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On The Mark: Still peeling popple after all these years

 

June 12, 2020

Ann Markusen

Rod Walli peels popple trees in the woods this spring to make firewood, something he's been doing for 70 years.

Walking south and west from home, over moraines left by the last glacier, I follow the chainsaw sound, pausing to watch a chestnut-sided warbler. Veering off trail, I find my brother Steve peeling popple and, not far beyond, my husband downing a huge one.

For a third week in May, Rod, at 80 years old, is out making firewood for winter home heating and year-round saunas.

"I've harvested and peeled popple since I was 10 years old," Rod says. People often ask him why he's still at it - just to save money? "It's because I learned long ago to live as holistically as possible. When I'm peeling...



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