Paul Ruta brought his two beautiful Percheron draft horses (Jesse & Babe) to demonstrate techniques of logging in the woods and bringing out the logs with the horses
Paul, and his horses, are based at Black Horse Farm in Marshfield. They work in the woods logging for timber and firewood, and also do a lot of weddings, tours, and take people for sleigh rides and trail rides
Do get in touch: (802) 563 2066
The horses wear a complicated set of straps and chains so that the weight of the logs (or wagon) is easily distributed and does not cause them discomfort.
Participants of the workshop had the opportunity to learn about the different straps and how to set them up (the horses were so accepting).
Over the two days we had more than a dozen people join us for part (or all) of the workshop.
A few people attended both days of the workshop, and a number of people came just on one.
Paul's two beautiful horses: Jesse and Babe, very happy in the woods.
We did have to clear a trail for them to bring the logs out of the woods.
Techniques covered included felling and bucking trees, cutting branches, setting up horses with harnesses, hitching logs to the horses, and driving the horses pulling the logs behind them.
Not only did we learn about logging, and about working with horses, we also learned about cutting trails, and creating water bars.
Before hitching the horses and bringing the logs down to the cabin we had to remove the side branches. It was 'all hands on deck' for this particular job!
This was our 'prize tree'. With a dbh (diameter at breast height) of 19", it was tall enough to get 3 x 23' logs.
Paul was extremely knowledgeable and everyone learned a lot about working with horses, and about logging in general.
The horses were eager to get going!
The beauty of using horses to bring the logs out of the woods is that they do not require a wide, or perfectly graded skid road, and cause minimal damage.
The first action that needed to be taken was stabilization. The left side was bowing out dangerously,
and the upstairs was sagging without any supports underneath or on the back.
Eliot and his team started working soon after dawn,
and didn't stop until the sun had gone down.
Beams were carried to the cabin and brought in through the upstairs windows.
Attaching collar ties to the inside of the roof.
Structural scaffolding and huge beams were used to
support the upstairs and the roof.
In addition to the scaffolding, we used a ratchet and heavy strap to hold the sides of the cabin in.
Cripple beam supporting the back section of the roof.
The same day we created a temporary driveway in order to bring a crane up to the cabin to help with the dismantling.
Eliot Lothrup (Building Heritage), Jim Zimmer (log cabin expert from southern Vermont)
and Devin Colman (Vermont State Architectural Historian)
visited the property, shared some of their knowledge, and help brainstorm plans for its restoration.
Eliot explaining possible next steps.
Checking out the interior of the cabin.
Networking and discussing the project.