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How to keep busy during a pandemic

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Life is not normal right now. Social distancing keeps us from hugging our kids and getting together with friends. But unlike being in a big city, we are able to get outside to hike and to work and enjoy our yard. And with work schedules in shambles, there is more time at home -- and that, of course, means projects.

Our current project, started, as it usually does, with an off-hand comment or a Google search. The vinyl floor tiles in our kitchen and main hallway were in poor shape when we bought the house and are now flaking, cracking and pulling up in spots.

Sue has so many ideas, I sort of sit back, hear them out and wait until the dust settles on the best one. Paint the floor in bright colors! Pattern the floor in varying tiles! Or how about this one: circular end grain cuts of logs that are then filled in around with sawdust and resin!

For some projects, the inspirations pass, sometimes disappear entirely with new projects or ideas taking their place. But this time, it stuck ... because of me.

I happened to be browsing Facebook's Marketplace (probably for a whiskey barrel ... for some unknown reason I want one in the yard) and found a guy who was selling freshly milled boards from red oak logs and -- right there on his page mentioned cutting log rounds just like Sue had shown me.

I couldn't believe it. It must be a sign, right?

James Clarke (left) and his assistant Adam

After a few conversations via Facebook Messenger to describe what we needed (3/4"slabs), we drove to Hadley and met James Clarke and his assistant Adam, who were in the process of milling trees across the street from Mapleline Farm. James, who with his twin brother Jay, owns a portable milling company called the J Team, out of South Deerfield. James and Adam couldn't have been nicer. They had neatly stacked two pallets of log rounds and helped us load up our car -- twice.

The rounds are now neatly stacked along our driveway. We have to wait for them to dry before we can start figuring out how to lay them down on the floor. There is no doubt we are going to run into some tricky situations, especially around and underneath the dishwasher and, of course, in the upheaval of the most trafficked part of the house.

I could have -- and maybe should have -- just kept my mouth shut. This project is probably way above our level of ability. But I know I have a secret weapon: Sue.

If anyone can pull this off, she can!

Stay tuned for updates as the project goes forward...

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