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WEEK FOUR

Wow, what a week! The dragonflies are out in force, gobbling up blackflies, mosquitos and deerflies by the thousands. Vehicles broke down -I know, surprising turn of events. And there was a heist on the block! Interested in the week yet? Read on!


Blown Tire

Let's start with vehicles again. This time it was a bus tire that blew out from under us on the highway while we were doing 80 km/h. As a bus driver I was eerily calm: the huge bang and palpable lurch I assumed was merely the back of the bus falling off. Some of the planters were frightened half to death. BOTH of Krazy Katie's armpits started itching, a phenomenon that only occurs when she is really scared, so it must have been quite the traumatic experience sitting over the wheel-well when the tire went. But no long term damage: the tire was replaced and the bus back on the road the next day.

It seems we're missing part of something....


Tarp Fort

Sheppers still makes it out to the block on occassion (although most of her time is spent keeping the couch in the office trailer back in camp from floating away!). In the cut there's not a lot of shelter from the sun for a black dog so she has taken to hiding from the bugs and the sun under the Silvacool tarps (tm) that we use to keep our seedlings cool. What a smart dog!

Sheppers hides from the bugs and the heat in her tarp lair.


Bind Weed

Our old friend Bind Weed is back! Last season we planted entire unscarified blocks that were completely smothered by this tangled plant, making planting and walking for that matter extremely difficult. This year at least there are furrows cutting between the webs of Bind Weed, so it's not much of an obstruction. In fact since it has ceased to be such a nuissance I must say that it's beginning to grow on me (figuratively, of course). It's quite the attractive plant, with red vines, dark green leaves and pretty greenish-yellow flowers. Plus, it seems to grow up anything in both sun and shade, and it seems to thrive in the extreme climate of Chapleau. I think I've found a decorative vine for that house I'll build one day....

Black Fringed Bind Weed: don't get snared!

Tadpoles

Helping to supress those pesky bugs is the frog population, augmented throughout the season by millions of tadpoles. Every puddle in the cut seems to teem with life this time of year. I guess since I keep my eyes on the ground looking at trees all day I'd be inclined to notice these sort of things....

Hurry up and turn into frogs already! We need some bug populations to crash!

Dragonfly

Of course the biggest bug suppression force in the bush this week were the fleets and fleets of dragonflies. Each dragonfly supposedly eats several times its own weight in blackflies, mosquitos and deer flies, and their impact on the bugs on the block is obvious.

A dragonfly takes a break from feasting to examine a planter's safety vest.

Bad Idea

Let's play a game. Let's call it "Good Idea, Bad Idea". Let me give you a situation: you want to get out of your lot quickly to bag up more trees and make lots of money, but there is a swath of three-foot-deep puddle in your way. Now's your chance to play: tell me, is it a good idea, or a bad idea to try and jump it?

Don't do it Wittmer! You don't know what's down there!


Pay Load

The block we're planting next has really bad access, which will require all the planters to walk in about four kilometers. They can hardly carry all the trees in with them, so the decision was made to bring in tree by helicopter and then shuffle them about with a quad. Someone was needed on the block to direct the helicopter and reattach the Lanyer hook after the tree drops, so I volunteered my day off to help out.

The trees are collected into a net that is slung over on a long line under the helicopter.


Quad

Here is the quad I rode all day. The road inside the block was in very good condition, making my rides quite enjoyable. Somedays this job is just plain awesome!

I can't believe their actually PAYING me for this!

Meander

So guess who scored a ride in the helicopter? Very fun!

The bush sure looks different from up above....


Block from the Air

The clear cut sticks out from the bush like a sore thumb. This is actually our staging area, where we assembled the trees for lifting to the bad access block.

The block lies nestled in the uncut wilderness.

So the heist: somebody made off with our fire fighting equipment and several of our shovels! The most tragic loss was that of Rufus, longtime companion of Blossom, one of the rookies I trained last year. She was very upset and asks that if anyone out there in internet land has any information on the whereabouts of Rufus to please, please contact us (via the Forum). Rufus is described as one meter high with a redish tape job.

I didn't take as many pictures this week as I would have liked, so the rest of this weeks page is just a last minute montage of my crew with succinct biographical information. In alphabetical order, I give you the Rabid Sasquatch Commandos of Chapleau 2006.


Champ

NAME: ANNA "CHAMP" ANDREJWSKI

RANK: 2ND YEAR VET

SHOVEL NAME: DUFFY

PLANTING PLUSSES: Bagging up and up and up!

PLANTING PEEVES: Falling Down, Pissy McGee

PLANTING MOTTO: "You HAVE to listen to this inspirational speech!"


Sparta

NAME: MEGAN "SPARTA" BURNS

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: WILLIAM WALLACE

PLANTING PLUSSES: Black Muck

PLANTING PEEVES: Duff Shots

PLANTING MOTTO: "Plant it all and let God sort it out."


Sunshine

NAME: AMBER "SUNSHINE" COOK

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: FLARE

PLANTING PLUSSES: It's not Burger King

PLANTING PEEVES: Road Slutters

PLANTING MOTTO: "Do you want flies with that?"


Flesh

NAME: SHANNON "FLESH" DE HANN

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: SHAMUS

PLANTING PLUSSES: Dragonflies

PLANTING PEEVES: Planting

PLANTING MOTTO: "Green side up!"


GIVER

NAME: SHANE "GIVER" KAVANAGH

RANK: 2ND YEAR VET

SHOVEL NAME: BLITZKRIEG

PLANTING PLUSSES: 100K or bust

PLANTING PEEVES: Replanting

PLANTING MOTTO: "This is horse shit, Al! Horse shit!"


Krazy

NAME: "KRAZY" KATIE KNIGHT

RANK: 2ND YEAR ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: THOR

PLANTING PLUSSES: Tree Handlers

PLANTING PEEVES: Waka Waka Waka!

PLANTING MOTTO: "What's a little more?"


C-Bass

NAME: BRANDON "C-BASS" MORRIS

RANK: 3RD YEAR VET

SHOVEL NAME: BEER TITS

PLANTING PLUSSES: Cache Naps

PLANTING PEEVES: Inclement Weather

PLANTING MOTTO: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"


Lefty

NAME: MARK "LEFTY" RYAN

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: UHO

PLANTING PLUSSES: Road Slutting

PLANTING PEEVES: Hard Roads

PLANTING MOTTO: "I only plant money trees."


Global

NAME: LUKE "GLOBAL" STEWART

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: DARK STAR

PLANTING PLUSSES: It starts with a 'J' and ends with a 'J'

PLANTING PEEVES: Being Creamed Out

PLANTING MOTTO: "I think this day has just about done me in."


Champ

NAME: DEREK "GANDALF" VAN DAMM

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: GLAMDRING II

PLANTING PLUSSES: Singing Time

PLANTING PEEVES: Phantom Furrows

PLANTING MOTTO: "Words are cheap. I prefer to communicate through the medium of purple nurples."


Boss

NAME: ALEX "BOSS" VAN DER WIJST

RANK: CREW BOSS

SHOVELS' NAMES: EXCALIBUR & SPYROS

PLANTING PLUSSES: Ponche Pack, Head Sock Tan

PLANTING PEEVES: Missed Spots

PLANTING MOTTO: "E pluribus arbori."


T

NAME: THOMAS "T" VAN DER WIJST

RANK: 5TH YEAR VET

SHOVELS' NAMES: TELEVISION & RADIO

PLANTING PLUSSES: Yelling, Defending Turf, Scaring Rookies

PLANTING PEEVES: Change

PLANTING MOTTO: "Get the FUCK out of my land!"


BANDIT

NAME: JOSIE "BLACK SPRUCE BANDIT" WITTMER

RANK: ROOKIE

SHOVEL NAME: TRON

PLANTING PLUSSES: Black Spruce Swamps & Enchanted Forests

PLANTING PEEVES: Treelot Phantoms

PLANTING MOTTO: "Oh. Good."

What a crazy looking bunch, eh? Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of the Rabid Sasquatch Commandos!






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