Out of all the months in the year March is the busiest time for the timber harvesting industry – what many call “the big push.” This is our last chance to produce as much product as possible before the end of winter.
This year winter seems to be lasting longer than usual, and that has given us a few more weeks of production until the spring thaw. The big push is everything you can imagine it would be. Chaotic, stressful, and tiring to say the least. It’s what we have planned for all season long. At its end is mud season, which brings a nice break from a daily routine and some much needed time off. Mud season usually lasts until the hardwood trees start to bud, somewhere around the middle of May.
Though mud season seems like a vacation (sometimes lasting six weeks or more) for loggers, it’s not. We use this time to plan for the upcoming harvest season: planning certain cuts for certain times of the year depending on site conditions and species; setting-up contracts; and most importantly, fixing and maintaining equipment. Doing this all while not producing any revenue requires careful planning.
After spending most of the winter rising from bed well before dawn and not returning home until well after dark, and working in what I would call rather harsh working conditions, mud season can seem glorious. And indeed it is, for a short time, until reality sets in and it’s time to go back to the real work.
Until mud season starts though, we’ll keep on pushing, harvesting timber until mother nature shuts us down. With cabin fever set in pretty deep around the house these days I’m eager to see spring come. But with the heavy snow pack in my yard I think it will be a couple more weeks before it even feels like spring, regardless of what the calendar says.