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I met Jubal Durivage through my boyfriend, Gordon. Gordon and his two partners, Robby and Hilton, own a small hydroelectric plant way up near the Canadian border. It was pretty rundown when they bought it, and over the years they’ve hired a lot of people to work on it, mostly from the Northeast Kingdom. Crane operators, engineers, and Jubal Durivage, one of the few certified bridge welders in Vermont. I heard a lot about Jubal before I met him from Gordon and Robby. They respect his work and the care he takes in his work. So with a little bit of arm twisting, Jubal agreed to talk with me at his house in Eden, Vermont.
In this show, Jubal talks about an important teacher in his life as a welder, and mostly he talks about hunting–one of the great passions of his life. But in my mind this show isn’t about hunting or welding, and I can’t name what it is exactly. Maybe you can tell me.
Thanks, known a few of these guys, related to a few more. This was a wonderful story and I enjoyed it very very much.
Wonderful story, yes; reminded me of our Nason Adams, whom you interviewed just before he died;
Love that old Vermont accent.
This is a great interview. But then, Jubal is a great man. Not in the grandiose political sense, but a man with real values, a thoughtful nature, and hard won skills. We need more people like him.
His talk of Newt reminds me of Henry Palmer, a never-quite-retired mechanic, machinist, blacksmith, and make-anything man in Cornwall, VT. He was my mentor when I was in my early teens. Same kind of old school guy. Maybe Jubal, and whoever he teaches, can keep the old school alive.
Jubal’s explanation of his hunting technique reminds me of other good hunters I have known. They didn’t just look, they saw. They all acknowledged the intrinsic value of the animals they hunted.
Well done, Erica.
Thank you for this wonderful piece. Jubal’s the real thing. Maybe that’s what the show is about. I’ve known him for forty years, and he’s the best friend a person could have. Thanks again.
Insight or introspection…
Erica – Thank you so much for this story. I met Jubal when he was still in high school in the late 70’s. He was Tim Bullard’s best friend. At that point he told me he had not been out of Lamoille County. I worked at Bullard Products in North Hyde Park from 1975-1980. It sounds like Jubal started working after Frank Stowe, who assisted Newt on the Trak Pak Snow Graders, took a job in Burlington. Bullard Products was making toy parts for Montgomery Schoolhouse wooden toys in those day. Bob Locke and I did mill work prepping wood for the lathes. The place was heated with wood and we used to feed the furnace–a Sam Daniels if I remember correctly, with saw dust and waste wood. Newt Brown was quite a guy, and Jubal told a great story. After all these years I could picture him and Bud Bullard them standing there, pipes in their mouths. Bud and Buster Bullard, Newt were all woods guys. Newt was also machine guy and loved snowmobiling. The appeal for all of them was getting way out in the woods–out in the back country. One time New talked about how the fact that a deer carcass was buried in the snow on the trail and he noticed, and lamented that most people probably didn’t care or were not observant enough to appreciate all that was out there in the woods. Good story about someone who is both good at the what they do and passionate about their life. It is also a story about place and the people who are deeply connected to it.
The following is an email I received from Doug Welch…who comments above. I loved it and asked if I could post it and he agreed…..
The story about Jubal brought back a lot of memories. I don’t know if you remember that the names of my oxen (sent the pic in response to Beer with Ben interview) are named Bud and Buster. The Bullards who both Jubal and I worked for were Bud (Haven) and Buster (Vernon). I’m not saying that I named my team after the Bullard boys, only that Bud and Buster also are good ox names.
Before the revival of their woodworking business with Montgomery Schoolhouse Toys, the Bullards had another wood business. They also were a lumber company that owned (owns?) hundreds of acres of forestland, between Route 100 and Rt. 14. In their previous incarnation as a woodworking biz, they were a major producer of wooden golf tees. Bud and Buster had a sister who was deceased by the time I knew them in the mid-late 1970’s. She was their sales rep traveling the country getting orders for their wooden tees. Then plastic golf tees came into the market and over a few short years demand for wooden golf tees declined and they discontinued business.
Newt Brown may have worked for the Bullards in the golf tee days. He developed one of the early snow graders for levelling and grooming snowmobile trails. That was what Jubal was working on. It was a fairly simple idea, but Newt’s version had a couple hundred metal parts, all cut and welded with electrical basic tools. The parts were painted by dipping them in vats of paint and hanging them up to dry. Some of the larger pieces may have been sprayed. But you get the idea. Newt got paid to build them and also got a royalty for each one Trak Pak Snow grader that was produced and sold.
The day I came across the story about Jubal was a cool rainy Sat. here in NNY. I sat down with a couple of John Miller’s books, Deer Camp: Last Light in the Northeast Kingdom and Granite and Cedar. That seemed fitting, considering those books are also about people and connection to place.
Thanks again for that interview with Jubal.
Great story i am not a deer hunter, but Jubal was on my pit crew in the 80s & 90s a great welder you can see some of his sculptures around town like the steel gate on Eden cemetery, his steps & deck on his cousin house , & fire escape on Lamoille valley Grace Brother n Church
His an good old boy.We grow up together and then he became part of my family. Marring my cousin Colleen Griggs.
Another gem about life and deer hunting. But aren’t they interchangeable?