Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"The Last Logger"

An anxiously awaited package finally showed up on the snail-mail express. A package that should have taken two days at the most, and maybe should have shown up overnight, took from April the 15th until April 22nd to get here. After searching our mail stacks high and low with guilt ridden embarrassment that we had probably carelessly lost a gift from hard and fast friend… It walks in the door and lands on our counter… “You got Mail”… A tale for another post for sure.

Now to the topic at hand, Ekovox sent me a CD copy of “Delta Nationals” latest new Disc, “All Over the Map” the song that he wanted me to listen to in particular was “The Last Logger Leaving Town”. He knows that I strongly identify with the lumber community, and would be interested in the saga of the loggers loading up and getting out of here.

They had me at “After a hundred years of logging”. They sang the saga of the proud busted logger moving outta’ here. The words to the song relate to terms that only a north-coaster would understand.

The logger-bar twang in the Guitar puts me back on that barstool in Briceland, my corks in my truck, and my Romeos on my feet wrapped around the rung on the bar stool. I can still feel the smile on my face. My beer in one hand, and my other hand carefully placed on the bar where it wouldn’t get in trouble with the other logger and mill workers pretty girl-friends and wives. But, they sure were pretty out there on the dance floor spinning around to “Hello Walls” and “Born to lose”. The joke on the song at the time was; “Born too loose”. I could relate to that.

I can still feel the dust in my clothes, the honest dirt on my skin, the parch in my throat from a hard ten-hour day in the place I loved. My dad beside me saying “Son you gotta’ get out of here, there ain’t no future in logging”. He never lied to me before, at least not on purpose. Most loggers will tell you any kind of a tall tale just to see if you swallow it, but you can tell when one is not trying to stretch the truth. There was a ring of truth in my dad’s voice that I couldn’t deny.

I did my best, I may be a refrigeration contractor now, but in my chest is the heart of a logger. I had just about put the logger in me behind, but one day about a year or so ago, I started nosing around the blog-sites. Eric Kirk did a post about a brand new blog called “299 Opine” by Ekovox. He talked about real people, with real jobs, that worked in real places. Most everybody signed their names, or at least you knew who they were. It was the kind of place that a person like me can relate to, so I was drawn to read it every day.

One time a while back Eko took a hiatus, he is prone to do that. Some how his blogsite turned into stories that talked about how it used to be when logging was a proud profession. I had already been playing with the idea that someone should write a book about logging in Garberville. I figured that I was the only one left around here that knew or appreciated the loggers that were here at the time, and if I was going to tell a story I would have to learn to write, so I started practicing by writing on the blogsites.

I was actually inspired by a good friend of mine that has zero respect for logging. Kim Sallaway is a great photographer that is a true artist. He can take a picture of a person that really can do what the Indians were afraid would happen, he captures the person’s soul.

I subscribe to his "Picture of the Day" posting where he sends out his favorite photograph for the day, every now and then he will make a disparaging comment about logging. I shake my head and think that I wish I could explain to him who a logger is. He just really never met one. We aren't the people that want to clear-cut and hurt the critters, and tear up the environment. We are people that can't work anywhere but outdoors or but with our hands and muscles. We like the smell of a sawmill or a woods operation. But, sometimes we are stuck with jumping through the hoops of the "Beerocrats and fat cats" that took it all from us with their corporate greed.

But, my friend Kim lives in a wood house, so I know that he must have some basis of understanding. I just don’t know how to approach the subject. I’m reminded of when I was a kid, my best friend at the time was Robin Brooks, He is the most devout religious person that I’ve ever known. I guess that I’m drawn to opposites. One time I asked why he never pressed me about religion, he said that he didn’t want to talk to me about religion because if he gave me the word of God and I rejected it I would have to go to hell, and he didn’t want that to happen to me. Now that’s a friend. I guess that I'll just have to get there with out his help. So, I guess that is why I never talk to Kim about Loggers. I don’t want to see him go to hell if I don’t get it right.

When I see a deck of logs, I see my family’s blood and sweat all over them, and when I see a load of lumber go by I see some young couple getting a new house to raise their babies.

Back to the CD. I said once before that music isn’t my life but it is the theme that is always playing in the background. Right now I have “The Last Logger Leaving Town” playing in the background.

I have the technology to put the songs on this blog, but you can take my word for it the album is a “must have”. It is an Eclectic compilation of tunes that showcases the “Delta Nationals” wide range of talent. It is great as a demo album of musical genres that they can handle. Their instrument talent is flawless, and if they don’t hit every note when they are singing it’s their inside joke to see if you are paying attention. If you look at the stage they will wink at you in appreciating that you got it.

Their music is about real people, the tune “Overtime” is one that anyone can relate to. This post has gone on long enough. I guess I’ll answer the question that Ekovox asked: Yeah I like it!

Oh yeah it's the "Delta Nationals". The album is "All Over the Map". A very eclectic album of songs about people and places. And, oh yeah, here's some more of their tunes!

44 comments:

Kym said...

Ernie I popped over here hoping for a new post and found myself sitting here with tears in my eyes and cat trying to claw her way out of my throat.
"We aren't the people that want to clear-cut and hurt the critters, and tear up the environment. We are people that can't work anywhere but outdoors or but with our hands and muscles. We like the smell of a sawmill or a woods operation. But, sometimes we are stuck with jumping through the hoops of the "Beerocrats and fat cats" that took it all from us with their corporate greed."

That says the truth about loggers. I identify strongly as an environmentalist but I grew up with loggers and they will always be heroes to me.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Kym, I should have known that you would "Get It", but many don't, and it has be proven to me too many times to ignore. Some folks just don't want to play nice.

But hey, It was a music revue!

ben said...

Ernie, Where was the bar in Briceland? Was it another "Bucket of Blood" like the one at Thorn? Sharon Byrd had the greatest jukebox (actually three) in the history of mankind at the Sawblade, but that was later than the time you are remembering. I did enjoy my logger friends although some of it I don't remember too well since I knew them in bars rather than the woods. Many were "boomers" and went off to Idaho or Alaska when times got tough around here. The log truck drivers would come in the bar high on speed and play pool 'til 2 AM. Then they would drive to town and find some light to shine up their trucks before they headed out to the landing at dawn. Whooo-eee, you think hippies are wild.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben,
As you know, I depicted the logger in a light like I thought of them at the time. Most of the lumber people in Briceland were just like the logger-bar scene that I told about. But, there was many drunks and renegades. Ben, you got to see the “Gypo” at his worst.

Like I said in the piece that I wrote, a logger will “tell you a tale just to see if you will swallow it.” I was working in the woods at the time, but was only seventeen-eighteen. I worked in the woods all summer from the time I was fifteen. My dad owned the logging company, so I could work around equipment, just like farm kids do. I worked all season in ’63. I hardly sat at the bar and drank beer, but I drank root beer, played pool and mingled with them. I knew all about that lumberman on the bar stool. Most were hard working and honest.

The bar was in about the middle of Briceland, on the north side. About the center of where the road curves. There is a building there now, and the west end of it would have been in the middle of the restaurant side of the old bar building.

Ernie Branscomb said...

The reason that I'm awake is my dog took me on a coon hunt in the back yard. She is sound asleep now.

Damn dog!

EkoVox said...

Ernie, for the sake of conversation, I am going to include the lyrics here for those who haven't heard the song. I know local radio won't play the song. I'm not sure why. If it were about Kentucky coal miners or the family farmer it probably would be played more.

Yes, the "Gypo" logger was a colorful character and were rough and tumble in nature. Not all loggers hung out in bars. Many were God fearing folks raising families and trying to eek out a living. Don't let Maxxam color the entire history of logging. And don't let the idea that all loggers are uneducated drunks enter your mindset. A great many college students would work in the woods during the summer.

Thanks Ernie, for the review. I thought you might like The Last Logger Leavin' Town.

verse 1:

AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS OF LOGGING
CHANGING TIMES WERE ON THE WAY
BETWEEN THE BUREAUCRATS AND THE FAT CATS
THE TIMBER JOBS WERE GOING AWAY.

BUT A MAN'S GOT TO FEED HIS FAMILY
PACK UP HIS CAULKS AND HIS ROMEOS
AND YOU GOTTA ADMIT THERE AIN'T NOTHING LEFT BUT PISS FIR AND PECKER POLES.


chorus:
WHERE WENT THE SAW SHOPS
WHERE WENT THE TRUCK STOPS
DON'T LOOK IN THE LOST AND FOUND

WHERE WENT THE YARDERS AND THE SKIDDERS
THEY'RE LOADED UP AND EASTERN BOUND

WHERE WENT THE FALLERS AND THEIR SWAMPERS,
THEIR WHOLE WORLD'S UPSIDE DOWN
THE CHOKER SETTER AND THE CAT SKINNER...
THEY'RE WITH THE LAST LOGGER LEAVIN' TOWN.

verse 2:

THERE'S A WELDING JOB IN BOISE
HIS COUSIN CAN GET HIM ON.
THEY'VE BEEN WORKING THREE SHIFTS AT INTEL
SINCE HIS FAMILY UP AND GONE.

HE WAS BOUND AND DETERMINED
WHAT HE SAW LEFT HIM WITH DOUBT
YOU CAN HEAR THE PURR OF HIS JAKE BRAKE
ON THE LAST GRADE HEADED OUT.

chorus

verse 3:

THEY TOLD HIM HE COULD MAKE MORE
BY GROWING A PATCH OF DOPE
OR BY GETTING ON GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE
HE SHOOK HIS HEAD AND JUST SAID NOPE.
HE SAID "C'MON BOYS, LET'S LOAD 'ER UP..
AND GET ON OUT OF HERE"
AS HE PASSES BY THE CITY LIMIT SIGN WITH HIS MIDDLE FINGER IN THE AIR.

chorus:
WHERE WENT THE SAW SHOPS
WHERE WENT THE TRUCK STOPS
DON'T LOOK IN THE LOST AND FOUND

WHERE WENT THE YARDERS AND THE SKIDDERS
THEY'RE LOADED UP AND EASTERN BOUND

WHERE WENT THE FALLERS AND THEIR SWAMPERS,
THEIR WHOLE WORLD'S UPSIDE DOWN
THE CHOKER SETTER AND THE CAT SKINNER...
THEY'RE WITH THE LAST LOGGER LEAVIN' TOWN.

Ross Rowley copyright 2007

Ernie Branscomb said...

“I know local radio won't play the song. I'm not sure why.”

Maybe they just never took the time to meet a real logger.

I have some other theories that involve demographics. Maybe they are afraid of loosing the Rabid Environmentalist support. The environmentalist and the logger are born with the same blood. It is my opinion that they will someday realize that, and join hands in logging the forest properly. I see some evidence of that theory in Branscomb / Usal, where the Harwoods and the hippies are joining hands in logging the Usal creek drainage. Ben went to a meeting where Art Harwood presented the plan. It’s all a little sketchy right now. It is based on a select cut, sustained yield plan, where timber will last forever. It grows back you know.

Kym said...

After I commented here, I clicked on the link (after 11 my bandwidth doesn't get credited) and listened to the music as I tried to catch up on my email.

The songs left me mellow and at peace with the world.

lodgepole said...

Eko, a little while back I went to get your album at the Works, but they didn't have it yet. Where can I score a copy?

Ernie, about 5-6 years ago I met your old best friend Robin Brooks up at Diamond Lake, Oregon. He was really nice. He said he was a pastor or some such, and that he would go to Mexico or South America to spread the gospel. I think he lives in Portland area, but still owns his house down by the Garb airport, by the cattleguard. He took me for a cruise in his boat, so we had a little time to talk about growing up in Garb, albeit generations apart. It was really cool comparing memories and doing the old "What was the name of that place?...". Anyhow it's a small world.

Joe Blow said...

You might be surprised at how many ol’ "Gypo" loggers are still lurking around. Those of us that still get excited this time of the year when they can still smell (well, they imagine they can smell) the fresh turned earth, the diesel smoke softly blowing in the morning air. Once in awhile Joe says he can still smell the fresh cut wood and chainsaw exhaust!

As one old logger to another, you should know that Joe put your blog address right at the bottom of his list under: “Blogs Joe Reads”. That’s his place of distinction; it’s the first blog he looks at, before all others, whenever he thinks it’s time to get energized. I guess that says something about his contrariness. Yep! A lotta loggin’ and truckin’ done in them thar bars!

EkoVox said...

Lodgepole, You should be able to find it at both The Works and The Metro in Arcata. Geez, it may be selling than we anticipated. The Eureka Works should have copies...but, perhaps we need to replenish them.

Thanks for the kind comments Kym.

Ernie,
Forest Defender Environmentalists and loggers have a great deal in common. They just don't know it.

Check on AXEMEN on The Discover Channel. Great series on contemporary Oregon logging outfits. Sort of based on the crab fishing series Deadliest Catch also on the Discovery Channel.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
When I was in the woods we used to say: "You can always tell a logger. He's the guy that goes to work in the morning, talks about women all day, goes home in the evening, and talks about logging all night".

We used to work six days a week and ten hours a day. We had to “make hay while the sun shined”

I can’t talk about the joy of punching a road with a dozer so powerful that you didn’t have to back up. Somebody would think that there was something wrong with that. We water-barred and healed our roads when we left in the fall. The realtors and the hippies opened the roads back up, they didn’t know what they were doing. The roads were never intended to be used in the winter. Instead of out sloping the roads they would in slope them, run the water to a culvert and ship it over a virgin hillside. Then when the hillside would wash away, they would cuss the loggers. It used to really grate on me to hear them complain about all the erosion that the logger caused.

The people that moved up here didn’t seem to know diddly about taking care of the land. Some of them weren’t even smart enough to wipe their feet before going inside. These were the people that were moving “back to the land”. The latest stewards of our fragile slopes. I was always amazed that they would never ask us why they couldn’t make their roads hold.

Lodgepole
I still see Robin three or four times a year, we take his airplane and fly around over the hills and remark about how it looks like a city down there compared to when we used to fly over it in the sixties. Robin is a great guy. I don’t think that I’m a bad guy, it’s just that we get there from different angles. He still won’t talk religion with me.

Ekovox
I can really relate to Delta Nationals music, because they have something for everyone.
Anybody that hasn’t clicked on the blue “Some more of their tunes” line is missing a real treat.

I hope that Rowley dude doesn’t try to sue us for smearing his stuff all over this blog

Anonymous said...

I bet Robin isn't flying a Channel Wing. I thought Robin was a meterologist.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Only Jim would remember a channel Wing.
He was a meteorologist, and a engineer on the Oregon highways. He was hit by a runaway vehicle on a road project and was almost completely killed. But, he came back.

Clarissa said...

Back in the early days of my stay here (we are talking the early 70's here, I am a newcomer) I hitched out to the Weott flower show. Don't recall who gave me the ride there from Garberville, where I was working as a motel maid, but the guy who gave me a ride back home really impressed me, and I wish I recalled his name. He was a young dude, but then, I was a young woman, and we met over the prize roses. He worked as a logger (and had all sorts of technical words for what he did...chain setting?). But we got to talking about plants and he said there was nothing like seeing some of what he saw in the woods, and hearing the birds. And on the way back he took a detour to show me some wildflowers just starting.
What got me was how he did truly love those woods, just as I did.
You are right that the true logger and the true environmentalist have a lot in common.
And that song--yeah, heart breaking. My family--well, the ones who weren't military worked lots of hard labor jobs and were proud of that.

Cristina said...

Well, now I can tell David he was on the wrong blog. Instead of unwittingly starting a fight over on the Parlance, he could have been over here having a civilized discussion about what loggers and environmentalists have in common!

I am most heartened by the Usal plan, and I hope something similar to it is adopted by more community groups.

We're going to Eureka on Monday, so I'll try to remember (I don't do too well in the daylight hours) to stop in at the Metro and pick up the CD. Thanks for the lyrics, Eko.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Cristina and David, you are always welcome here.

This is kinda’ the "Cheers" of blogdom. You know.... Where everybody has a name. Except my cousin Jim, that has found that it's easier to post anonymously, but he usually signs it or makes it obvious who it is. (to me at least)

Just don't go proof reading what we say though. We are not literary geniuses here. We are geniuses of life the hard way.

Carol said...

Here is another perspective:

Monty Python- I'm a lumberjack by Monty Python

Lyrics:

I never wanted to do this job in the first place!
I... I wanted to be...

A LUMBERJACK!

(piano vamp)

Leaping from tree to tree! As they float down the mighty rivers of
British Columbia! With my best girl by my side!
The Larch!
The Pine!
The Giant Redwood tree!
The Sequoia!
The Little Whopping Rule Tree!
We'd sing! Sing! Sing!

Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay,
I sleep all night and I work all day.

CHORUS: He's a lumberjack, and he's okay,
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

I cut down trees, I eat my lunch,
I go to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays I go shoppin'
And have buttered scones for tea.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
He goes to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays 'e goes shoppin'
And has buttered scones for tea.

CHORUS

I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing,
And hang around in bars.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women's clothing
And hangs around.... In bars???????

CHORUS

I chop down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspendies and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie
Just like my dear papa.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he wears high heels
Suspendies?? and a .... a Bra????
(spoken, raggedly) What's this? Wants to be a *girlie*? Oh, My!
And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!

CHORUS

All: He's a lumberjack, and he's okaaaaaaayyy..... (BONG)

Eel River Ernie said...

Can’t let this one pass, (without extending my… never mind) having grown up in timber country just over the ridge I too can relate to the “logging heyday” when it seemed like there was a mill in every other valley and log trucks and loggers were, well just part of life and sometimes death. Never underestimate how much logging contributed to the economy and the settling of the north coast, the history is rich and I really do hope that Ernie and Eko will continue to put pen to paper and help tell the story.

In regard to the bars, I remember the rough and tumble places like the “Diggins,” New York Hotel or Rendezvous (which my folks managed at one time) in downtown Weaverville, each of which had their share of rowdies. But then, like today, if you chose to stay and drink all night during the work week and passed out in the crummy on the way to the woods you were destined to have to move from outfit to outfit until you got hurt, ran out of places to work, straightened up, or left for greener pastures. Most, if not all of the loggers I knew were hardworking responsible folks that had logging in their blood and blood lines.

As I have said before, in Weaverville when you left school you either went to work in the woods, went to work for the US Forest Service, worked in your family business or left town for the city. Not much different now except going to work in the woods has been replaced by “doing your work in the woods” thanks to the newcomers. The last logger left Weaverville/Hayfork/Trinity Center/Burnt Ranch in the late 80’s and “…HE PASSED BY THE CITY LIMIT(S) SIGN WITH HIS MIDDLE FINGER IN THE AIR.” Great song!

EkoVox said...

Eel River Ernie is so very right.

What we're talking about is an entire industry. Not just the loggers themselves, but the mills, the trucking companies, the supply shops, the tire stores like Mulkey & Kovacovich, the business like Industrial Electric who built the motors for the mills, the heavy equipment shops, etc, etc.
And it was much deeper and more pronouced than you can imagine.

Yes, I do understand the industry has dwindled down to a mere shadow of it's former self. Many factors including market demand, regulations and societal changes and yes, greedy sons-of-bitches from Texas.

But, what has replaced the industry? Nothing my kids are hanging around for.

I just can't imagine we are headed to be a county full of office workers. Computer skills replacing woods skills.

When the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and The Environment kicks into high gear, who will be around to train the new workers. Just ask my brother what the new tree planting crews are like and the production they put out. He'll give you an earful.

I hope Mark Lovelace has a plan. He seems to be the savior everyone is looking to.

Robin Shelley said...

I read once that the major difference between a logger & an environmentalist is that the environmentalist already owns a cabin in the woods.
(A lot of loggers do, too, I know, but it's one of those things that stuck with me & I'm passing it on, is all.)
Harwood was "environmentally conscious" before it was the politically correct thing to be & joined hands (as you say) with the so-called hippies a long time ago. Good people, those Harwoods.
Interesting how so many bars are associated with loggers, or vice versa. I guess men who work hard tend to play hard, too.
I recognize Jim in all his anonymity, too, Ernie... even when he doesn't sign his name!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Robin. Hi Jim if you're lurking out there!

I just got back from walking Rio Dell with Estelle Fennell today. It was like old home week. A lot of people that we met worked in the mill, some of them knew my whole family, It was a little embarrassing to explain to them why they didn't know me. (I bailed out of the timber industry to become a refrigeration contractor)

Jim, If you are out there, I ran into Henry Lazarus. I haven’t seen him since the Alderpoint mill closed. It was great to run into him, he said to say “HI”.

Another reason that I was glad to run into him is, when I tell people that I’ve seen six inches of snow on the main street of Garberville they all look at me like I’m nuts.

Back in the late sixties I went on a service call at the Casterlin school. It looked like it was going to snow and I was very nervous about it, so I took my little CJ-5 Jeep, with brand new wide snow tires. On my way home it was snowing just about as heavy as I’ve ever seen it snow. They had closed the mill and sent the crew home. What’s-his-name Arenas was driving the jitney and they got on the low side of the road on a turn and yep, you guessed it, the rear end dropped sideways into the ditch. There were people walking back to Alderpoint from other cars that had spun out. I was making it up the hill okay because I was riding the high berm, like anybody but a flatlander would know to do. Traffic be-damned.

My tires were riding on top of the snow. I made it over the top, so I was feeling pretty smug. On my way down the other side I came onto Arenas, Lazarus and two or three other guys, I think that another was John Ronnie…(Not sure) walking down the hill like they wish that they had snow shoes.

I stopped and told them that I would give them a ride, but I didn’t have room. Sometimes I just crack myself up! I remember one of them saying “the hell you don’t,” and they started climbing in and stepping all over each other and one guy had to sit on another guys lap. So those guys got a bunch of ribbing. With me and four or five other guys in the rig, we stopped riding on top of the snow, and started pushing it. I wasn’t too worried I figured if we got bogged down or stuck that there was enough of us to pack it back to shallow snow.

I told Henry, “This is great that I ran into you, I can’t make people believe that we had six inches snow in Garberville that year. Could you tell all these people that we had that much snow that year, so I‘ll have witnesses?”

He said, “well I’m not sure how much snow there was in Garberville, (MY heart sank) But, they measured ten Inches in the Alderpoint mill yard, and I know that it was at least six Inches in Garberville”. Shazzzammmm!! Witnesses! So now, I’m no longer a liar.

I'm probably going to get fired from being a capaign worker. I spend to much time on memory lane.

Carol said...

Thank you, Ernie, for walking with Estelle and helping her with her campaign. Your are the best. BTW, I believe you regarding the 6" of snow in Garberville.

Robin Shelley said...

Speaking of hard workers & refrigerator repairmen... do you remember the Smothers Brothers' song/routine about their dad's occupations? Dickie sang:
"My old man's a sailor.
Now what do you think about that?
He wears a sailor's collar,
he wears a sailor's hat."
Tommy, of course, thinks Dickie's being a snob & tries to top him. He eventually sings:
"My old man's a refrigerator repairman.
Now what do you think about that?..."
And it deteriorates from there, down to:
"My old man's a chicken plucker..."
You get the idea.
Funny routine!
Ranks right up there with "I Yelled Fire When I Fell Into the Chocolate"!

Kym said...

:Plaintively: What does Cristina mean about the Usau plan?

I've missed it and Usau is where half my childhood took place.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Carol, Monty Python was a great comedian. That video was hilarious. But, he might have had to stay on that snowy hillside. Wait... I'll bet that he was the one who was sitting on the other guys lap.

Robin, The smothers Brothers comedy show was one of my “Must Watch” shows on television. Of course I especially like the “Refrigerator repairman’s song”.

I also liked: “I’m not the fig plucker, bit the fig plucker’s son, and I can pluck figs until the fig plucker comes”. Um… don’t say it fast out loud.


Kym, it’s Usal. With an “L”. It’s a drainage south of Shelter Cove with massive groves of redwoods and other timber that the Harwoods and the environmentalist are going to log…. If lumber prices ever come back.

Carol said...

Ernie, the lead singer in the video was Eric Idle a member of the British comedy troup, Monty Python. It must be an old video.

Carol said...

Robin, I was a big fan of the Smother's Brothers, too.

Hayduke said...

Ernie:

So many blogs and so little time. I read your posts on other blogs and even argue with you once in while in the comments. I finally found time to come over here to check on what the "source" was blogging about on his own blog and found something rare...a civilized blog (kind of like Greg and Carol and Ed Denson, two of my favorites). I have added you to my bookmarks and will be checking in daily. I really like this post on "The Last Logger".

Ernie Branscomb said...

As a side note: Rogan Coombs of Coomb Lumber in Piercy died last night. I have no other information. but it came from a trusted source.

Ernie Branscomb said...

A fellow stopped into the store last Friday, his Grandfather was Owen Palmer. Apparently Owen owned and operated a sawmill around here in the fifties. He wanted to know if I knew where it was, back then. I told him that at one time there were fifty sawmills in the school district, and that I didn’t remember anyone by that name.

He went on to say that he could mail me some photo’s, we agreed that it would be better to scan and e-mail them. So, there should be some photo’s showing up someday that I hope to share. Maybe some of us old-timers can figure out where it was from the terrain.

EkoVox said...

Wow, Rogan Coombs. That man was a walking encyclopedia on all things to do with logging. The last time I saw him, he was showing off a couple of drag saws and antique equipment. He was a great guy.

Ernie Branscomb said...

My best Rogan Coombs story is from when I was splitting Redwood Paling (Fence Slats) out Indian Creek west of Piercy. He was about thirty years old in 1963, and he was headed out to check on the woods operation that was shut down at the time.

We were spitting Redwood just east of a big mud bog in the middle of the road. We heard Rogan coming up the road, he stopped and got out of his truck and looked at the mud hole. He didn’t see us on the flat of to the north. We were about to yell at him that the mud was too deep to get through, when he got back in the truck and backed down the road, we thought that he was going home but we heard his motor just roaring as he came flying down the road toward the mud hole. When he hit the mud it was flying in all directions, as you might imagine!

Just when it looked like he might make it through, he bogged down, just about the middle of the hole. He shut the motor off and pushed his door open through the mud. He was cussing at the top of his lungs like a logger will at times like that. The truck was a brand new four wheel drive Chevy, painted bright Coombs Lumber Company Yellow. He came stomping through the shin deep mud.

The company Caterpillar D-8 was parked on the flat, he got on it and fired up the pony motor that started the Cat, and soon he had it started and blowing big clouds of black smoke. He pulled it up to the start of the mud hole and dropped the blade, and dozed his brand new pick-up out of the hole, mud and all, he parked the Cat and got in his truck and drove off.

After about an hour he came back doing about fifty miles per hour and dove back into the mud hole. This time he made it. But, by that time you couldn’t tell what color the truck was, and it had a few brand new dents in it.

You just couldn’t tell Rogan that it couldn’t be done!

Anonymous said...

My favorite Rogan story is when the mill got a new Michigan front end loader, the new fangled articulated kind. There was this redwood log that couldn't be lifted with any of the old loaders so as soon as the new Michigan was unloaded from the trailer Rogan jumps in and heads for the sinker. He got hold of it and sure enough it lifted it, all the way up. Then something interesting happened, the back wheels started going up too, way up. Well Rogan hit the float and the log and the tires hit the ground at about the same time. He broke the new loader in half. I didn't see Mal that day but I'm sure he was real proud of the kid that day.

Jim

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Jim, I almost forgot about that.

Robin Shelley said...

I don't know any of the Coombs family but somebody (my dad?) told me a story about Mal one time & how he used to drive a Cadillac car with the back seat removed so he could haul all his woods equipment (chain saw, gas, etc.) in it. Apparently, he drove it all over the hills & used it just like a pickup. Anybody remember that?

Carol said...

Ross it is a very good song. I enjoyed hearing it at the Relay for Life Benefit in Loleta.

ross sherburn said...

ernie,after finding your blog thing here,brought back some memories.i can remember several close calls your dad had in airplanes!one time it was in my dads plane,your dad crashed it into a big pepperwood tree down by the river below town.i have a few other stories,but i don't type very well!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Ross, I remember you. I saw that crash happen. Dad and Mugsie Jones were in the airplane. The plane hit the power lines and cartwheeled into the tree. Both dad and Mugsie were uninjured other than when they got out of the plane, they both got a cut on their foreheads. There was gas dripping on the motor and vaporizing, so I guess that they were in a hurry to get out.

The "Official story" was that there was water in the gas, causing the motor to cut out. I can only imagine what the real cause was. The old loggers knew how to have fun. Rogan Coombs, who just recently died said that there might have been some drinking involved.

Rogan’s story had Mugsie flying the plane, but I'm fairly sure that dad was.

ross sherburn said...

having trouble leaving another comment!

ross sherburn said...

ernie,if memory serves,there was another difficulty at ben masts air strip one time!

coastkid said...

hey all,just commenting on your tales of logging on the coast,I logged in gualal ca. area in the 60s and 70s started out as a chocker setter moved onto the landing onto loading out trucks,man did I ever learn to how to sharpen a saw, working on the landing bucking logs.30 min. bucking 30 min.fileing.just though I would comment on your site thanks Rob

coastkid said...

would like to hear from anybody that logged from Gualala to ft.bragg in the 60s 70s

Anonymous said...

Checking back in, hope to hear from anybody that logged from gualala to ft. Bragg in the 70s I worked for Red logging, hypo logging outfit.out of gualala we logged all over that part of the county, up and down the coast.man did we hit the bars.