At 6:30 a.m. Caden was peeking out the window to see what was making the early morning din.
This time it wasn’t the bear who has been lumbering through the woods in the wee hours. This time it was his Dad, lumbering.
Did I mention the 6:30 a.m. part? The man does not stop moving, planning, doing… He’s always puttered, but now his puttering involves chainsaws and sawmills. Very productive, very noisy. Thank goodness we no longer have close neighbors. Although I’m afraid with all of that racket he’s dramatically decreasing the chances of us getting any occupants in here:
I joke of course, because loud, early, fairy deterrent or not, we have a SAWMILL! How great is that. Yet again, something we had not expected even a couple of months ago.
We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do about wood: the wood that we had on our property where our house site would be, the wood that we need to build a home. We hoped the two would end up being one in the same. But how? Again, let me reiterate that we did not know anything about lumber, milling, etc. Many of my family members did. I was not one of them. We’d always been the ones to pay someone to handle these kind of logistics. But we were determined to try to figure this out, to take ownership of this process. Our progression went something like this:
- A local sawmill: What if we had the wood we cleared from the land brought to a nearby small-time sawmill that could turn the wood into the boards we’d need to build our wooden tapered yurt? This seemed like a straightforward, logical, local-benefiting plan. Josh even spoke with the man who would mill the wood. But there were two things about this approach that held us back. First, we really disliked having the wood leave the property – one of those seemingly irrational but nagging gut feelings. The trees stood here, they fell here, and we wanted them to stay here and become our home here. Second, we didn’t have the full materials list for our tapered yurt design, so the wood would need to be transported and sit at the mill indefinitely, possibly getting mixed up with other wood. Oh wait, there’s a third too. There’d also eventually be the process of transporting the wood back from the mill to the land.
- A local sawyer: Nearby farmers told us of another local farmer who milled wood in the off-season. He had a reputation for being really good with his portable mill. Again, Josh spoke with him and we got in line to have him come to our land and mill the wood in the off-season. This felt MORE right than taking the wood to the sawmill, but still didn’t feel quite right for some reason. Then another friend mentioned that he knew someone who had to wait a year and a half before that sawyer was able to get to their wood milling… This was a bit unsettling. Once we had our yurt materials list, we wanted to be off and running with the wood preparation so the drying time for the wood could start ASAP.
- Getting a sawmill, becoming a sawyer: A friend who had previously used portable mills started talking with Josh about going in on a mill themselves. He had a lot of wood from his landscaping business that he wanted to mill. Suddenly everything clicked and THIS made sense. The paths that put things more in our control ultimately seem to be the ones our guts say yes to. Before we knew it, they were off on a day trip to take advantage of a Wood-Mizer sale, and back they came with this:
Somehow or another this is considered a portable mill. Nothing is mentioned in the instructions about the amount of swearing that is apparently necessary to initially get it out of the back of a pickup truck. But, from what I hear, once it is set up it will indeed become much more portable. Before being set up, this was how portability happened:
Little boy excitement exuded from all the males around. This was well and truly fun.
It took them some more time to assemble the mill and get it leveled out. Yesterday they started it up for the first of what will likely be many, many times.
This is very much Josh and his friend’s project. But me? I love it. Not the wood mill so much as the husband who is driven to use it at all hours, what the mill will mean for the progression of our plans, and for yet more fascinating cyclical patterns…
Starting with the trees that stood here for decades, that created the dappled light and sheltered the mossy undergrowth I fell in love with here. The trees I did not want to cut down, but knew we would need to in order to build a home and have a garden here.
The wood milled, so close to where the trees once stood (and believe me, I’ve been pestering about eye and ear gear, nagging being my contribution so far in the wood milling).
The boards created for our future home.
And even the sawdust byproduct, so symbiotic at a yurt with a sawdust toilet… It will compost down, back to earth again in time.
Yes, so many great connections this wood mill helps create. And so very entertaining for us all at the same time.