|Those are my boots, the day before tree planting began! |
I stumbled upon a labyrinth in Thunder Bay with
encouraging messages engraved in the brick road.
"It's 6am and time to rise,
wipe the sleep from your eyes,
grab some clothes and hope they're dry,
jump into the lunch line,
hop on the bus, don't be late,
that would be a rookie mistake!"
That's the beginning to one of the many songs I made up while planting. My all time favourite which I do hope to record: "I hate tree planting today" it has a really upbeat catchy tune.
So here's what tree planting was about...
Waking up in a smelly, slightly damp tent, the colder the morning, the warmer the day will be. Throw on your favourite tree planting outfit, the same sweet sweat smelling shirt you wore yesterday. Trudge over to the food tent to make a lunch with snacks that will last you a full day of planting, which is double the food you would normally consider eating. Grab breakfast and eat it in the mess tent or on the bus. Look at the white board to see which bus you need to get on and carry your 4lt of water, gear and food. Don't worry, this is always an awkward process, there is no smooth way of fitting yourself and your gear on the bus with 20 other planters.
|The Silver Bullet stuck again - photo credit: Taylyn|
|Box Fire & Tents - photo credit: Taylyn|
|Tent Alley - photo credit:Taylyn|
Your new home is always by a lake for a water supply. You will be drinking filtered lake water. There's a tent area, sometimes called tent alley, where everyone's tents create a cozy camping community. There are outhouses, which the cleaning of are part of the nightly chores that get rotated among the planters. There are trailers for staff and a kitchen trailer. There are two large tents, one for eating, one for the buffet of food, which will later serve as a good area for beer pong, and The Table Game, (work hard, party hard) and huddling together on weekends when it rains. If you're lucky someone will have set up clothes lines to hang wet clothes so they can become damp instead of sopping wet.
|Eating Tents - photo credit: Shirley|
|Staff Trailers - photo credit: Shirley|
There are no mirrors so you wont have to ever wonder how you look. By the faces around you though, you can only imagine you also have black fly bites all around your eyes, and on your cheeks and everywhere. Showering is at your discretion and if your not too exhausted to wait in line. Some people shower once a day, some people save showers as a weekend activity. Before bed it's a good idea to check for ticks. You've probably already taken a bunch off yourself and fellow planters. You can use ticks to make art projects and messages on duct tape. Most of the seats on the bus have a big piece of duct tape ready to peal back at any moment to trap your new found tick.
|Ticks on Duct Tape - photo credit: Megan|
|A Pretty Swamp|
Loosely holding the handle of an approximately 3ft shovel in the fingers of your dominant hand, throw the shovel head into the ground. You want to hold the shovel loosely because the Canadian Shield is unforgiving. If you hold the shovel tightly and hit rock beneath a thin layer of soil you will feel a shocking jolt run through your wrist and arm. This sucks. When you've hit creamy soil and your shovel slides in nicely, this is the opposite of sucky and will make you happy. You will probably smile. Then using your body weight, push the shovel (that is in the ground) forward so it is about 45degrees and loosing the dirt on the spade. Making a wide circle motion and stoping when you make a C, towards your hip. You now have a pie shape, or pizza slice hole in the ground.
|Loose Trees in Planting Bag - photo credit: Taylyn|
|Sam Planting Trees - photo credit: Shirley|
So in the time it took you to read that you could have probably planted 50 trees!