Are you looking for a working vacation with lots of time outdoors? Katherine sent out the help wanted add below. Take a look, this may be just what you want for the week before Thanksgiving.
We work 8 to 5 and come in for lunch for an hour 12 to 1. Ahead of time, everyone comes for an interview and we find out their background, have them fill in the required papers if they indicate interest. Our wages are minimum, but our routine is not hard, and once they work here, they come back.
The work is hard, cold, heavy, and dangerous if people don’t work together lifting the big trees. We need to be careful not to break any tree tops. We can’t drag trees in the mud; obvious, but not so easy to do when there is mud all around. We never know what the weather will be. One year we even had to use brooms to sweep the snow off the trees and the snow was so deep the tree would not fall down even when it was cut! Trees full of snow are very heavy and hard to move. We work in all kinds of weather and pray a lot.
We work like this: 1 person has the list of trees for a particular order and where they are located (Lot, row #, tree #) and spots them, a couple of people stand by the marked trees until the person with the chain saw cuts the tree (trees are cut with a chain saw by a person that knows all about sawing down trees). Then the folks standing by the tree, hold it while it is being cut, then they drag the tree to the lanes where a person driving the truck with the baler comes down through, the tree string baler is used to bundle the trees, and the baled trees are laid back down in piles neatly along the lanes until after the wagon on the back of the tractor comes down through, and the baled trees are loaded on the basket wagons, standing up so as to fit more trees on the wagon and to have people stand on the wagon floor they are more secure. Every so often a rope or chain is put across from side to side to keep the trees standing up and not sliding down. In this scenario, 2 people stand on the ground and pick up a tree and hand it to 2 people on the wagon who stack them standing up, and the fifth person is driving the tractor. This is why we need a minimum of 5 people working at a time. Jerrianne is generally the tractor driver, my son-in-law Stephen the truck driver, Mark Kiester is the chain saw person, my brother Laurent from Iowa is the “go for” person. The person putting the tree into the baler cone is the counter (The person we had doing this 10 or so years moved to Mississippi this year and is not coming back.) The counter has to come out the same as what the load should be out of each lot for a particular order, and then the counter for loading the trees on the wagon, so when the trees are again counted as they are loaded out onto the customers trucks, everything jives! We cannot make any mistakes on the numbers or on the particular trees that have been selected by the customer weeks ago with me. The counter is a very important person and has to be good at numbers, and keeping accurate count. The baler has a counter on it. We also have counters you hold in you hand and click for every one. Over the years, I have done all the jobs, except chain sawing and loading, driving tractor with wagon or truck with baler. Since 2000, Jerrianne has not let me work outside in the fields any more, so I stay inside and make lunch and take care of set-up and clean-up and this will fall to Isabel when I am gone, so I making sure she knows how to do these things around the house. I have done the grocery shopping, the laundry and the housekeeping and enjoy it. In between, I work on decorating wreaths, making garland, kissing balls, or centerpieces. These items, too, Isabel is learning. Cutting greens is a never ending business at this time of year.