DECEMBER 29, 2011

Yesterday I met an extraordinary person! I do not say that often. Since my ITE experience I have been hooked on the idea of turning wet figured wood on the lathe and then drawing into the patterns that are revealed. The problem I was faced with is where to get that wood. I called three Arborists in Boston who did not get back to me. My friend Phil (a woodshop teacher in Merrimack NH) suggested I contact one of his old (young) students named Kyle McCabe who is now an Arborist. Kyle got back to me and yesterday I went up to Merrimack to meet him and purchase some wood. What makes Kyle extraordinary? He is 23 and has owned his own successful Tree business since he was 19. That in it self is amazing, but there is more. His business includes a fleet of vehicles he has restored and uses. He has tractors, chippers, log lifters, and a variety of equipment I could not identify.  He and his dad built a hundred foot Barn with the lumber they manufactured from their own acreage.  Kyle employs his brother and his girlfriend almost full time and when there is a lot of business (the recent hurricane) he hooks up with a tree company from Western Mass to accommodate more clients. Did I mention that he has started a tree nursery? What really endeared him to me was the Blueberry. The Blue Berry is an old school bus that he bought for 1200 dollars when he was 19. Kyle put a new engine in it and welded up racks for its rooftop. When he went to college (U Mass Amherst) at the age of 19, he bartered tree work for property to park the van on while attending college, so he could save the money he would have spent on an apartment. Kyle and his girl friend Brittany attached a 20 foot quickly fabricated greenhouse with a wood stove and composting toilet to the bus and lived in that configuration for 4 days a week while Kyle went to school, the other three days he drove back to New Hampshire and ran his tree business. Kyle is very personable, he looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand, he exudes confidence. When we walked his property looking at the giant logs laying everywhere, he soaked in the information I gave him about what a turner might want from this lumber and the best way to process lumber for furniture, in exchange he shared some of his vast knowledge about tree growth. What I responded to most was the joy, and competence  that poured out of him. Here are some pictures from the day.

Kyle's business

Kyle cutting me some blanks from a Copper Beach

The Blueberry (note license plate)

Kyle next to the Blueberry


About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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5 Responses to DECEMBER 29, 2011

  1. Seamus says:

    Very Cool!
    Wish I lived closer
    Green wood is what I;m
    all about

  2. moller says:

    loved your post Beth and can’t wait to make a green bowl.

  3. Diane Thayer says:

    Enjoyed this posting a lot. You and Kyle are living the dream. A power of example to me. I am trying to figure out what to do for my “encore” career when I retire from teaching school in 2014. I LOVE wood carving….signs, designs, whittling. I took a class with Chris Pye at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in ME this past June. Been carving for about 7 years.
    Thank you and Happy 2012.
    Centerville, MA

    • Hi Diane,
      Thanks for your response. I think you should start your encore career now.

      • Diane Thayer says:

        Well, funny you should say “now” to my encore career. I am 90% certain I will retire in June. I have to look at the numbers with re: to health insurance but I’ve put in 27 years and I have had enough. I love to work. I’ll figure it out. Thanks for your encouragement. Keep the posts coming.

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