My Love of Trees and Wood
I was born on September 20, 1926 on the farm, SW7 49 25 west of 3rd Meridian in Saskatchewan, Canada, where I still live.
I remember when I was very young, my father taught me to collect Caragana (Siberian pea shrub, Caragana sp.) seeds and how to plant them. Then my mother taught me to start trees from cuttings of black poplar (Populus nigra), some of these are still living on the farm. Later on, I started to plant other trees, mostly spruce and maple.
My father taught me to work with wood and make mainly furniture. Some of my early projects were cedar chests and jewelry cases. Later on, he managed to borrow a wood lathe from a neighbor, and that is when I got started in operating a lathe. This lathe was homemade with a wood pedal to turn it.
In the early sixties, a friend of mine mentioned the IWCS, and sent in my application, and I have been a member ever since.
In the later years, I built a 12-hole golf course, which was very small and I planted trees on each side of the fairways. At one time, I had 11 different kinds of pines, but because I had got the trees when we were traveling, some of them didn’t survive due to some of our winters being too severe.
I also belong to another society called the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1989, our leader Sovereign Grand Master Wilson Berkey of Arizona noticed in his travels many dead trees in the Jurisdictions that he was visiting, which aroused his concern for global tree loss. He commissioned a worthy project as “THE LIVING LEGACY PROGRAM” with the slogan “PLANT A TREE FOR ONE WHO COMES AFTER ME”. His untimely passing in March 1990 caused the program to become his own “Living Memorial”. The branches of this Order have planted over three million trees since the program’s inception. In Saskatchewan, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs have planted and given out over 300,000 trees in the last six years. In fact, we have received an award, for the most trees planted and/or given out in the world in the last six years. In my area, I give out 800 to 1000 Colorado blue spruce trees (Picea pungens) to five schools. Pupils in Kindergarten, grades one through three, each receive a tree. This is what I have done for the last 15 years and my nickname is Mr. Tree Man.
In about 1970, I was asked by the local college to teach adult classes in furniture refinishing and also Chinese cooking, which I did for 15 years. The furniture classes were 30 hours in length, which gave the students enough time to do at least one piece of furniture. At the classes, I would exhibit my wood samples that I had collected from the IWCS. There were usually 10 to 15 students in each class. The cooking classes were 15 hours in length with 15 or more students in each class. I also did a stone masonry class for a few years where the students were taught to split stones and also to build a stone project with cement.
In about 2000, I lost my shop due to a fire, and I lost my collection of samples, a large amount of hardwood, and all my tools including my collection of antique tools. I have replaced a lot of my tools, but due to my age, have not done much woodwork. My hobbies, collecting, planting, wood turning have been my whole life. I used to collect wood from all over the world. I still collect wood from my neighborhood. Bird watching and photography are my other hobbies, in which I spend a lot of time. I have my camera with me all the time.
Starting in late 2016, professional photographers wanted to come to my tree park. Quite of few came; they spend as much as two hours because they want to have pictures in nice scenery, sunsets with trees in the front.
At this time, I would like to mention that the “World of Wood” is the best magazine I receive. The persons who are in charge of printing, publishing, etc. are doing a very wonderful job.