SETTING UP CAMP
We set up our first bush camp about a kilometre outside Dalton, Ontario. Don't let the fact that the place has a name fool you into thinking that something is actually there...
You could plant a really big tree in that hole! Actually, this is where our camp's waste water will drain. After digging the pit we covered it with trusses improvised from local timber and tarps to keep it from flooding.
SETTING UP THE TENTS
Every treeplanting camp needs at least one oversized tent for eating meals. We thought we would have two tents this year, one for meals and a smaller one for making lunches (a space consuming enterprise in the mornings).
The complexity of the tent components manages to baffle the majority of the staff.
LUNCH SHELTER TAKE TWO
So the boys had another go at it. This time the idea was a semi-permanent porch rigged with lumber and tarps. To the credit of all involved this improvised lunch shelter has resisted weather that many tents did not. I tip my cap at you!
Many hands make light work of the "Lunch Porch".
Although all the pieces for the steps and railings are stored over winter in the trailers that they belong to, somehow pieces always seem to go missing.... These slightly crooked railings were assembled from salvaged bits of 2 X 4s and I think it shows. Sheppers doesn't seem to mind, though.
This is Sheppers, by the way, my CONSTANT companion this season.
Holy freak weather swing Bat Man! This snow seemed to come out of nowhere! We froze in our tents for two days and then the cold left as quickly as it had come. Four days later it was back, however, and by that time we were planting in the field. We actually had to stop production due to snow accumulation: a first for me in Chapleau. There were many blue lips and numb fingers (especially since it had been freezing rain all day up to that point), but out of a camp of 70 planters we had only two quitters that day! Way to tough it out guys!
Snow blows around the Mess Tent and the Office Trailer.
MUSTERING THE TROOPS
A large group of planters mill about their baggage pile on the roadside of Wawa, waiting to be picked up. It's a sunny day in town, but are they ready for the wild weather in the bush? Only time will tell.
FINALLY we get to some planting! Well, almost. Here veteran crew boss Sean Hickey teaches a workshop on microsite selection. The exposed mineral soil in the picture runs in long furrows that were turned up by a skidder to prepare the land (sort of like a tractor tilling a field but much messier). Prospective planters must learn the appropriate place on the furrow to plant their trees.
Planters were also given a workshop on how to take care of their bodies. They were taught technique, stretches and were warned of some of the afflictions unique to treeplanting ("The Claw", "Christmas Toe", and who can forget "Jungle Foot").
Talk about a pooped pooch! What is she going to do on those REAL
After a busy day of training the troops are eager to eat. Unfortunately they can only pass one at a time throught the kitchen, creating a severe bottleneck. The wait is worth it - the food is REALLY good up here!
That's all I have for this week. Stay tuned for further updates in the coming weeks!