St Helens Tour for the Huron-Perth AGM

The Annual General Meeting was held on April 8, 2017.  About 65 Huron-Perth members toured the St. Helens sawmill, pallet mill, and leatherworks operation, owned and run by the Stutzman family for decades.

All the lumber that is processed through the mills is from sources in Lambton, Middlesex, Huron, and Perth counties.  Watching the sawmill in action is impressive!  There are about 8 people working at a time, moving quickly to process the incoming logs.  Of course the pallet mill is also a well-oiled machine, cutting boards for fruit-grade pallets.

The sawmill and re-saw operation is run by Aaron and Menno, the pre-cut pallet operation by Levi, John (of Little John’s Leatherworks) makes custom leather products, of course all under the advisement of their father Jake Stutzman.  Many thanks to our hosts for the interesting tours!

The business portion of the meeting included an update from Terry Hoover, our provincial rep, the latest news from Bruce Kropf about Emerald Ash Borer and other trees pests and blights, and Roger, our President, led a discussion about the 2018 provincial AGM, which will be hosted in Huron/Perth.

Marvin (left) received a 25th Anniversary book from Terry (centre) and Roger (right)

Marvin Smith, who has been Secretary for the Huron Perth group since its inception, made significant contributions toward the Ontario Woodlot Association’s 25th Anniversary Book, which was published this spring.

Jim Ginn also served on the Huron Perth board from when it began until this past year.  Both Marvin and Jim were recognized by our chapter with a copy of the 25th Anniversary book.

There are more copies of the anniversary books available.  If you are interested in purchasing a book (cost is $20), contact Roger at 519-271-1978.

We’ll see you at our fall tours!

Photos provided by Shane Hesch.

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Trick Family Tour

On October 1st, members of the Huron Perth Woodlot Association were led on a tour of the Trick family farm, near Clinton.  With about 85 members in attendance and lots of things to see, the tour group was split into two – with one group heading out on wagons on a woodland tour, while the other learned about the history of the grist mill and sawmill operation.

Woodland Tour

The property has been in the Trick family for more than 140 years.  After decades of planting trees, there are several woodlots on the property in different ages of maturity and species mixes.  We viewed a pine plantation, mature maple woodlot, and a stand of walnut grown from planting seeds.  Tom Trick can remember when sand dunes used to build up in the areas that were once used for cropping, and are now in trees (pine and walnut).  The group even saw areas where the invasive glossy buckthorn was being shaded out by the mature maples.

Demonstration of a firewood processor.

Demonstration of a firewood processor.

We viewed a double row windbreak planted in 2015 by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority along several of their fields.  The tour group also visited a woodlot that had been predominantly ash.  Much of the ash was harvested last year.  Acorns were hand planted in the open areas, and the little red oak seedlings are starting to pop up.  Tom also gave a demonstration of a firewood processor.

Grist Mill, Sawmill, and Orchard Tours

Bill Trick tours the sawmill.

Bill Trick tours the sawmill.

Bill Trick talked about the history of the mill and its importance in the County.  The roadway between Clinton and Bayfield formerly crossed over the dam by the mill, since there was no reliable crossing through the Trick’s creek bog until 1880.  Bill’s grandmother told him that during the 1930’s she fed many hungry transients who then bedded down in the barn.  For a number of years it was common for an itinerant barber to set up his chair on the platform of the Mill for a week or so in the spring and in the fall and cut the hair of the farmers, while boarding with the Tricks.  Several times, men who were cutting ice off the pond for storage at ice houses, fell into the pond by misstep, and then hustled up to the Trick’s kitchen to strip and warm up.

The Mill

The Mill

The mill was a major hub of industry in the mid-1800s.  At that time, Rock Elm was being sold for $5/1000 bd/ft, and labour costs were $1.50 per day.  Some Huron County residents might recognize the names of their relatives from the old mill records. The mill was built with sawn floor joists, some sawn framing pieces, and double layers of wide floor boards. There are two water turbines installed in the mill.  One operates the electrical generator that provides power for the property, and the other powers a saw used to manufacture cedar shingles.

There were many pieces of equipment from throughout the history of the property including a collection of chain saws, a ‘sticker machine’ from the Clinton Piano Factory, an antique circular saw, and a modern band saw mill.

Thea Trick shows the group heartnuts from a tree she grew from seed.

Thea Trick shows the group heartnuts from a tree she grew from seed.

Thea Trick has a talent for growing trees from seeds, and has several interesting species in her orchard including paw-paw, heartnut trees, and Osage orange.

Thank you to Bill, Thea, Tom, Cherilyn, Anna, Alex, and Charlie Trick for being such gracious hosts.

Photos were provided by Brent Bowyer.

Welcome message for tour participants
By Bill and Thea Trick (Tom’s parents)

We welcome you to a tour of the Trick Property and Woodlot, Clinton Ontario

This property and mill have been owned by the Trick Family since 1873, and was purchased by Thomas and Catherine Trick.   Thomas was the great great grandfather of Tom Trick.

Records show that this grist mill was built about 1850.  However there were two water powered sawmills installed on the other side of the stream, the first being an up and down or muley mill, which was replaced by a circular mill prior to 1880.  The residuals of that preconfederation muley mill was collected in later years by staff of the Ford museum.  The circular mill was dismantled in the 1915 period, due to foundation problems with the intentions to rebuild it but this unfortunately did not happen.   The present circular mill was installed primarily for the family’s own use about 1980.  Tom now owns and uses a band mill, and the present circular mill will probably be dismantled in the near future.

Since this tour is timber related, I have reviewed some of the old records that we have on the mill operations.  We have records from mid-1800’s but the two in the desk at the entrance door are  the  “Saw Mill Book” and the  “Chopping Book”  which lists the activities and accounts from the late 1880’s to early part of the 1900’s, for the two mills.  The “Saw Mill Book” shows the following in 1890 to 1910.

Sawing                  $ 3.00 /1000 bd/ft

Labour                  $1.50 /day

Saw ground and hammered including freight                      $13.70

Buying logs   Rock elm @ $5/1000; Swamp elm @$3.90/1000; basswood @ $3.00/1000

Hard maple, hemlock and cedar were often tolled against sawing.

Some here today may find the names of customers of more than 100 years ago interesting.   George Middleton; John Middleton; Peter Cole; Henry Beacom; James Miller; James Graham; A Whitingham;    Joseph Izzard; Edward Wise; George Burnett; James Smith; Thomas Jewett; John Jenkins; John Cluff; A. Welsh; John Stewart; John Thompson; John Marshall; John Diehl; D. McTavish; John Woon; Robert Coloughly; Thomas Beacom;  Thomas Jenkins; Sam Rathwell; John Stewart Senior; Edward Rathwell; James McFarlane; Gabriel Elliott; Henry Carter; John Elliott; E. Steep; George Miller; George Cooper;  James Hudie;  Patrick Cronan; James Connell; William Rathwell;  Edward Glen; Adam Cantelon; Charles Stewart; Albert Wise; John Green; J.G. Steep; George Holland; William Rutledge; A.J Courtice; James Curry; G. Cooper; William Yeo; William Glen; James Switzer;  H.H Cantelon; E. Rumball; George Cook; Thomas Cole; Benjamin Switzer; J Sterling;  Harvey Carter; Thomas Wigginton; Albert Anderson; John Sheppard; James Alexander; John Deeves; Robert Hanley; Frank Whitmore; John Pickett; ? Webster; John Pearson; David Churchill; William Wheatley; Frank Powell; Adam Stewart; Reuben Grigg; ? McGregor; George Mair

Chainsaw collection

Chainsaw collection

Interesting wood specimens from around the property

Interesting pieces of wood from the property

You can follow the Ontario Woodlot Association on Twitter at: Ontariowoodlot

You can follow the Ontario Woodlot Association on Twitter at: Ontariowoodlot

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Twilight Windbreak Tour – June 9, 2016

The Huron-Perth Woodlot Association hosted a Twilight Windbreak Tour on June 9th.  Led by Ian Jean (Forest and Land Stewardship Specialist, ABCA),  the tour provided an overview of the benefits of windbreaks as well as information about planning, planting, early tending, and management throughout their life cycle.


Windbreak Twilight Tour June 9, 2016-1

Windbreak Twilight Tour June 9, 2016-2

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Huron Perth Annual General Meeting April 9 16

The Annual General Meeting was held in St. Paul’s Station (between St. Mary’s and Stratford) at the Downie Optimist Club. There was a demonstration from Dan Bannon of Bannon Log Homes in the morning.  After the business meeting and lunch, the Canadian Raptor Conservancy did an impressive live flying demonstration with birds of prey. AGM April 9, 2016-1

AGM April 9, 2016-2

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Young conifer plantation thinning Sat Nov 7, 2015

DSC_0840On November 7th, 2015 approximately 25 members of the Huron Perth Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association attended a tour of a plantation thinning operation near St. Marys.  The tour was hosted by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA).  DSC_0857John Enright, Forester with UTRCA provided information on the history of the site as well as management goals of the project and other details about the operation.  John had photos from throughout the life cycle of the plantation and actually remembered being there when the trees were planted almost 30 years ago.  The group viewed a demonstration of the mechanical harvester in action and then were able to tour the site and participate in further discussion.


North end of 25th line, near St. Mary’s.  Directions:
– proceed south on Highway 7 across Wildwood Lake Dam
– turn south from Highway 7 onto 19th Line (Oxford Road 119)
– at Uniondale turn left (east) onto Road 96 (Oxford Road 28)
– at the second intersection turn left (north) on the 25th Line
– travel to the end of the 25th Line.

Plantation Thinning Tour Nov 7, 2015 compressed-2Parking

The 25th Line is a dead end road.  There should be ample parking along the road.

*Participants should bring a hard hat to wear on the tour.*

Agenda (tour starts at 9:30 a.m.)

This tour to be lead by John Enright (Forester with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority) will view a thinning operation in a young coniferous plantation. Participants will be able to watch the mechanized thinning equipment in action and learn about the management objectives, other topics related to plantation thinning, etc.


No registration required. Everyone welcome.

Upcoming Huron Perth Woodlot Association Outings for 2015

November 21, 2015 – Strategic Planning Workshop for the Ontario Woodlot Association. Our provincial organization is hosting a series of four strategic planning workshops to help set future direction and ensure sustainability of the Ontario Woodlot Association. The final and closest workshop is November 21st in the Brantford area. No further details are currently available. We assume more information will be posted on the provincial web site as it becomes available.

Plantation Thinning Tour Nov 7, 2015 compressed-1

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Haak Property Tour – Saturday October 17th, 2015

2015-10-17 10.50.25-1Haak Property Tour
Saturday, October 17th, 2015

F0rty H-P Woodlot Association members ignored the winter weather warnings and attended a woodlot tour at John and Janet Haak’s property on a chilly October morning.  Located near the Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area, the Haaks purchased the property in 1994, when much of it was in agriculture. Due to poorly drained soils the land wasn’t very productive, and the Haaks decided to retire much of the marginal land into trees, ponds, and prairies.

2015-10-17 09.43.04First off, we received a demonstration of a loader mount shred till from Gary Roth.  The shred till spot tills, shreds, and mixes soil in existing grasses and light brush to create a suitable tree planting site.  For more information, contact Gary (519 272-2283;, or check out the shred till YouTube video by clicking here.

2015-10-17 10.03.06After decades of tree planting, today the Haak property contains 70 acres of forested land, 3 acres of tallgrass prairies, 6 ponds, and 17 acres of workable land.  John can’t resist adding more trees every year, and on the tour he showed the group the extensive work he has done to manage the woodlot to produce the best saw logs possible, and to maintain high biodiversity of both plants and animals.

The last stop on the tour, John pointed out 4 trees of different species, and asked the crowd what tree they would keep if they had to remove three.  As to be expected, there were many different opinions about what would be ‘the best’ tree to keep.  The lesson to be learned was that even though there were 4 different answers to the question, all answers were correct!  The way your woodlot is managed depends on your own long term objectives, and there is not a single ‘correct’ way to do things.

Thank you John, for a very informative tour!

2015-10-17 11.08.28


40348 Summerhill Road (Summerhill Road is the 3rd road north of Clinton or 2nd road south of Londesborough on Highway #4 (London Road). Turn east on Summerhill Road and travel 2 km to the first intersection at Wildlife Line).


Turn north on Wildlife Line.  Parking will be at the end of the dead end road.

Agenda (tour starts at 9:30 a.m.)

We’ll tour John and Janet Haak’s property near Clinton and view marginal farm land restoration, hardwood and softwood management, tall grass prairie & wetland establishment, species diversity, etc. John has been particularly innovative in his management approaches and ability to access various assistance programs. John was named a Trees Ontario Green Leader in 2012 for his dedication to tree planting.

Our Woodlot Association Chapter visited this property in April 2005. It will be quite interesting to see tree growth and new projects that have been established and other changes in the ten years since our first visit.

Following the tour we’ll have a hot dog barbeque and social time at the Haak’s cabin. We’ll ask for donations to cover the cost. Any surplus will go to the chapter.


Please contact John Haak by phone (519-482-3353) or email ( if you are planning to attend so he knows how much food to buy. Everyone welcome.

Upcoming Huron Perth Woodlot Association Outings for 2015

We’re still pursuing the possibility of touring a mechanized plantation thinning operation. We’re not certain when or where this might be. If arranged, it will likely be on short notice.

November 21, 2015 – Strategic Planning Workshop for the Ontario Woodlot Association. Our provincial organization is hosting a series of four strategic planning workshops to help set future direction and ensure sustainability of the Ontario Woodlot Association. The final and closest workshop is November 21st in the Brantford area. No further details are currently available. We assume more information will be posted on the provincial web site as it becomes available.

Haak Tour Oct 17, 2015-1Haak Tour Oct 17, 2015-2

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Invasive species tour – September 12, 2015

At a recent outing of the Huron Perth Woodlot Association, members were lead on a woodland hike by Brenda Gallagher of the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (UTRCA) as a follow-up to the chapter AGM where Brenda spoke about invasive species.  While the focus of the hike was invasive species, she also pointed out other species and discussed their history, ecology, folklore and medicinal properties.  UTRCA  generously provided access to their Wildwood Conservation Area near St. Marys for the event.

As with many sites across southern Ontario, Wildwood was heavily infested with European (common) buckthorn. It is on Ontario’s noxious weed list, primarily because it is an alternate host to the oat rust fungus.  It seeds prolifically, annually bearing a heavy crop of black berries.  .  Its Latin name Rhamnus cathartica relates to the cathartic (laxative) effect the berries have on whatever ingests them.  Birds feeding on the berries quickly spread the seeds far and wide.  A cousin, glossy buckthorn, is also invasive in woodlands in parts of southern Ontario.  Apparently glossy buckthorn was planted in some areas in the 1800’s and early 1900’s since burning the wood produced charcoal with ideal characteristics for manufacture of black powder (gunpowder).  Control of buckthorn is best carried out with appropriate herbicide applied as a basal bark treatment to standing trees or to freshly cut stumps.

Another invasive plant the group saw was dog-strangling vine, a relative newcomer to Perth County.  It has the ability to overwhelm existing natural vegetation.  Currently the only means of control is repeated application of appropriate herbicides.  Gallagher said a caterpillar that feeds exclusively  on dog-strangling vine had recently been released in the Toronto area.  Hopefully it will be as successful as the beetle released several years ago to provide control of purple loosestrife, another non-native invasive.


Dog strangling vine.

Along the trail Gallagher pointed out a number of interesting plants and presented a variety of information about them.  In a wetter location she identified several skunk cabbage plants and was able to show the group remnant leaves and seed pods.  Skunk cabbage gets its name from the skunk like odour it gives off when flowering or when the leaves are crushed.  It actually starts growth and flowers in late winter, usually when there is still snow on the ground.  It is a thermogenic plant, which means it has the ability to raise its temperature several degrees above the surrounding environment through cellular respiration ( thermogenesis).  Carrion flies and other insects are attracted into the flower by the odour and higher temperatures.  They reciprocate for the warm place to stay by providing pollination services.

Participants were shown several species of plantain that are common in both natural and disturbed areas.  Plantain is reported to help reduce inflammation and itching from rashes, insect bites and stings.  It is also said to help healing of wounds.  A mashed up poultice of the leaves can be placed directly on the affected area.  She also showed the group the common woodland plant, jewelweed (also known as touch-me not or impatiens).  Many people believe the sap from mashed up jewelweed will help relieve symptoms of skin problems such as sunburn and poison ivy.

Brenda talks with the group.

Brenda talks with the group.

Gallagher really caught the group’s attention when she described how to make a tincture of hawthorn berries by chopping them up and placing them in a container, then covering them with vodka.  After a few weeks the liquid is drained off and kept as the tincture which is administered orally as needed.  Hawthorn apparently has benefits for heart health.  Several folks seemed quite interested in trying this process.

As the group stopped under an elm tree Gallagher described how elms had often been used as outdoor meeting places throughout history and planted outside courtrooms as symbols of justice prior to devastation by the Dutch elm disease.  She also explained that natives in our area had often used elm bark in making canoes due to a lack of birch trees in our local forests.  Apparently they were taunted during interactions with nearby groups that had faster and lighter birch bark canoes.  She laughed about how people are similar today, only now they may be envious of others who have nicer cars or pickup trucks.

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Annual General Meeting held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015

  • Morning Tour: Bill & Anne Phelan’s Forest Property near Bayfield
  • Afternoon Speaker: Brenda Gallagher of Upper Thames CA: Invasive Species
  • CHAINSAW DRAW and Raffle

Click here for full details.

9:45 a.m. Tour: of Bill and Anne Phelan’s forested property. It is hard to believe, but it is 15 years since we visited the Phelan site in April, 2000. At the time they were in the process of thinning their pine plantation. The Phelan’s can now show us and discuss the results of that thinning operation as well as highlighting other activities on their property including a small wetland creation project, products from their small bandsaw mill, wildlife related topics, etc.

Location: 77915 Porters Hill Line northeast of Bayfield (west side of Porters Hill Line, between Tower Line Road and Telephone Road). Parking will be available beside the driveway or near the buildings, depending on the weather prior to April 11th.

12:00 Noon: Lunch and Business Meeting at the White Carnation Banquet Hall located at 79867 Parr Line south of Holmesville

  • Lunch
  • General meeting and updates (e.g. past activities, planned activities, treasurer’s report, election of executive members, chainsaw draw and raffle, etc.)


One member in attendance will win a: STIHL MS 251 Chainsaw (45.6 cc, MSRP $479.99)

  • Each current member who attends will receive one draw ticket.
  • Members will receive one additional ticket for each guest they bring who purchases a new membership prior to the draw.
  • Each new member purchasing a membership prior to the draw will receive one draw ticket.
  • You must be present at the draw in order to qualify to win.


There will be a separate raffle table. If members have, or can access, items to donate for the raffle, please bring them to the meeting (e.g. wood crafts, tools, books, clothes, etc.)

Afternoon Speaker (approximately 1:30 p.m.) Brenda Gallagher will deliver a presentation on Invasive Plant Species, a growing threat to biodiversity in our woodlots and other natural areas. Brenda is an Upper Thames CA staff member and is very knowledgeable on plant identification, edible plant species and assorted native plant restoration topics.

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First Annual Western Ontario Woodlot Expo (WOWE)

This gallery contains 15 photos.

By all accounts, the first annual Western Ontario Woodlot Expo was a great success! The event was hosted by the Huron-Perth Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association and the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association at the Hoover Maple Farm. Upwards … Continue reading

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Woodlot Tour and Sawmill Demonstration

Woodlot Tour and Sawmill Demonstration
Saturday September 27, 2014
Field trip to the farm and woodlots of Roger and Elaine Cook

4335 Road 110, northeast of Stratford
(see full details and map by clicking here)

Morning (9:30 a.m.)
A walk through and discussion of Roger and Elaine’s conifer plantations. Two lots of different ages and stages (34 yrs. and 20 yrs.). Featuring: initial planting spacing, species composition, tending, thinning and pruning which has been ongoing for 25 years, as well as expectations and target spacing. Also a walk through the native hardwood lot which has been heavily thinned of declining ash trees. Discussion of the feasibility of replanting a few hardwood and conifer trees to enhance species diversity with hemlock, white pine, tamarack and red oak. Also, a tree and wood I.D. quiz.

We’ll order pizza for those interested, or feel free to bring your own lunch.

Activities after lunch will include an antique circular sawmill demonstration.

Registration –Registration is not required but is appreciated. Phone Roger and Elaine Cook at (519) 271-1978 for details (or email Everyone is welcome.

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