How many people remember the old canvas water bags that were the mainstay of the logging woods operation?
When I worked in the woods we used to have canvas water bags that would hang from the back of the Cat canopy. Nothing tasted sweeter than fresh cool spring water from a canvas bag. We usually developed a spring in the woods operation where we were working, with a pipe that would trickle into a bucket that we could use to pour the bags full of water.
A well aged and sweet water bag was a precious item. They started out tasting like flax, which about like what a person would think that varnish would taste like. We would soak them in a running creek for about a week, then we would fill then with baking-soda and water and let then soak for another week, then we would flush them out a few times and start using them. Slowly the flax taste would fade away and it would become a valuable possession to the person that had it.
The canvas bag was preferred over the canteen because the bag stayed cool from the water that would seep through it and stay cool from the evaporation.
Working ten hour days in the woods would mean drinking at least a gallon a day. I’ve told people how much a hard working choker setter will drink in a days time and people don’t believe me, so I’ll just let it go as someone working a ten hour day in the summer sun drinks an unbelievable amount of water.
The water bag was hung right above the fuel tank on the Cat. It was the choker-setters job to fill the fuel tank, and he knew that getting even as much as a drop of fuel on the bag would bring the wrath of the whole crew down on him, no matter who’s bag it was, everyone would take a turn chewing him out. There is nothing more precious that fresh clean water to a woods crew, and trying to work your way around a ruined water bag was complicated.
Taking care of the bag was important!