Spring Cut

Barry Vineham

It was early one spring morning in April 1963 when three men left Durrell to go across the ice to provide fuel and wild game for their families. To get where they were going these men used a horse and cart to pull them and their supplies; it was hard for one horse to pull such a load through the snow.

The camp where they stayed was full of men from all over the province. At times there could be about seventy men in two bunk houses. Sometimes a fight would break out. There might be a bully in the bunch who would pick on a smaller fellow and grab his share of the food. Someone else would pick up for the smaller fellow and that would start the fight.

The heat and black flies made cutting wood in the summer very hard work. But in the winter and spring, cold rain and snow made it even harder. The amount of money a person made depended on the amount of wood they cut. To get to and from the trees to make even a small amount of money took a lot of time and patience.

One particular time when they were ready to come home and cross the ice again, they found that because of the rise in temperature it was not safe to cross on horse and cart. One man had to walk home to get a dog team and return to get the men and their supplies. They had to try and move slowly over the soft ice to make it home without losing a man.

These men worked hard for very little money for themselves and their families. But they loved life and showed it. We could all learn from these men and care more about loving and not about money.


  1. Why would a fight sometimes break out?
  2. How did the men in the woods get paid?

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