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Introducing Mr. Albert Stumpson

For many years a pine tree towered over an old house where a tenant farmer once lived.

 

This photo dates from 2009. The house is now grey with trim that matches the red barn next to it.
You can see the tall pine tree behind the house in this photo from 2009.

 

In search of the sun, it gradually leaned farther and farther away from the house. Until one day, it fell.

 

The screened porch on the farmhouse is the perfect place to sit on a summer's evening.
The screened porch on the farmhouse is the perfect place to sit on a summer’s evening.

 

When the branches were removed, my son-in-law noticed that the tree trunk looked like an alligator. He suggested it would make a good place for grandchildren to play, but only if it was closer to our house. So in April 2018, with a tractor in front and a tractor behind, we moved the tree trunk, very slowly and carefully, to its new home on the bank of Lake Massawippi.

 

It looks a bit like a very large earthworm crawling across the grass.
It’s crawling across the grass, but which end is the head and which is the tail?

 

Last summer when our extended family gathered for a reunion, we held a contest to name the creature. People made some wonderful suggestions (the Logness Monster, Dundee, Tick Tock and Piney Brown stand out in my memory) but for some reason, the final vote never happened. All winter the tree trunk sat there, unnamed, snow covered, neglected. Each time I turned the corner on the drive, my eye went to it, and each time I felt that something was wrong. Not only did the tree trunk lack a name, it lacked a snout.

 

Exhibit 1: the tree trunk before we started shaping it.
Exhibit 1: the tree trunk before we started shaping it. Do you see the little stumpy legs? the eyes?

 

A week or two ago, my friend John Hay and I set out to correct that. Jacques is a handy man with a chain saw. Following the lines John spray-painted, Jacques began to cut.

 

The first cut lines were orange, the second were green.
You can see how rotten the centre of the tree was.  The green spray-painted line marked minor changes to John’s first try at getting the shape right.

 

There was a lot of rotten wood, far more than we were prepared for — a huge section of the centre of the tree was nothing but sawdust — and at one point Jacques actually crawled into the hole to pull out chunks of rotten wood.

 

A long chain saw made for short work.
Here Jacques is making the first cut. A long chain saw made for short work.

 

Pieces of bark fell off along with  big pieces of wood with gorgeous patterns. We saved these for some future use… you never know when a piece of bark will come in handy. The amount of dead wood complicated the job of shaping the snout — it was impossible to make the front and back sides look the same.

 

Finished!
Finished! If you focus on Al’s eyes, he looks truly menacing. Or am I just seeing things?

 

 

We haven’t shaped the tail yet and we may fiddle around a bit more with the snout. But for now, the chain-sawing is done. And I’ve settled on a name…

Meet Mr. Albert Stumpson, or Stumpy Al for short. I’m sure he’d happily shake your hand if he could. Or bite it, perhaps.


 

The Open Garden Day at Glen Villa is fast approaching! Remember that space is limited. Tickets may still be available for purchase on July 20, but I can’t guarantee that. So get your ticket now — better safe than sorry!

To buy your ticket for a morning (9-12:30) or afternoon (12:30-4) visit, follow this link to the website of the Massawippi Foundation. All proceeds go to the Foundation for its work supporting community activities and conserving pristine forest land.

 

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  • Wm. (Bill) Harvie

    Pat, there is that all too menacing look, but which eye? Nan has been worried about our resident ALLIE here in the Low Country South Carolina Who’s been missing since the big 8.6 inch rainfall in 24 hrs. we had back in June. But just on que, back he was July1. We suspect he’s been out acourtin’ in the neighboring lagoon.

    • siteandinsight

      Mr. Stumpson has not moved too far… and I’m predicting that there is no courting in his future.

  • True test to see if geese are terrified or a new perch…….!

    • siteandinsight

      Doubt if the geese will perch or be frightened, but I can hope.

  • Where are the teeth?

    • siteandinsight

      Worn down by time, I’m afraid… the inside of the trunk is so rotten that I’m surprised the tree stood as long as it did. On the other hand, the carving isn’t finished.