Our new Hud-Son portable bandsaw mill (that we got this past spring) is a wonderful addition to our homestead. It’s already sawed tons of beams, floor joists, and dimension lumber quickly and easily. Plus all the slab wood that was left over has been cut up and is now inside, ready to provide nice, dry kindling and kitchen range fuel. BUT winter’s coming. We already have two inches of snow on the ground that will probably still be here, come spring. And our bandsaw mill sits on planks on the ground…soon to be buried in snow. So Will wanted to make a trailer to haul our sawmill around and keep it up off of the ground.

Sure, we could have bought a trailer package for our saw — for plenty of extra cash, which we didn’t have. But he wanted to build our own trailer — at a deep discount.

A neighbor, three miles away, had a ratted-out old mobile home in his yard and Will eyed it when we went by. He called him about the possibility of getting it (free of course, for the dismantling and hauling). The owner was more than happy to get rid of it. The aluminum siding had been stripped years ago and the roof had blown off. It was truly an ugly beast, sitting there.

Will hired a friend (we hope he’s still a friend!) and they went over with the tractor to empty out the trailer and pile the walls into a burning pile, which the neighbor had started years ago. Turned out that the trailer, which had no roof, had been filled several FEET deep with assorted junk. They worked hard for three days shoveling trash, along with dismantling the “palace.” David helped out the third day, then they tried to pull the empty mobile home frame out of the spot where it had been sitting for decades. David’s 3/4-ton Chevy with a Duramax diesel, our 3/4-ton Ford 4×4, and the tractor barely budged it! The tractor tire went flat and the afternoon was past. Will figured he’d have to bring our dozer over to pull it out.

The fourth day it was snowing and Will didn’t have the heart to ask our friend to help. He went over to put a repaired front tire on our tractor (nail from the junk). I stayed home to do some canning and laundry. Several hours later, I heard stomping on the front porch.

Will was home, AND he’d hauled the mobile home frame home — well nearly home — with the tractor! In fact, over at the neighbor’s, all alone, he hooked the tractor on to the frame and tried to pull it. Just for the heck of it. And it came away easily! So he just kept going. All the way home. Kind of. There’s this hill 1/4 mile away and he knew he’d never get up it without tire chains. So he parked it and just came home.

The next day, he took Old Yeller down there and hooked on. Without incident, it pulled home easily. Now it’s cut into thirds. The center third twisted and bent badly during the move and haul. But Will only needs the straight parts for the sawmill trailer. Junk to useful homestead equipment is such a good thing! I laugh and tell him we’re the ultimate recyclers!

We still have a few spots available at our May homesteading seminar, here on our homestead in Northern Minnesota.  If you’d like to have more information, check out the past blog and e-mail for a flyer.  We’d be so glad to meet you! — Jackie


  1. Joyce,

    Wow! What a find! I’m sure there are tons of old canning jars sitting in sheds all over the country or down in someone’s basement. How great it is to be gifted them so they can be put to good use once again. I’m sure the original owner would be proud of you.


  2. ilove to hear of your recycling projects.my friend and i do a lotof this. this past saturday mydaughter[heather] and i were visiting with my 80 year old mother,my friend[tammy]called and said she had me some canning jars;when we got home she had brought me about 20 dozen quart and pint jars.they had been in a shed and covered with years of dirt and dust.she also got the same amount.a wole lot of cleaning is in order.but what a great find[free].

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