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The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

I was so desirous of preserving a few pretty sapling beech-trees that pleased me, that I desired the choppers to spare them; but the only one that was saved from destruction in the chopping had to pass through a fiery ordeal, which quickly scorched and withered up its gay green leaves:  it now stands a melancholy monument of the impossibility of preserving trees thus left.  The only thing to be done if you desire trees, is to plant them while young in favourable situations, when they take deep root and spread forth branches the same as the trees in our parks and hedge-rows.

Another plan which we mean to adopt on our land is to leave several acres of forest in a convenient situation, and chop and draw out the old timbers for fire-wood, leaving the younger growth for ornament.  This method of preserving a grove of trees is not liable to the objections formerly stated, and combines the useful with the ornamental.

There is a strange excitement created in the mind whilst watching the felling of one of the gigantic pines or oaks of the forest.  Proudly and immoveably it seems at first to resist the storm of blows that assail its massy trunk, from the united axes of three or even four choppers.  As the work of destruction continues, a slight motion is perceived—­an almost imperceptible quivering of the boughs.  Slowly and slowly it inclines, while the loud rending of the trunk at length warns you that its last hold on earth is gone.  The axe of the chopper has performed its duty; the motion of the falling tree becomes accelerated every instant, till it comes down in thunder on the plain, with a crash that makes the earth tremble and the neighbouring trees reel and bow before it.

Though decidedly less windy than our British isles, Canada is subject at times to sudden storms, nearly approaching to what might be termed whirlwinds and hurricanes.  A description of one of these tempests I gave you in an early letter.  During the present summer I witnessed another hurricane, somewhat more violent and destructive in its effect.

The sky became suddenly overcast with clouds of a highly electric nature.  The storm came from the north-west, and its fury appeared to be confined within the breadth of a few hundred yards.  I was watching with some degree of interest the rapid movements in the lurid, black, and copper-coloured clouds that were careering above the lake, when I was surprised by the report of trees falling on the opposite shore, and yet more so by seeing the air filled with scattered remnants of the pines within less than a hundred yards of the house, while the wind was scarcely felt on the level ground on which I was standing.

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