Category Archives: Uncategorized


Furnishing the East Suite

We are going to furnish the east suite of the Eco-Sense house. We are hoping to do this with mostly used or unwanted items. Here is our list. We will keep it updated as we go.  List of stuff We are willing … Continue reading


Last Open House For The Season

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Our second farm season is now coming to a close.  Our annual gardens are dying back and we are starting to clear out our garden beds and cover the soil while enjoing some very warm fall weather.  Our fall greens are … Continue reading

Plants and Rain

Chickens heading into their pasture.

Chickens heading into their pasture.

The fall season for our nursery keeps chugging along with lots of people coming and going during open house days.  Some people come to buy plants, but many come simply to walk around and check out some of the things we have going on at Eco-Sense…things like chickens, our guard duck, rain water harvesting, living roofs, tiny homes (our nursery office), earthen architecture (our MUD house), composting toilets, grey water systems, solar energy, food systems, and our incredible amount of food growing in a seemingly chaotic fashion on our rocky knoll here in the Highlands.

Ann admiring the passive solar feature on the west side of our house - The HARDY KIWI. Highly productive food producing vine grows well in half sun

Passive solar feature on the west side of house – HARDY KIWI. Highly productive food producing vine grows well in half sun.

OPEN HOUSE DATES: farm gate sales (3295 Compton Road, East Highlands, Victoria)

Saturday Oct 17th from 10am-2pm

Sunday Oct 25th from 10am-2pm

We continue to expand our knowledge and activities in ways that contribute to our community, and in ways that we can make a living.  This is at the heart of resilience…investing in our community and in our own skills.  Our new tag line for Eco-Sense is more reflective of what we do.


Regenerative Design:  Food, Water, Energy, Lifestyle

00014LGord has just completed a series of rain water harvesting courses…both teaching others and learning himself.  Gord now has the ARCSA professional certification and has completed and submitted 5 full systems he has designed and installed.  Gord thinks he may be the first accredited professional after the Merger between CANARM and ARCSA.  Bring on the rain – Gord is ready.  (He also just got some new rubber boots after years of boots with holes – no more complaining of wet feet).  It’s a great time to contact Gord if you would like to explore a rainwater system for your house or other out building.  

Other things we have been up to:

  • Ranting about the elections –  Get your ass out there and VOTE if for no other reason than it gives you ranting rights.
  • Ann gave a “No Farting Around” food workshop which sold out with 8 people – a small group the way Ann likes it.  Was an amazing success and everyone raved about the yummy food.  Many people left and got started right away fermenting veggies, fermenting alcoholic ginger beer, and making cheese.  Lots crammed into a 6 hour day but it flowed well.  We may (will) do another one – so stay tuned.  (Ann had Gord act as the time keeper with a flowchart broken into 15 minute section… Gord was amazed).
  • Gord is planning a beer making workshop.  For those who have had the pleasure of sampling his beer, you know how good it is.  The date is still pending, and it’s expected to fill up right away.  Best to sign up to the blog to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our workshops.
  • More ranting about politics – Municipal, regional, provincial, federal, global.  (ranting is OK…but turning rants into action is even more fun)
  • We participated in the Highlands Grand Opening Event for our new Community Hall.  It was a fabulous event where lots of new people came out to see their new community hall and to meet some of their neighbours.  There was food and music all day and lots of people set up tables showing what they are interested in or do.  Gord and I (along with a neighbour) set up 3 tables sharing info on composting toilets, grey water reuse systems, rain water harvesting, and local food systems.  Our tables really should have been in a circle.  Great day, with the final event being the FREE concert up on stage with VALDY.  This new hall and stage is now available for the public to rent…music, events, weddings, etc.
  • Food harvesting, food processing, and food eating.  WE LOVE OUR FOOD and feel so much gratitude for our amazing food.  But just to be clear, living this way takes a great deal of time.  We have estimated that it takes 1 person almost full time to provide for the food for two people.  (Growing, harvesting, processing, storing, and cooking year round).
  • More ranting…especially about our culture…collapsing ecosystems…the ocean – OMG our poor oceans…the melting arctic… sea level rise…human suffering (war, poverty, inequity, racism, etc)…population (There’s too many of us)…the crappy western diet…sugar…the gut microbiome…glyphosate (and other pesticides)…and of course fragrances.  Ann is happy to report that no one in our food workshop was wearing fragrances.  WOOHOO!

Thanks for reading,

Ann and Gord

Upcoming Events and our New Approach

TWO EVENTS – Adaptation, Re-skilling, and Re-programming:

  1.  Next Open House here at Eco-Sense for sales of Perennial Edible Plants or just coming out to walk around and chat is on Sat Oct. 3rd from 10am-2pm.   3295 Compton road, East Highlands, Victoria, BC.
  2. FOOD WORKSHOP – ONLY 1 spot left:  $100 + GST (Includes lunch)

When:  Wednesday Sept 30th from 9am-3pm

Where:  3295 Compton Road in the East Highlands

What:  No Farting Around Food Preservation – Learn how we do it here using less energy and mostly local ingredients.

  • Fermentation demos – pickles and beans maybe some cabbage
  • Cheese demos (hard, soft and feta – including waxing and pressing)
  • Ginger beer: counter top method; Quick, simple and 10-15% alc.
  • Food drying – ideas and methods
  • Milk Kefir
  • Grain fermenting – oats for breakfast cereal.
  • Garden tour (includes root cellar, eco-hut, chickens etc)
  • Includes LUNCH:  Local food including Gord’s sourdough, Eco-Sense quinoa wraps made with fermented grape leaves.  Dried wild salmon  jerky, (Gord caught) and of course a sampling of cheeses, and fermented foods.  Enjoy a glass of ginger beer or home made beer (with our own hops).  Herbal tea (nettle, mint and stevia).  Dried fruit samples for dessert.
  • A few simple kits available for purchase to get you started fermenting or brewing.
  • Lets explore food, health, adaptation, and resilience.
  • email ann@eco-sense to reserve your spot.
  • Please, no fragrances.
Ginger Beer at about 15% alcohol

Ginger Beer at about 15% alcohol

Our New Approach:  Over the years we have been learning about holistic management with regards to permaculture and to life planning while at the same time co-creating and implementing the Highlands Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.  These two planning tools are remarkably similar in their approach to making decisions and achieving goals.

Special 2nd anniversary treat from the kids

Time to start having some fun again and stop taking everything so seriously.  Yup, we are going to die, our families are going to die, our much loved dog Boo already died, MudPuddle our duck died, we just killed and ate our rooster, and oh yeah, the oceans are also dying.  It’s all dying, but we are alive and healthy now, and we have a LOT of work to do and fun times to have.  Life is a roller coaster of sorrow and joy…that’s just the way it is.

In our 10 years of Eco-Sense adventures, and in our personal lives, we have had wonderful success basically flying by the seat of our pants.  However, some of this has caught up to us and we have been letting some very important areas of our life slide.  This, combined with our busyness, cultural programming (autopilot),  and communication deficiencies has made it abundantly clear to us that we need to slow down and come up with a new strategy to move forward with the next stage of our lives.

So here are the steps we are taking:

  • Holistic plan for our life (including Eco-Sense).
  • shared vision statement – high level
  • Identify categories (focus areas) with our combined descriptions of success (desired outcomes).  Where would we like to be in 5 years or 10 years? (For us, these goals are mostly NOT material goals)
  • Action items (Strategic Plan).  Some examples are learning and practicing NVC (non-violent communication), grief sharing (connecting through empathy), preparing for a massive change in civiliation (due to ecological and economic decline/collapse) with emotional preparations, skills, infrastructure investments, resilience, and building community, etc)
  • Measurement tools (Are we making progress?)
  • Create decision making tools so that we don’t make decisions on autopilot according to our cultural programming.  Is each decision moving us towards our descriptions of success or away?
  • And lots more.
  • DSC01907

Anyways, that’s where we are at.

Ann and Gord

Eat it, Breathe it, Live it. FOOD WORKSHOP

Finally Eco-Sense has an update you can bite your teeth into!

TWO events:

  • Sunday Sept 20th from 10am-2pm – Open house for sales of perennial edible plants – 3295 Compton Road at Eco-Sense.  More details on last weeks post here:
  • Wednesday Sept 30th from 9am-3pm. Food Workshop at Eco-Sense (read on for details)
Mud House

Mud House

Food is on our minds.  We are harvesting it, defending it, drying it, fermenting it, culturing it, protecting it, nurturing it and of course eating it and drinking it.  Our life is completely revolving around food.

Chickens have been cuddled, nurtured, fed, watered, and cleaned.  Not to mention two roosters that went into the pot.  The roosters spurs were too hard on the poor chickens… Oliver and Big Ben had an awesome life and one bad second.  Very sad and tasty simultaneously.  Life has been full of experiencing what appears to be contradictory emotions at the same time.

Chickens LOVE salad

Chickens LOVE salad

We have been having to reduce the rat population (snap traps) in order to enjoying our diversity of sweet potatoes, corn, beans, quinoa, tomatoes, peppers, beans, greens, potatoes, squash, melons, leeks, apples, plums, pears, and so on.  At least we no longer have a rabbit problem (we ate them all – and NO we didn’t eat the rats; the compost pile did).  Abundance is shared with nature as the biodiversity on this land grows.  The gardens are in full fall chaos as many plants have gone to seed and the bees are LOVING it.

MUD House Cheese

MUD House Cheese goes well with salsa

Food Workshop including Eco-Sense Lunch:  In celebration of the fall season we are offering our first ever local food preservation workshop.  Ann is known for her quick and simple ways of doing things so this workshop will officially be called the No-Farting Around Food Workshop.  Class will be small with only 6-8 people and held on Wednesday Sept 30th from 9am – 3pm.  


Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato bed

Sweet potato bed

Demos and topics to include:

  • Cheese making – Feta, hard cheese, and MUD house cheese (cottage cheese).  Start to finish including waxing the round.
  • Goat milk Kefir
  • Fermenting breakfast grains
  • Brewed ginger beer – inexpensive, fast (3 weeks), about 10-15% alcohol, counter top method with simple equipment
  • Fermenting the garden harvest – learn some simple techniques and tricks, see the equipment and different methods.
  • Drying food.  Solar dryers. Tricks and techniques – lots of ideas.
  • Tour the gardens, chicken coops, and Eco-Hut with Gord
  • LUNCH – Sample some of everything – even Ann’s ginger beer or Gord’s dark beer (yes made with our own hops).  Mostly local food with menu to be determined.
  • Fermenting kits available for purchase – everything to get you started.
  • Food preservation philosophy, food security, fun, health.

Cost:  $100 (+ GST) per person.  No chemical fragrances please (hair products, deodorants, or scented laundry products).

Contact: for booking

(Gord’s comment:   Seems like a lot to cover  in 6 hrs… but for those who know us we just don’t fart around.  Bring a notebook, video record it… whatever but be prepped for one hell of an experience).

Thanks for reading,

Ann and Gord

Ann's hair after digging sweet potatoes

Ann’s hair after digging sweet potatoes