Showing posts from May, 2014

Yard Work on Steroids

You may have a weekend of yardwork planned ahead, as I do. The Wife and I are not especially fanatics of yard work, but when forced (like this weekend, when we'll be prepping for a yard-based graduation party), we can get out and enjoy the sun and fresh air that goes along with a little hard work.

And then there's this couple.

Now that's true love :-)

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More of that 1930's West Coast Logging

Old logging and sawmill videos are just about the most popular posts on Go Wood, and this one rates as one of the best. Great close-in filming, detailed narration, and even some old-time cowboy background music make this a thirty minutes well-spent.

And if you don't know what a Davis raft is, you'll want to stay on until the end to watch an "island of wood" being built for trans-oceanic delivery to the sawmills of Vancouver. Wow.

Next time you're in a home or building built pre-1950, look up at those beams and woodwork and think of the folks of the logging companies who made those old wooden castles possible.

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Groundhog in a Fix, Threatens Suicide

Enjoying my breakfast yesterday out in the back sunroom, my eye caught a brown furry blur streaking through the undergrowth in the back yard. Sure enough, the invader was a central Pennsylvania groundhog (Marmota monax), which is not too surprising; we've had several share our hillside over the years. This sighting took a little different twist, however, when the little fellow decided to tour our deck. Groundhogs are shy critters and usually only seen by roadsides munching clover within a quick scamper of cover. But this one was feeling brave...until I followed him out onto the deck.

What we call groundhogs, here in Pennsylvania, are often called woodchucks. Which is a name I have heard myself called, probably a couple of thousand times. So I feel a kindred spirit to the furry fellows, even though they're not too friendly...can be downright mean, in fact.

I've wondered why they're called they really throw wood chunks around?

I've never seen them act…

When a Tree Speaks

Just when you think you've seen all there is to see, someone finds another unique use of wood on the internet. Thanks to Andy B. who sent this along to me.

YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.

So that's what it feels like to spend a lifetime growing in one spot in a forest. Somewhat melancholy.

Being an audiophile myself, I noticed right away that the position of the stylus changes throughout the video, and is not always in sync with the recording. However, from 0:35 to 0:56 of the video the strumming we hear is in sync with the stylus crossing the knot. Very interesting...but is it real?

The folks at the website must have wondered the same thing, and they did a little research on the video.  This is what they have to say about it:
"This is an excerpt from the record Years, created by Bartholomäus Traubeck, which features seven recordings from different Austrian trees including Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Beech. What you are hearing is an Ash tree’s year …

Bill Maher and Mike Rowe Discuss What Dirty Jobs Mean to America

Besides the great comments submitted on the last couple of posts, I had some insightful feedback via email. One especially interesting comment came from Glen in Arkansas, who said...
"The attitude of entitlement projected by so many of the young folks we interview at EFS is an epidemic. It's not, "What can I do for your firm and clients?" it's "What are you going to do for me?" He went on to describe the reasons he believes this attitude is so common. I know, as the father of seven kids, five who are now teens and twenty-somethings, that their approach to life and values are different than mine were forty years ago. They definitely don't want to get dirty. I thought getting dirty was the fun part of work.

Generational differences, I suppose, have always been so. The important thing is to acknowledge and react to this different culture in a way that produces positive outcomes, those that bring production of goods and services back to its important…

More on Employees, Employment, and Life

Last time, we were considering the state of the modern wood products company, with respect to recruiting and keeping its employees. I hinted at the fact that higher education is actually a competitor for your best future employees.

At right is an interesting infographic from the video "Timber! There's a Gold Mine Out There" produced by the members of the Keystone Wood Products Association, a wood industry association here in Pennsylvania. The video, which is intended for viewing by middle-school and high-school students, begins with an educational story about the environmental value of sustainably-managed forests, and then goes on to provide the young folks with a look at the wood products industry, its role in harvesting the forest and converting the wood to value-added products, and the types of careers to be had. The infographic is especially interesting for a little-discussed issue in many high this case, that 85% of all the jobs in this particular indu…

On Education, Employee Loyalty, and Life

Well, here it is, this time of year again. The young folks are walking around campus in their blue cap and gowns, proud parents in tow, taking pictures of themselves standing in front of every landmark on campus. It is a happy time. This time last year, I was celebrating the launch of a young career in the wood industry. Carol Chang in fact landed a great job in the furniture industry, and has already had some of her work used in Architectural Digest.

This time around, though, my thoughts are in a little different place. I've been spending a lot of time recently with companies that are trying to figure out this puzzling economy, and in some cases, how to deal with employee recruitment and retention issues.

If you've been in industry for a while, you know that every time the economy begins to pick up, employee issues flip from having too many (during the downturn) to not having enough (during the upswing). This time around, the "upswing" has been very gradual, and emp…