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Executive Director, Sustainable Atwood

The Birth of a new floor in McFarland – from dead trees from S Wisconsin

Here is the latest newsletter from Jim Birkemeier  of Spring Green Timbergrowers with a great photo story of a local urban wood project in his area. Check it out!

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Written by Jim Birkemeier

May 4, 2014

A referral from Alex Greene began the process of creating a new wood floor, stairway, and baby crib project months ago for a growing young family in McFarland.

Jenna has been the most enthusiastic customer I have had in years – her husband Jim is also, but has a job and only had limited time to share on this.

Jenna asked to help within a few minutes, so I trained her to handle the power nailer and 3 pound hammer, then the chop saw.

It takes about 15 minutes for me to teach someone the basic skills of nailing down our hardwood flooring.  We have lots of tricks to add to the lessons, so all of us are learning more all the time.

We agreed that Jenna could install a unique section, designed by Jim the night before – as a transition between the living room and dining room.  She loved to pick out the perfect piece and she nailed them into place.

Did I mention she is due to deliver a baby girl in a few weeks?   Jenna and Jim own a Gym business and are personal trainers and coaches, so I trusted she was up for the task.

When Jim got home the first day, he too learned the basics of installing hardwood flooring and the couple helped install the first rows of the dining room, again enjoying the process of picking out the prettiest board to go next in the puzzle pattern of mixed species flooring.

Another new beginning was inviting a young employee who works in the laser cutting and shipping divisions of Spring Green Timber Growers – Tyler – to assist for a day.

Tylers official job title back in Spring Green is “Laser Ninja”, though he has assisted with skidding logs, sawmilling, kiln drying, resawing, planing and sanding to prepare the thin lumber for the laser cutting operation.   We like to hire really smart people and then teach them the simple basics of wood working – Tyler fits right into this practice.   Within a few minutes he was nailing in the Ash, Maple, Locust, Walnut, Oak, Elm, Hickory and Hackberry in the dining room.

Within the hour Tyler was also operating the chop saw to trim the planks to fit the location in the floor pattern.  I believe it is super important for our workers to get the full experience of growing trees, harvesting dead trees, sawmilling, kiln drying, manufacturing, installing, and seeing the huge smiles and hearing the prolific thank-yous of happy customers.

As I began to sand the living room floor, Tyler and Jenna worked together to finish the dining room.  Jenna also did most of the work to carry the ton of wood strips up two flights of stairs to the main floor of their home.  She is quite an enthusiastic helper!

Tyler will make custom  laser-cut wooden air vents that will be flush mounted into the floor during the finishing process.  We will install matching hardwood baseboards also.  image006Another project is to spruce up the stairways leading to the living room with our salvaged wood – Kathy worked to manufacture and finish the stair parts last week and I will install them Monday.

Here is the living room, now rough sanded.  “I cant wait to see it finished with all our furniture moved in, it will be amazing” said Jenna.

On the drive back home, Tyler said “That was not as hard as I expected.”  Indeed, installing is pretty simple – and the rewards of seeing your own wood installed in a familys home and hearing their enthusiastic praise over and over is pretty priceless!  When the homeowner helps in the process, even just picking some of the boards from the trailer..   their satisfaction and pride goes through the roof!

When the flooring project is completed, Jenna has asked me to build a wood crib for their baby.   After getting to know Jenna and Jim, making this piece will be very special!  I bet this baby will love wood and be able to swing a hammer too.

More to come on this one!

Local Solar | House Party and Information – April 29th

Waiting for the energy company to invest in more solar? Could be a while; theyve fulfilled their quota, so they don’t have much incentive. We do. We wont stop investing in solar until every home, business and organization in our neighborhood that wants to be, is solar powered.

We’re working to make solar accessible to everyone, on any budget. With each of us doing a little bit–or a lot–over time we can make a huge difference. Come find out how you can be part of our solar powered neighborhood.

SolarSAlogoLocal Solar | House Party & Informational
April 29th, 2014
6:30-7:30pm
2018 Helena St | Madison 53704
RSVP: Email solar@sustainableatwood.org

 

Yours for a sustainable neighborhood,

~ Sustainable Atwood

Read more about how Sustainable Atwood is helping to solar power the neighborhood

SolarHouseParty

Dead Trees | All is not lost | You can help

The emerald ash borer is certain to certain to kill ash trees in our neighborhood forest–on both public and private property. EAB is not the only threat to our trees. Many other species are taken from the urban forest for other reasons every day.

All is not lost.

Dead and dying trees are one of the neighborhood’s oldest natural resources--their wood can live on in our homes and lives if they get into the right hands at the right time.  Otherwise, they are likely to be entirely turned to chips and firewood.

You can help.
We created the “The Sustainable Atwood Neighborhood Guide to the Urban Forest” to explain what can be done to ensure timely and best uses of our dead and dying trees.
Help deliver our short guide to every home in the Atwood neighborhood so everyone will know what they can do.
  • We need 10 teams of 2-4 people. (Please create your team)
    • Saturday, April 26 (or any day convenient for your team thereafter) 
    • Team’s choice of two hour time slots between 8am-7 pm
Will you help? Reply to this message to sign up your team.
Thank you so much,
Yours for a sustainable urban forest,
~Sustainable Atwood

P.S. We are looking for a local sponsor to supply refreshments for our teams. We’d love to hear from you.

The Atwood Tool Library – First meeting and workshop! April 14th and 21st

Ever had plans to do weekend home repairs but didn’t know how or have the tools you needed? Or didn’t want to pay for a tool you’d only use once? That’s just what a tool library is for.

Join us April 14th to discuss creating a Tool Library in the Atwood neighborhood! Talk to others who are interested in starting a tool library, learn how other cities have done it, help organize and find others to include in the planning.
Exploring an Atwood Tool Library

April 14th, 2014
6:30pm

Absolutely Art – 2322 Atwood Ave., Madison 53704
RSVP: Email tools@sustainableatwood.org  

Please note: RSVP is not required, but it will help us determine how we set up the room and run the meeting, so please let us know if you can.

*Attend the meeting on the 14th and be entered into a drawing for a free window screen repair at the Martin Glass Workshop on the 21st!*

Then … 
Join us the following week for a sample workshop demonstration!
Learn how to repair single pane windows and mend screens from our neighborhood experts at Martin Glass.
Spring Window & Screen Repair Demo
April 21st, 2014
6:00-7:15 p.m.

Martin Glass – 2323 Atwood Ave., Madison 53704
Suggested donation: $5.00 OR donation of a working tool (non-gas powered) to start our library collection. 

Hope to see you there!

– Sustainable Atwood

PS- Check out the North Portland Tool Library as a great example of our vision for the neighborhood!

SASY Neighborhood Annual Meeting

Join us this Thursday at the SASY Annual Meeting. Sustainable Atwood will be there with a table of info to share about our current projects: Urban Wood, Solar, Metro Commute Card, and a new project, the Atwood Tool Library!

SASY Annual Meeting
Thurs, April 3, 2014
6:30pm
Goodman Community Center

Here’s more info on SASY meeting: http://www.sasyna.org/index.php/meetings/sasyannualmeetingapril32014

SASY Streets: Public Meeting About Our Neighborhood Streets 2/20/2014

Cover Photo
Thursday, February 20, 2014
6:30-8:30pm
Trinity Lutheran Church, 1904 Winnebago Street in Fellowship Hall (basement). Enter through the back door on Atwood Ave. Handicap accessible entrance in front on Winnebago St.

This meeting is to identify current problems and potential solutions for improved pedestrian, bicycle, bus and car movements around our neighborhood.Driving in Madison and nationwide has been in decline for over nine years, while bicycles, pedestrians and metro use have been increasing and the bicycle path is occasionally at over-capacity. Is it time to rethink how we use our streets?

Streets and parking use half of most cities land base. How can we make the most of these shared spaces in our neighborhood? Do you have concerns about traffic speeds or children’s safety in front of your home? What do you like about traffic flow within our Schenk-Atwood neighborhood streets and what would you like to see changed?

The Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) Neighborhood Association is holding a public meeting to collect your ideas for enhancing the public spaces comprising our neighborhood streets. We will present visual samples of innovative solutions other communities have used to solve transportation issues and collect your ideas for our neighborhood solutions.

The cover photo is a NYC street makeover using only paint and planters. Many cities around the world are employing such tactics. They are cheap, fast and effective. We will be showcasing such outside-the-box solutions other communities have utilized for brainstorming purposes — to get us opened up to be thinking a little differently and wider about what is possible and what we might want to do here. We are a neighborhood — along with Wil-Mar and other surrounding neighborhoods — with the most creatives and innovators in one place in the entire state. Let’s utilize that. We all have thoughts and ideas on how to make things better.

Please add your ideas, drawings and photos to this Facebook event page and come to the meeting to tell and show us all.

For more information, visit www.sasyna.org or contact Donna Magdalina, SASYNA Transportation Committee Chair: transportation@sasyna.org