For many years a pine tree towered over an old house where a tenant farmer once lived.
In search of the sun, it gradually leaned farther and farther away from the house. Until one day, it fell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.