Tax Dollars at Work


April 2nd, 2007

Today Crew #2 returned to Rathtrevor Beach for another attempt at chipping up all the blow-down branches we’d collected and piled up from the Park’s campsites on two previous occasions.

Fully invigorated from a weekend’s rest and with a chipper that had now been repaired thrice in the past month, nine of us orange clad corrections workers split up into three groups of three to help out the Park’s staff. Last night’s crazy weather; wind then hail then a smattering of snow, had thankfully abated by dawn leaving nary a trace of its memory. What greeted us upon piling out of the crummy was a beautiful, sunshiny day. 

I took a rake in hand and concentrated on grooming what essentially looked to be an impeccably clean park already. In the distance the chipper roared its throaty diesel sound. I must have really gotten into what I was tasked with because it had to have been a good half hour before realizing all I could hear were the spring songs of birds and the scratching of my rake upon the ground. It only then occurred that there must have again been a problem with the chipper. 

Sure as shit, not ten minutes into the day the chipper began to act up AGAIN. For some reason it doesn’t want to hold at the prescribed 3500 R.P.M. necessary to turn offensive dead branches into inoffensive sawdust. First it was the seals on the fuel tank. Next it was the fuel and air filters. Now? Who the hell knows? It starts up okay and proves to be an effective stand upon which to prepare and cook lunch but run it for more than 5-10 minutes and the same problem rears its head. This is getting ridiculous now. It’s fast become manifest that a day on Crew #2 isn’t normal unless some piece of equipment breaks down or malfunctions. Chainsaws, brushsaws, crummy or chipper. Take your pick. About the only thing that works out there is us and even that is a contentious claim given our well documented struggle for better crew lunches and utter reliance upon working equipment. 

Too bad we couldn’t give the chipper an improved lunch in hopes of coaxing a better effort from it! There’s just two problems with this idea. One; better lunches we have trouble obtaining and two; the chipper probably couldn’t bite through an unbuttered prison sandwich to begin with. At this point it’s a more effective paperweight than anything.