Eytchison Lumber Company
Grandfather Lorin Eytchison had the Sawmill on Cottonwood Creek, between horseshoe Bend and the great Stack Rock , which is seen so prominently from the Boise Valley. The new mill was just over the Mountain from Boise and behind what is now known as the "Bogus Basin "ski resort. It was here my parents came with the crew to start over.
It is here that my childhood memories are centered, etched deeply into my mind and the place that taught me a love of nature. Many of the cousin, Eytchison, Lenaghen, Breshears and other relatives were employed on occasion. The faces were many, which I still recognize. I have a hard time associating the names I remember with the face this many years after. Grandfather was established in Star as a valley Blacksmith by now and Lester took over the Sawmill In fact I need to check with Uncle Kirby about this. Seems they may have used part of the mill from Stanley at Bogus Basin.
One of my first memories of Schafer Creek, is following mother from the door of the cabin as she made her way through a passageway shoveled into the snow. The snow towered far over my head and ice cycles hung from rafter to ground on the cabin behind us. I recall the path thusly tunneled through the snow to the cellar in the mountain. I have no memory of roads etc., at this point. After all I was about 3 years old.
Through the mountain quiet, encased in the brisk, frosty air, if you listened just right, you could hear the train whistle as it meandered it's way through the Boise Valley far below. The greatest marvel to my senses was when the snow melted back in the early spring thaws. I remember the earth, moist and fragrant smelling of spring things. How does one describe being transfixed with the smells of spring? I supposed since we were cooped inside for the long winter that spring was especially meaningful to me that spring and a new experience.
I believe my brother Hubert must have been in Star with the Grandparents going to school. I remember staying in Star part of the time, because I remember assisting with Hubert's spelling lessons, usually with Hubert very much annoyed at my intruding. As years passed, I've had people say to me upon observing my aptitude that I was a "Fast learner. Hubert was the opposite.
It was about this time that Hubert quilted my doll a quilt, cutting and piecing tiny blocks about an inch square. It must have taken many hours of patience for a boy of that age. Grandmother coached him of course. He had observed athe Ladies at the Christian Church Ladies Aid as they plied needle and thread once a week. I still treasure it as a keepsake of that time.
One of the vivid pictures I carry in my minds eye, of mother was sitting in her favorite spot, perched on the end of the dining room table, just opposite the largest front windows in our cabin. She hated being where she couldn't see and as she pealed vegetables and otherwise prepared food she could keep track of the world beyond. I'm sure being snow bound for the long winter was difficult for her.
The radio, oval shaped on the top, with little brown knobs below a fan shaped grill, was alive with music of the 30's and mother in her beautiful high soprano Irish voice filled the house with song as it accompanied her. In fact my memories of working by her side, as we sang together through the household chores, is a treasure. Some where along the way as less solitude invaded my life, Ive lost this togetherness, with my family. Mother had spent the long winter evenings sawing with her little keyhole saw. She made "Betty Boop" cigarette ash tray stands to be given to the adult families for Christmas.
Her days consisted of planning and preparing huge meals for the hungry "Lumber Jacks" I remember, Chocolate pudding, made from scratch of course, making salads in a huge pan the size of a dishpan and feeding what was left to the chickens in the back yard.
Hubert had a pet hen that he had caught in a farmers yard one time near Star when dad was loading Hay on the truck to take back to camp. The farmer was so impressed that Hubert had cought the hen that he gave it to him.
We also had an assortment of Banties, small chickens with feather dusters on their legs and rabbits. We had a very large yellow cat that had a habit of disappearing. It was a far piece to the valley below to find companionship. I remember one time he came limping home and Mom nursed him back to health by making him a bed in the glove box behind the pot bellied heater located in the front room.
Once he caught a little chipmunk and brought it in the house. Mother found it several days later under her bed in a box. He would take it out of it's hiding place and torment it, then replace it. Needless to say we children cried when we discovered it. We tried to nurse it back to health but logic now tells me that it was necessary for our parents to dispose of the chipmunk.
Once in the winter when we were evidently snowed in or otherwise incapacitated, Dad put on his skis and skied all of the way to the Boise Valley for something they needed. Those same skis afforded fun in the summer months as the men and we children, raced down the pine needle strewn slopes Of course one had to be very careful because you stopped very abruptly when you ran out of pine needles.
Up Schafer Creek, going from the sawmill sight, ran the road that followed the creek. Nestled in the trees up this road, was a cabin that belonged to a Doctor. It had a little sign that designated it "SELDOM INN". They had painted it forest green. We children thought it a delightful little jaunt to go up there . We explored every once in a while, the cabin was much more modern in appearance than the rough lumber ones we lived in, however we never found any evidence of habitation beyond the few rats that scurried at our approach.They were indeed "Seldom Inn.
As you progressed on up the canyon you eventually came to STACK ROCK". How impressive it was towering high above us as we stood at the base in awe. Perhaps doubly in awe because we had viewed it from the valley side also and from so many miles away.
It was very mysterious up there and it was rumored that there were Grizzly bear in the area next to the rock. We had heard the great "Cougars" as they roamed the mountains close to us. It was etched in my mind that grandfather Eytchison had killed a bear with a knife up near "Stack Rock". Upon asking dad in later years, l found that it was not nearly as dramatic as I had always envisioned. Seems there had been a bear cub up a tree, left behind from a hunter killing the mother. Grandfather had killed it with a knife, having no other weapon at hand.
I remember tale tales as the men swapped them, telling of someone having killed a bear and after they dressed it out, it looked so human that no one wanted to eat it. We did have bear to eat on a couple of occasions in later years. It was good meat.
On one occasion the cousins had come for a visit at "camp", that is what we usually called the Sawmill Area". It was a favorite place for the family from "The Valley" to come for an outing and to visit. I must have been a very independent child because The older cousins decided l was to young to go to "Stack Rock" with them.
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