February 11, 2015

You Eat Cat's Tails? The Crying Tree-Planter and Other Concerns

My life has been filled with travel and moving. Literally. I went to 8 different schools, lived in 5 different provinces and have a lot of stories. Every place you live (and you know this if you're a free loving gypsy like myself) there will be different lingo. Which can be difficult to process, especially when you're new to town. 

There has been quite a few times when I've confused something of there slang or native tongue as to something in my head that is so disturbing and wrong that it makes me exclaim that they are crazy. 

I moved to New Brunswick, Canada when I was 19. I relocated to work for J.D. Irving as a Tree Planter. A tree planter is exactly what it sounds like - you plant trees. But don't get me wrong, it is completely and ridiculously difficult - and worth it! I walked away with a bank account full of cash and a scholarship for $1,000. Not to mention a mismatched tan and more bruises than you could count...



My first day tree planting was interesting. I cried. Like a baby. Then proceeded to call my Mom. Alright, I'm getting ahead of myself again... So, the first day I show up to the big white van at the gas station (I biked there. Man, I was active) and see I am working with a whole lotta men and one other woman. Immediately nervous. Also, they were all wearing track pants, big boots and weird shorts and I was in jeans, my Aunt's old hiking boots from the 90's with a cool tee shirt to top it off.  We get to the "cut" (place in the middle of the woods where there are no trees but lots of bumps from machines and trucks and danger everywhere you turn) and they start putting on harnesses and dumping like a million trees into these huge bags attached the harnesses. I was thrown right off. Then I was given a "gun" to plant the trees with. You put the tree in the top, it goes to the bottom, you kick the thingy-ma-bobber and it plants the tree in a hole. You have to walk through this danger zone with two huge heavy bags all while planting trees and using a gun? I was put into my own little section as it was my first day and I was a rookie. I was slow, and getting a hold of everything and two guys started making fun of me. I cried like the baby I am. Called my Mom (who lived in Ontario at the time) who immediately called my Dad who is a supervisor at J.D. Irving who got me the job in the first place. Fast forward about 2 hours and the head guys from J.D. Irving show up to have a little chat with the two men who made fun of me. Needless to say, no one would mess with me after that. After the second day, I ripped my boots and bought bright orange $200 chainsaw boots, wore comfy pants and terrible shirts for the rest of the Summer. I worked the entire Summer, like a champ - got my stride and worked hard. The top part of my body was tanned and the bottom half white because we had to wear pants in the cut. I was fit and happy. I was apart of the best crew, got paid a lot of money and was partying like a rockstar every weekend with my new friends. I also ate McDonalds. Like a lot. You wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me, I had a 6-pack! Sadly, I ripped the tendon in my kicking foot so I was put on light duty for 3 weeks - I have stories to share at a later date about my light duty adventures that's for sure.

Notice the bruises on my legs? I was a champ

One of our McDonald's ventures. Double big mac, upsized fries, milkshake and a side of "what the hell, why am I eating this"

So cat's tails - I'm sure that's what you all are waiting to hear what the h-e-double hockey sticks I'm talking about. Well, to drive to/from the cut it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. It just depended how far out in the woods we were. So we had some pretty crazy conversations. These guys were talking about partying down by the water and eating cat's tails. I almost broke my neck whipping around in my seat so fast to find out how crazy these tree planters really are. After exclaiming "YOU GUYS EAT CATS? WHY?!" they laughed and told me cat's tails in Eastern Canada are plants down by the water. Plants. They eat random plants. After about a minute of thinking, I came to the conclusion that they're still crazy. 

Main concerns : 

1. Why do people in Eastern Canada eat random plants by the water?
2. Why is tree-planting so hard?
3. Why do women need to cry to get men to accept them?
4. Why can't I wear a cool pink hat tree-planting without getting made fun of? It looks better than that free beer one you're wearing...

So, basically I'm a #girlboss





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