The weather was perfect, the volunteers were motivated, and the setting was beautiful, everything was perfect. Everything except a certain Forest Service chainsaw that was assigned to our project (we’ll call him Husqvarna…although I have no idea if he was Swedish or not.)
This particular chainsaw hated me and would go out of it’s way to make me look stupid by starting when I didn’t need it and then refusing to when everyone was waiting on me. I tried to have Husqvarna replaced. I heard of this guy named Stihl who was a great worker and I figured the Forest Service owned lots of chainsaws, so I would just get another. Surprise, the Forest Service doesn’t own a lot of chainsaws. So Husqvarna and I battled for most of the week. I won’t say who won, but I’ll bet his spark plug still hurts!
Okay, let’s get back to the work. While some of us were outside notching the logs, sawing boards and moving rocks in the fresh air and sunshine. Many of the volunteers were working diligently inside the cabin scrubbing away years and layers of graffiti. The vandals had really defaced a lot of the cabin with every type of paint imaginable. Keri and Bruce had brought a large selection of cleaners and paint removers, but in the end I think a product named Krud Krutter was the crowd favorite.
The mill was getting a face lift of it’s own. Volunteers were replacing siding and floorboards that had rotted or been carted away by vandals (we found pieces of boards in the firepits.) Luckily Keri and Bruce had found some matching siding that someone had carefully squirreled away for just such an occasion. It matched great!
There was also a lot of discussion about the mill wheel in the water. The mill was designed as an overshot, meaning that the water would turn the wheel by coming over the top instead of under the wheel. There would have been no reason for this mill wheel to have originally been in the water. The water would have just caused drag and kept the wheel from working as well as it should.
It was determined that this problem has been building for a long time since it was Walter Brown who sold the Brown homestead sometime in the early 1960’s to a Mr. Slovik. Mr Slovik was the one who had added the new larger berm to the original mill pond thereby raising the level to where it is today. Over the years, this has caused some of the rot and mildew on the mill and some of the rusting and pitting of the mill wheel.
Back at the cabin the new sill logs were notched and ready to be moved into into place…