Rigging Shack "Classsic"

(This column originally appeared in the May 1973 edition of Loggers World.)

John Graves

John is a logger. Works out of the country around John Day, OR. Have long wanted to meet this man. Drove down to his country only to find out he isn’t logging right now. Got a chance to meet him and his wife Helen and their son Bob. That was all to the good. They have a fine home and up to date shop and three logging trucks and lots of Cats and wheel skidders parked till logging springs forth again.

John spent most of our time showing me a truck load of petrified wood that he had dug out and hauled home. Some of the chunks are about four feet thru by three feet long. He collects antiques, his wife Helen builds tables using plastic and handsome rocks. They collect, saw, polish and show rock and make jewelry from them. Beautiful!

John was telling me about one time some years back, when they were doing some bulldozing and dug out about 2000 rattlesnakes. Game me some pictures of this collection......said it was on the Severence ranch. They had collected a full pick-up load of reptiles. Then they drove the pick-up past the ranch up one of the main roads and forked them off onto the road and alongside the road. Covered about four miles of road.

Hunting season was just starting. People would stop at the ranch and ask if they could hunt. Ned Severence would tell them Okay but keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. The first road the hunter had to go over was the snake littered one. The cars and pick-ups would go up the road and be gone for a while. Generally in about twenty minutes they’d have turned around and be bound for someplace else.

Earl Roberge

Earl lives in Walla Walla, Washington. Works out there too. During this last winter he has been wedded to his typewriter. Purpose of this mating is to come up with the words of the big new book entitled “Timber Country”. Earl is both the photographer and writer. It is going to be a dandy book from either direction.

I’ve had the pleasure of looking at some of the pictures. Have read part of the writing. Have had parts of the book read to me. Earl is a sly buzzard. He has been using my experience in logging to see that the mistakes in “Timber Country” are kept to a minimum. I all at once realize that if there are mistakes that will reflect to Earl’s credit.

He is a totally dedicated talented man. Hope that you are as anxious to see this book out, and to read it, as I am. Should happen later this coming fall.

We’ll keep you up to date and let you know when you can reserve your copy.

Blue Girl
One morning Gertie and Earl Roberge and I were travelling by Jeep Waggoner up into the Blue Mountains out of Walla Walla. Purpose was to view the timber killed by the Moth.

Back into the hills, and alongside the road, we spied a small white and orange hound type dog. Stopped to give it aid and a friendly pat. This poor critter had got chilled to the bone and had been on a strict diet for several days, maybe a week. Inspected her collar, inspected the dog first and thereby found out that it was her collar instead of his collar but there was no identifying tags hanging to the collar.

Put her in the back of the Jeep, wrapped in a jacket and up the hill we went. Back at Earl’s house Gertie fixed up some eggs and milk which the dog inhaled gratefully-and fast. Gertie then gathered up some dog food, a left-over steak and a quart jar of the egg and milk mixture.
I took the critter home stopping off from time to time to let it drink and eat. Got home and my wife took over the nursing chores. Next morning we took it to the Vet.

As I write this B.S. it is still at the Vets. Very improved over the way she was found. Every reason to think that she will make it and be a healthy and happy member of the dog race.

Her name is Blue Girl.

Later P.S.——This dog regained her health. Put on some needed weight. After she was around the homestead a couple of weeks gave her to a fine gentleman who likes dogs. He intends to hunt birds with the Blue Girl. No one ever told him she was a Hound and preferred hunting cats. Maybe he can make a bird dog out of her!

Cameras and pictures

I’ve been told that the trend in magazines is to use less pictures, smaller pictures and more words. We ain’t going that way. One of the things that I like about the size of the paper we use in our ‘Loggers Magazine’ it allows us to use bigger pictures and more of them. Although I don’t exactly believe the old saying that ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’ we do believe in pictures. It is a truth that a picture with no words doesn’t explain much or show much while a picture with some words of explanation grows in interest and information. Much easier to show with photography and fewer words that it is to try to build complete word pictures.


Everyone who is a serious photographer has a theory he follows in his work. Some go one way and some go other ways. Our philosophy with pictures is that a camera is like a tape recorder. That is, we want to show what is going on at this time and this place. We want to show as much as possible as clearly as possible under the actual working conditions. We very seldom pose a picture or ask anyone to do something specially for photographic purposes. Thus we are recording in pictorial form.

A short time ago we got a letter from a fellow that told us our pictures were rotten, that we are cheating our readers and that we should hire him as our photographer because he could do better. He may be right. He may do much better than we do. He may be the best photographer in the business. But he writes a rotten letter in searching for a job.


I have a bad tendency to get into things cheaply as possible. I therefore sometimes waste money and time by buying less than the best. I did this for years with cameras. The lower priced ones took similar pictures to the best ones. Only an expert could tell the difference and then maybe not all the time. Then I found out one of the best things about the best cameras. They are more rugged, more dependable and they last longer. In the long run they are the cheapest ones to use.

So now we have excellent equipment and the best of equipment. We have lots of them. I normally use four 35mm cameras. All good ones and one is built so waterproof it can be used for underwater photography. Then we have three press type cameras that take two by three inch negatives. Most of our work is done with one or more of these three—-a little over half.

I detect a tendency for us to use more and more 35mm cameras. The cameras are small, tough, take the best of pictures and are easier to work with. They do force us to work in the darkroom with smaller negatives. One of these days, one of these issues, most if not all of the pictures will be by the smaller cameras.

I’ll bet that is interesting to you?

Seven cameras is what we generally carry on an assignment. One or more will be in the shop or broke down in one way or another. This pushes us back to using five or six. Some of these are only used for special purposes and not used much. Then we have filters, and extra lenses for each camera. Then I pack a lot of extra film of different sizes, speeds, plus some color film. Once in a while I take along the 16mm movie camera. All in all it makes quite a package. All necessary and all used time after time.
Good tools are important for good work. Same goes for our work. If we don’t create good pictures it isn’t because we don’t have the equipment.

The logger
We like to say that we are concerned with what concerns the logger. That is mostly true I think.

Many times we hear the phrase ‘the logger’ used in strange ways. They talk about he logger as if they were only one person. ‘The logger is this way’, ‘the logger is wasteful’, ‘the logger is a brute’, ‘the logger is raping the country’ and so on it goes. Well hell that is B.S. There ain’t no such animal as ‘the logger’.

They come in different sizes, shapes and colors. Some are clean shaven and others sport beards and mustaches. There are dumb loggers, but more smart ones. There are some who will hardly talk and some who never seem to shut up. Some have very little education and others pack a dose of education. There are short ones, tall ones, in-between ones and on and on.

They aren’t all of one thing or another. They are a bunch of people. Good people usually. Superior people mostly. They don’t always get along with each other. They can’t always get along with themselves. Some of the nicest and finest people I know are loggers. So are some of the orneriest.

I worked for one of the orneriest hook-tenders of all times I believe. I felt most sorry for his wife. We had worked a long hard tiring day one time. Worked late and were all bitchy, dirty, tired and hungry. When we were going home the hook-tender said: “Clara better have supper on the table when I get home or I’ll fix her wagon.” He was quiet for a moment and then added: “And if she has got supper ready I ain’t going to eat it.”
How are you going to get along with a man like that? He was a logger. Thank God all loggers aren’t like him.