic, at 1654 River Road, on Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The phone number is 431-0028.

I was very impressed with all the many items for sale in the house where Gary and Cindy Rogers and their family lived in years ago. It was very welcoming as I went in the door, and I immediately spied something I couldn’t live without! Here is a list of some of her wares: Lamps, small furniture, signs, candles, jewelry, pip berry garlands, Boot jacks, jams, jellies, pickles, dilly Beans, New and used wraths by Wanda Blanchett.

Much USA-made large wooden sunflowers for outside, granite cheese boards, local honey, local maple syrup, stands from live edge wood, and Goats milk soaps and lotions.

Hope you will all support Cindy with her new and unusual shop!

I received an e-mail from Happy Knits in Skowhegan that says Happyknits is now open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., for phone orders and curbside pickup. Whether its yarn, needles, accessories or patterns, they will be happy to bag it up or mail it out to you. Give them a call, or contact us by email or on Facebook.

Came across an old The Carney Brook Chronicle, dated April 17, 1998, paper that I wrote for back in those days, when I was looking for things to write about now, in a world that has changed. That paper was owned by Terry Drummond and he was very good about putting in whatever I wrote.

That week it happened to be, Memories of a Lost Art, by Marilyn Rogers. The end of an era took place 22 years ago and log driving has become a lost art. It is my belief that history should be remembered as it was before progress set in with the constant rumble and roar of the big trucks now on our highways. Twelve years later I wrote a similar article for the Somerset Reporter. Perhaps there aren’t too many log drivers left in this area that will recall fond memories from these words, but it is my hope that some in the younger generation will find it interesting. The words of the wonderful book Salt say it so well: “If somebody don’t go after things like that – it’s an art that will be lost forever. There will be no remaking of it.

This story will center on river driving in the Dead River area. It started every year as soon as the ice was out, usually in late April. The drive would start on the south branch of the Dead River and it took about two weeks to put in a landing. Large cranes were used to pile the river banks high with pulp, which often extended out into the stream where the pulp wood froze together.

There were two boatmen and a dynamite man to each bateau, a small boat used in river drives, and they would have to open the stream so the pulp could begin its only one journey to the mills drown stream. This was done by poling the bateau upstream where the dynamite man would place charges of dynamite on a long pole, light the fuse and place it under the pile of wood and then get down stream quickly before it blew. It usually took two days of using dynamite before the stream was clear and what was left on land was bulldozed into the stream and then the “rear” started.

Men in the bateaus picked off the center jams and others waded in the cold water clearing pulp from the bushes along the banks . It took about three weeks to drive the south branch – this was eleven hours a day, seven days a week. The men had to work while they had water.

The south branch was all rapids with one set of rips after another except for five miles of quick, deep water and then more rapids. The north branch was also driven but it didn’t have as many rapids. Different companies did each drive. For many years there wasn’t any drive on big Spencer Stream but in the years 1957 through 1959 it was driven again. Ten thousand cords of pulp was taken out each year and two men worked every day breaking up jams when the water was low. I interviewed my stepfather, Clarence Jones, for the information in this story. (Will continue the story next week, but must leave enough room for Percy’s memoir, and here it is…:

“The more you read, the more you know, The more you know, the smarter you grow. The smarter you grow the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making your choice.”


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