Over the past year my father built a set of craftsman-style living room furniture for my family – a couch and two Morris chairs. This furniture is particularly significant as it was crafted from white oak that my father and I harvested from my family’s original woodlot in Minnesota many years ago.
The logs were cut by a small mill near the woodlot, and the lumber painstakingly dried over my folks’ woodstove in their basement. They have since sold the woodlot and moved to Washington to live near my family, so all that remains of the forest of my childhood are memories and these legacy pieces of furniture.
But what a legacy they are. The wood is rich with character: beautiful knots, mixed grain, a complex range of colors – and of course the story of the forest in which the tree grew. I can share that story with my kids – the story of how my parents lovingly tended to their forest, planted shade-tolerant white pine in the understory of the red and white oaks, thinned diseased oaks from the forest and cut it into firewood, tapped sugar maples, milled lumber from their timber, and simply enjoyed a lifestyle of stewardship and caring for the land.
The furniture is built to last, much like the craftsman-style furniture of generations ago, so my kids will be able to share that story with their kids as the furniture passes down through the generations. To me, this is the essential story of family forests – a story of legacy and stewardship.
Kirk Hanson – Director of Forestry
From time to time Kirk is sharing photos and stories from building a cabin from local Forest Stewardship Council certified wood in this facebook album.