Grown in Minnesota
On 80 serene acres in Minnesota sits a small cabin, surrounded by hundreds of trees. A winding gravel path cuts through the woods, juts along the edge of a hill, curves around wild raspberry bushes, opens into a grassy clearing, and leads directly to the cabin’s front door. This small cabin is home to two people: Dennis and Judy—my parents.
Minnesota has a reputation for its snowfall, and my parents’ property meets that expectation. My dad is challenged with the never-ending task of clearing and moving snow along the winding gravel path to ensure their vehicles can get in and out. While being snowbound in a cabin in the woods may sound romantic, it loses its appeal shortly after the first storm. Thus, my dad must always stay ahead of the snow.
Dennis’ method of snow-clearing is the use of a tractor. He pushes the snow using a large blade, and he dumps it in massive piles off of the gravel path. The large blade has to move around all the trees, navigate the edge of a hill, steer past wild raspberry bushes, move into the grassy clearing, and keep the pile of snow away from the cabin’s front door. The obstacles alone make it tiresome, but combine that with the frigid temperature and blowing wind, and an annoying task just became quite uncomfortable.
In August of 2014, my 4-year-old son and I were helping my dad clear brush and cut down a few trees. Dennis wanted to widen the path and make it easier for him to plow snow during the blustery winter months. I’ve helped him do this type of work before so I knew what to expect: The trees are cut, branches are set aside, the trunks are sawed into manageable pieces, and those large pieces are set aside to later be split in the log splitter. Many of the branches are also used as firewood, and they are set into huge mounds we call burn piles.
During the tedious work of moving the large branches into burn piles, I thought about all of the things that somebody could do with them. The grain of the wood and the texture of bark were beautiful, and I found myself inspired. Coasters were the first thing that came to mind, but soon I was dreaming up décor items, centerpieces, art work, and more. To me it was a shame that all of the sturdy branches I was holding would be burned or left to rot, and I hoped to salvage some of it. With my parents’ blessing, I took some of the larger branches back to Texas with me and got to work.
Made in Texas
I researched how to dry the wood, purchased a random orbital sander, and hijacked my husband’s miter saw. With the garage door wide open and my suburban neighbors giving me curious looks, I began cutting, drying, and sanding the slices. At first I made only coasters and gave them to a few friends. Just before Thanksgiving, I was invited to a vendor event with the purpose of selling my products.
I was nervous about going, and the first few minutes of the show I worried that I wouldn’t sell anything. But then it happened: I sold something. At that moment, I felt vindicated. Somebody else saw beauty in what I saw. Somebody else appreciated the simple appeal of nature. Somebody else liked the idea of rustic wooden décor.
Created By Me
In the summer of 2016, my family and I relocated back to the northwest region of the United States. We currently live about 2 hours from Seattle, Washington.
While my goods are no longer made in Texas, I still make them myself. I'm also amazed at how much inspiration there is along the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and in my home community of Ferndale.
Log Slices by Margie
I am constantly dreaming up new creations and researching ways to do bigger and better things. The internet has become a wonderful source of inspiration, while people’s ideas and suggestions are welcomed with a grateful spirit. In addition to my finished products, I also offer bulk, plain slices for people to use for whatever they want. It’s my hope that others will be inspired by what’s around them and that they will get creative with what nature willingly gives us.
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