Making it Real: A post on the “other stuff”

On social media and blog posts we often see just the good stuff.  The fun, the happy, the success!  Of course this is not reality, and we all know this.  But so often we can’t help but compare our own lives to those we admire and are left with the feelings of not measuring up or feeling bad about our own life.  So today in this short post we thought we would share a snippet of our “other stuff”.

Cover Image emailed

Book to be published fall 2018

We have just spent the better part of the last 5 months writing a book on a topic we are quite passionate about…compost toilets.  Interestingly, we had said no to the publisher the first time we were asked to write this book…but eventually our resolve weakened and we agreed to write the book when the time lines were extended another year.  The book is pretty much done now, and we are very pleased with the result.  We have dreams that it will truly be a book to take the topic of compost toilets “From Waste Stream to Mainstream” and help countless people and communities locally and globally find ways to safely deal with human “resources” in an era of rapidly declining water resources.  Our first book will be published early this fall and the sales and big bucks should start rolling in.  Ha.  In the meantime, our cash flow has plummeted.  Our combined total Eco-Sense net income for the past five months has been less than $3,000.  (Nursery sales, consulting, tours, workshops, presentations, etc).


Gord bundled up at his desk this morning…feet on pillow, sunbeams coming in, compost toilet books on coffee table, and if you zoom in on his screen you see a toilet.

Cash flow being very poor is only one piece… we have been so busy and focussed on the book, that a few other things didn’t happen that should have happened.   Don’t you hate that word “should”.  But in our case, we should have got more wood in the wood shed…it was a VERY cold winter…rationing wood.  At lease our CO2 emissions have been even lower than normal.  Thank goodness the temperatures are rising and the solar is heating the home and providing much of our heat.  The solar thermal evacuated tubes are making LOTS of hot water to pump through the floors keeping our home at a lovely 17 deg C.  Interesting experiment for sure, and we kind of like the indoor toque look.  Still rather cold for sitting on ones butt at a desk.  Ann has taken the heating pad used for the baby chicks and is splurging on electricity to pre heat the bed.  (Note that we could have found and purchased more wood, but with the bank account now empty, we decided to just make due).


Chickens have gone into egg production overdrive…and you’ve got to love fresh oca and beets from the garden (grown in raised garden beds with simple hoop covers).  Gord and Nina photo bombed my food photo.  We have SO much food.

Gord also “should” have got busy hunting for venison…or even some front yard rabbits, but was too busy and focused last fall.  Even our dog Nina has found the time in her busy nap schedule to hunt some food.  sheesh…

So, we have been scrambling to get the spring nursery season going and start our workshop series in the MUD room @ Eco-Sense.  (details of workshops here) Last year our spring nursery season got off to a fantastic start with LOTS of people and good sales.  We were actually TOO busy to properly serve all our customers.  We did everything the same this year…except hardly anyone came…and last week NO ONE came.  Sad day!  We have no idea what happened.  We have more stock, healthy plants, bigger plants and lower prices for many items given their larger sizes.  So, we’ve been brainstorming what happened and why?


Fresh lemonade from our own lemons.  Life is good!

Anyways, we’ve been finding that the nursery is A LOT of work and isn’t particularly profitable when all the costs are factored in.  We may downsize and just specialize with a few plants…like nut trees and a few others that we can propagate easily here.  This would likely mean not have the regular nursery hours.  We are finding that most of our sales happen by private appointment now anyways.  BUT, in the meantime, we are still moving forward with the spring season.  Here’s our list of plants and we will continue with the Saturday 10am-2pm open house for sales of perennial edible plants for the next little while.

Now the reality check on the reality check…

WE ARE SO LUCKY and GRATEFUL for our lives.  We are healthy and happy, have great friends and a wonderful community, kids are doing great, our parents and siblings are doing great, and we have very rewarding day to day lives living in a beautiful place with meaningful work in alignment with our values.  We have excellent and abundant food, clean water, and don’t live in fear of violence or rape.  We have so much more security and happiness than most people on this earth.  We continue with our passion to live in a way to reduce our impact to people and the planet and we do this from a place of LOVE and not GUILT.


Cob oven pizza with the kids.

Life isn’t perfect, we have our challenges, and we are grateful for our incredible life with all it’s ups and downs.

So despite our bank account being empty, life is pretty full.   Note: we still have some emergency savings and are doing just fine…despite the indoor toques.

Ann and Gord



5 responses to “Making it Real: A post on the “other stuff”

  1. Hi Ann and Gord

    Thank you for such a candid post.
    I met you last year and my family continues to encourage the growth of our new pawpaws, hardy kiwis, and perennial vegetables. Most fun was the oca! How delicious! How educational! Howwuuuu!!!

    Perhaps the recent Seedy Saturday limited the enthusiasm of the grand opening?

    I for one look forward to purchasing your book and will be planning to learn from you by way of the workshops.

    Your table, by the way, looks amazing. I’m curious what you used as finisher to make it pop like that?

    Keep on keepin’ on,

    • Thanks for your comment Matthew. We have been so heads down working on our book that we haven’t had a clue as to what else is going on…I do know the pipeline protest in Burnaby was last Sat., but other that no idea. At least we remembered the time change…
      I’ll ask Gord about the finish…he was going to use a water based varathane, but our can was empty, and since the bank account was also empty he opted to use up a can of old oil based product that was in the workshop.

  2. Hopefully today’s sun and heat were a welcome break from the cold
    Will you have another lecture of being water resistant in the future because the April 1 date is on Easter weekend. Looking forward to becoming a little more water conscious.

  3. Pingback: Comparing Resilient Homesteads in Different Climates | Eco-Sense

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