........Comment by Bill Moore
...The forest around us
............There’s some Gyppo in us all
............Whether big or whether small
............And I hope it stays that way for time to come.
you’re big and you forget
....The word “gyppo”
has been used in many ways to describe many things about our logging industry.
It generally is used to describe a logger who is, among other things,
“a loner,” an “innovator who can patch things up and
make them “run,” an “owner of a very small camp”
or a “maverick.” To operate a camp in a gyppo way could mean
to operate on the cheap, to use haywire equipment or to simply operate
with a small crew.
near misses with death or accident, the haywire equipment they somehow kept patched and running, the plans they had for the stake they were making – and at all times their very human thoughts on ladies, who they were separated from for long periods of time.
....Down through our logging years the woods have been full of gyppos. They have innovated new methods of logging out of the sheer need to get the job done cheaper and faster. They have logged areas that most large companies would never have looked at due to remoteness or difficult terrain. The hand logger gyppo, the small camp gyppo, and the owner operator contract gyppo have certainly contributed in no small way to the growth of this forest industry.
....Once the industry became mobile with diesel, rubber and portables, there was no stopping the rash of ideas that constantly grew – and still continue to do so. Logging is not a factory style assembly line business. Every location and every tree presents a new and different challenge. Routine thinking is not the loggers’ trademark, but rather innovative thinking is his thing. And the bigger the trees get or the more difficult the terrain, the more innovation is called upon to solve the problem.
....I would not dare enter
into a contest of memory to define whether a gyppo or a big company started
any individual system of logging or any particular piece of equipment.
But show me a small independent group of loggers who can get the lead
out – gyppos – and I’ll guarantee those gents have a
half a dozen innovations going for them.
British Columbia Lumberman, March, 1977
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See the point?
....I like the story of my departed friend, Ole, a big Swede, and one of the best of the gyppos that ever drew breath. Ole had a little 10-man float camp back in the thirties. He had a good timber sale in a lonely out of the way inlet up the coast. He and the crew moved his little gas Fordson donkey engine up into the felled and bucked and rigged up a spar tree to coldeck a pile of logs. The plan then was to tight-line the logs from the pile about 1,000 feet down a hill into the salt-chuck.
....Just after starting the job Ole received a message from Sweden of some troubles in his family. He left a strong young fellow in charge, arranged credit for grub and supplies at the nearest store 10 miles away by gas-boat, and took off for the old country. He was gone five months – the crew never heard from him but they kept on working. No one worried that Ole the gyppo wouldn’t pay his men.
....When he returned, logs were in the
water ready for the mill. The crew were glad to see him. And everyone
received his money. It seems to me that such a code could not get by
today. That code was called trust.
OF THE GYPPO
it’s a haywire camp
I’ve worked the big camps to make me a stake
I like it best on my own.
It’s a gamble – you make it,
Then they take it –
The government, some doll or an old bank loan.
When cedar was high I struck out alone
it’s a haywire camp
I took me a partner – we logged day and night,
I’ve hit the big city that has no pity
it’s a haywire camp
But the life of the gyppo is what I love
Keep out of the bight,
|British Columbia Lumberman, March, 1977||