New Door

For years now I had planned to repair the door to my workshop but I came to realize that the poor old door was too far gone to save. It had fallen victim to a momma bear that was very intent on getting into the workshop and the freezer we used to keep there. In the process she destroyed the octagonal window and removed the bottom panel of the door. Just before Christmas I built the new door and restored the old hardware.

Pieces of the new door with the old door in the background


The new door

The restored door knob

Catio (Cat Patio) – the Start

Mocha the cat’s catio is now under way.


This is the first time I have had an indoor cat. With eleven acres of forest it seems a shame to keep a cat indoors but it has now become a necessity with the increase of predators. The birds and squirrels will be pleased with the arrangement though! Mocha doesn’t show a tremendous interest in going outside but I think a bit of fresh air and grass between her toes will do her good.

The ‘room’ will be covered with wire mesh and have elevated cat walks, a tree trunk, platforms and a sleeping box if she is feeling adventuresome. Access will be through the living room window.

More later.


Completed Shed

Well, the storage shed is finished. It was an interesting first project using my own milled lumber – a bit of a learning process I must say. Like any homemade project it is hard to put a price on it. The money I put out for the plywood roof and floor along with the metal roofing came to about $500. A pretty good price for an 8′ x 12′ building. Adding the time factor of milling the lumber adds to the equation and if a dollar value is put on my time then perhaps not quite the bargain. However, time is what I have and it was extremely satisfying using our own windfall trees (brought down in windstorms) and turning out a pretty fine looking building.


Building Project

Over the past ten days I have been building a small (8 x 12 foot) storage shed from the first lumber cut on our mill. It has been a great project and very satisfying knowing most of the material was free and salvaged from our forest. I did use plywood for the sub-roof and floor and I will install a metal roof. Once all the exterior walls are boarded I will put 2 inch battens over the board joints.





Composter Experiment

One of the secrets of good composting is to turn your pile in order to add oxygen to encourage the composting process. We have some snap together poly composters that are awkward to work with and we never seem to get around to the stirring up process so our compost is usually less than satisfactory.

A while back I saw the idea of a rotating composter (Family Composter). I looked around the shop and found four casters that someone had given me. I had one 55 gallon (208 l) barrel left over from my rain water collection system that I just completed and, of course, lots of lumber from my milling. I spent the past couple of days putting it together a composter based loosely on the mentioned plans. One of those great projects using scrounged materials where all it cost me was my time.

Composter 06_watermarked

The completed composter sitting on a sturdy rough cedar base.

Composter 01_watermarked

An old plastic squared pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

An old plastic square pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

Composter 04_watermarked

Handles are spaced evenly around the exterior to make turning easier

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying. 

Milling Progress

Learning how to mill is going quite well. This red cedar is my largest piece that started out 6 feet long and 21″ in diameter. It is close to the maximum diameter the mill can handle although I can cut 10 foot long trees. The poor old tractor wasn’t too happy lugging this chunk around. I milled it down to 13.5″ x 13.5″ and then took off 2″ layers.




The larger 2″ x 13.5″ pieces are on the left. They can be ripped into 2″ x 4″, 2″ x 6″, 2″ x 8″ etc. as needed. Some beautiful patterns coming out.


The ‘before’ picture!

Latest Project

Over winter we always have a few trees fall due to windstorms. I usually cut them up for firewood but I always feel badly if the tree is better suited for lumber. I finally bit the bullet and purchased a small portable bandsaw. My son-in-law and I spent the past couple of days assembling it and I cut my first log today.

Mill 01_watermarked

Mill in a Box

Mill 02_watermarked

Mill 03_watermarked

Mill 04_watermarked

Mill 05_watermarked

Mill 06_watermarked

A seven foot piece of cedar that fell across our power lines this fall

Mill 07_watermarked

Mill 08_watermarked

Mill 09_watermarked

It takes 20 -30 seconds to cut each slice

Mill 10_watermarked

The finished product – four, seven foot 4″X4″ posts and some 1″x8″ cedar boards. The waste material will be turned into firewood or fencing. The mill will now be moved to a more permanent site away from the house.