Saturday, May 30, 2009

feeling okay about planting right now, will probably feel like I should be doing something else, a higher status job, in 10 minutes

I think about the kind of people who become tree planters.

There are a few groups.

1. People from Prince George or any town like Prince George to whom working in forestry is one of very few options

2. Ecotourists from all over the world

3. Educated, or in the process of becoming educated, Experientialists

4. Older planters who become, like, "planters" as a master status
-these people usually know many people in the industry
-they like to be free to not work all winter long; maybe they collect EI
-maybe they are still working on their undergrad / MA / PHD / novel / arts related project
-avoiding 'soul crushing' big city "job job"
-lots of friends who are planters, who they might see in "the off season"
-no fixed address
-possible seasonal depression, months of inactivity every year
-possibly live in asian / south american hostels for months at a time

These categories are not mutually exclusive.

What am I?

Pat is a Chilean raised in PG. His mother is from Valparaiso and fled after the Pinochet coupe, then married a logger in Prince George. Pat can drink 18 beers and a bottle of whiskey in one evening. I told him about Roberto Bolano and he seemed impressed with me. Pat has been in a lot of scraps.

I am a "peter pan planter," maybe, because I use it to avoid making long term career decisions / continue to "try to make art."

I am also a good planter (so is Pat), and feel positive about planting lots of trees and highballing other planters. If I were not a good planter I would not do this.

But then when will I stop?

If it were easy for me to give up the life I have chosen and get a job job that is pretty good and would allow me to play golf with my brother and father would I do it?

If it didn't require shame, and "going back on a lot of stuff that I quote believe"?

Would it be better if I were working for a high status planting company like zanzibar?

How much of this am I actually in control of / is worth worrying about?

Monday, May 25, 2009

had my first "big day" of the season

Shreddies with milk and (sometimes) hemp hearts

two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with hemp hearts inside them
a granola bar
some nuts
some jujubes

Something from the slow cooker
Maybe a foot long sub with a meal option (Jalapeno chips)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Woke up this morning for a 6:30 leave time and looked out the window; snow was falling. I maneuvered onto my left hand to see if I could get a view of the top of a truck outside, and felt pain. I winced. The snow was sticking.

The alarm went off, Ben got up and said “Shit.” I asked him to draw the blinds. My shoulder and elbow are fucked feeling.

I put some hemp hearts on top of my Shreddies and poured coffee into an empty bottle of vitamin water. My stomach began to cramp.

When I was on the toilet trying to stretch my arms shoulder and wrist, Ben came to the door and made a choking sound, or not a choking sound, the kind of sound people make when they do that fake slit across their throat thing as if to cut somebody off stage, or end something. At that point I knew we would not be working.

Now we are watching a TV movie where a black car is driving around killing people in the desert. The car has no driver. The car just revved a lot and disappeared. I guess it is a ghost car. Think I am going to go and find a hot tub later. Get my shovel fixed so it doesn’t twist when I do a hard C-cut.

The snow has stopped and it is only 9:15. In a couple of hours we will all feel grumpy for having to waste another day. My original feeling, upon being told we weren’t working, was relief.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I saw Cam Stewart - My Foreman from last year

I knew rhino was around town but I had been ducking them, thinking they would be offended that I went with another company.

I wondered if Cam would want to punch me. I saw him. He was in a truck. We spoke. I saw Chris Montagner, who is making more money than I am, apparently. Chris and I were competitive last year, by which I mean that he would defeat me occasionally in BC, and I would defeat him consistently in Alberta.

I saw all of my old crew, as well as Simon, who is running a crew at Rhino. Simon and I talked about his portrayal on my blog from last year. I think Simon is a good guy.

Saw Travis Holmes who is no longer running the turbulent times, which is too bad. My hands are bad for typing right now. I feel arthritic and hungonver. I went to a bar last night and they played that song "save a horse ride a cowboy" a few times. It was similar to other bars in other towns.

I replanted yesterday but maintained my cool and did a good job of it. I think I am growing up. Two meter minimums, 7's and obstacles don't work very well. You can't ask for all of those things - I will break the minimums. That is why I replanted. Oh well. The trees were good, are still good, I am happy about that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

After First Shift

I am in 100 Mile House at a cafe called "the Chartreuse Moose." The coffee is excellent. Planted about 8000 trees last week.

My body is adjusting to: 10 hours of physical labor performed on 4 consecutive days; a 5000 calorie per day diet consisting of great quantities of nuts and sugars; shitting in the woods.

My crew boss is Matthew Bock, and as a planter I think he was 'hot shit.' I think he is the first crew boss I have had that could highball the living shit out of me.

Maybe not in Alberta. My Alberta game is solid.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things I have heard about Franz Otto

Planted into his late forties maybe 50's

Nominated more times than any other person for the tree planting hall of fame

Ran a company called "Puck" which failed

Has been referred to publicly as "legend" and "ubermensch"

Things I've heard

He is a badass

He is an alcoholic

He pulls stumps out of the ground with his bare hands in order to build bridges across waterbars

He has had his shoulder replaced

He has destroyed his body by planting

"I have been around camp fires where planters publicly doubted his actual existence, and claimed he was a planting urban myth."

"His numbers tripled those of the next best planter (who was far from a slouch)."

"the numbers he did back in the shovel screefing days was astounding."

"During the working day he would down jars of honey for quick energy,"