Grandfather says trees are very important to him.
Not the kind that’s planted to exploit for money; orchards, for example.
The ordinary, volunteering kind.
First –and maybe foremost — he says they are beautiful in his mind’s eye.
Some are truly majestic:
Other times, trees take a roundabout way into Grandfather’s life: For example, from the woods into sawtimber a hundred years or so ago, then into a barn which outlived its usefulness and got pulled down …
… and then its oak timbers used to make woodwork for Grandfather’s house.
Pine boards that had been sheathing on the interior walls of a log house found their way into Grandfather’s house as flat paneling.
Black walnut trees are abundant here, and Grandfather left two of them standing to the south of his partially-passive solar-heated house when he built it. Walnuts leaf out late in the spring and then drop their leaves early in the fall, so Grandfather used them to shade his south-facing windows in the summer and allow sunlight through during the colder months.
Walnut trees lying dead in the forest for many years and thus well seasoned, became paneling. The tree was crosscut into short logs which were slabbed on a bandsaw:
The rough boards were planed, trimmed, glued together lengthwise to form panels and the edges beveled. They were then sanded and finished with tung oil:
Grandfather recommends looking for ways to enjoy and use nature instead of artifice.
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is an octogenarian from West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family