We took another big step towards our dream of operating the Nook completely off-grid; installing a 4.5kw solar system with high output panels. This system covers 50% of the Nook’s yearly electricity requirements.
After this slower winter, I continued working through my fourth fire season (2021/22) and slowly ticked things off the list. I found gardening to be one of the most rewarding and healing activities, as it gave me the time to process things in my mind while connecting and caring for the land. Most mornings I would spend an hour or so carting rocks around the garden, listening to music or a podcast and enjoying the task purely for what it was.
Sadly, near the end of the season my dear friend and mentor, Burkey, died suddenly from a heart attack. Burkey was a qualified carpenter, but really he was more than that – he was an artisan, a fully fledged timber wizard… no… a warlock!
Burkey played a huge part in my development as a timber craftsman. He taught me how to read the direction of the grain in timber and by knowing the direction how to then use a thicknesser to plane the timber to perfection. He taught me the difference between timber and wood, stressing time and time again, a craftsman works with timber, a wood cutter works with wood; something I have learnt to understand more clearly as my own experience as a craftsman has continued to develop. He taught me generosity and trust, lending me his carpentry trailer, full of useful tools, for the entire duration of the build, a gesture I will always cherish and pass on whenever I too have the opportunity to give to someone else.
There was always something to learn from Burkey and it saddens me greatly that my lessons with him have come to what feels like a premature end.
Along with Dad, Burkey was one of the figures I most admired in my life and drew experience from throughout the Nook project. He was always there to lend me an ear to soundboard ideas and provide feedback when I needed it. For that, I am so thankful.
One of the most significant jobs that I completed during the season was actually my repayment to Wayne for all the welding and metal work he completed on the project. We had agreed on a contra deal where I would make something for him in exchange for all of his hard work and expertise he provided on the project. He and his partner Bek were keen on making a custom island bench for their kitchen, so I put the new workshop to use and over the course of the summer designed and built their new island bench.