A Day In The Life of a Log Scaler

(a photographic journal)

The Afternoon...

12:00 p.m. Back out into the log yards where the work has been piling up while we were on lunch "break."

Now empty logging trucks loading their trailers back onto the back of the truck (saving wear and tear on the trailers and tires) and heading back out to the woods for yet another load.

The upper, paved yard and the LeTourneau's are right on top of us. This looks scarier than it is. Everyone in the log yard watches out for each other. No one does anything unexpected. Everyone stays where they should. Safety is paramount.

Bobby and George waiting at the crummy for me to finish the load I'm working on so we can move up to the upper yard.

Bobby has the stocked the inside of the crummy with all the supplies (including chalk for marking on the ends of the logs, aluminum paint for marking lengths on the sides of the logs and for sort marks, ear plugs to dampen the incredible noise generated by the equipment and so on) we're likely to need for the afternoon crush.

We load into the crummy and head off past the weigh scales and through the decks to see what awaits us in the upper yard.

Yep, more loads of logs, lots more...sigh.

Nothing to be done but to dive right in and deal with the mess.

A second-growth Douglas Fir butt end. Note the "spud" marks. These chips we take out of the ends of the logs help us to look for the subtle stains or soft spots in the logs so we can make appropriate deductions if needed...and no, I'm quite sure I was not "picking my nose" at the time this picture was taken.

It's about 2:00 in the afternoon now and the heat and dust have become oppressive...and the loads continue to pour in. Still, it's hard to bring us down on a FRIDAY afternoon when staring a weekend off square in the face so our spirits are still pretty high :-)

A glorious sight to see. Mike Pinard has abandoned his decking crane and has jumped on the water truck. After being wet down the log yard temperature has immediatly drop about 10 degrees and most all of the dust is magically GONE!

Part time LeTourneau operator (and full time shovel operator) Steve Jones comes over to find out what the hell I'm doing with that camera so I take his picture.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon we FINALLY catch up and head back to the scale shack for water and rest. That's the yard cat "Cookie" doing her best "dead cat in the sun" routine out front. Cookie has a good life.

Log Clerk Linda Carlson from upstairs comes down to lord it over us that she is headed to Hawaii next week for vacation. Linda certainly deserves the break. When the yard is busy, Linda is busy. She's responsible for keeping track of the deck's inventory and handling the millions of dollars Simpson pays out to the previous timber owners (Simpson owns the logs after they're scaled) each month...and the yard has been very, very busy lately.

Now that's more like it. Me, giving my poor, tired feet a deserved break.

The sawmill and yard as seen from the main scaling log yard.

The sun is getting lower in the sky. It's around 5:00. The yard quits taking logs at 6:00. With only one hour to go we have succeeded in clearing the main log yard.

A few random loads are still showing up. This second growth redwood was too heavy for the equipment in the woods to load in one piece so it was ripped, length-wise, in half.

I've discovered some "conk rot" in this Douglas Fir. Here on the California northcoast this stuff is nasty and destroys a lot of timber. It's caused by an airborne fungus and severely weakens the wood. Deductions will have to be made.

Crows. We've been eating a lot of peanuts in the log yard recently (these fads come and go) and have taken to feeding them to a few of the crows that hang around the yard (the insects under the bark attracts lots of birds)...now their numbers have seemingly quadrupled and have taken to "begging" us for nuts...it can be somewhat annoying and we wonder what possesed us to start doing this.

Finally! Time to go home. I've uncovered my trusty bike (always a favorite time of day...kind of like opening a Xmas present every day), print out our afternoon's work, transmit, staple, fold, mutilate and head on down the road towards the weekend.

Simpson Timber Company's Korbel Operations main gate. I'll be heading back this way next Monday...but perhaps it will rain between now and then.


As a matter of fact it did rain that weekend. On Sunday we measured 2" of rain at my house in a 24 hour period. That Monday I scaled a grand total of one (1) load. I was able to catch up on all of my periodical reading, I read ALL of my voter information packet and filled out my Sample Ballot, I read about half of Che Guevara's "Motorcycle Diaries" and was still home before 3:30 p.m...Ahhh, ya gotta love the Fall :-)

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