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Preface by Forence Tickner

LOGGING WAS A WAY OF LIFE for my family. My father was Ed Kimball and his stepfather was Charlie Moore. The Moores had logged near Bellingham, Washington for several years before moving to British Columbia. Dad was five- years old when he, his mother, sister Ada, brother Everett, stepfather Charlie and other family members travelled up the coast on the steamer Comox to work for the Emerson Log-ging Company. For the first year or two the family logged in Jervis Inlet, then moved to Drury Inlet. Around 1908 the camp moved to Actaeon Sound, and still later back to Drury Inlet again.

My mother, Mabel McGarvey, had grown up partly in the city, although her family had ties to logging also. Her grandpa Steve Anderson had logged and her grandma had cooked in the camps; her aunt Flo had married Earl Broyles, whom Dad later worked for; her brother Gordon (Uncle Bunt) worked in logging too.

In 1925, when my parents married, they lived on a house float tied to shore at the site of the logging show. I was the youngest of four children, Shirley, Barbara and Ted preceding me. We grew up on a float at the logging sites in and around the entrance to Knight Inlet until the family moved to Gibsons in 1941.

The floats were made of cedar logs because cedar floated highest in the water. A smaller log was pulled onto each end and the logs were lashed to it. A float might last twenty or twenty-five years if it was made of good logs; some floats lasted even longer if they were tied up close to fresh water so mussels and barnacles didn't grow on them.

We always maintained that Uncle Earl Broyles logged at the head of the inlet in Thompson Sound
in later years because it was the only place the camp would stay afloat. The floats were almost sinking-some had come from Moore's camp, and dated back to before 1910 - but the abundance of fresh water kept the weed and barnacle growth down, and he was tied up in shallow water, with some extra logs pulled under the floats that probably touched bottom at low tide.

A logging camp might consist of from six to twenty floats. The owner would have a house, and perhaps another house or two would be occupied by families. The remaining buildings would be a cookhouse, some bunkhouses, a wash house, a store house, sheds for tools and equipment and maybe a blacksmith shop. Most camps also had a wood float for fuel, a donkey float, a winch float, a drag-saw float and sometimes an oil float. The floats were positioned along the shore in a sheltered bay with a stream for water close by. The floats holding machinery could be moved easily as they were needed. The others stayed put until it was time to move to a new location. Then they would be towed to the new site, usually by the tug that towed the logs to the mill.

In our camp, some of the house floats had fences around them to keep small children away from the water; most children, like myself, learned to swim before they were six. We had a nice fenced-in area on one side of our house; Mother even had some snow--on-the-mountain and honeysuckle growing in big tubs on the deck. Our house was very small. It consisted of a lean-to bedroom and one large room, which was living room, dining room and kitchen combined. There was also a pantry, used for storing dishes and cooking supplies, with a sink at the end and a window over it. There was no running water for the sink, but it drained into the salt water. When I was around four years old, Dad added a bedroom to the other side of the house, big enough for a double bed and a single bed, plus a small wood heater. This addition also had a closet with drawers at the bottom. Before this, a small closet and chest of drawers in the lean-to was our only storage space for clothes. This doesn't seem like much room, but most of the clothes we had were either being worn or they were in the wash.

Our cookstove had a warming oven above and a water reservoir on the side. It was kept going all day and provided heat for the whole house, except for the cold winter days when the heater in the bedroom would be lit also. These stoves kept my dad busy at least one Sunday a month, cutting wood. The house was finished on the inside with V-joint and wasn't insulated, so it took plenty of wood to keep it warm. We children, especially my brother Ted and 1, helped a lot stacking wood and cutting kindling. That little house, with its lack of space, comfort, style or any modern conveniences, was a loving home to us, and we wished for no other.