Tuesday, January 8, 2013


1. They Hit a Bump

Let's count the ways this could go wrong. 

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Jane Marie

2. That guy on top doesn't get down before someone says "giddyap!"


Fascinating and very smart.@j

fondue with cheddar

3. A snake spooks the horses.

fondue with cheddar

4. The guy on top attempts to climb down.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Zero. I see zero ways this could go wrong, unless someone notices that they could have stacked at least twice that amount of logs on there. Wimps.


The logs turn out to be zombified prehensile tentacles from a prehistoric squid-like creature that have undead desires for revenge.

Tuna Surprise

Wasn't this a plot point in Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses? (Spoiler: It can go very wrong).


Total nerd moment, please forgive:

I am writing a dissertation on lumberjacks in the the Northwoods around the time this was taken. Here are the ways that could and often did go wrong:

1. That guy on top - he's called a top loader - was in charge of settling logs as they came up. The way they came up is that they were chained (the guys standing on the log at the bottom have it chained and ready), and horses on the other side would drag the logs up towards the toploader. If the horses didn't stop, the toploader wasn't good or (worst case) the horses spooked, one of those many-ton logs would take off his legs. Happened not totally irregularly.

2. When that wagon was driven, it was done by guys called road monkeys. they were in front of the load, behind the horses. If one of the sleigh runners hit a bump - like (most likely) some frozen horse shit - the sleigh would stop. Inertia means the logs wouldn't. We can all reconstruct the rest.

3. Big hills.

4. Inadequately iced roads.

Interestingly, shit like this wasn't even the most likely way to die in the woods. Between 1914-1919, lumberjacks had a higher casualty rate than the US Army.

Oh man. Sorry!! ITs just that no one ever brings up lumberjacks much, except when commenting on how much flannel I wear.

That information overload all just came out in one spurt.

I can't stop, here's more that's amazing:
I came to hairpin as a distraction/break while reading over some oral histories I've been looking at. The sentence I read before following this link was (you can't make up coincidences like this) “The sixteen foot bunk was thewidest that was used. The sled runners were 8 foot apart on a bunk like that.” - that would be a description of the sleigh in that picture. THE WORLD IS CRAZY.

PS directly before that I was reading a story about a man with a pet bear, and how that bear ate his hands. Northwoods! Amazing!

PPS never ask me about lumberjacks, even in a joking asking-the-whole-internet kind of way. I apparently can't control myself?


@Hammitt "writing a dissertation about lumberjacks" is basically my dream life turned into a phrase



PPPS (SEE I CANNOT STOP MYSELF) If you find this shit cool so many more pictures here: http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/fhc/camps.html



Living the dream of obscure research! Join me. We can make lumberjack studies into A Thing, right?


The Hairpin is an amazing place.


@Hammitt do you sleep all night and work all day?


Daisy Razor

@Hammitt This comment is 100% of what I love about the internet. There is someone to explain EVERYTHING.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@Hammitt The bear ate his hands?!?!?! JUST HIS HANDS?!


@Anna Jayne@twitter YES.

It was unclear from the story (damn history! impossible to ask questions) but I think someone shot it at that point.

But that made the story sad.

polka dots vs stripes

@Hammitt PLEASE tell me you're a grad student at Humboldt State?? That's the only way this could get more perfect.


@polka dots vs stripes

Hah! No, UVA, actually. Which is weird, since Virginia has precisely NOTHING to do with my research and my advisor is actually a kick-ass civil war scholar who is just happy to benignly oversee my lumber-mania. I have just googled humbolt state. Pictures could not make me want to be anywhere more. Also, I can only assume that's where humbolt fog comes from. In which case, holy christ, that campus AND that cheese? I want to go to there.


@Hammitt What, no, this is amazing. Keep talking.


@Hammitt Ohmygods, Hammitt, I looooooooooooove yooooooooooooou.


@Hammitt This seems like a thing you might know - over the summer, my friend's fiance recommended a non-fiction book to me about gay lumberjacks in Washington, but I can't remember the title, and it seems like googling that would just turn up a bunch of romance novels... which actually doesn't sound like a bad idea, but I still would like to read the serious one! Any thoughts?


@Hammitt If you ever in your research run across a man named H. J. Andrews, (Horace Justin or Hoss) who lived in Michigan about that time, worked for the U.S. Forrestry Service and later had a forrest in Oregon named after him, I would be very interested.

Emily B.

@Hammitt I'm from FoundMichigan.org, the site which this post links to. Your comment (and the amazing ensuing thread) made me swoon. Would you be open to talking to us about your dissertation for a possible story or Q&A? For real. I had no idea there were people out there who nerd out over lumberjacks as much as (or, more than, it seems) me. Send me a message via our Facebook page (facebook.com/foundmichigan) or email us at hello (at) foundmichigan.org !!

PS: Thank you, The Hairpin, and Jane Marie, for giving us our best web visitors day EVER.


They hit a slight slope, either up or down. Maybe especially down.

The guy in suspenders has some appealing flair to his pose and outfit. Are those big cuffs on his jeans? Or boots? Boot-cuffs?

all the bacon and eggs

Splinters. Dysentery.

fondue with cheddar

And to think...they did all that in high heels, suspenders, and a bra!


@fondue with cheddar goddamnit that's what I get for commenting before reading everything.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg It's okay, you are a kindred spirit! MY FRIEND


@fondue with cheddar would that all my friends were "with cheddar". <3 u fonduie!

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg <3 u icebergie!


948. Deforestation, wildlife habitat loss.

/fun at parties.


The collective dream depicted there is alive in Portland, according to the sponsor of this post.


Treebeard! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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