Irony of Life

A Wish Squashed Unexpectedly Granted

In 1976 our family moved to Fauquier, BC, at the beautiful Arrow Lake. Between our neighbor’s and our house grew a dozen or so young cedar trees. Nor more than five meters tall at the time they were just the right height to let the sun shine on our deck and provide the privacy Gertrud needed for taking a little break from the mounting duties in our seven-members’ household.

Our House after a Mobile was Added in 1977

‘Old’ House with Attached Mobile Home to Accommodate  our Large Family in 1976

Inge, our neighbor,  often came over for a visit and a cup of coffee. At one of those occasions she made the generous offer to have the cedar trees cut down to add more light to the south side of our house. However, we opted to maintain the fine balance between light and privacy and adamantly opposed the idea.

Ten years later we began to regret our decision as the cedars had almost doubled in height. Inge had moved to Vancouver and eventually sold the house to Dave, who although being a bachelor impressed us with his impeccably clean house and yard. He also loved the trees on his property, which, having turned into green giants, were preventing with their dense foliage the sun rays from reaching our home. We virtually lived in a shadowy world. I approached Dave a couple of times in an attempt to convince him to take out just a few of his beloved cedars. But he always gave me the negative reply. So at the end Gertrud and I gave up and resigned ourselves to the steadily growing darkness in and around our house.

Suddenly, Dave passed away one night of some undetermined illness and his brother  sold his house to some friends in Calgary. Again we are very lucky in getting some very fine neighbors, who take good care of their yard. Even though Tony and Anne are using their property mostly as a summer residence, they often travel the 600 km or more to keep their land attractive and in top shape. For them work appears to be recreation. First they built a storage shed, then they solved their drainage problem by building a massive retaining wall and then  after their trailer showed some water damage, they decided to build a garage.

By now, you must be wondering what I am driving at with my strange post. Perhaps you think that Peter got ‘off the rail’ with his theme “Irony of Life”, but read on and look at the photo gallery below. You guessed it. To build a garage between their house and ours more than half of the cedar trees had to be removed.

After only three days, for the first time in 30 years, precious sunlight was flooding bedroom, bathroom, and the mobile home living room and office. This is the irony of life. After you have given up on whatever your desire used to be, no matter how intense and urgent, you see its fulfillment, when you least expect it.

Now we feel a new conflict in our hearts. Yes, we need and love sunshine. But we also love trees and know their value for our environment.For that reason we also feel a little bit saddened by the loss of those mighty trees.

Like-Minded People of Applegrove Road – Part II



By late Bill Laux

Aspinalls had a farm at the Fauquier end of Applegrove Road, the present De Boer property. The Spillers had come from Austria in 1913 and taken up land on Heart Creek, which they reached off the Applegrove trail, which Mr. Spiller must have widened to a wagon road to access his property from the Ferry landing.

The Mead-Eichenauer Property with Sauna and Pond in the Foreground

The Mead-Eichenauer Property with Sauna and Pond in the Foreground

Others, opening up the trail, took up land at each promising meadow or marshy location, which looked suitable for draining. It was, in those first years, crucial to have a hayfield while the heavily timbered lakefront land was being cleared and stumped. Gaustein took up the land along März Brook in 1920 (the present Netting property since 1966). Apple trees were planted and these early orchardists engaged in horse logging to make a living until their apples should come into production. The logs were horse-hauled to the lake shore, decked on the beach in the winter to await high water and the tug to tow them to Waldie’s mill at Robson. It seems certain that by the Twenties there was a wagon road as far as the Mosheimer Place and probably another kilometer past it to a house, which had been built on the clearing at the top of Eichenauer’s hill. The name of this settler is not known. Percy Schlag, who had an orchard in Fauquier, opened up a meadow on the south side of Heart Creek at the source of März Brook and drained it with a ditch to make a hay field. During the years when the lake shore lands had to be cleared and stumped for orchards, any mountain meadow or drainable swamp was a prize location to be preempted and   put into production for hay.


From about 1913 Apple Packing Schools were held in the Valley to show the new orchardists how to get their fruit into commercial channels. Only perfect fruit was acceptable, no blemishes permitted. This left, especially in bad scab years, a great deal of fruit unharvested. These apples were used by many to fatten pigs for sale and most everyone made apple juice. With the addition of a bit of wine yeast, fermentation took place and hard cider was produced. August Scribe took the process farther and built a still. He located it under his pig shed to conceal the odour and took care to have a dry-hinged gate, which would squeak loudly, if anyone approached. He planted wormwood nearby to use as a flavoring, telling his customers he had made absinthe. It is said he shipped the product in cream cans to Nelson on the Minto with each can sealed with dairy stickers only to be removed by the milk inspector.

Mosheimer had his feet badly crushed in a logging accident and had to give up farming. He and his wife moved to Vernon where they opened a laundry. The property was bought by Mr. Kendricks of Needles, who leased it out for hay and pasturage. It came to be known as Kendricks Place (close to the present day Mead-Eichenauer Place). Gaustein, as well, left, though we do not know when.

All these years the slashed trail to Applegrove was still used as a route for Fauquier farmers to take their teams down to Taite Creek where from time to time horse logging jobs were available. Several wagon roads were built off Applegrove Road to reach the magnificent old-growth timber up the various creeks. One road ran up Heart Creek a short distance to reach a particularly fine stand of large cedars. Another extended Percy Schlag’s road from the south end of the Funk Meadow up and around the north end of Mineral Ridge to reach the timber on the North Fork of Taite Creek. In the early Sixties logging contractor Steiner built the Pin Road to harvest the Mineral Ridqe timber and the Heart and Pin Creek drainaqes. Applegrove became little more than a log dump.

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Low Lake Level Reveals a Thriving Forest Industry of the Past

Log Ramp and Tree Stumps

The water level of the Arrow Lakes is always at its lowest at spring time to make room for the run-offs later in May and June. That is when the snow in the mountains begins to melt. If the season is accompanied by very warm weather and heavy long-lasting rains, then we can expect the rivers and creeks to turn into raging torrents causing wide-spread destruction. Before the lake was dammed up in 1967 and large tracts of fertile agricultural land were flooded, Fauquier’s prosperity relied primarily on the forest industry. It provided work and income for the local residents. In the 1940’s the area around the two branches of Pin Creek and Taite Creek formed the basis for a large logging operation employing many people. The loggers often lived in camps, as the distance was too large for the daily round trip to and from home. The cheapest way to ship the logs to the log mills was to haul them down to the lake, where they would roll down the log ramps into the water. Tug boats would then pull the log booms down to Castlegar for processing. This year the lake level was much lower than normal due to maintenance and repair of marinas, boat docks and other recreational facilities along the lake shore.

Today I went for a walk along the beach and took some pictures of one of the log ramps that is usually submerged as a result of the building of the Keenleyside Dam some 30 km south of Fauquier. The ramp and the tree stumps are now a relic of the past and stand in stark contrast of the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, scenery and the beaches of the Arrow Lakes.