Lyle Williams is a Cariboo man, but he didn’t start out that way.
Raised in Tsawwassen, when he grew up there was just one school and one gas station. Nearby Delta was the larger centre, with a population of just over 6,000.
His grandparents lived there as well and had the largest remaining tree in Tsawwassen on their property, a Douglas fir which measured 12 feet at the butt.
Things were changing quickly in the area though, and it began to get busy.
“We watched it grow up,” recalled Williams of his hometown.
Williams was a young man ready for a change when a friend of his moved up to Quesnel for a job doing survey work for highways.
His friend told him he should come up to the Cariboo, and he did, first moving to Quesnel with his friend.
Then he shifted to Cottonwood around 1976 to work on a farm. He built himself a log home on the property, but in 1985, the place burned down.
His family had also followed him up to the Cariboo after his move north, and though his one sister has since moved south to Vernon, he still has one brother in Horsefly, one in Williams Lake and his mom lives in Williams Lake as well.
After the fire took his home in Cottonwood, he bounced around a lot, working in camps, without much of a home base.
In 1989, another friend had rented a house on Horsefly Lake and was going back to school for forestry. She asked Williams to come and take care of the place while she was away, so he moved down to Horsefly Lake.
From there he spent a number of years living on a farm south of Horsefly.
Thirty-three years later he is still in the area, now on Millar Road in a house overlooking the lake.
Over the years he worked any and all types of “bush work” from tree-planting to mining, spending a fair amount of time in the mining industry working at remote drilling operations, and logging as well.
He worked clearing drill pads for mining operations, something which provided him the opportunity to travel all over the province.
Throughout the years, he had been salvaging pieces of wood he found and had acquired quite a collection.
“I couldn’t stand to see this stuff going to the burn pile,” Williams remarked of the pieces of quality wood he had scavenged from the piles let behind and not valuable to mills or left when a drill pad was cleared for a mining operation.
When the logging work he was doing slowed and down and became all camp work, he decided not to return to camp life and retired.
Williams now spends his time putting the vast collection to use, making furniture, tools and decorative pieces. The tools are even hand-forged on his own forge.
He was marketing his wares at the Horsefly Salmon Festival under the name of Knotty Furniture on September 10 when he spoke to the Tribune.
He mostly sells his creations from the salvaged wood in the Horsefly area, not having a computer to market any further afield.
Clearly a Cariboo man now, he was dressed in a dapper suit jacket and a tuxedo T-shirt, and sported a ball cap which said simply: Horsefly, B.C.
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