• Jennifer Martinez

Bobbie Rowe of Kubich Lumber Yard

Meet Bobbie Rowe. She’s been a nurse for two years, but she’s always played a big role at her family’s lumber mill. Her main gig is driving the water truck, and when it gets busy, it’s all hands on deck. Then you can find her throwing strips or controlling the multi-head resaw she built with her dad as a child.

The mill has been in operation for over 70 years. It sits deep in the woods of Grass Valley, a rural Californian city in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, once the epicenter of the Gold Rush during the 1800s. With a population of just under 13,000, the community is closely knit by a strong sense of tradition and history.

That small town nostalgia comes alive when you step foot on Kubich Lumber Company. Many of their techniques are similar to the ones used in the 1800s. Gorgeous old equipment alongside newer technology makes for a one of a kind service.

“It’s hard work, but in a way it’s simple. Way down here, surrounded by acres of forest and so far from the rest of civilization, I can just focus on my job without all the chaos.” -Bobbie Rowe

“Nowhere else feels like home. I really enjoy that Grass Valley is surrounded by natural beauty, but my favorite thing about this town is the rare sense of community. No matter how much the town grows, downtown is still the center hub of activity. We have so many town traditions. I love walking into the supermarket or the movie theater and running into people who truly know me and greet me with genuine smiles. I hope it never changes.” -Bobbie Rowe

“I’m a true believer that if you want something bad enough and are willing to work for it, you will get it. I would encourage anyone interested to get into the lumber business. It’s so underrated these days, but it’s an industry that needs to be kept alive and it’s up to our generation to get our hands dirty to see that happen.” -Bobbie Rowe

“People are especially shocked to find out I’m a nurse when I jump out of the water truck. I remember dad laughing really hard one day after I drove the truck when I first became a nurse. He told me a couple customers had just commented on how cool it was that he hired a woman truck driver and he replied, ‘That’s actually my daughter. Can you believe she is giving up truck driving to be a nurse at Stanford? She must be crazy.’ The truth is I really would be crazy to completely walk away from the mill.” -Bobbie Rowe

“As kids, my cousins, brother, and I loved to go to work with our dads. It was the best place to play and be kids. We didn’t even realize that all the while they were teaching us lessons about being hard working, decent people. We didn’t care about the video games and MP3 players other kids had…We had the trees and the creek and the sawdust pile, so what more did we need?” -Bobbie Rowe

an imprint left by Bobbie in her childhood

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© 2020 by Jennifer Martinez