It's that time of year in Germany. Logging season. There are vast forests across much of the country and a significant portion of those are huge pine forests with very tall, straight trees. Actually, there's logging that goes on all year, but during the winter months, when the undergrowth has gone dormant and the deciduous leaves have fallen, it's much easier to see the work that is ongoing.
German's use pine extensively in their buildings. They love pine tables, chairs, benches, floors, walls and ceilings, so they use lots of it and there's always a huge demand for pine products across the country. Although they harvest a tremendous amount of pine each year German's also tenderly care for their forests and replenish them with millions of new pine saplings each year.
This is a typical pile of logs, not far from our house, that's waiting to be picked up and taken to a wood processor.
Another pile nearby that shows how these trees are meticulously cut to a uniform length.
A path through the pine forest left by the large harvesting machines.
Just outside Ramstein village is one of the largest wood processors in Germany, Rettenmeier. It's a huge, around-the-clock operation. Most of the pine harvest in our area ends up here.
The gigantic yard where pine logs await to be cut into boards, planks or beams.
A closer look at the thousands of logs that still need to be processed.
In the summer, when temperatures are much warmer and there's less rain, these logs are kept damp with the use of large sprinklers. This time of year though, because of the amount of rain, the sprinklers aren't needed.
Eventually those logs end up a finished product in these areas. Covered in plastic and ready to be shipped to some builder in Germany or across Europe.
It's hard to describe just how big this operation is but it's certainly needed to satisfy the German appetite for wood and pine products.
Not surprisingly, at least for Germany, in one corner of the Rettenmeier operation is this Gertränkmarkt
and Imbiss. The Gertränkmarkt, (drink market) a place to buy beer but also wines and juices and the Imbiss, for a quick bratwurst and pommes frites (fries). Gotta keep the workers happy and when you're working with wood, at any level, a beer will certainly make it more enjoyable.
Germans love their forests. Germans love their trees. The more wood in a German's home, the happier that German will be. So poetic.