Loraine Baker, currently an Alternative School Administrator, once lived and worked in the woods as a Hoedad Workers Co-op member. Here are a few reflections on the world of "Wild Women of the Woods". -Editor

Half & Half Hoedads

by Loraine Baker
Loraine planting a seedling in a clear cut, 1980's

The Hoedads all women's crew by 1981 was called Half & Half. Half gay, half straight; half by the tree, half by the hour; a preference for half & half in our coffee? I never really knew how the name came about.

What I do know is that the collective political structure, nomadic lifestyle, and rigorous physical work was a unique experience in itself - even more unique was the fact that it was an all women's work crew. From negotiating contracts, repairing the "crummys", planting trees, to being the "camp mom" for the week, we did it all and with gusto.

Personally, it pushed me to my physical and emotional limits like nothing had ever done before. I knew without a doubt that there wasn't anything I couldn't do. I was reminded of that when the threat of Y2K was at it's peak. Living without running water, electricity, or convenience foods was something I knew I could easily do. There's a certain security that stays with you when you have lived life stripped down to the bare essentials.

Another aspect of having lived the nomadic life, is a deep felt connection to the land and to the Northwest bio-region. We became part of the natural history of this area by virtue of living and working in the mountains. Many of us have lived here long enough to witness and be active participants of the changes in this Northwest paradise we call home.

And then there is the personal history we created together as "wild women in the woods" - the life stories that come together and apart like many lives do - but none quite like ours. Oh, the stories we could tell! The next time you meet a Half & Half crew member ask her to tell you about when Mt. St. Helen's blew -- now that's a story!

Here is part of one of the many songs we sung. This one is called "Hoodsport Blues" and is sung to the tune of "Jet Plane":
All my bags are packed I'm ready to go
I'm standing here on top of the slopes
I hate to take the first step down this cliff
But the day is breaking it's a foggy morn
The units waiting - if I move I'll get warm
Already I'm so cold that I could cry

So give me a shot of rum
Tell me not to be so glum
Remind that after all, I'm self-employed
I'm leaving down the unit
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

"... take the first step down this cliff..."

Copyright © 20001 by Loraine Baker

For more Hoedad photos by Loraine Baker & friends , see
Half & Half Pictures.

For an overview of the Hoedads see Roscoe Caron's
Hoedads Celebrate Reforestation History

© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000-2002 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise noted.

The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher and/or sponsors.



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