Loggers: Father and Son

Father: Tom, age 74

Long term Hayforker, retired, former millworker and logger

Son: Dan, age 50

Born and raised Hayforker, former millworker and logger

Read more about Tom’s story here.

Father:Son alternate
Dan building a fire to keep warm and cure drying marijuana. Photo by Talia Herman.

How did you end up growing marijuana?

Dan: It’s just kind of in the blood from being a kid.

Tom: They would come home (and help) and were makin’ some money too.

Dan: I trimmed as a kid (when I was) 8, 9, 10… 11.

Tom: [He] slept with it.

Dan: Oh it (curing marijuana) would hang on lines in my back bedroom.

Tom: [laughing] That’s what he smelled like going to school.

To Father: Did you worry about your kids being around pot like that?

Tom: Nope. Because they’re gonna make that choice sooner or later.

What would your situation have been like without marijuana growing?

Dan: Instead of living, you’re existing. Even when I’ve worked it was a decent wage, but it was seasonal, and so when you work a seasonal job you’re still only gonna make $22,000 dollars a year, that’s not even $2000 a month gross, and you can exist on that but you can’t live on it … It was definitely to give myself some of the better things, and give myself more opportunities.

Are a lot of people who used to work as loggers are now growing?

Tom: Absolutely.

Dan: Absolutely. And a lot of the loggers were farmers too, way back when. It kind of went hand in hand. The sawmill workers not so much, but a lot of loggers.

Father Son Alternate Room
Dan’s curing room. Photo by Talia Herman.

Just to smoke or for income?

Dan: Both. I remember it always being. I remember dad growing two or three plants in the willows by the house…

So since all these new people are growing, what do you think the impact has been on the community?

Dan: Well, I definitely see the negative impacts, because you can take a standard tweaker (methamphetamine user) who can grow a few plants, or steal a few plants, and there’s money available to them […] it’s quicker and easier, they can trim and make a $150, $200 and they can buy a lot of meth. It’s created an environment where it allows them to thrive and exist … and they can rob (marijuana grows).

Tom: Robberies have started happening.

Dan: Yeah, well I have honestly thought, ‘what if somebody comes up here’? What would stop three guys from coming up here with guns?  You know, I have a shotgun right here, I have a shotgun in my tent, I am armed when I’m up here and I have a dog to alert me. So, those are the downsides. The upsides are business is booming in town…

Do you feel like you’re contributing to the negative impacts on the community?

Dan: Yes, I do feel like I’m part of the problem. I mean I am part of the grow society that brings the thieves into town, and the trimmigrants into town, and the tweakers, and everything else. But personally I do it differently, I don’t include those kinds of people, I don’t associate with those kinds of people […] and it’s still federally illegal, but I sent the government checks, for two years. On my income taxes, I got an I-9 for selling clones (a type of marijuana plant), and they didn’t send it back. They accepted it as payment for taxes, money that I made selling marijuana. And the I-9 form said from the cannabis club for clones.

So, you work with your family?

Dan: The only person who works for me is my dad, who is 74 years old. We keep it together, in the family, and help each other out. My trimmers are all retired, and the money they make supplements their social security income. One trimmer I’ve known my entire life. That’s the connection I have with the people who trim our stuff (marijuana). Dad is on social security and disability and this is how he supplements his pay…

Tom: I’d be lucky to get another job at 74.

Dan: If he grows 12 pounds, at $1000 per pound, that supplements his income, that puts $1000 a month into his meager existence. And it’s a little bit of money for comfort living, so he can play poker, go out to dinner sometimes…