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