LUMBER: The Peckerwoods

Deep in the oak and pine timberlands of the Southwest, a headsaw whined through the soft June night. Now & again the hooting of horned owls broke into the steady cough of the gasoline engine, the dull banging of the sawmill carriage, the slap, slap of cut slabs. At dawn, the fireflies and the old crew left the sawmill and the day gang took over.

In the timber stands of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, this nocturnal scene was common last week. More than a thousand "peckerwood" (portable) sawmills had suddenly appeared and gone into frenzied production. The piles of lumber...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!