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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Links and References

Your first season in the bush as a tree-planter is approaching? Need more information about the job, the slang, a few tips on getting in shape and ready to pound trees?

I gathered a bunch of information on various treeplanting-related topics and posted in this all-inclusive informative post for your enjoyment. Of course, none of the following information is mine and credit and thanks are given to everyone involved. Feel free to get as much information as you can, it will give you a definite advantage when the season starts. It doesn't prepare your for everything, but there's a lot of what tree-planting is that can't be fully grasped until you experience it. Might sound somewhat pretentious, but it's actually the case.

First, planting being heavy in job-specific slang, I'd suggest to glance at a summary of T.Colin Strong's study on tree-planting lexicon, as featured (and self-admittingly, plagiarized) on Viking's blog. The whole study is available here. You can also browse this planting terms dictionary, as featured on Scooter's Replant.ca. Finally, this is Chris Stoltz's treeplanting lingo 101, a funny, yet informative take on the slang, as shown on Peppermill Records' Hi and Ho, We Plant Trees page. I especially like this one, don't ask me why:

Tree hauler, tree runner (n)-- somebody who gets paid $150-200 to drive a quad or F-350, smoke cigarettes, gossip and try to wheel the female planters. The hardest working person on an Alberta contract..

And this one:

World (n)-- anywhere that does not involve planting. Where people, manufactured goods, artistic products and drugs come from. From Full Metal Jacket-- "When I rotate back to the world..."

I would suggest watching the Fit to Plant training videos. Replant.ca has a really interesting planting training video, but it might currently be unavailable due to bandwith limitations.

Finally, to get in the mood and settings, Fuck This Place, a nine-minutes video on treeplanting for Wildwoods (by all accounts, an excellent company) in High Level, Alberta. When I started planting 5 years ago, I thought High Level referred to the intensity of the contract, but it's actually the name of a Northern Alberta town. Yet, it is also the intensity of most of the various contracts surrounding town.

Poundermix: A treeplanting reggae song.

I'll try to edit this post a few times within the next days to add more content as I find it. Hope it will be useful.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Tree-planting Gear Lists

When it comes to what to bring to camp, every planter is different. Obviously, there's the basics; a tent, a sleeping bag, some planting bags, a shovel, etc, but one person's essentials might be futile space waste to others.

Of course, you will have to consider your employer's requirements and make sure to bring every item on their mandatory list (specific equipment, protective gear, etc.), no matter how trivial you might think it is, and even if you heard comments from fellow planters about how you won't actually use the said items during the season. If you fail to bring the mandatory stuff, you might not be allowed to plant. Also, the area and type of land where you plant could have an influence on a few items that might come handy. Don't hesitate to ask your foreman/crewboss if you have any questions.

Then, you'll have to think about what might be essential to your comfort for the upcoming months in the bush (as a rookie, there will be hits and misses, your first day off will allow you to get most of the additional stuff you need) and, of course, about the packing space available. A simple rule of thumb, if you can't bring all your belongings by yourself in one trip over a short distance, you might have too much.

Treeplanting might be considered as environmentally friendly by many (whether it's the case or not is a different subject), but individual planters and treeplanting camps produce huge amounts of waste, including plenty of stuff that is left behind or ends up in a landfill when the contract ends. If some planters will start the season with an overabundance of personal items, others will simply accumulate things over time, buying (or finding...or stealing) articles varying from forgotten must-haves to trivial novelty items (among others, I've seen old bikes, sofas and a trift store three-piece suit...). A sign of our overconsumption or just a funny habit to collect silly stuff? Probably both.

So, as everybody's needs are different, and to offer a variety of choices, options and a slight idea of what you should be expected to bring, I browsed the web for many examples of gear lists. Up to you to find the one that suits you, mix them up or dress your own list.

-Tree-planter.com's list, available as a PDF document.

-Scooter's gear list at replant.ca.

-Nataram's equipment list.

-Bruin Reforestation's version of the list.

-Fellow planter and replant forum member Skibum's gear list, available as a google document.

-Greg Geir's 41 Things to Bring Planting, as featured in Tree Planting Online's gear section.

I'll post my own list shortly. It's basically the same, but I'm relatively minimalist and I'll justify my choices and provide notes on the utility (and actual necessity) of the items.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pictures Server Down...

Kinda sucks...Been faithful to maj.com for years, even though it's far from being the best picture uploader nowadays, but it might be the time to change...As soon as I get my pictures back (a lot of them are not on my computer anymore!)

Strangely, maj's sister website, brickshelf.com, is still working well...

EDIT: Maj.com works properly again. Backups done.