David Boyt - Land and Forest Steward
Name: David Boyt
Recent Articles for MOTHER EARTH NEWS: "Have Sawmill, Will Travel" (October/November 2008).
Occupation: Technical writer, freelance writer, part time logger/sawmill operator
Place of Residence: Neosho, Missouri
Background: Education: B.S. in forest management, M.S. in Wood Technology, M.S. in Education. I built our passive solar post & beam home 30 years ago, and it still works! We burn firewood for backup heat. I have twelve years experience running various small sawmills, cutting pretty much everything from railroad ties to fancy grain walnut gun stock blanks. I do forest stand improvement and low-impact timber harvesting with small equipment on our family tree farm, and am a Level 3 certified logger. In my various past lives, I've been an EMT, 8th grade Industrial Arts teacher, technical writer, and designed & built wind turbine blades. Last year, when things got tough, I took a second-shift job running a sheet metal press. It got us through, but I'm now glad to be back to writing and sawmilling! I currently work as a writer for Norwood Industries, which manufactures small sawmills, and am a Managing Editor for Sawmill & Woodlot Management Magazine. These jobs have provided me with the opportunity to visit with sawmill owners and forest managers across North America.
Personal History: I've got a farm background, having grown up in central Iowa, and moved to southwest Missouri in 1968 (we're still considered "newcomers"). Though I have left the area for educational and professional opportunities, I now live on the family tree farm which was purchased by my parents in 1972. I see myself as a steward of the land, taking care of it for the generations to follow. Becky and I have been married 31 years, and it is hard to believe that we're already grandparents of a two-year old boy and a two-month old girl! We do our best to live lightly on the land, but we're not off grid--yet.
Current Projects: Cutting firewood (wish I could say it is for next winter, but it isn't), building outbuildings, thinning, pruning and planting hardwood trees, and milling lumber for area farmers and craftsmen. With the recent tornado in Joplin, MO (about 15 miles north of where I live), I have been milling some salvaged trees. I have Mother's plans for a wood gasifier, and hope to have my sawmill running on its own wood waste within the next year. Becky (my wife of 31 years) occasionally reminds me that our house also needs some finish work, and that we really need to get more serious about producing our own food.
Other Fun Facts: I'm a pretty fair guitar picker, and enjoy getting together with a few friends to make music every now and then. I enjoy woodworking, and have made a few dulcimers, hammered dulcimers and a banjo. I love flying and have a pilot's license, though I haven't flown in years. Ham radio is another interest, and I have a Technician's License (KD0KHJ), and am part of the local ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) group. Becky can't turn away a stray dog (well, she took me in, so I can't complain). We have an assortment of more than a dozen mutts, and have found homes for three times that many. We home schooled our children through the most difficult years, and have some pretty strong opinions about our educational system! In addition to teaching in the public school system, I have written textbooks on CNC machining, Robotics, and Automated Manufacturing. Freelance writing has given me a chance to travel throughout North America and kick around ideas about sawmills & forestry, and life in general with a lot of good people. I hope that blogging with Mother Earth News will give me even more opportunities to exchange ideas.
More Places to Find Me on the Web: www.sawmillmag.com, www.norwoodindustries.com, You Tube