The contract is starting to wind down and things are getting CRAZY!!!! Add to that a camp move and several late closeouts and all of a sudden the weekly update loses its priority status -It's November while I'm writing this! Sorry about that folks, but remember the motto of Chapleau 2005: "It's better late than never!".

Amber o' the Muck

Look out for the Swamp Monster!!!! ...I mean, are you alright Amber?

You know a contract is starting to drag when planters really start to break out the antics. Take Amber's entrepreneurial plans to develop an Authentic Northern Spa complete with authentic mud baths, for example. Not only the CEO of this fledgeling aesthetic corporate empire, she's also a customer! Nice sales pitch, Sunshine! You sold me!

Wittmer o' the Bog

Unable to resist an opportunity to pamper herself, Wittmer decided to take a dip in the Authentic Northern Spa's olympic sized pool. Of course with the hindsight of having been recivilized for several months it seems to me that the olympic size was more like football field size, and the pool more of a bog, but it seemed at the time to be the height of luxury. Right Wittmer?

Wittmer raves about how warm the water is.

Johnson Takes his Ease

Now this is a new one. We were a little short of manpower to finish a block this week so we borrowed a couple extra crew members including Johnson (pictured). Johnson had spent some time on my crew last year so I knew I could trust his quality. His work habits, as I recall, were also predictable.... Always a stickler for following the rules to the letter, he contrived to "sit on the road while smoking" in a slightly more comfortable manner than I'm sure was intended by the client.

Sure he look's comfortable, but where's the Pina Colada?


Now this is classic. C-Bass, the unchallenged King of Laziness, again rises above the crowd. Discontented with his lot, he decided to take up whittling as an act of protest. Whittling on the block... I never. What has treeplanting come to?

C-Bass whittles away the time.

Red Handed

What's that, C-Bass? Cut yourself? How'd that happen? Really? Didn't see that one coming....


High Visibility

But not everyone was wasting the opportunity to make money. Take Van Damm, for example. Sure he forgot his high visibility vest in camp, which under normal circumstances would compel me to keep him on the bus for a day (another rule: all planters must have reflective stripes on their person). But Van Damm would not be kept from his labour! Ingeniously we affixed the bus's emergency hazzard triangle to his back and he was fit to rake in the cash once more.

I don't use the word hero lightly, but there goes the greatest hero in treeplanting history.

Wash Out

Nor was Van Damm the only eager beaver in our group. Upon encountering a washout on the way to a new block a horde of energetic planters swarmed out of the bus to drag deadfall and rocks from the bush to fill the gap. Twenty minutes later we were able to drive the bus relatively smoothly over the gap.

Roadwork is the same the world over. Look at all those managers!


What would the weekly update be without some wildlife shots? Here are a bevel of polywogs -halfway between tadpoles and adult frogs -sunning themselves in the shallows of a puddle. Gone are the millions of tadpoles, but the thousands of remaining polywogs will soon climb out of the puddle as frogs and start eating adult bugs for us. Go Polywogs!

Pollywogs doing their thing.


Hey, that's not wildlife! Sheppers continued to join us on the block every other day, loyally staying underfoot at all times. If I were a king and she were rose-petals it would work just a little more smoothly....

Sheppers the Dawg!


Blueberry bushes abound in the north, and it looks like this year's harvest will be very good come July. It's nice to see that full summer is just around the bend.

Blueberries abound.

Other Vegetation

Other vegetation on the block. This example is closer to being overripe, suggesting that it has been growing there for some time. I tried to pull this vegetable up, but the roots run very deep, suggesting that it would make a good anti-erosion tool in sensative landscapes. The plant is also demonstrably hardy, growing in microsites that are otherwise inhospitable to vegetation. I'm currently working on a business plan to find economic applications for this species.


Charlie & Hickey

So the party this week had a hallowe'en theme, which means that we all had to fashion costumes out of used clothing we found at the Sally Ann in town or from common camp items, mostly duct-tape. There were a number of very creative costumes this year, including a parody of popular crew bosses Charlie and Hickey (played by JET and Sheldon "Bonesy" DeHann respectively).

Sometimes a parody just hits the nail on the head....


Oh Groover.... does your zany muppetness know no bounds? Here he poses with one of the Crayola Crayons.

Groover friend!

Watch Groover being mugged by a pair of camp bullies in this short VIDEO CLIP (approx. 14 MB Download).

Fred & Wilma

Quality Pat and Kim also got into the act as a Fred & Wilma Flinstone duo. Again, the resemblance to the real thing is remarkable...

Yubba Dubba Who?


Other staff members also shelved their dignity to get into the act. It's hard to tell in the waning light, but Princess & Big Country reverted into an infintile state for the evening.

Just be thankful that the light levels are low.

Wow, what a fun and zany week! Too bad things are wrapping up. Still, there's at least one more week to look forward to! Stay tuned....