Rural Missouri - January 2014 - (Page 36)

N E I G H B O R S At home in the woods Putnam County man enjoys decades of logging and competitive wood chopping J by Paul Newton ackie "JC" Buster can't remember a time in his life when he wasn't doing something in the woods. From cutting wood all summer for his mother's stove in the 1930s to making a living as a logger to competing against sawyers 60 years younger than him at the Iowa State Fair, he has felt at home in the woods of Putnam County for nearly eight decades. Jackie and his wife, Rowena, live inside a large barn they built in the 1980s that features a shop for Jackie's tools and a large living area featuring exposed wood throughout. The barn sits about 100 feet from the farmhouse where Rowena was raised. With the exception of a few years in the 1950s, the two have called Graysville their home for all 62 years of their marriage. Even though they were living in Missouri, they were married in Salem, Ark., in 1951. "We went to Kirksville to get our marriage license, and there was a three-day waiting period," he says. "I don't know who told us, but we found out Arkansas would waive that. So we went to Arkansas." At 81 years old, Jackie "JC" Buster is a longtime logger, competitive wood chopper and overall fan of the outdoors. While Jackie has spent time working as a machinist, building bridges and culverts and farming his "Pretty competitive" is a fairly modest rural electricity came to the area. * family's land, logging has been his "We lived at a dead end of a place just over Graysville assessment of Jackie's results at the fair. He main passion since switching to it full placed first in bow sawing in 2012, and in there growing up," Jackie said pointing outside the time in 1966. 2009, he placed in all five events, includbarn in which he and Rowena live. "My granddad "I didn't set out to be a logger," says ing three first-place ribbons. His victory owned a 25-acre patch of farmland, and they surthe North Central Missouri Electric that year in the axe division - which veyed the electric lines right through it. He hated Cooperative member. "I just kind of consists of chopping through an farming around it." started doing it to help get by in the win8-inch-thick block of cottonwood in The right of way for the line already had been ters while I was working construction in just more than 30 seconds - was his cleared, but if some trees on the edge of the field the summers, and I liked it. I like being in ninth consecutive win. were cleared, the lines could be moved for unobthe woods." Jackie placed in two events in 2013, even structed farming. Other than being outdoors, he says his profesthough most of the competition was a half-centu"I can still remember the big old birch tree sion lets him talk to his neighbors and help them. ry younger than him. down there on the creek bank. We didn't have any "Loggers sometimes don't have the best name While he enjoys the competition and camarachainsaws or anything, so there were three of us for one reason or another," he says. "We do most derie of the relatively fast, but grueling, competiand we had to crosscut it," says Jackie. "I stayed all of our work right here in the county, and we tions, he also likes being able to perform in front on one side the entire time while the other two make a lot of people happy with the returns they of a crowd. alternated out. We finally got it down. But, that's get on their wood. That's been one of the best "One of our neighbors came up to us at the what we had to do if we wanted electricity withthings for me over the years." fair a few years ago and said, 'I really like to see out the pole in the field." Jackie also has excelled in wood-chopping comyou guys out there working so hard because, at With his 82nd birthday coming up in March, petitions at the Iowa State Fair. This year was the one time, if you didn't work hard, you know you Jackie will continue his work as a logger in Put33rd year the 81-year-old competed in the events, didn't amount to much,'" said Jackie. "And a lot nam County along with his son, Harlan. which are one-and two-man crosscut sawing, buck of the fairs have elderly people that come to them. "I've had several different partners, but it's sawing, bow sawing and chipping with an axe. I think it does their heart good to see us sweat so wound up now that it's my son and me working "Just like I didn't plan on being a logger, I much." together. Life's been pretty good to us here. We've didn't set out to cut wood in competitions either," Jackie remembers cutting wood for his mother's come to know how to survive," he says before Jackie says. "But, up until the last three or four cook stove growing up. However, he recalls a bigfinishing his thought with a laugh. "Plus, if I quit, years, I've been pretty competitive." ger logging task he took on at a young age when Rowena said I'd have to have a lifestyle change." 36 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2014

Rural Missouri - January 2014
Healing on horses
Gut instinct
Out of the Way Eats
For the birds
Missouri Snapshots
Hearth and Home
The company behind the meter
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - January 2014