‘So, do you have much experience milling timber?’ I asked Nate the sawmill man.
He just looked at me.
‘Yeah, I’ve probably milled about two million board feet’ he replied, eyes coolly fixed.
So three days later we had 9,500 board feet of site cut lumber from our downed trees.
Amongst the vast timber spoils are 16 massive 6X12 inch by 15 foot long joists that will support the upper storey of our house. Twenty-seven nine foot long standing grain slabs from the biggest Douglas fir we toppled, which are destined for an epic feasting table and elephant proof doors. And enough planks to build our micro library to house my thousands strong book collection.
Nate working on board feet 2,009,500
The off cut pile
Although we are all about the handcrafted life, we aren’t above using fossil fuels to save three years of pioneer toil such as cutting down a third of an acre of trees for our house site.
Our excavator man is ‘Thor,’ a hulking six-and-a-half foot bloke with hands like bear paws. One January day he arrived. One man, one Husqvarna chainsaw and one massive excavator. Eight hours later, a gaping hole in our forest, sixty trees lined up for the saw mill and a debris pile that burned for three days. There’s nothing subtle about being ‘Thorred’.
On the upside, we got to roast marsh mellows in January with the world’s longest marshmallow stick.
Karen roasting marshmellows
After twenty years of living in one bed apartments in Vancouver, tiny shared flats in London, a tent for five months and a van for the summer of 2013, it’s nice to have a place to swing a hammer.
Every day when we go down to our land to work we marvel at the beauty and tranquillity and bask in the bounty of ecosystems and resources that surround us.
Our plot is about three and a half acres of towering Douglas fir forest, perhaps two of red alder, a half-acre of open meadow that has been mowed and cultivated into our budding food garden and a secret rose enclosed wild forest garden where the deer bed down. Cutting across the south side is a seasonal stream and we are flanked by forest on three sides and to the south by the cornucopia of our neighbour’s organic farm.
What more can we say.
Our old home (the van) beside our new home
Home for nine weeks on the hunt for land
Our new forest
One of our largest Douglas firs
Our new neighbour mowing our meadow on our first day as landowners
Our future garden