City Cherry Tree Will Always Be Remembered!

Michael Breezee wrote:

When my wife and I bought our first house in Madison, one of the selling points was all the older trees in the yard, something of a rarity in newer developments.  We were impressed with not only the number but the variety.  Paper Birch, Blue Spruce, American elm, Burr Oak, Pin Oak and a number of Black Cherry trees dotted the yard. 

Back in December 2010 it was apparent that one of the Black Cherry trees was in dire straits.  The bottom foot of the tree had begun to rot from the outside in.  This made us a little sad as we had already lost another cherry and our big elm to disease over the past 5 years.  The tree had to come down before it became hazardous enough to fall on its own.  I had the guys from Goodland Tree Works climb it and cut it down.

But, this time I was going to do something different, something memorable.  While the previous two trees had gone for firewood to help warm our souls during the winter, I had plans for this tree.  I didn’t know quite what yet, but knew it would be special.  I explained to my tree guys what I was aiming for, two good saw logs around 8 feet long if we could pull it off.  They cut above the rotten area to produce an 8 foot 6 inch log that was just over 9 inches inside the bark at the large end and less than 8 inches on the small end.  They were also able to harvest an 8 foot log just under 8 inches at the large end and 5 and a half inches at the small end.   The two nice straight saw logs were stacked neatly next to my firewood pile awaiting their next journey.


Kathy Bastin, Woodworker for Timbergreen Farm in Spring Green with the two logs

Meanwhile, a friend of mine had learned about Timbergreen Farm and had pointed me into the direction of Timbergreen’s website.  I was very excited at the possibilities after tooling around the website for some time.  I contacted Jim Birkemeier at Timbergreen and explained my dilemma.  I had these two nice logs, but they were pretty small and I wanted to do something special with them.  I didn’t quite know what yet and was looking for advice.

Jim was very enthusiastic and we set up a Saturday in January where I could deliver the logs and take a tour firsthand of the operation.  I muscled the two logs into the pickup and headed out to Spring Green.  I was immediately impressed with Jim and his enthusiasm for trees, nature and getting value out of what others would simply write of as firewood or pulpwood. 


Solar heated lumber kilns at Timbergreen Farm, Spring Green

Jim cut the logs into boards and placed them into his solar kiln.  Over time as they dried we discussed what I wanted to do with the cherry.   My wife and I had wanted to redo our stairs, hallway and a room in our house.  Jim suggested we could use the cherry as flooring and I loved this idea.  Except that I knew we wouldn’t live in this house forever and I wanted something that we could take with us to always remember the cherry tree.  Something very special, that we could hand down to the grandkids someday.  I kind of had an idea of a cross between a sofa table and an end table that my wife could put her heavy book bag on after a long day of teaching.  But I wanted something beefier than a mission style table.  Something akin to the old farm house tables, beefy, thick and strong. 

Sturdy table made from the small cherry tree

I was thrilled when Jim said he could not only pull this off, but also incorporate some of the cherry in the stairs, hallway and banister, in addition to crafting some keepsake boxes and coasters.  Jim was aiming to maximize the cherry saw logs and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Well, that was until Jim delivered the final product.  The table and small boxes are absolutely gorgeous and the stairs, hallway and flooring thrill everyone who comes by. 


Lumber from the small cherry tree was incorporated into this custom built stairway

When we explain how all this has our own backyard cherry tree involved, the excitement and enthusiasm for the end product is even more pronounced.  We were so impressed with the results we’re saving to have Jim come back and finish the entire upstairs.