From different corners of the world, Connor and Marta had also just recently arrived at Tree Elbow, where they fell in love and (later) got hitched. With all three on deck we had a very productive time.
Food is big at Tree Elbow. It is life, liberty, health, ecology and energy. Jeremy soon understood how serious we take food and energy resources; how these often taken for granted things equate exactly to how each of us touch the earth.
Growing, preserving, fermenting, storing and cooking food became part of Jeremy’s day to day. But this was not entirely new to him. Before coming to Tree Elbow he’d been an intern at Milkwood Farm, completed a horticulture certificate and a PDC, he’d volunteered as a community gardener, WWOOFed at various places and established a mini food forest at his parent’s house in Sydney.
With so many staying at Tree Elbow, we needed more accommodation. Patrick offered to give Jeremy an informal building apprenticeship like he had with James and Zeph the year before.
The building had to go up fast, but we’d already saved materials from the local skip bins and tip.
Materials were also gifted and found online. Jeremy learnt most of the processes of building right through to putting ends and pops in the reclaimed spouting.
With the colder weather approaching, we needed to get the Yause, as Meg auspiciously named it, completed.
And we also had to get the glasshouse started.
It was a busy time, and a time of great learnings and hard yakka.
And while we were harvesting food, filling the cellar, building the Yause and the glasshouse, we also had to gather firewood for the winter from forests on the edge of town that are prone to fuel-reduction burns,
and waste wood material from a nearby mill for the humanure system.
We were all fairly exhausted by the end of Autumn, and the winter promised gentler labours. Jeremy used his horticulture skills to graft medlar scions onto hawthorn in the nearby commons.
He started carving things, such as this spoon, which he ate most of his meals with.
He learned new skills and passed them on. Woody was an eager student.
Jeremy made this small biochar furnace following our design and material salvaged trips to the tip. It works a treat!
Being an accomplished welder Jeremy made up these lugs for our back bike wheels at the local Men’s Shed so we can hitch our trailers to them.
He made this little low-tech rocket stove, modelled on designs from David Holmgren’s forthcoming book.
Jeremy starred in the trailer for that forthcoming book. The trailer was produced by Patrick and Anthony Petrucci.
One of the many things Woody and Jeremy liked to do was make a ‘road train’ (with the lugs) and head up to the skatepark for some wheelie good times.
Jeremy also taught Woody how to ride a flaming scooter. Hell yeah!
Jeremy also retrofitted old parts from the tip to make a new bike seat for Woody on the back of Meg’s bike.
Over the year we became increasingly impressed with his technical skills.
Making all manners of things with materials that were either wild harvested or came from the tip. Most of these items he gave to people as gifts.
He made a coat rack for the Yause.
He made a more significant rocket stove at the men’s shed.
He learned to tan hides and make other useful things,
Earlier in the year he attended Claire Dunn‘s natural fire-making workshop with Zeph and Connor,
sleeping rough and eating bush foods along the way.
By the last month of the year he’d turned out just as every bit odd as everyone else around here. An anthropologist friend calls Daylesford the town of black sheep. Yay for black sheep!
We did a lot of celebrating life this year, and we loved Jeremy’s spirit, joining in and relishing the looseness.
We’re going to miss you in a really big way.
Thank you for what you brought to Tree Elbow, Jeremy, and for what you brought to our community. You are always welcome here. With much love,
Artist as Family