Letters from Armorica- Ground-breaking (16 July 36 AF)

First Letter

Dear Journal,

Today we finished clearing the ground for Tuppenny Wagons' new home! I have seen how quickly my fellow townsfolk can put up a new barn, so it shouldn't be long before we can move in and get to work.

Amelie already has ten or so orders in her ledger; one is from M. Trousseau, the lumberman, for a wagon to carry logs to his mill. I have been pondering how best to meet his needs for some time, and after much discussion with Jacques we think we have come up with a solution.

At present, M. Trousseau's men do the rough cutting where the trees are felled, and then haul the sections to the mill by harnessing them to a team of oxen and dragging them. This is hard on the software woods (though not on bronzewood), and also hard on the oxen. But there has been no help for it: the sections are quite heavy, too heavy to easily lift onto a wagon; if there were roads for wagons, which there are not.

Now suppose we made a pair of lifting elements that could be strapped onto each end of a section of trunk. The first of the pair would have the attachments for harnessing a yoke of oxen. The second would have a hardened skid as an aid to dragging the section—for from our experiences with wagons, we do not consider that lifting the entire log into the air is a good way to transport it, as a floating section of log could easily get out of hand and crush someone. No, we intend that the lead end should float just off the ground, while the hind end should simply be lightened but not lifted.

To this we would add other lifting elements, with straps, that can be attached to a log and used (with care) to move it about "by hand", as, for example, onto the bed of the sawmill, or just to lift it enough to get the transportation fittings attached to the ends.

We will be presenting our ideas to M. Trousseau tomorrow; and no doubt will be told that we have missed some vital point, and shall have to start over. Still, I think we are making progress.

In the meantime, Jacques and Luc and I have nearly completed our first two wagons for sale; and Amelie will be sending word to the buyers in a day or so.

Next letter

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photo credit: BLM Oregon & Washington Vintage Eugene District Forestry — April 1989 via photopin (license)