Thursday, August 14, 2014

Adventures at the fair with our Sawmill

Adventures at the fair with our Sawmill
Aug 14 2014

I thought I would chronicle the week at the fair this year.
 My wife and I decided about eighteen years ago to give back by moving the Mill to the Fair for nine days and just saw. This was started after a boy who came with his father to pick up lumber looked at his dad and stated "I thought 2X4s came from Walmart"
 We made a call and were told come on. The first years was with a non-Hydraulic LT40, Then a Super LT 40 and now a LT70 all WOODMIZER.
 The first problem we found was that since at that time I worked public work also I would leave work and go straight to the fair. We weren't flush with money "It's called raising kids" so Mom started cooking my supper right there at the fair. That grew into a full fire box and other Vendors enjoying a home cooked meal.  
 In 2002 we had established that we would be there so people that don’t live near us would bring logs to the fair so some years I did not even need to bring Logs. I started sawing on Friday at the start and noticed that the POW WOW was not a happy lot. Friends there that were wonderful artisans had not sold anything. Mom and I decided that this year we were a little better off that instead of having a little paycheck for demonstrating we would put everything back into the food and a least our friends would eat. The more I cut the more she cooked, at one evening she feed over 70 people. Oh by the way this was the year after 911 and yes people were still effected. At the end of that year we had still had and had cemented on-going friendships.
 So for a start here is what has to happen
 1 Get a fair support kit from WOODMIZER. This is a blessing because they will give you a bundle of log scales which allows you to teach people what is in a tree. I spend a lot of time just talking to people about what are their options with one to many trees on their property.
2 Understand that WOODMIZER has a program that will reward you if you talk to someone and they buy a mill. I have been talking to people in the thousands and yes they bought mills but being at the fair has never brought me a referral. I didn’t start this for that and I am OK with it.
3 One of the best things about the fair is I am there to demonstrate not run production. That is a blessing and yes I get pleasure in putting a little boy or girl on my lap and let them saw a board out. August is normally 95 degrees and when I give the child the board to go home and make a bird house for some reason the father isn’t happy hours later when the child won’t let him sit the board down and come back for it.
Moving the mill means a least six trips 38 miles to the fair. This is my give back and I am not worried about the economics of it.
a.      Move the mill out of the shed (This means that the annual of a complete clean-up will happen.
b.      Wash the mill
c.       Collect Logs
d.      Gather what you need for the mill to run for a week
e.      Gather cooking stuff (This will probably take until Sunday to get everything there)
f.        Don’t forget to bring the Mill Head yes that has happen
g.      Move your support machinery
Speaking of support machinery I have been blessed with one of the best Skid Steer operators in what started as a 10 year old daughter. She would haul the garbage out with the Bobcat. The old timers operate a circular Mill one Saturday. They would have my Daughter Wendy move logs for them. They would later have her move them back just to watch her operate the Bobcat.
Now that it is Thursday and the mill is up for Friday evening take stock and  go get what you forgot, You have to understand that the mill operation at home did not stop and customers have to be taken care of and planning for the week done.
 This year I have to add poplar in the mix for three jobs at home that did not get finished in time. That means haul poplar 38 miles to cut then haul it back home for the customer. It is just part of the experience and before you tell me that I am going to lose money no just break even and enjoy watching little one see sawdust played in.

 Now this is Thursday morning before the opening and this is what is on the agenda today. The mill got there last night last (Don’t feel bed for us that means Mom and I had Mex at one of the best Mexican restaurants around that just happens to be a mile from the fair. Today go reinstall a track on a skid steer that has pick yesterday to come off loading for the fair. Move the W4 loader, roller racks saw horses and logs to the fair. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

You Don't have to always get Mad

Needs on the Farm

In this troubled time it is so easy to get mad or scared.
 Yesterday I met with one of my neighbors and during the 10 minutes of interaction he was rude condescending just basically obnoxious. I was with my grandson and had many choices. One of them would have been to basically tell him where to go and how to get there fast.
 I wasn't prepared for the meeting but I did have an agenda. We are moving and I needed his tractor and bush hog for about two hours. I offered not to borrow (That was the norm with his father who I respect and adore (He has passed away)) but offer fence post from my sawmill. He decided that he did not need post but some Poplar lumber for the barn would be good.
 He was totally obnoxious even as I delivered him to his own vehicle. I did agree and this morning I will do some bush hogging.
 The point of this article is that it isn't what you have but how you deal with what you have when it is in your lap. This man has his own problems and does not need me to add to them. By not acerbating the situation if he is in a place where he can modify his life maybe he will use a little calmness I gave him and build on the homestead. Now before your nominate me for sainthood understand that I am one of those who will spit in your eye and dare you to jump when I am ready to rumble. (That is not good on my part).
 Now that I have built a watch I can tell you the time. You have many tools on your homestead and in this time it is needed to have them ready useful and to know where they are. Your neighbors could be the most important tool in your box. You are going to have to decide. With this person I honestly feel that this will be the last interaction and will close a book that is twenty years old. If it does close I know for myself that for all the bad choices I have made I gave him a chance to change the interaction. I am not a punching bag but also I am trying not to be a sponge. I urge you to do the same.
 On your farm you have one thing that unless you are a superhero you kick yourself daily. That is not knowing where that something that you need is. I am that way and after the years I consider it Christmas when I find a long lost now duplicate of something. What I want you to think about that in this time what are you needing but not missing.
 I know that is a different way of thinking but there are a lot of little things I do not have because I haven’t needed them yet so why have them. In many cases with shelf life’s and all I agree, but in the case of the basics that is another case in all.

 What you basics are, are simply up to you and no one else. For some it may be extra sparkplugs for equipment. For others it may be nuts bolts and drills for mending. For you it may be sewing thread. What I am getting at, is in the confrontation that I had it also would have been very easy for obnoxious neighbor to fly off the handle and escalate me into telling him where to travel fast. Whether he liked it or not he did have a need that did mollify his own lack of servility and both of us can prosper.