Preview: A DAY’S WORK, Part II—an excerpt: Some Small Boats

April 1, 2014

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Hosted by OCH co-founder Maynard Bray

Bill Bunting’s two books (Parts I and II) entitled A Day’s Work have intrigued us at OCH for some time, having been listed as a favorite read by at least one of our OCH Guides. They’re about life in Maine as it used to be between 1860 and 1920, told in photographs and marvelously informative essays written by Bill. Things maritime are included—about a third of Part II, in fact—and they are what we’ll feature, but there’s great stuff about farming, lumbering, quarrying, ice harvesting, and other commercial pursuits of the late 1800s and early 1900s as well. I guarantee you’ll learn more than you can imagine about how ingenious our forebears were in using brains, brawn, and natural materials like wood.

With Bill’s blessing and that of owner/publisher Jon Eaton of Tilbury House, and with assistance from Bill’s wife (and former Tilbury publisher) Jennifer Bunting, OCH will be periodically posting more excerpts as a way of reviewing these exceptional books. We’re starting with the 384-page second volume which is still in print and available. I hope these excerpts convince you to place an order. Here’s the link to Tilbury House:, and to Amazon:


small sailboat, Penobscot River, likely in the 1890s

Penobscot River, likely in the 1890s

The river was not yet the industrial sewer it would become, and although the layer of sawdust on the bottom made for notoriously poor anchoring, organic waste from pulp and paper mills had not yet overwhelmed the river’s ability to oxygenate itself(1) Dams with faulty fish ladders, however, had greatly interfered with the reproduction of river fish—no more would schooners from Connecticut come to carry off a wealth of spring shad.(2)

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