Well, it’s now March 2nd and we are usually into full spring here at Eco-Sense with native bulbs poking up and daffodils almost open, and usually the first round of plum tree grafting completed. However, this winter has been unusually harsh, cold, and snowy. Today, as we write this, we are in a snowy winter wonderland…again.
Three Events at Eco-Sense:
Saturday March 11th from 10am – 2pm. FIRST plant sales of the spring season. Due to the weather, we will be delaying our first open house for sales of perennial edible plants until the second Saturday of March (March 11th). Following this date, we will be open every Saturday this spring from 10am – 2pm.
Thursday March 30th from 1-4 pm: $55 – Grafting workshop at Eco-Sense. Gord will lead the instruction to graft 2 of your own apple trees of choice to take home (choose from a variety of scion wood). Tour of food forest and perennial food systems included. Bring your own THIN BLADED SHARP knife… no longer than 5 cm… everything else is supplied… hopefully no band-aids required. Only 12 spots. Suitable for kids 12+ and adults. Registration via Eventbrite
Sunday May 28th from 1-5 pm: $40 for a very special PUBLIC TOUR. We are hosting the first public tour in many years to launch our partnership with Tayler and Solara of Hatchet and Seed. If you don’t know Tayler and Solara be sure to visit their website. They specialize in transforming under utilized landscapes (farms and yards) to abundant and beautiful site appropriate food systems. This special Eco-Sense tour will last about 3 hours and then we will have a social and snack time inside the cob home. Space is very limited and already half sold out. Full details and booking is via Eventbrite link here.
AND…Maybe…Just Maybe, Gord will do a workshop on grey water systems. We have two systems to install for first rate hands on learning. Tentative date: Thursday, April 27th from 10am-3pm. Bring lunch. $60. Only 8 spots. Registration via Eventbrite:
AND…Maybe…Just Maybe, Gord will do a short workshop on Humanure composting toilets. Learn the 3 P’s of composting toilets: Pee, Poo, and Policy. Sat, July 22 from 10am-noon. 10 spots. $30 Tour of our bathroom here at Eco-Sense in the main house, the very slick Eco-Hut system, the outside bathroom setups, and watch an actual bucket dump. Good opportunity to confront your fears…and leave fecalphobia behind (oooh could have fun with that). Registration via Eventbrite:
In other news:
Despite the harsh and unpredictable weather this winter, it has been an abundant, tasty, and nutritious winter of food. Ann put away lots of dried foods (fruits and veggies), and fermented foods. We have lots of fresh apples, garlic, leeks, parsnips and carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. Here’s a photo of one of our pre-packaged soups…pre assembly. Venison bone broth, fava beans, carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes, bayleaves, parsnips, squash water, dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, dried kale, and dried zucchini. It was an AWESOME soup. Also on the counter in this photo are ginger beer on the go, kefir, sourdough spelt starter, fermenting Jerusalem artichokes, and the cheese curds and whey.
AND…Maybe…Just Maybe, Ann will write a radical homesteading cook book… one without any recipes.
AND…Maybe…Just Maybe, Ann will do fermented foods workshop. AND… just Maybe…
Ann has been making lots of cheese too. Brie, waxed cheddar, washed rind natural cheeses, and feta.
Our back deck has also become much more useful with a small roof extension and installation of an outside kitchen. This is where Gord, Tayler and Ann processed Beaker. Yes, all five of us (Tayler, Solara, 2 year old Flora, Gord and I) ate our much loved rooster.
Here’s the story: After 1 year of living well together and sharing hens peacefully, our two roosters went at it. The young one being the stronger, and our lovely gentle cuddly Beaker getting quite messed up (bloody head and missing an eye). In the morning we had to make a choice. If we let them back together Beaker would surely lose his life in a bloody battle. Beaker also had longer spurs which were damaging his favourite 3 hens. We also suspect Beaker was not very fertile as last year we had a zero hatch rate. So…to make a long story short, guess who we are eating for dinner? We looked after beaker well for 2.5 years and now he is looking after all of us. He was not frightened to die and went quickly without a struggle. RIP Beaker. (Our freezer has become an interesting place with interesting labels on glass containers…”Beaker Soup” and “Beaker with Pesto”).
We gave our Earth Sheltered Greenhouse a work over as the mice and rats were having a field day in there. Spent the afternoon cleaning out the mouse/rat infested greenhouse while Gord spent the afternoon digging up two sides of the earth sheltered insulated greenhouse to bury metal lath to stop the persistent rodents. Apparently the rodents like to chew through the recycled dock foam insulation buried in the earth to gain access to summer tomatoes, peppers and newly planted seeds. What a mess. Then it started to rain. Found numerous mummified things…ack. So happy to have the greenhouse all cleaned up and rodent free…for now.
And a pond update. We are retaining a lot of fluids… at the moment, every 1 inch (2.5 cm for you young folks under 46), is 4000 gallons (that’s a lot of litres for the young folks). The overflow corrugated culvert was leaking preventing the pond from filling up the last foot of height. All it took was a large elbow, small elbow, 2 of Gord’s elbows, 4 inner tube tires, water potable sealant, hose clamps, large and small rubber couplers, a heckling duck named Dug playing with Gord’s tools, frozen fingers and THREE persistant configurations of the above list of items. Fingers crossed that this does the job.
Lots of Council initiatives going on right now, but we’ll save that for our next update.
Ann and Gord
“and watch an actual bucket dump”
Umm, is this emptying or filling?
Guaranteed it is emptying. Haha.
Oh no! Beaker…is that the seeetie that followed Gord around on a consulting job?! How sad😔
Nope, that was Gentle Ben (or Big Ben as he was sometimes called). Sadly, Gentle Ben also came to the end of his life…his spurs were so long that the hens were getting punctured and were missing lots of feathers. Gentle Ben is the dad of some of our current hens. Roosters only live a few years…3 is about the max before the spurs get too long or they lose their fertility. it’s just they way things are.