Down East company clears boulders from barrens at end of season

Posted Sept. 21, 2012, at 3:57 p.m.

JONESBORO, Maine — Now that the last of the company’s 300 acres of wild blueberries have been picked, Hennessey Brothers is busy picking rocks out of its 300 acres of barrens in Jonesboro.

Ernie Spaulding of Danforth jumped in his excavator at 3 a.m. Friday for a long day of clearing boulders from a barren off Route 1.

The Machias-based company has been “land-leveling” for years and has now cleared more than 250 acres. Rock-free fields accommodate mechanical harvesting, as the task of recruiting crews of human hand-rakers has become more difficult in recent years Down East.

“These are small,” he said Friday afternoon of his rock harvest. “There are some that I can dig out, but not carry off, because they’re just too heavy. We need to bring in even bigger equipment to do that.”

Spaulding estimates he has logged as many as 30,000 hours picking rocks for Hennessey Brothers.