Eco-Sense August 2010

Public tour: The last public tour of the year is scheduled for Sunday August 8th from 10am to 12:30pm.  Only 4 spots left.  Let us know if you would like to reserve a spot.  We are still doing some private tours and these are quite reasonably priced for groups of 10 or more.  Email for rates or check out our website.

Summer Workshops: We offered three workshops this year and had a fantastic time teaching some theory and hands on skills.  All three workshops (Grey water, natural plaster, and earthen floors and counters) were a great success.  Our course notes have been posted on our blog for others to see.  Workshop Notes If any of the students that took our courses have any feedback we are always interested to hear your thoughts…what you liked, where we could improve, or any other suggestions.  We are learning too.  Looking forward to what next year will bring for workshop ideas.

Links: One link we quite enjoyed this month was a lecture by Ecologist Bill Reese from UBC.  This was the guy who first coined the term “ecological footprint”. Excellent presentation to describe the “problem” and why we aren’t doing anything meaningful about it. Has a strong biological approach but also ventures into genetics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and economics. Very well rounded and logical.  We related to almost everything he said and this lecture really helped us understand why humans are so slow to act on climate change and all the other looming collapses. (eight 10 minute clips with a 2 minute intro in the first clip)

And for another funny (but crude) reasoning on our human situation check out this three minute video with George Carlin. George Carlin has a very important message to share…funny, but with profoundly serious consequences.

Test plot

Eco-Sense Research: HOBO link data continues to grow…check it out.  Mass walls are performing very well. I LOVE living in a MUD house!!!

Bathroom floor - by 8 year old

Cob bathroom at the local lake: Still not open for the public yet as it is taking forever for the final earth floor to dry.  We have tried leaving the door open during the days (with wet floor signs, no entry signs, and lots of yellow caution tape across the door).  But this has proved useless as a deterrent to keep people out.  They rip down the caution tape, use the bathroom, and one person even left dog poo in a bag on the floor (this person normally leaves it hanging in a tree).  Then there was the incident of the eight year old carving up the bathroom floor (at the entrance), and then bragging to our kids about it.  Two days after this act of vandalism we were at the lake with the kids, and the young offender was there with his whole family.  Gord had a chat with the dad about what the child had done…this didn’t go well at all.

Gord: Gord is spending about 10 days away each month working on two load bearing cob homes up in the Cowichan.  It is very exciting helping and watching the dreams of others literally rise up out of the ground.  Gord hasn’t been too inspired to do much writing lately especially since the “incident” at the lake, but has spewed out a rant about the future that’s coming and are we ready…my job is it to edit it before posting.

Organic Islands Festival:  Earlier the same day of the cob bathroom incident, Gord spoke at the Organic Islands Festival as part of a green building forum.  Other speakers were John Gower (Gower Design), Elke Cole (houses that love you back), Doug Makaroff (Elkington forest), and J.C. Scott (EcoDesign Gallery). Panel was moderated by Brandy Gallagher from OUR EcoVillage.  Check out this link for Gord’s short talk.

Publicity: Two short documentaries filming this year (one next week, and one in Sept.)  Peak Moment was filmed here back in 2006 when we first started building the cob woodworking shop and they are coming back to film our home…kind of a virtual tour.  Check out the first video of us talking about our dreams….(but only if you have nothing to do for half an hour).  We pretty much did everything we said we were going to do…except we built a COB house (not a straw bale house), and we did a grid tie to BC Hydro (rather than going off grid).

Eco-Sense is also going to appear in two US building/architectural magazines.  The articles cover the Living Building Challenge.  Builders News in August and Architectural Record in October.  And finally, the local paper the Goldstream Gazette was here last week to interview us about the energy research on our home…should be out this week or next.

Harrowsmith photo

Harrowsmith: The long anticipated magazine finally landed in libraries and on bookshelves this July.  The PDF/ magazine can be viewed through the library or  check out this link.

Our Gardens: They are finally growing and producing lots of food.  Our quinoa and red fife wheat are also filling out nicely.  We also have our first apple and 5 plums.  Looking forward to canning season.


Chicken update: For those who have followed our chicken updates with raising a dozen little feathered friends in our living room in the hopes of getting more laying hens…ten of the twelve are ROOSTERS.  They are 17 weeks old and all learning to cock-doodle-doo.  (No, they are not still in the living room…they moved outside at 3-5 weeks.)

Getting up early these days,

Ann and Gord

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