As much as most people have an idealized conceptualization of life in the bush, there are lots of little things that test the patience of even a veteran planter who is accustomed the chaos of the planting lifestyle.
Sometimes the problems are outside of the control of anyone in the planting camp, sometimes the problems are the result of poor management, and sometimes it is the planters themselves who cause situations to become frustrating for others.
When you’re stuck living with the same group of a few dozen people for several months in isolation, it’s important to respect other peoples’ feelings and privacy, and when tensions arise, to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Here are some of the things that can cause nerves to get a bit frayed:
1) Poor Weather
Some people get used to the rain, some people learn to tolerate the rain, but nobody can ever say that they love inclement weather without lying. Unless, of course, they’re a sadist and thrive on human misery.
2) Poor Tree Prices
Let’s face it, the paycheque is one important part of tree planting, and if you have bills to pay back home in the city, you’re going to be stressed out if tree prices aren’t perceived as being fair with respect to the difficulty of the work.
3) Tough Blocks
4) Vehicle Breakdowns
No matter how new the vehicles are (and many aren’t), the conditions that planters work in will cause vehicles and other equipment to break down frequently. Being stuck in a broken-down vehicle on the side of the road, an hour away from camp, when you’re hungry and missing dinner, will cause everyone to get stressed out.
5) Annoying Personalities
Foremen and supervisors go to great extremes to try to hire positive and cheerful personalities, but sometimes there will be a planter or two in camp with a personality that just doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the group. Often, this isn’t a problem, because the planting community embraces diversity. But sometimes it causes friction.
6) Substandard Cooking
The skills and attitude of your cooks will make or break your season. A terrible day will quickly be forgotten if you get back to camp and have an amazing meal. If the food isn’t tasty, or the portions are inadequate, your season will be a lot less pleasant.
7) Unsympathetic Management
When your foreman or supervisor doesn’t seem to care about your working conditions, you’ll get frustrated. You should try to find a better company to work for. Make sure that you work for companies where the camp management is out in the trenches with the planters, getting dirty and working just as hard.
8) Lack of Communication
9) Long Shifts
Planting is tough work. Working too many days in a row is counter-productive.
Depending on where you work, mosquitoes and black flies can drive a person to complete insanity. Don’t forget your bug spray.