My family has been running a logging business for just over 60 years. In the late 40s my grandfather and his brother started the business with one truck, a chainsaw and themselves. These days, my dad runs the business along with his brother, one of his brother-in-laws and another man who has been working for the company for 15 years. I have been helping my dad ever since I can remember. As a kid, I held tools, swept his shop, arranged his toolbox, and even got to pressure wash his log trucks. Now that I’m an adult, I keep track of all his production and I do his payroll weekly. Recently, I found out that my current job will be phased out by the end of the year. Not wanting to be unemployed, I decided it was high time I learned the family business. So, this past Saturday, dad took me to his current tract of wood. The machine I am learning how to drive is called a skidder. It looks like this…

It’s purpose is simple, to drag the trees to the main clearing so they can be de-limbed and loaded onto a truck. For the first part of the day I rode along with dad. There was only one problem, a skidder is meant to be a one person machine. I spent about two hours trying to balance on a narrow ledge, with my feet braced against the seat and the door. It wasn’t the most comfortable time but I enjoyed it. Of course I didn’t enjoy trying to climb in. The first step is about 4 ft off the ground…and I’m only 5′ 1″. After watching dad pull about half a dozen “drags”(a group of trees that’s laying on the ground) he let me try it on my own. My first try wasn’t all that great. I had to go forward and then reverse about ten time before I got lined up, but the second time I only had to do it once. Dad was impressed and he says I have real potential. After all, someday I’ll be the owner of the company. May as well start learning now.