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Jackie Clay

“Strike while the iron is hot”

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

This is our “second” farm motto! (The first is “Mo’ poo poo.”) The company where David works is starting to cut their own bolts (square logs) that they then use to manufacture milled logs in different diameters and profiles. Last week, David helped saw the first logs on the mill and noticed there were leftover thick slabs. These were “waste” so he brought home as many as his half-ton pickup would haul. On Friday, after work, Will and I took our ¾-ton Chevy truck to the mill with our three axle equipment trailer to get a load. (The slabs are green and VERY heavy.) David was able to load the trailer with the company front end loader.

We drove home carefully as we had a big and heavy load and the roads are extra bumpy due to frost heaves because of winter freezing. Then Will sorted the slabs out; some are thick enough for him to saw lumber from using our portable bandsaw mill. The slabs that can’t be sawn into lumber are still plenty thick on the butt ends. So we’ve been cutting, splitting, and stacking this additional windfall.

Another bonus for us is that a neighbor works in the iron mines. Every couple of years they replace the belts on the conveyors. These belts are about ¼-inch thick and three feet wide and come cut and rolled in 60-foot lengths. He asked Will if we could use them for anything. They’ll make permanent mulch in the berry patch between rows of grapes and raspberries, which always get too weedy. Now we’ll only have to weed between plants — much more manageable! We now have four rolls with more coming.

Over the weekend, David and Ashley helped me put together the vinyl garden arbor that a friend gave me when she moved. We were helping her move things when I spotted it lying in the weeds. “You want that?” she asked. I said I sure did, so we dis-assembled it and took it home. I’ve got just the spot for it this spring and it’s all ready to go now. I could never afford to buy one.

So we strike while the iron is hot, before someone else steps in and beats us to the bounty.

Our migratory birds are arriving daily. Today I saw a red-winged blackbird, a pair of wood ducks, and yesterday we saw the first turkey vulture. Okay, so the vulture wasn’t “pretty” but it was a sign of spring. The ice is about melted off the beaver ponds and my tulips are starting to poke through the dirt. How exciting!

Now I’ve got to get back to transplanting tomatoes, a job I’ll be at for several days. — Jackie

5 Responses to ““Strike while the iron is hot””

  1. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Jackie, we really love hearing about spring arriving on your homestead! Great haul on the wood, the belts, and especially the arbor. You two (and all your family) are sure an inspiration.

  2. Lisa Basso Says:


    Aren’t those slab ends the best. Last year we ended up with a load of those, and they were great! Life is starting to perk up down here in the cities, and I don’t think the rabbits, squirrels and other citified critters has done much damage to my blueberries and raspberries. If I get a strong start to may fall gold raspberries, I will let you know. I might be able to donate some to your homestead. Have a great week!


  3. jackie clay Says:


    Spring and all of our friends are a huge inspiration to us! Thank YOU.

  4. jackie clay Says:


    We sure like splitting those slabs, they crack and pop apart, then stack up like four by fours. Sweet! I’m glad you didn’t get any critter damage to your plantings. We didn’t, either and are so happy about that. We’d gladly accept a donation of your extra Fall Gold raspberries and would have something fun to trade you, too. Happy Spring!

  5. Becky Says:

    Oh, now I have “wood envy!” My husband loves getting wood, cutting wood, splitting wood, stacking wood, you get the idea. Of course, I join in. We are going to have to round some up this summer. It’s time. He likes to keep 2-3 years worth on hand, if possible, so what we are using is always dry and nice.

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