By Neil Nylund, Beardmore Ontario
November 4, 1981
In the fall of 1949, I was assigned to a timber cruising job with two professional foresters, whom I will call Jim and Buzz.
The location of our camp was about seven miles north of ozone, off highway number 17.
On October 5th, we packed our 7' x 9' tent, and supplies to the location, at the foot of a mountain, by a small creek in a cozy mixed stand of deciduous and coniferous bush cover. We set up our tent and made a comfortable bed of balsam boughs, covered by two 90" x 90" eiderdowns, one of which was placed under us, and the other over us.
The first day the three of us ventured out to look over the timber situation, and in the evening arrived at our camp, hungry and almost too tired to eat. The next morning Buzz and Jim decided to appoint me as cook, while the two of them did the cruising. While I was preparing the first meal I noticed a large weasel on the edge of the camp area, his coat was already three-quarters white. I threw him some scraps of meat. The next day he was back again observing who had moved into his territory. His movements were so fast that for a minute I thought that there were several weasels present. He seemed to be looking at me from several different places at once.
As time went on he remained around the camp and was getting tamer, even accepting bits of meat, which I placed on a moss covered log. I noticed his coat was getting whiter as time went on. His favourite meat was hamburger. I kept putting the food on his favorite moss covered log and now instead of carrying the meat away, he ate it all on his feeding station. One day I placed the hamburger on the toe of my rubber boot, and low and behold, he jumped on my foot and ate the meat. By now he seemed to have lost all fear of me. I kept on feeding him off my toe and eventually my knee and then my shoulder. He accepted the food on just about any place I put the meat, but to touch him was still a no, no. As soon as I made any sort of movement with my hand, he was away in a flash.
One day, as I was peeling potatoes, he climbed up my leg and onto my shoulder and proceeded to smell the lobes of my ears. I left him alone and from then on we became fast friends. Since he was so small, although big for a weasel, I decided to give him a big name, so I named him George Fleming Wilhelm Washington. By now he was around camp all the time as long as I was there. his favourite look-out, was a scraggy diamond Willow, which he used to climb just to look around and then come down if he saw nothing that was disturbing.
My two friends didn't know anything about my strange pet and I didn't tell them, for when they were home to camp, George Fleming Wilhelm Washington was nowhere in sight. At night he used to come and see me in bed and sniff about my face. I would take some lunch for him and put it beside my pillow, which he eagerly seized, and carried away.
One night in particular, I prepared a foot long piece of garlic sausage, and placed it in the usual place. As I was reading by a candle light, as usual before falling asleep, along came G.F.W. Washington, to scrounge something to eat, so I let him clinch his teeth on one end of the sausage and we began to have a game of tug-of-war. He would brace his little feet and pull and growl in a fit of temper, while I pulled at the other end. This was repeated for several evenings. One night as we were having a sausage wrestle, my friend Buzz awakened, unknown and looked over my shoulder.
"What in hell is going on?" I heard.
At last, George Fleming Wilhelm Washington was introduced to my friends, and I gave them a full report on the activities of my little pet every day when they arrived from the bush.
After our job of cruising was completed we left the camp intact, and later on I returned with two other men to break camp and pack out our supplies. Sure enough the weasel was still there waiting for me, as tame as ever. I left him a generous supply of hamburger sausage and bully beef to last him the rest of the winter, and as I was leaving with my pack on my back, George Fleming Wilhelm Washington climbed up to his look-out, shoulder high in the diamond Willow and looked at me with his beady eyes as much to say, "So long pal it's been nice knowing you - Be seeing you some day - maybe."
This story is true - not like some of the stories Neil has been known to tell. If you have to ask who the Buzz is, you should be exiled to Hurkett. The "Jim" mentioned is today (Oct 1981) Professor Thomas Bjerklund of the Faculty of Forestry in the University of New Brunswick. he used to play hockey for Nipigon back in them there days. -L.M. "Buzz" Lein