Take This Job & Love It: Balsam Fir Tipping 

If you have an idea for an upcoming “Take This Job & Love It” email Chelsey at [email protected] —-Tree tipping is Chelsey Anderson’s occupation of choice in this “Take This Job & Love It.” She was shown the ropes by long-time tipper Tom Sprague of East Machias. He’s been tipping for more than 55 years. They headed out on the land Tom leases.—-Tom Sprague, Tipping for more than 55 years- “You ready to go?” Chelsey- “Ready.” First Tom explained to me that I was looking for balsam fir, not spruce.Tom- “You notice they stick right in your fingers and they hurt. That’s how you can tell quickly if it’s a spruce or fir. This is fir. It’s nice and smooth. See how light it is on the back?” Chelsey- “Yeah.”Tom- “There’s just nothing prettier than a wreath made with fir.”There were also types of tips I should avoid.Tom- “If this didn’t have this one on the end they would call it a longhorn. They don’t want longhorns because they don’t look good on a wreath. They want the nice little coming out all over.”Tom- “We’ll see if we can make a tipper out of you.”Tom started tipping when we he was just a child. He used to go out with his grandmother. They got 3 cents a pound then.Tom- “Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was the most beautiful fir tips. You know. You don’t see any bad ones.”Now, Tom gets about 30 cents a pound.Tom- “A tipper is just like a clam digger. You’re always thinking, ‘maybe there. I’m going to hit that spot. When I hit that spot, whoa, look out. It’s going to be good!.'”Chelsey- “I don’t know Tom. Some of these… (laughter)” Tom- “When you get (chuckles). What are you doing?” Chelsey- “I don’t know!” Tom- “When they ring like that come ahead about 2 inches and resnap it.”Chelsey- “Maybe that’s one saying ‘you know what, I’m not ready.'”nat snap- Chelsey- “Oh! Yes!”Chelsey- “Sometimes I feel really good when they snap good.” (show me not getting it to snap and jerking around) (laughter)Chelsey- “I broke this one and I moved up like you said but I just keep snapping it. Well then let it go. You can only snap it so long. Just let it go. Don’t mess with it.”Tom- “If I’ve got one that gives me a hard time I leave him. Say see ya later.”Chelsey- “How long does it usually take you to fill one of the sticks?” Tom- “Well it depends. I’ve been in places where I could pick 4 of those in an hour.” Chelsey- “That’s pretty good.” Tom- “That’s pretty good tipping.”Tom- “Did you stack those?” Chelsey- “Yeah.” Tom- “Good job!” Chelsey- “Thank you.”Tom- “I think we got a stick full. You put your stick in. You take your bundle like this and you start it down about 3 or 4 inches in. One hand under too. See. Then when you come down you’re coming right close to both hands. And you put it right on like this. See that. They can’t go anywhere. The main thing is to keep all your sticks going in the same way.” Chelsey- “Yeah, because we don’t want to stab ourselves in the neck.” Tom- “That’s right! There. We’re ready to tie him up.”We tied off the tips and loaded things up. So, would I be hired at this job?Tom- “I think it went excellent. I think for a first time tipper you did really good. You’re very teachable. And if I were hiring fir tippers I’d hire you on.” Chelsey- “Thanks a lot Tom!”—-If you’re interested in making some cash while Tom tips your land, email him at [email protected]