Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Catch up!

It seems that life has been incredibly busy the last week or so. Chris and I (and Helen) participated in the Kamloops Energy Fair on May 23rd at McArthur Island Park. We couldn't believe how busy it was!

We talked non-stop for four hours and met lots of people interested in sustainable building. Some old friends stopped by including a former employee of my father's, who, it turned out, worked on a tire building in Kamloops over 20 years ago.

The interview I taped with CBC's All Points West aired (unbeknownst to me!) at 4:10 the day before and many people we spoke to had heard it and had wanted to come down to talk to us.

Fortunately there was a great kids area at the Fair and even Helen enjoyed herself, acing the recycling game, and learning even more about worm composting. The two young people in charge were amazing and kept many children engaged while their parents browsed the fair.

Our hole is now ready for tires but we had to set aside the project for a few weeks to honour some log home commitments we made several years ago. Hopefully the two buildings we are working on will soon be complete and we can return to our own home project.

After my rant about Costco and shopping in Kamloops I ran into my friend Maureen at the Barriere post office. We talked a little about food supply (she had just read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver) and the conversation turned to our local organic farm here in Barriere, Watersmeet. I learned from Maureen that one of the owners, Gerard, had tried to grow cucumbers over the winter and that he was, in fact, selling early lettuces, asparagas and a few other vegetables (already!!).

So I put my money where my mouth was and went for a visit. I had a good chat with Gerard and as our conversation moved to the label of organic and the controversy around that labelling, I was amazed that many of the concepts and ideas I had been reading about in Michael Pollan's books, In Defense of Food, and the Omnivore's Dillema, were coming out of Gerard's mouth! Truly our food supply issues are being examined at a very local level, too!

After grabbing (and paying!) for two pounds of asparagas I resolved that I would pay more for my produce in order to get the best of the nutrition in them, instead of simply spending the least amount of money at the Superstore. It also led me to a flurry of weeding in our garden!

Our first batch of radishes are ready and the peas are nine or ten inches tall. Chris' tomatoes and mystery plants (I think they are green peppers) that he planted in the cold frame are excelling. They look greenhouse perfect! Onions are up and beans, which we planted for the first time, have poked their heads up. Even the heritage brocolli I decided to give a whirl is coming up. Chris' spuds in a tire are also starting to take off.

On another note, I am re-evaluating solar hot water. After hooking our waterline during excavation, we had to re-connect using a garden house above ground. By noon each day running the cold water tap generates a good gallon or two of really hot water. Heated for the sun! There's something in this concept...especially in the summer.

We put a little effort into our sheep pasture and set up a large area with electrical fencing. After making each lamb touch the wire with its nose a few times (none of us felt great about doing it) they are all respecting it and we no longer have to move the small pasture fencing each evening. We borrowed Mike and Linda's post pounder and shiny green John Deere tractor and put in some more so that when the lambs are finished with this pasture, we can create another one while it recovers.

We started free ranging the hens. The first day we opened the coop doors, the hens all stood in the doorway for a few hours. Nothing could convince them to come out! Now they are exploring the yard and pecking away at hopefully scrumptious bugs. More omega-3 for my eggs! They are all now roosting on Chris' makeshift roosting bars in the coop. Only 21 fit on them so the other four hang out on the hook holding the automatic waterer. Now Chris is turning his thoughts to building the proper roosts...

We had our first chicken a few nights ago. We had a family get-together at Dad's and my cousin Gerald and his family joined us. Sister-in-law Stephanie cut it up and merinated it and then BBQ'ed it. Delicious. So much better than factory produced chicken. I have to say that the difference is quite noticeable. So the dilemma is now whether we can stand to raise this breed again for the taste/nutrition difference. I think it is still a no to the breed, but perhaps we will investigate something different next year.

We are planning a kayak trip for four or five days before school is out. We are all quite excited and hope that this, and a few other trips, will get us polished and ready for the Bowron Lakes Circuit in August.

Next up for us is a multitude of baseball games and practices for the kids, and polishing our piano recital pieces for June 20th!

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