It had to happen sooner or later, the sawmill is here. Co-owned by two old local codgers who like me can only work hard for half a day at a time, the Lucas Mill has been processing logs I chopped down months ago, turning them into building materials.
I always found it hilarious when, having posted photos of my felled trees on FaceBook some of of my greener friends commented with the likes of “poor trees”.
Exactly what do they think their houses are made of? Mon Abri had 24 trees in it. This one will have 30, even though it’s smaller. Don’t ask, I don’t know the answer to that one… except maybe my trees might be smaller.
It’s not until you switch from measuring the cost of housing in Dollars to measuring it in resources that the ecological impact of building becomes clear. At least,
none of those trees will have been moved more than 200 metres, making their embodied energy in fossil fuels quite tiny compared to most….. and, not accounting for the enormous amount of work I’ve personally put into felling the trees and cleaning up the mess, I will actually save thousands of dollars over buying the timber from ‘the shops’. Besides, they will soon enough be replaced by new trees we will plant around the farm.
The drawback is that instead of the build being started by now, I will have to wait another few months for the wood to dry, while the plans go into council for approval and the tedious work of digging, preparing, and filling the foundations begins. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither will Mon Abri MkII.
I am also getting used to the locals’ “mañana” attitude…. at Easter time, the mill was supposed to arrive “next week”. And it was “next week” every week. And when it finally did arrive, nobody rang to say so, it was a case of “ta dum…. here we are!” Good thing I was home, is all I can say. Anyhow, can’t complain, progress is happening, currently postponed by drought breaking rain, and we sure needed that. The Hydro’s dam levels are even rising! The same thing is happening with the excavator that was supposed to turn up tree weeks ago. Now of course, it’s so wet, the site preparation will turn into a quagmire, for sure.
Pete, who is a builder, was very skeptical about milling my Macrocarpas, saying there would be so much waste, and so much of the stuff coming off the mill would be of so little use due to knots, that the whole exercise might turn out to be a waste of effort. But as I thought, the wood is of excellent quality, surprising even him! To say I’m stoked is an understatement.
The big beams (with one left to cut…) in the middle of the above unsharp photo taken in the dark will be the centrepieces, literally, of the living space. They will hold up the triangular section of the roof in the middle of the house, and will hopefully make a statement. I can’t wait to see them up! There are twelve more logs to mill, so our pile of wood porn will grow by some 50% yet.
Finishing ‘the power station’ is also on hold, the batteries arriving later this week. I’ve also discovered that buying distilled water in the quantities I need (eighty litres…) to fill said batteries is nigh impossible. I could get some shipped across Bass Strait, but honestly, shipping water simply goes against the grain….. I find it ludicrous that no-one in Tassie makes distilled water. So I’ve decided to make my own, starting with making a solar evaporator. Watch this space, there will be more to come on that story as time passes….