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Turning Dead Trees into Lumber

The first thing that we did to clean up the land was to re-purpose a number of fallen trees around the property. Initially, I picked up an 18" Craftsman chainsaw from Lowe's and started turning the logs into firewood. This was helpful and a great learning opportunity to get familiar with the tool.

With countless hours of YouTube research, cycling through chains, McGuivering pinched bars and generally learning through trial and error, it became clear that the wood available had much more utility beyond fuel for the bonfire and the box-store purchase needed to be upgraded and I needed to stop wasting all of the potential lumber I had available to me. I picked up a Stihl MS211 18 inch chainsaw and an Alaskan Saw Mill from Granberg and gave milling the felled trees into lumber.

During my undergraduate career, chainsaw safety was not a course my Alma-matter offered so I was looking for an in-person guide that could bequeath the knowledge required to properly and safely wield the tool with confidence and efficiency. All the while during the initial months of becoming familiar with the land, I spent my free time after work in the city gravitating towards media that glorified the beauty and simplicity living in nature provided. I came across the History Channel's Alone and fell in love with the world away from screens and stress isolated with little but nature's alluring brutality. While poking around the History Channel, I found Mountain Men. This show spanned most of the past two decades following individuals that chose the natural living way of life essentially taking all practical efforts to be self-sustainable and un-tethered to modern man's economy. Season one profiled Tom, the trapper and hide expert of Montana, Marty, the Cessna flying father of Alaska and Eustace, the naturalist of the Blue Mountains of North Carolina. I naturally followed Eustace on Instagram and low & behold- he was hosting a chainsaw class in late 2022.

The first weekend in November, I drove down to Turtle Island, the name of Eustace's compound and immersed myself in the world I had seen on his show. I spent the weekend with about 12 other amateur lumberjacks getting drenched in rain but having a blast learning how to sharpen chains, fix the tools, clean, and how to operate safely.

With the knowledge gained, I'll be turning some of the down'ed trees into a deck and outdoor kitchen. Soon to come!

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