One of the highlights of this summer’s Red Gate trip was the fact that S finally got to use his birthday present from last year–a Wood-Mizer lumber mill.  They say the only difference between a man and a boy is the price and size of their toys.  In this case, I think that statement is right on!  S was in heaven playing with his lumber mill.  He took down 2 trees we needed gone, and milled all sorts of lumber out of it, in addition to milling planks and beams out of some previously fallen timbers.  He even went and helped a neighbor mill a fallen log in their yard, and was surprised when they allowed him to keep all the wood!

S's first home-milled plankS's first home-milled beam

After several days of milling hard-wood lumber in all shapes and sizes, S wanted to experiment with drying the wood.  He had studied quite a bit, but due to our lack of a solar shed or kiln, he had no choice but to dry the old-fashioned way–in the sun-heated loft of our barn.  As part of the process, he needed the ends of the wood painted so the ends wouldn’t dry too fast and split.  He figured that would be a good project for the kids.

Considering M and JR are only 4 and 6, I was amazed at how neat a job they did! They skipped a few boards here and there, but did a great job overall.

We are so blessed to have this mill, and now that we have piles of lumber to look at, we are starting to think of the vast opportunities this will allow us.  We can mill our own lumber for all the building projects we have, which, in the long run, will far outweigh the initial cost of the lumber mill.  We have the option of allowing our boys to start their milling business when they get older–assuming they are interested.  Furthermore, we have already had requests to rent the mill, hire out the labor, and barter for the milled, rough-cut lumber–all things we are considering for future opportunity and farm income.

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