Newsletter:20061124

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EcoReality Co-op Newsletter

You are receiving this because you signed up to be a member of our Advisory Council, or otherwise asked to be kept in touch.

If this is no longer true, simply say so in a reply, or visit our unsubscribe page (scroll to the bottom).

Welcome!

Thank you for being on our Advisory Council, and for putting up with some sporadic email from us! A few have expressed concern that the email burden was getting higher than they had envisioned, so we thought we'd roll all the news, meeting announcements, minutes, etc. into one monthly newsletter. So scroll down to see links to minutes and meetings and other stuff that we used to send out as separate emails. Please let us know how you like the new format.

It's been an interesting month at EcoReality. The turn in the weather and diminished daylight hours spell the end of much of the garden work, and we begin heating with wood scavenged from construction sites. It takes a lot of sawing and chopping to get a cord of green wood into the woodshed. Most of it will be drying until next winter, but some of it was milled this summer, and is pretty dry.

The "good stuff" is from neighbor Dave & Sasha (who run the Pet Hospital). They cut some of their trees, and had it milled on-site, and are now building a barn with the results. They had these big slash piles of mill ends and slabs laying around, so we asked if they'd like us to clean them up for them. Wood scraps burn just fine, you just have to re-load more often!

Our new biodiesel processor is not quite on-line yet, but we picked up a 1200 liter fuel storage tank for free, and bought the materials needed for completing the site. Of course, there will be at least one trip to Mouat's for some minor bits, but it should be ready for final connections and brewing at the next work party.

Name this tractor!
We just scored a biodiesel tractor and tiller. It's a Ford 1700, 18kW (24 hp), 24 forward speeds, 8 reverse. I think it was made in the '80's. We bought it in North Saanich, and drove it all the way home, at 20kph! It took an hour and a half, not including the ferry time. We got some great looks when we drove it on the ferry, Carol following behind in Bubba (the biodiesel Dodge pickup) with flashers going. By the time we got off the ferry, it was quite dark and cold. I was glad to have brought a hooded winter jacket, but my legs were frozen by the time we got home!

If anyone has some great nickname for the tractor, please send it in! (What's a vehicle without a nickname?)

At other doings around here, we just had an energy audit by City Green, an organization that distributes energy savings incentive grants. It turns out the main house is pretty average, and Elizabeth White, the energy advisor, made some recommendations for improvements that should qualify for grants. So some of our work parties will be weather-stripping doors, installing a vapor barrier, and putting in some insulation. And if Elizabeth's follow up tests indicates we've reached the desired level of improvement, the entire amount may be covered by a grant!

--Communication Steward, Jan Steinman

Bulk Hemp Seed Purchase

We have an opportunity to purchase organic hulled hemp seed, direct from the grower, in bulk, for $300 for 25 pounds ($12/pound). We can probably cover distribution costs for 10% markup. It costs $15/pound and up in stores.

How many of you would be willing to commit to a purchase of a pound or more at $13.20/pound?

Ecology steward's report

Ecologically, we have learned much this year about the plants, animals, microbes, soil and water at EcoReality Lite (Sharp Rd). Here I will share briefly our experience with the lavender plantings which grace the central, arid, sloped portion of the property.

EcoReality is home to 420 lavender plants. Those of us who participated at workparties in July and August lovingly clipped, stacked, dried and rubbed lavender to release the tiny 2-3mm purple florets from their green foliage. Bags and bags of the tiny flowers were stored tightly away from air and sunlight as we sought to sell this lavender locally. We connected with Isaac (Trager Designs) in Vancouver and he agreed that this particular lavender was perfect for his eye pillows because it is local, and grown using organic methods. Isaac and I are investigating methods (such as freezing at -4 deg. C) to prevent any contaminants (insects, eggs, microbes) from doing damage to the stored lavender that remains from 2006 crop.

In 2007, one goal at EcoReality is to do some on-site secondary processing ourselves. Please share your expertise, or ideas with us about lavender! --Shannon Cowan

Farm Steward's Report

I am looking forward to setting up the 2007 garden plan. I will be setting up a schedule for new layouts, plantings and harvesting. I will be using the food production ideas from the 3 June Advisory meeting to assist in selecting plants to grow this year. If anyone has any other suggestions, I would appreciate the input.

I am very excited and look forward to a very productive year. --Carol Wagner

Program steward's report

We're looking ahead to 2007 and working on the schedules for workshops, meetings, gatherings etc. Feel free to pass on any ideas for workshops or presentations, we're always open to ideas - click on edit at the following page and add your stuff to the list of workshop ideas.

So far we know that we want to do a consensus training workshop, a permaculture workshop/presentation, bio-diesel making workshop and we really hope our friend Greg Green finishes the documentary film "Escape From Suburbia" so we can have a showing here on Saltspring! --James Cowan

Recent Happenings

Here are some highlights of recent meetings and events. Click any entry for details.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006: Residents Meeting 
Various things for cottage resident agreed, various thing about main house agreed, care schedule established.
November 4th members' meeting 
Method for splitting expenses agreed, guest log established, membership procedure work deferred, woodstove parts purchase approved, 2007 meeting schedule agreed, EcoReality will host the February 7th ING meeting, agreed to join WWOOF, modification to procedure for obtaining Class B shares agreed.
November 7th Members' Meeting 
Membership procedure ideas & thoughts, business plans, new member FAQ, operating budget, marketing for members, events workshops, & programs, business cards & logo, newsletter, various expenses, more!

December 2006 Events

For details, please go to the meetings page on our website. All activities are at EcoReality, 160 Sharp Road, Salt Spring Island, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, 2nd, 10AM, Members Meeting 
This is a meeting for financial stakeholders, the members of EcoReality Coop. Anyone is welcome to attend and observe, but please let us know you're coming. Nothing earth-shattering is on the agenda this month.
Saturday, 2nd, 2PM, Advisory Council Meeting 
This is a meeting for the Advisory Council, to keep abreast of what's going on and to provide input. We typically have a group activity or brainstorming session.
Saturday, 2nd, 6PM, Potluck 
After the Advisory Council meeting, we get together for a shared meal. You don't have to come to the meeting to come to the potluck! Can't bring a dish? Call in advance to see if we expect to have extras.
Sunday-Tuesday, 3rd-5th, 10AM-5PM, Work party 
Work parties typically start with a farm tour. This month, we'll be working on garden prep and facilities maintenance. Wear old clothes! Meals and lodging supplied for workers; non-workers are asked for a nominal fee for meals and lodging.

Thank you for supporting EcoReality with your interest, ideas, and good thoughts!

Want to write for this newsletter? Or want to see something written about? Contact the Communication Steward with your story ideas!

EcoReality Coop (directions)
2152 Fulford-Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1Z7, Canada
+1 250.653.2024
http://www.EcoReality.org
Info AT EcoReality DOT org

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