Preparing for the course – part 2 (milling around)
What a day in the office! It is times like these that make me realise why we chose this lifestyle to begin with. Here is a timeline of the day’s preparations:
6am – We arrived at the future ‘Earth College’ site to find out where exactly the sun rises at this time of year. When orientating buildings, planning gardens amongst other things, you need to know where abouts the sun is going to rise (there are online calculators that can tell you this but its not as fun as forming a personal relationship with your land and the elements). This is the perfect time of year to do this test because it is near smack-bam the middle of winter. Doing this correctly will limit the amount of external heating input needed to keep your home cosy and it will limit the direct solar access during summer.
7:20am – The sun rose in a moment that filled the hills with bliss and clarity. It was then time to go mill some timber!
8:30am – Ian, Katie and I arrive to meet Dolph and Gilly at the course site. We discussed all things concerning hot showers, accommodation, night time activities, sourcing food and making our own building materials.
9am – We have a good idea of what order the preparations need to happen. Step 1 – milling timber!
Firstly a bit of history of the site. Dolph is a caretaker of a large scale forest just outside of Nimbin. Dolph and Gilly keep the forest safe and well maintained as well as running their biochar business from home. The site is more or less completely self-sufficient. They grow their own food, their vehicles run on used veggie oil and they trade goods and services before trading with money to just name a few things.
9:15am– Time to get milling! We are taken down to the ‘industrial’ part of the site where Dolph has an old timber mill which was built in the 50s. He takes us through while explaining how the mill was used as a set for a horror movie which was never released. Eerie stuff! He then proceeded to take us outside of the old mill where he had a shiny new mill, sitting there and awaiting our company.
9:30am – Dolph took us through the ropes of how the mill operates, safety precautions and tricks to make our life easier. Using tractor and chain, we dragged a large bit of tallowood over to the mill. The beauty was this tallo-log was left there discarded in the forest years ago. Neglected like a sad puppy. So we decided to give it a new life as a living roof that will shelter the love of two wonderful human beings.
9:45am – We have the log lined up, level and centered, ready for the mill! We did a couple of test runs with Dolph, cutting through all the bark and the soft parts of the wood. He then left me and Ian to take it from there. Now let me tell you, this is when the fun started. When you start up that machine and mill perfect batons and rafters time after time, you form a certain addiction to the process. We cut piece after piece for what seemed to be for an instant eternity. It was seriously so much fun!
After having a beautiful lunch from food grown onsite and some more milling in the afternoon, we had made enough cuts for all the support beams for the roof and some of the cladding too.
Everyone was pleased with the productivity of the day.
Stay tuned for more updates