The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

His father, who loves him as much as I do myself; often laughs at my fondness, and asks me if I do not think him the ninth wonder of the world.  He has fitted up a sort of rude carriage on the hand-sleigh for the little fellow—­nothing better than a tea-chest, lined with a black bear-skin, and in this humble equipage he enjoys many a pleasant ride over the frozen ground.

Nothing could have happened more opportunely for us than the acquisition of my uncle’s legacy, as it has enabled us to make some useful additions to our farm, for which we must have waited a few years.  We have laid out a part of the property in purchasing a fine lot of land adjoining our home lot.  The quality of our new purchase is excellent, and, from its situation, greatly enhances the value of the whole property.

We had a glorious burning this summer after the ground was all logged up; that is, all the large timbers chopped into lengths, and drawn together in heaps with oxen.  To effect this the more readily we called a logging-bee.  We had a number of settlers attend, with yokes of oxen and men to assist us.  After that was over, my husband, with the men servants, set the heaps on fire; and a magnificent sight it was to see such a conflagration all round us.  I was a little nervous at first on account of the nearness of some of the log-heaps to the house, but care is always taken to fire them with the wind blowing in a direction away from the building.  Accidents have sometimes happened, but they are of rarer occurrence than might be expected, when we consider the subtlety and destructiveness of the element employed on the occasion.

If the weather be very dry; and a brisk wind blowing, the work of destruction proceeds with astonishing rapidity; sometimes the fire will communicate with the forest and run over many hundreds of acres.  This is not considered favourable for clearing, as it destroys the underbush and light timbers, which are almost indispensable for ensuring a good burning.  It is, however, a magnificent sight to see the blazing trees and watch the awful progress of the conflagration, as it hurries onward, consuming all before it, or leaving such scorching mementoes as have blasted the forest growth for years.

When the ground is very dry the fire will run all over the fallow, consuming the dried leaves, sticks, and roots.  Of a night the effect is more evident; sometimes the wind blows particles of the burning fuel into the hollow pines and tall decaying stumps; these readily ignite, and after a time present an appearance that is exceedingly fine and fanciful.  Fiery columns, the bases of which are hidden by the dense smoke wreaths, are to be seen in every direction, sending up showers of sparks that are whirled about like rockets and fire-wheels in the wind.  Some of these tall stumps, when the fire has reached the summit, look like gas lamp-posts newly lit.  The fire will sometimes continue unextinguished for days.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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