Shelby went on a buying spree. He got himself a 30-ton paddle barge and a monster track hoe and proceeded to maneuver the track hoe onto the barge to create the world's weirdest river logging machine. Personally, I couldn't help being reminded of the Lyle Lovett song in which Lovett fantasizes about having a boat and a pony and going out on the ocean, "me upon my pony on my boat." Dubbed "Rassputring" (Shelby never did learn to spell), it seemed to work just fine. Shelby raised more than a dozen sunken logs on his first day out, but he had to pull a pistol on his crazy cousin Richard to prevent Richard from raiding his catch.
In Alaska, Papac laid off Joe and Coatsy, who went to Montana, where they are trying to clear 10 acres of dead trees with a crosscut hand saw. Wish them luck.
In Florida, Jimmy Smith of S&S Aqua Logging gave up tragically and went home to Washington to die. His son James went with him. leaving Brad and Swilley to co-captain their operation. With the Dreadknots holding a 9-0 lead over S&S in their logoff, Brad and Swilley found their first log but nearly set their boat on fire trying unsuccessfully to raise it.
In Washington, Craig Rygaard neatly cut a bologna sandwich in half with a chain saw mounted on the end of his yarder, showing the suck-up D.J. what he thought of his peace offering. But then Craig let a tree drop off the landing, persuading the crew he was over the hill. In case his son Gabe thought the younger generation could do better, Gabe managed to lose dozens of logs and nearly killed their riggers. In the last episode, seven weeks ago, the Rygaard crew was down three men: Craig had walked off, D.J. failed to show up, and Gabe fired the loader operator for tossing a 4-ton trailer down the mountain in a fit of pique.
Lemare Lake Logging may be about ready to pack it all in. In the last episode, the worn-out crew showed up late to get a half-hearted pep talk from the site boss. Instead of shaping up, the frazzled yarder operator forgot to do his walk-around. The result? The yarder blew all its hoses, sending a torrent of water and antifreeze spilling down the mountain.
As for Wisconsin Woodchuck, things don't appear to be going too well there either. On Feb. 3, Mike rode a section of the top house to the ground on the end of the crane ball to get a rise out of me (it worked). On Feb. 10, Robert climbed down off the roof to look for a dropped hammer just before a 6,000-pound wall collapsed, scaring the stuffing out of Mike and the rest of the crew. And in the last episode, Mike quit (or was fired, depending on whom you believe) after I yelled at him once again for another close call. You'd think after all these years my little brother wouldn't be so sensitive.
Can't wait for tonight's new episode!