There was a time, not so very long ago, when horses and hand saws were the tools of the trade in the logging industry. Arden’s Matson family was very involved in all that.
So it probably comes as no surprise that they decided to do some demonstrations and displays as part of the Frontenac Heritage Festival this year.
“I worked in the bush and I’m the fourth or fifth generation,” said Glen Matson, current patriarch of the clan. “We’re all interested in the history and we’ve all worked with horses in the bush.”
And, it almost seems there’s more than nostalgia at work here. Matson makes a case for horse-power actually doing a better job than modern machinery.
“Dad did a lot of forestry work for the Ministry,” he said. “They gave you a lot of small plots to clear.
“The horses did it a lot quicker as it was easier to hitch a log to a chain and lift it up to make it easier on the horses.
“And, they didn’t make such a mess, tearing up the forest and all.”
Matson said this year’s new addition to the Heritage Festival was actually the brainchild of son Duane, said the elder Matson.
“We did wagon rides last year,” said Duane. “But being part of the historical society, we all like the old stuff and we wanted to show people how to attach chain to stuff.
“We wanted to show some of the logging history and even with the sleigh rides, the top parts where people sit are all new but the bottom parts (the skis and struts) are all old.”
And so they did, with all sorts of demonstrations of log cutting and hauling and axe throwing.