There are so many people picking in this community that I worry there'll be no hemlock to pick next year. But I've seen quite a bit of hemlock over the last month, so the chance of there being none left is pretty slim. What's the attraction? Generally speaking, it's easy money for the amount of work one does. There's no one looking over your shoulder, you are responsible for how much time you put in, and you can work solo or with someone else, depending on your preference. You want to find branches that are no more than eighteen inches long and no bigger than a number two pencil. A harvester is paid .45 cents per pound, so the more hemlock one has, the more one is paid. The harvesters with trucks and ambition are better off than those of us who do not have trucks or ATV's. While I'd love to have an all terrain vehicle, it's not in the cards right now. So I pick what I can, and pack it out on my back and enjoy the birds while they're still here.
Yesterday, we were reminded of nature's dark side when we came across the remnants of a fox, reduced now to only scraps of fur and a skull. But that's Mother Nature for you. Kind and gentle one minute, and dark and harsh the next.