Yesterday I was listening to a show on Radio 4 about a poet that had moved to New England and was struggling with all of the trees in his (presumably enormous) garden. His reaction to the struggle was twofold, to write poetry and to buy a chainsaw.
My advice to Radio 4 would be to find someone, anyone, that moves to New England but isn’t a poet, and make a show about that, because when the poet talked about the history of logging in America he was a hell of a lot more interesting than when he was reading poetry about chainsaws. Pick out the best bits for yourself here.
Now, this isn’t a blog about logging (although Log Blog was a tempting title), but I wanted to share something fun that I heard.
Firstly, the phrase “it’s all gone haywire” comes from the way that haywire was used to fix literally everything in the logging operations of years gone by. Whenever anything split, or fell apart or just disintegrated through old age, the men on the lumberyards turned to the wire wrapped around the bales of hay. Loggers, clerks, cooks, doctors, everybody was keeping everything together with haywire, and the places that used the most haywire were those that had seen the most things go wrong.
When I say haywire was used for everything, I mean everything. One man, I’m calling him John T. Badass, went out hunting with his family one spring, and shot himself a bear. In the process of bringing this mighty beast down, he lost his false teeth, so when he butchered the bear he saved the animal’s teeth. Using wooden plates and the ubiquitous haywire, John fashioned himself a new set of falsies, got the frying pan out and sat down to chew on a bear with the bear’s own teeth.