Saturday, March 14, 2009


In the early 1900's Bull River was a thriving community. CPR established a 'tie cutting' mill which attracted many men and their families to the area. Mining and hydro power generation on the Bull were also were important to the growth of the area. There is a book called 'Ties to Water' written by the late Vern Casselman, that documents the beginnings of the town, its growth, culture, people, calamities and eventual dissolution as industry in the area changed and families moved to where they could find work.

Bull River consisted of a town site and several work camps established further up the Bull. Many of these camps were just tents, but a few cabins were built too. We found the remnants of a cabin on our last hike; a pile of old rotting hand hewn timbers that have collapsed into the underbrush.

Other signs of these camps are
household furnishing and what else, gargabe. On our last hike we found a door to a cast iron stove, a bed frame, tin plates and bowls, and piles of old rusted tin can and jars.

As I stand on the riverbank and listen to the river rushing by, just as they did, I wonder what life was like for the people that lived during the Bull River 'boom' era in what must have been, at least by today's standards, harsh conditions.

Today, Bull River is a snug little community with several families living in and around the town site and surrounding area. A Bull River reunion was held at the community hall last summer for past and present residents of Bull River. The turnout was great; it was interesting for newcomers like us to talk with people that had lived in this area fifty to sixty years ago and hear what Bull River was like in their day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Exploring Bull River

Mother Nature has decided that she is not ready for spring yet; but I am. And cause there is no pushing that lady, I'll have to make due with making my blog more 'springy'. The header is from last year when the garden was in full bloom. These yellow things, their name escapes me right now, grow about 5 or 6 feet tall and are quite delicious according to the deer.

Gary never knows what to expect when I suggest we go for a 'walk'. It can be anything from a twenty minute walk around the 'townsite' to a three hour ramble exploring somewhere new. Every hike is an adventure, there is always something interesting. This afternoon found us hiking along the north side of Bull River in an area we had not explored yet.

I keep looking for signs of spring. The willows have a yellow blush to them, some of the shrubs are starting to show new growth, and a few sprigs of gound holly were found growing here and there in sunny spots.

The ice is melting and breaking up on the
river. The 'wannabe photographer' in me had me lying down on the river bank peering under the ice for some of these cool pictures. I was so busy looking at what was in the viewfinder under the ice that I forgot to look what was above the ice. The birch trees look surreal.

The low area by the river had a large birch stand. Many of the trees had been damaged by the wind. If the degree of bend in the trees indicates how strong the wind gets in this area it is no wonder that many of the birch have been blown over.

The Bull River area has a very rich history.
We discovered some other items relating to earlier days on Bull River but I will post them another day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Romantic sounds

March roared into Bull River last week. It has been several months since we have had a good rainstorm so when the drumming started on the tin roof I just closed my eyes, leaned my head back and listened to the romantic sound. Isn't it amazing how closing your eyes intensifies your other senses. I could feel the soothing sound seep into me.

The after affects of the rainstorm were apparent the next morning. I could see from the house that we had a large 'puddle'. Out came those sexy Sorels to keep my feet dry. It quickly became evident that there was a couple of inches of water underneath the snow and there was a lake where there was no lake before...and where no lake had been planned or desired. There was a lake, about 1.5 inches deep in front of my end of the shop, just lapping at the underside of the door sill. I was scared to look in the door, afraid to see if there was water inside. Thankfully, no. But I now have a waterfront shop, accessible by wading.

Out comes the trusty fire pump and a few lengths of fire hose. Here I thought we would never need to use fire pump, but this is the second time in less than a year. The first time, was last year when we had a forest fire burning very nearby, as Marlene and Paul will remember. Glad you two were here. But now it is just me and hubby and not quite the same adrenalin level. We got the water moving, pumping it over the embankment. It was at the cost of a spatter screen though; got to use what you got. We needed something to keep the gravel and flotsam out of the pump. Pretty cheap considering we could have been replacing a lot of laminate. I am not sure how many gallons of water we pumped out of there, but we had to repeat the process a few times as the water kept drifting in from other areas. This whole thing of having a lake in our yard is so bizarre, normally the water disappears as fast as it falls. The yard turns to dust starting in late spring. Where do you think 'Dusty Acres' came from?

Lesson learned:
  1. Drains, no matter how good they are, don't work when they are frozen.
  2. The dirt at Dusty Acres stays frozen for a long time.
  3. That fire pump is darn handy.
  4. Romantic sounds may have consequences.