Saturday, 9 November 2013


I'm very excited about the creation of the Rainbow District Permaculture Society!

I've been dubbed "the neglectful gardener" by friends with green thumbs, who watched me try various methods of gardening that kept weeding and feeding to a bare minimum (mostly because i'm lazy, but also - because I felt that my interference with what Nature actually wanted to do just seemed wrong).  I'd till the soil, plant seeds, seedlings and roots, and let them go.. many got drowned out by the invasive plants (weeds) I refused to annihilate... The plants that survived?  Hardy perennials.  What I've learned through researching permaculture, is that invasive plants, those that drowned out my annuals, are Natures way of rehabilitating the soil.

“Great civilisations have almost invariably had good soils as one of their chief natural resources”
Nyle C Brady ‘Nature and Properties of Soils”

Permaculture came to me by googling perennial plants that would survive in this cold climate.  Since then, i've thrown myself into education on permaculture design.  The idea is so simple, it boggles...

"Originally, the word “Permaculture” was the combination of the two words permanent and agriculture.  Two Australian men named Bill Mollison and David Holmgren coined the term in the 1970’s.  It is an agricultural philosophy that allows us to use the resources that we have around us to their fullest potential.  By observing and learning from our environment, such as how does nature replenish its soil, how does nature protect and conserve its water resources, how has nature adapted to the specific climate of an area, etc…we can learn how to imitate these natural processes in our daily living.  The more closely that we can work with nature, the more likely we are to establish a balance which will provide us with the things that we need without hurting the environment." 
- from

There is now a core group of friends working together to create permaculture systems in our area... which will be a lot of trial and error, considering that most sustainable forest gardens are in temperate climates.
Yet there is much food growing naturally here; hazelnuts, berries, mushrooms, sunchoke, rhubarb...  these plants are telling us the types of foods that grow well here.  And by creating microclimates with the use of well placed plants, trees, rocks, hugelkultur beds and buildings, annual vegetables can become abundant.

Happy to have found this ancient and modern way of life!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Getting Richer by Saving

Living way out here is mighty difficult sometimes - the cost of gas alone, just to go and get some groceries, is ridiculously expensive.  We are weather dependent.  We are isolated (albeit, with some other very cool isolated people)  We are learning how to live without much money... and it has been rough.  The learning curve is staggering, though very rewarding.  Consider that i moved from the big city, where i always rode a bike, walked, or took subways and cabs, having never had a driver's license.  I'm ready to get on the tractor this year, maybe use the chainsaw next year... one step at a time.

Anyway, Chris gets me some odd gifts for birthdays and christmases (whatever's on sale at Canadian Tire i'm guessing) - like a dehydrator... what the heck am i supposed to do with that?

The dehydrator has been sitting on the shelf, unopened, except for my stints at reading the instructions and recipes, for months now.  Today, I went to my friend, Sue's, place to pick up some huge parsnips they had a bulk of.  I got home and pulled out the dehydrator.

I sliced the parsnips thinly, added olive oil, lemon, dill and salt/pepper - they are sitting in the dehydrator now - and i can't wait!  Another victory - Simple snacks that are basically free - Saving us money.  Every time i do something like this, i feel a lot richer.  These are the little things that make life here so wonderful - yeah, that's right, parsnip chips from a dehydrator, it's a Wonderful life!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Winter Blahs

It's been really cold (like -25 to -45) - i've had to plow the drive quite a few times, getting stuck and thankfully saved by passers-by...

We're getting low on wood - next year we need a much bigger stack!

The kids went skating on Sunday (oh ya, and i got stuck in the snow again while there - saved again!)  I'm not too bad at skating.. i've volunteered to be BonHomme in our Winter Carnival.  Bonhomme is basically a large furry snowman with a red hat that skates with all the children.  I figure i'll just keep my mouth shut and be a bit bufoonish on the ice... kids like that kind of thing, don't they?

Today a great stew was made in the slow-cooker.  rib finger meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, red and green pepper, onion, garlic, roasted garlic and onion soup mix, tomato juice, coriander, bay leaf, thyme, salt/pepper and boiling water... voila - done in 4 hours on low.

Now, i'm off to participate in an online class for rural program planning... just what we need here.