A love of trees grew Liberty Sawmill
Bud and Stan Peskar started planting trees on their family farm in 1950, transforming the eroded land into woods spanning 550 acres.
As the brothers grew into their own lives, Bud, as a farmer on the family land, and Stan, as a lawyer, the trees grew as well.
Nearly 70 years later, the trees are providing for their new retirement business — Liberty Sawmill off Liberty Road.
The two bought their piece of equipment 32 years ago from a mill along the Mississippi River, though they didn't really get started with the business until Stan retired 21 years ago.
"When I retired I needed something to do," Stan said. "I'm not a golfer."
Now much of what they work with for the mill is trees the brothers, now ages 88 and 82, planted all those years ago.
The two are meticulous stewards of the land, and have always been interested in forestry and taking care of the woods they've created.
Starting up the sawmill business was a learning experience, as the brothers worked to understand the process.
"Everytime you leave off and don't saw for six months it's a learning experience to get back into it," Stan said.
Bud and Stan had help from their brother-in-law when they first started, and now have the help of nephews as well.
The two make a variety of different lumber creations with the sawmill for contractors, farmers, neighbors and friends.
The two have seen the impact of trends over the years, from well-finished cherry for kitchen cabinets to the more rustic look.
"These fashions really do change," Stan said.
All projects start with cutting down the tree to harvest. To do so, Stan and Bud have to find a way for the fall, and a way for it to fall so it doesn't damage itself.
The fallen tree is then limbed and transported back with the skidder to the main part of the property. They try to make sure the cut tree doesn't lay long, as that could lead to cracking.
When they're ready to saw, the sawmill has the mechanisms to help them roll the log onto the lift and start cutting. The log is cut into the desired length and thickness, and stored with stickers between the cut pieces to allow air to get between them.
The brothers operate the sawmill throughout the year, often with breaks in the middle. The business doesn't have a season, Bud said, but they do work around sap levels as well as avoiding working the sawmill when too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.
"I don't know how long we can keep this up, but as long as we're having fun," Stan said.
Even if they slow down more, Stan said they'll still be out maintaining the trails in the woods.
The years have given them a lot of projects, and a lot of memories.
"Everything is an adventure," Stan said.
Though they say the sawmill has been a great way to keep them active over the years, the brothers' favorite aspect of the business is the trees.
"I like being out in the woods," Stan said.
"It's more about growing trees than sawing," Bud added.