Donna Everhart

First Sentence Fridays and FREE BOOK Friday!

Hurray for Friday!

The amount of work expected from those in a turpentine labor camp was astounding. The woods were divided into “drifts.” These were demarcated by either natural markings, or slashes on trees to show worker’s their sections. A crop was an area of about ten thousand trees. One worker was expected to complete a crop each week.

During research, I noticed some variation in the counts, but generally speaking the numbers were fairly consistent for the expected daily quota. Chippers used a bark hack to put the streaks on a tree (called a catface). They would strike a tree in one direction, and pull the bark hack to their right, and then do the same in the opposite direction. It formed a chevron, or V shape, and the sap would eventually run down the tree into the cups, guided by the streaks or the tin gutters that were also used.

Chippers were expected to do about 1,800 to 2,000 trees per day –  depending on the time of year. If it was summer and they were working sunup to sundown, that could be a twelve plus hour day. As daylight began to shorten, the quota may have dropped. I didn’t find anything on this in particular, so I’m just assuming this is what would have happened logically.

Scrapes done and cup system to catch gum. The bottom cup is likely old, and they’ve attached another one higher up to ensure the sap doesn’t have to run down too far – if it does, then this dries and then has to be scraped off – another tedious and backbreaking job. (all photos courtesy of Dorothy Lange)
View of a drift, which is part of a crop (photo courtesy Dorothy Lange) Notice the distinct “catface” on the tree. Also, this setup is the “Herty system” using tin gutters and clay cups to catch the sap. Named for Charles Herty who devised this new way of collecting pine gum.

Dippers, those who scraped gum out of the tin cups and it into a bucket did approximately 1,800 cups per day. Their buckets, once full, were then dumped into a barrel. The barrels filled with pine sap would be loaded onto a wagon to go to the distillery,

Dipper with bucket (photo courtesy Dorothy Lange)
Scraping gum from cup into bucket (photo courtesy Dorothy Lange)

Add in the heat, humidity, insects, and and other challenges – you get the idea it wasn’t easy. And Rae Lynn, posing as a man, is trying to keep up. Not making quota would draw the eye of your boss, the woods man over you.


Chapter 12

Rae Lynn

After almost two weeks in the camp, she’d yet to make her daily quota.



I am giving away Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of The Saints of Swallow Hill – basically until they’re gone! If I get more, I’ll give those out too. Eventually, I’ll have the finished copies – and guess what happens to those? Yep, those will be given away too! I hope to make some readers happy! Aside from giveaways on Fridays – I’m also doing “pop-up” giveaways – which is a good reason to follow me. 🙂


We’re going to try something different! Have you read the SNEAK PEEK?

  • The Sneak Peek is available on the Kensington Publishing Company site, and you can easily read the sample right here.
  • Next, leave a review on Goodreads about what you think! (So yes, this giveaway will be tied into Goodreads.)

The winner this week will NOT be announced until next THURSDAY. That way you have more time to read and drop your thoughts about this teaser! Don’t worry about the word “review.” This seems to intimidate some, but you can write something as simple as, “More, please!” or whatever you want.




Are you a NetGalley reviewer? The Saints of Swallow Hill is available for request! I’ve started seeing a few reviews. It’s so exciting to read what people are saying about the book!


Last, but not least, don’t forget to:

Pre-order a copy!

You might win a copy, but, you can always give away one as a gift! 🙂 

8 thoughts on “First Sentence Fridays and FREE BOOK Friday!”

  1. Not sure where to mention this, but I have not been able to read the sneak peek as the Apple link does not work.????

    Really enjoyed this very educational historical tidbit of sap collection. Can not imagine doing such back breaking work day in and day out from dawn to dusk for so little pay. Just from reading the First Sentence Fridays I have great respect for Rae Lynn and am looking forward to reading her story.

    Bless you Donna for sharing your wonderful gift of storytelling with everyone and for giving us the wonderful opportunity to win a copy of The Saints of Swallow Hill.

      1. Thanks Anonymous, tried that. When I open it up on my iPad mini last 1-2 lines are missing from each page. So I sent it to iBooks to see if I got the whole page. Sure did but the page/print is so tiny I need a magnifying glass to read it. Either way it doesn’t make for an enjoyable read.

        1. Hi – it’s actually Donna. WP is acting weird and wanting me to sign in, and then when I try it doesn’t work. I am going to contact my publisher about this and see if they know what might be up with the formatting for Apple. Thanks for letting me know!

          1. Hi Donna, yeah I know what you mean about WordPress acting up. For some reason it’s not saving email addresses, names, etc. That’s how I responded as Anonymous the first time.

            Thanks for checking with Kensington. Have a great weekend.

      2. Sorry about the first response to you Anonymous l’m not very computer savvy.

        Thanks Anonymous, tried that. When I open it up on my iPad mini last 1-2 lines are missing from each page. So I sent it to iBooks to see if I got the whole page. Sure did but the page/print is so tiny I need a magnifying glass to read it. Either way it doesn’t make for an enjoyable read.

  2. Lesley McIntosh

    Read the sneak peek , so I am keen to read more Thanks for the chance to enter

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