More Logging

At the end of the day on Monday, the camera was flashing a “low battery” symbol. I changed the batteries and apparently broke the camera. Oh dear. I had borrowed the camera from my friend Tom, after similarly mysteriously breaking Jon’s new camera. I am beginning to think I may have some terrible poltergeist mental energy that instantly causes digital cameras to malfunction. Unless Tom can diagnose and fix the most recent problem, I am the proud owner of two beautiful broken cameras that I need to replace.

Allen’s wife Sandy came out to the site to see his work and kindly brought me a disposable camera to record the job. But until that film is developed, no photos.

Logging continued on Tuesday. Rain overnight had turned the driveway by the barn to mire, and the logging crew asked Allen to scrape it with the excavator. He took a foot of mud off the top and made large piles in the field where Rob, the logging boss, indicated. A few hours later a tractor trailer became stuck, boxed in by one of these piles. The irate driver spoke to Allen, who explained mildly that he’d been told to put the pile there. The driver burst into profanity directed at Rob. The sucking mud tried everyone’s patience.

I hastily passed out cookies and told the loggers they were welcome to use the skidder to bulldoze the mudpile flat. That seems to be my primary function while the loggers are here. Feeding the men cookies and smiling cheerfully. They all enjoy teasing me. “C’mon, want to run the skidder?”

Allen spent the day digging rocks out of the lower field. Though all my land is rocky, this field has been impossible to mow, because a lawnmower literally couldn’t fit between all the granite chunks poking the surface. On investigation Allen found that most of these rock faces were actually boulders the size of club chairs. These he pulled. Smaller rocks he buried. The boulders the size of automobiles, he left alone. The field was so studded with stone that in places it looked cobbled. Progress was slow.

From where I was fencing up the hill I watched the excavator bounce forward and back, pulling boulders hour after hour. I knew Allen was being thrown around. At 3:30 I drove my truck across the field and stopped next to the excavator. Allen cut the engine, closed the windows, and climbed stiffly down. He opened my passenger door. His smile was tired. “Guess this is your way of saying it’s time to quit?” he asked.

I patted his hand and drove him up the long hill to his truck.

The forecast was for more heavy rains overnight and Wednesday.

“I can still pull them rocks in the rain,” Allen said automatically. But he looked exhausted.

“Allen, it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on Saturday. If it’s raining tomorrow let’s take the day off and work Saturday instead.”

Rain was drumming on the roof yesterday at 3 AM. The gutters were still pouring at 7:00. It would be a day of rest for Allen and me.

However when I went down to the farm to milk I could see the loggers were still hard at it. The driveway was even soupier. All of the crew was back in the woods, so I left cookies in one of the pickups. It rained all day.

When I drove back down at 2 PM the place was deserted, but the driveway and field near the barn looked like a war zone. Obviously the second round of trucks had become stuck and had thrashed like beached whales. Ruts criss-crossed everywhere, knee-deep and filled with water. The lower field was gouged and churned into mud. As I surveyed the damage in the gloomy, raw afternoon, I was glad I had missed what must have been a scene of intense frustration.

Allen will be able to fix the driveway and the field, but I would never have been able to fix the conditions or the mood — even with cookies.

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