The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Logging the Swamp, Now and Then

There's a TV show on discovery these days called "Swamp Loggers". Seems the populace just can't get enough of logging-related reality shows. I guess most folks can't believe how hard a few people in the world still work for a living.

Here's a sample...

The load of "pecky" cypress being loaded is a very unique specialty wood that people either love with a passion, or hate. I'm in the first boat...perhaps you can see why.


But what our modern swamp loggers go through, with their powerful rigs and high-flotation tires, looks like child's play compared to the feats of amazing strength, dexterity, balance, and nerve the old-time swamp loggers performed. If you liked the other old logging videos, you'll love these. No sound, just sights that you won't believe.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Paper Made Here: A Portrait on Paper

Pretty straightforward message here today.

North American wood and paper industries are among the most productive, most professional, and environmentally-conscientious companies in the world. Our environmentalist community can take a share of the credit for that last one. It's a great story of when people work together for the right things, good things happen.

So let's give credit where credit is due, and celebrate the results. Let's hope that our efforts influence others in areas of the world where industrial production is not as professional, nor conscientious. Communication, and collaborations are indirect ways to send that message.

But the best, most direct and effective way to share our industrial heritage is through the marketplace. "Buy American" is not, at its root, a dirty protectionist rallying cry for wealthy corporate shareholders or flag-waving crazies. It's a bit of wisdom for demonstrating through consumer purchases that healthy values mean something to us. Something that we care enough about to invest our hard-earned wages in.

When we lose that commitment, we lose a bit of ourselves.

Thanks to the folks at Domtar for the reminder.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Loggers Work While the Rest of Us Stay Inside

Well, the temperature was -8F this morning, which to the best of my memory is the coldest it's gotten here since I moved to Pennsylvania twelve and a half years ago. Feeding the stove last night, I found myself thinking about my timber buddies who would be getting up around 4 am to fire up their trucks and get back at it, after (if they were lucky) a Sunday off for rest.

Which reminded me of this video, which seems appropriate to share this frosty morning.

If the size of some of those loads raised your eyebrows a bit, they should...loggers are allowed to horse out as much as they can get on their truck while traveling private (usually company) roads, and well, you know, time is money. So stack 'em high and wide, and get out of my way.

Which is pretty much the attitude I was raised on, back in the day, when my dad was working hard and Johnny Cash was his favorite yodeler. I used to get into his albums, and on one, there was this great old song I remember word-for-word to this very day.

I especially loved the line...
"Well I learned this fact from a logger named Ray, you don't cut timber on a windy day...stay outta the woods when the moisture's low, or you ain't gonna live to collect your dough."
I always assumed Johnny was signing about my Papa, and that he and Johnny were old friends, which is why my dad had all his records. Anyway, not only did the lyrics impress me enough to avoid cutting timber on windy days, but the thought of not living to collect my dough was encouragement enough to study hard and get a desk job.

And to stay out of the woods when it's 8 below. But someone's got to do it, so thanks, guys. Stay warm if you can while you're Going Wood on the ground.