Too many Positives

dsc02639Yup, you read the title correctly… and that’s NOT just Ann ranting about positive feedback loops.  It has been a whirlwind of positive ripples over the past few months.

The one negative impact of all the positives is we only have 3 Open House Plant Sale days at Eco-Sense scheduled this fall…

  • Sunday October 9th   10am-2pm (Thanksgiving weekend)
  • Sunday October 16th 10am-2pm
  • Sunday October 23rd 10am-2pm

Hardy Kiwi – Ann’s new favourite fruit

Farm Gate Sales of Perennial Edible Plants:  Same deal as last year.  If you are planning to buy plants, please drive up to the top and find a parking spot.  If you are not buying plants you are still most welcome to come and walk around our permaculture homestead but we ask that you park at the lower gate and walk up.  We also ask that you do not bring dogs as we have free ranging ducks.  Formal tours do not occur during our open house days as we stay close to the nursery, however we do enjoy conversations on anything from composting toilets to political rants and everything in-between as time permits.  Our annual gardens are still producing incredible abundance in their very chaotic fashion…we’ve been a wee bit busy lately, so hopefully we don’t lose anyone in the overgrown gardens.


Attending our friends Tayler and Solara’s amazing  zero waste, local food potluck wedding set in spectacular gardens with their amazing friends and family.

Where to start… hmm maybe with point form:

  • BC Manual for Composting Toilets & Grey Water is live on the Province’s Septic and Sewage Regulation website.  Know what that means?  Yup you don’t have to have a septic system if you have a properly designed alternative.    The actual manual is here.  It is now legal to S**T in a bucket.
  • Ann’s push to have Deborah Harford of SFU ACT give a presentation to the CRD has been accepted and the CRD and the elected officials in the region will have an amazing opportunity.  Deborah will present to the CRD Forum of Councils – sharing critical information to bring our region up to speed on the science, the tools for mitigation and adaptation, and the deep shit we are in (Ann’s addition).    Ann was instrumental in this and I am proud of her. (Ann’s addition:  There were a few others (Councillor Vic Derman from Saanich and some CRD staff) pushing with me for this event.)  Way to go collaboration!
  • Painter Trail Food Forest Park.  Colwood has started planting their 1 acre Painter Trail food forest park.  We are very excited for the beauty and the food that this will create for Colwood for generations to come.  Way to go Colwood for leading the way. Photos just released from Colwood:


    Squash and Grapes in a food forest – Summer abundance

  • House Performance.  The house is performing exceptionally well.   We have gone 8 months without added heat inputs from a fire.  The sun provides for our needs. Last fire we had was the 1st week of February 2016.  All of this accomplished in a hand built MUD house made without toxic building materials.  Way to go MUD! (Modern Utopian Dwelling)
  • UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) is an annual event where all elected officials in communities across BC gather to vote on policy resolutions we collectively want to endorse as united local governments.  We also have the opportunity to meet provincial ministers and discuss issues.  Unfortunately we are also subjected to political propaganda.  Ann and Gord’s council reports will be available and linked below when they are live on the District of Highlands website.
    • Rainwater Harvesting was discussed in a meeting with District of Highlands and  Minister of Environment Mary Polak in regard to MOE pushing the policy forward – Minister Polak is on it.


      Guess what this is?

    • Rainwater for Potable Use.  After the results of a resolution on rain harvesting as potable water source was passed, discussions and connections between Gord and Manager of Watershed Stewardship (MoFLNRO), and Island Health ensued and it is looking like a draft policy may soon get started and offered to the Province as starting guidelines.
    • Municipal Natural Assets – Ann engaged the panel group that presented on Municipal Natural Asset Initiative (The town of Gibsons is leading the way), and they have requested the Highlands sustainability appraisal form to see if it fits in their search for finding a tool to encorporate multiple forms of capital.  Also it looks as though they may be in interested in Highlands becoming one of the pilot projects to included natural assets as municipal infrastructure.  Natural assets include: ground water aquifers; streams and wetlands for storm water management; forests and soils for cleaning the air and sequestering carbon; etc.  Highlands Appraisal form here (2 pages):    Way to go Highlands!
    • Safe Soil resolution passed.  Gord co-presented at the Provincial Policy Session on Soil Movement alongside some pretty amazing provincial staff including MoCSCD’s Manager of Policy and Legislation, MOE’s Sr. Contaminated Sites Officer, the MOE’s Wildlife Conservation Specialist, MOTI’s Environmental Roadside Manager, and Saanich’s Environmental Education Officer.  An honour.  Way to go Gord!
    • UBCM Resolutions.  There were close to 200 and many were very exciting…for us nerdy policy types.  Here’s a few:  Professional Reliance Model, Protection of Old Growth on Vancouver Island, Rainwater for Potable Use, Take Site C to the Utilities Commission, Safe Soils (to control invasive species), Affordable student housing, First Nations invited to participate at UBCM, Higher fees for bylaw enforcement, Local Improvement charges to finance green energy, Watershed protection, Mines Act permit notification, etc.  Way to go BC Communities!
    • Ann’s council report detailing her rants and personal experience at UBCM…it’s a bit edgy.  Here    Gord can attest to Ann’s rants.  They normally occur at regular intervals  for extended periods of time… but for the first time Gord actually measured the length of one of her rants – the length was 22.5 kms – the distance from the the Victoria Conference Centre to home.  Needless to say, Gord couldn’t drive quick enough!
    • Gord’s council report detailing his week at UBCM.  Here


      Sweet potatoes growing on the roof between the Solar PV and Solar Thermal.

  • Essential Composting Toilet Systems.  Ann and I have been asked to write the “Essential Composting Toilet Systems” a how-to book by New Society Publishers.
  • The Pond is now holding water… lots of water.  Ducks are happy.  Thanks to our friends Ingo, Tayler and Shawn for helping put the membrane in.  Way to go Friends!
  • Fall plant shipments will be arriving Friday October 7th, re-supplying the goumis, mulberries, autumn olives, aronia, hazelnuts and more that we ran out of.
    • Blight Resistant Hazelnuts… after waiting on the list for two years, our order has come through – kinda wish we had ordered more than 100 though.
    • Pond Plants.  We now have a pond and therefore we can now supply and sell pond plants.  dsc02546
  • FOOD.  We mostly did our own food while at the convention and either took our own lunch or ate at Nourish where they prepare simple but very yummy real food with many local and organic ingredients. First time in 2 years for Ann eating out.   Way to go Nourish!
  • SPECIAL THANKS to our 6 week house mates, who fed the dog, put the chickens away, collected eggs and most of all helped dispose of zucchini.  This helped make our week at UBCM a little easier.   Our house mates needed a short term place to stay as they wait to move into their home after moving to Victoria from Vancouver.  Lindsay works for the David Suzuki Foundation…she’s the Queen of Green…so this is a good fit for us here at Eco-Sense.  Check out her blog:

Gord helping out in the kitchen, complete with drill for making kebobs – in his stylish manpron (man apron). And yes that is a mink pelt hand towel hanging at his waist.

Ok, that’s it for this week.  Hope to see some of you on Sunday from 10am-2pm.

Gord and Ann

5 responses to “Too many Positives

  1. Bryan Swansburg

    I like the uncaptioned picture of Gord screwing up something (drilling kebabs?) in his natural fiber kimono.

    • Haha. There was supposed to be a caption…Not sure what happened to it. Yes, Gord is drilling holes in garlic for kebabs and he is wearing his manpron (man apron). Yes, that is a mink pelt for a hand towel on the deer pelt. He was dressed up for company. You have a keen eye.

  2. Ok, I give. What is that gloop that Ann is holding????Really weird meal worms? Sprouted mini-black-eyes peas. Pleeeease what are they?

    • hehe. Sichuan pepper corns. I ground them up and sprinkle them in my cooking…excellent in curries and in salsas and in many things. Very good and unique and a very different kind of tingly hot. Hard to describe how good these are.

  3. And, lest you think the positives passed me by…. WAY TO GO TEAM BAIRD!

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