7 AM – The skid steer was loaded on the trailer, the chainsaws’ gas and oil tanks were topped off, the climbing equipment was packed, the trucks were warmed up and the water jugs were full.
For the Climbin’ High Tree Service crew of five -Jamison, Cameron, Brandt, Dakota and F.D – this morning was just the beginning of another work day for them. For me, it would be a new adventure and with coffee in one hand and my camera bag in the other, I hopped into the truck eager to see how the day would unfold.
Jamison German, Owner/Arborist/Lumberjack & Tree Trimmer of Climbin’ High Tree Service, informed me that the crew would be working at a private residence for the day cutting down dead ash trees ravaged by the emerald ash borer.
At age 19, Jamison had a friend whose dad worked for the power company. After seeing the spikes that were used for climbing electric poles, Jamison thought it would be handy to have a pair himself for setting up his tree stands during hunting season. At the time, Jamison had no idea what destiny had in store for him. Jamison started his career first as a licensed Electrician but as news spread of his climbing skills, he found himself trimming limbs and cutting down trees as favors for friends. 15 years later with self-taught knowledge and the wisdom of experience, Jamison “went out on a limb” (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and became a full-time Arborist/Lumberjack. Although Electrician’s are exposed to certain risks, The occupation as a Lumberjack is on the list of the Top Ten Most dangerous jobs in America. As a side note, when Jamison is not climbing trees, he enjoys flying a powered parachute.
The minute we arrived at the job site, the work began. The crew worked harmoniously with each other as each one began a separate task. The wood chipper was sputtering, the stump grinder was on its way to grinding the first stump of the day and the chainsaws were perched on tree stumps just waiting to begin the long day of cutting. I began taking pictures of the guys as they cut, climbed, hauled, dragged, raked, strategized, roped, and ground stumps working Non-Stop until it was time for lunch. After enjoying a brief lunch at the local Grattan Pub and a few rounds of Keno, the crew was back at it once again.
I spent 8 hours with the crew that day trying to stay out of the line of falling trees, wiping sawdust from my camera lens and trying to hear what I could over the noise of the machinery and the crackling of falling trees. As I watched how hard each crew member worked, I realized that these guys were so tough, they didn’t even wear gloves while they hauled, loaded, chipped and ran equipment. In one 8 hour day the crew managed to Negotiate and take down two Large limbs that were precariously hanging over structures and cut down at least 25 trees ( I quit counting after a while). I must say by the end of the day, I had a greater appreciation for testosterone :).
Thank you Jamison, Cameron, Brandt, Dakota and F.D…. It was a gift meeting all of you and having you share with me what you do every day. May you all ALWAYS be blessed with Safety and I promise I will forever remember to never use the “F” word while in your presence!
(For those of you wondering, it is the word “Fall”)