Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Sawmilling has been suspended for the last few weeks. Usually that makes me restless and while I am glad to be back out in the woods, I didn’t mind the distraction. Last Saturday evening, my daughter, Erin, married a wonderful young man. It was much more than a wedding — it was a bringing together of two families with many similar interests and values. Erin has lived in Seattle for the past four years, and that’s where she met Walter, at a dance festival. By sheer coincidence, Walter’s family has a small farm near Seattle. His father is passionate about trees and also owns a small sawmill! I had visited them when I was working on an article about the Vashon Forest Stewards, and they offered me wonderful hospitality. It was great to be able to reciprocate when they came with their family and friends, though they were only able to stay for a few days.
It was too hot and dry to hold the wedding here on our place, but the ceremony was held in an outdoor courtyard, which was perfect for the small gathering. Walking Erin down the aisle seemed to go in slow motion, until I gave her a hug before letting her go. Then time just flat-out stopped. Erin’s uncle, Comer, got himself ordained so that he could perform the ceremony. His voice cracked with emotion as he did so.
As a toast to the new couple, I sang “Give Yourself to Love” by Kate Wolf. Then the dancing began. After the traditional first dance with her new husband and last dance with me, everyone joined in. Walter made a big impression on my grandchildren, ages three and one, and they all danced together. The entire celebration was the best possible start of what we hope will be a long and happy marriage. Walter’s family has pretty much adopted Erin (they have four boys, and Erin is their first daughter), and it is great to know that she will have their love and support, as Walter has ours.
After all that, it is hard to get back on track to a “normal’ schedule. School started last week and Becky has her first day as a substitute teacher today. I’m back to writing and running my Norwood portable sawmill when I have time. I’ve about got the bath house finished up, complete with rainwater collection and graywater distribution. Hopefully, my next blog will give the first report on how well the system works. My son designed a reservoir that we can trickle water into at night and draw from during the day. Pretty ingenious, as it ties into our regular water system. We can draw out about sixty gallons during the night without running the well dry.
The clearing of trees by our neighbors across the road continues, and it is disheartening to see load after load of logs being pulled out, with the knowledge that not trees will be replanted or allowed to grow in their place, so that there will be a few more blades of grass for the cattle. Humming birds are gathering around our feeders as they build up their reserves for their southward migration. I expect that most of them are juveniles that hatched this summer. Their normal territorial behavior has been set aside as they come and go with dozens in a holding pattern that would bewilder even a seasoned air traffic controller. Walnut trees are just starting to lose their leaves, as an early reminder that it is time to start preparations for cold weather. Prediction is for an early winter. We burned so little firewood last year that we have plenty left over. This is the first time we’ve ever had our firewood cut and seasoned this far ahead!