Newsletter:20080920

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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).

Open house slated for Saturday

Arielle Paterson, Beth Stelson, Stacy Friedman, and Susie Anne Bartsch enjoy one of EcoReality's weekly Saturday potlucks.
It's been a busy month at EcoReality. We sold EcoReality Lite and purchased EcoReality Huge on the same day — August 27. My hat is off to our lawyer, Jim Pasuta, who expertly wove all the complicated bits of the sale and purchase into a final success story. We held our second public event at the new site, hosting Adam Perry to give a presentation about natural building and his humanitarian work in South Africa. And on Saturday, September 20th, we hold our first open house at our new site. Whew!

As if that weren't enough to keep us busy, Jan is helping out on another Permaculture Design Course, this time, at Patti & Brandon Bauer's Blue Raven farm on Salt Spring. Shannon began her yoga classes in our classroom, and we've had numerous visitors enjoy our site.

Carol nursed "Sarah Houdini" back to health after she severely injured her head, and the two have been best buddies ever since.
Then there's always work around the farm. Rudy has been working on a moveable fence for our chicken tractor, so we don't have to pound stakes into the ground whenever we want to move the chickens. Carol rescued a chicken who nearly decapitated herself on the old fencing. Some 30 kg of pears and 15 kg of blackberries have been harvested. Carol and Jan have an art gallery tent open to the public. We continue to respond to several email expressions of interest each day. We're starting to get this winter's firewood in. We've started a small winter garden. And Maya and Shakti are as cute as ever, enjoying long walks with most farm visitors.

This month, our theme is food preservation and processing, and we've lined up several short articles on this theme for this newsletter. In preparation for next month's theme of structure and facilitation, we're having Tree Bressen come to do a workshop on consensus and facilitation on the 27th. So it's going to be another action-packed month at EcoReality, I'm sure!

Jan Steinman


Preserving food makes financial cents!

The joy of serving your own food throughout the year is priceless.
I'm sure that there is a good financial model out there somewhere on why it is a good reason to preserve and process your own food. Consider the transportation costs involved in moving fruits and vegetables to canneries and processing plants. Then there is the cost of storing and then moving the finished products to the markets. There is also the energy of making new cans & bottles to store the food. There is also the energy used to go to the market and buy it. That is a lot of embedded energy in the food.

Now, if you consider the fun (yes, I said fun) of processing and preserving of your own food, and the joy of serving that food throughout the rest of the year, and the money saved by reusing canning jars, it seems a no brainer! It is not just about the financial costs, but also the energy used. If it is a community that is working together to grow the food, harvest it, and then process it, then there is the sharing of knowledge passed from communitarian to communitarian, and also from generation to generation.

I remember doing this with my mother and sisters and how much fun we had and I look forward to having that fun again. And the value of that is priceless!

Carol Wagner


Preserving your fall harvest using principles of Permaculture

FallHarvest.jpg
The bountiful beginning of fall harvest has begun in the Pacific Northwest. As the days get shorter and the sunsets get softer and even your babies are still awake to see them, it’s a time to shift your energy from planting and growing and begin to think about putting up some of that bountiful harvest for the winter- think; berries.

As life always provides us with choices, there are many tried and true food storage and preservation methods to explore. While I committed to writing this article on canning and freezing, you can also try dehydrating or sun drying, building a root cellar, or even eating so much that you fall into a food induced coma for a really long time, also known as hibernating. (not recommended)

Originally this was going to be an article called something like ‘freezing vs. canning,’ with an obvious winner in the end. Of course, life isn’t quite so black and white, and there are endless dependent variables when choosing which preservation method is right for your situation. Factors like energy consumption, money, time, taste, shelf life, prep time, salt added, even the dreaded word "commitment" came up in my research! So instead of an all or nothing answer I’m providing a handy tool that I adapted from an article found from the North Carolina Agricultural Extension online library. In keeping with the permaculture principle that all problems are actually solutions waiting to be discovered, this chart will help you quickly evaluate which preserving method will best suit your own unique situation. Ah, empowerment! And one last note, from personal experience, preserving food is more fun if done with someone you love, whichever method you choose.

To use this chart, just think about the food you’re planning to preserve and place an X in the box if the benefit listed in the top row applies to the method. Answers will vary.

BENEFITS: Processed food is easily stored
(could mean storage space or energy/$)
No added expenses once food is processed No added expenses needed for processing Time needed for preservation method is reasonable Stored food is easily accessed for consumption Nutritional value of food is maintained Tastiness of food is maintained or even improved
FREEZING:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANNING:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Pobiecke


Island Recipes

The vegetarian recipes you find here feature local seasonal ingredients. Organic ingredients are encouraged, they taste better! Wherever possible, local to Salt Spring sources will be listed, just to demonstrate the abundance on this little island! You will also find that many ingredients can be easily substituted with what you may already have in your pantry. These recipes are guidelines meant to encourage kitchen creativity. (Suggested substitutions in parentheses.)


Salt Spring Apple Galette

Here is a scrumptious way to enjoy some of the local apple varieties.
Late September is prime apple season and this is a scrumptious way to enjoy some of the local varietals. Named for a French term meaning flat cake, a galette can be either savory or sweet. This one is sweet with a whole wheat crust that includes just a little sugar. Simply omit the sugar and add any stuffing that suits your fancy for a savory galette. This is a rustic dish, meant to not be fussy at all. Have fun and be messy.


Ingredients

Pastry Dough:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour - Salt Spring Flour Mill

3/4 cup pastry flour (or any combination of whatever flour you have around to add up to 1.5 cups)

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter - chopped into small pieces (vegan shortening)

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup confectioners sugar (agave syrup or plain sugar)

2 tbsp ice water

1 egg yolk (omit) - EcoReality Co-op

1 tbsp milk (omit)


Filling:

2 lbs organic apples - cored, halved and thinly slice crosswise (peaches) - over 15 farms on Salt Spring with over 350 varieties!

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp flour

1/3 cup milk (soy or almond milk)

2 tbsp honey (agave syrup or sugar) - Falcon Farm


Glaze:

1/2 cup blackberry jelly (apple or cherry or raspberry jelly) - EcoReality Co-op

1/4 cup butter (butter substitute or this can be omitted)

several sprigs of fresh thyme - EcoReality Co-op

(Some ingredients can be replaced with suggested substitutions to make a vegan galette.)


Preparation

In a chilled bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. With fingertips blend in cold butter until mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add ice water to flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together. Kneed dough with heel of hand several times to develop gluten in flour. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and chill for 10 minutes.

Halve and core un-peeled apples and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Combine flour, nutmeg, milk and honey, and add to apples.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a floured surface roll out dough to a 15-inch circle, then drape over rolling pin and transfer to a large baking sheet or pizza stone. You can also use the under side of a cookie pan. If you find the dough difficult to handle or it looks messy, don't worry, this only adds to the rustic appeal of the galette.

Arrange apple slices on dough round in overlapping concentric circles leaving a 2 inch border of dough. Fold dough edges over onto apples all the way around. The dough will not cover the apples completely. Whisk together egg yolk and milk and brush onto pastry dough. (Omit if making vegan)

Bake for 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and pastry is golden.

In a saucepan on low heat, simmer jelly and thyme until hot and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove thyme. Upon removing galette from the over, brush hot glaze generously over apple slices.

Cool galette on baking sheet, do not attempt to transfer the galette until it has cooled. Garnish with thyme sprigs and leaves.

Osha Roller


Preservation of the soul – a journey inward with Peruvian Shamanism - Part I

A painting by a Peruvian shaman depicts the spiritual truth (as witnessed by him) of the event of taking a trance inducing halucinogen.
I tucked my preconceptions and pragmatic realism into the airliner seat pocket below my tray table and fell asleep before my airplane took off from the tarmac in Atlanta. A copy of Terrence McKenna's True Hallucinations replaced the usual mix of political, environmental and economic noise filling my head in my spare reading time. This was to be a journey about experience and openness to the unknown. Part of that journey required me to clear my mind and focus my attention on just being present. My mom and I decided that our quest for spirituality would take us to the Peruvian jungle to attend the 4th Amazonian Shamanism Conference in Iquitos. Never having traveled to the the third world, I longed to see and in some brief way begin to understand how the other two-thirds of humanity lives.

After an overnight kip on hard benches in the Lima airport we awoke early to catch the 5:30 am flight to Iquitos. After boarding the flight I quickly fell back asleep only to awake to sunlight tickling my face like a feather. Looking out the window I saw the green canopy of the Amazon basin stretched for as far as the horizon. A thick brown serpentine river penetrated the forest as if it were a snake slithering in the grass. The undulating twists and semi-circle cutbacks punctured the forest as if it were a road cut into a steep mountain yet the basin was as flat as Saskatchewan wheat fields. The vast green forest with no visible signs of humanity was a refreshing although deceptive sight. Oil and gas development by Occidental in Northwestern Peru, cattle ranching in central Brazil, and soybean cultivation is eroding the the foundational base of this ecosystem. A spider web of forming roads from Maunas to Cuzco is opening up accessibility to further human development. As we approached Iquitos, the clearings began to become more and more visible along with towers of dark smoke billowing into the sky. The first thing I noticed upon exiting the plane was the humidity followed by a distinct smoked or burnt smell. Then I noticed the burnt out hulls of several aircraft at the end of the tarmac. It reminded me of a scene from “Romancing the Stone” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner ready to crawl out of the airplane shells at anytime. I wondered why the planes were left at the end of the tarmac and could only figure that maybe they were there for spare parts! Hardly a reassuring thought for my return flight.

My mother and I picked up our backpacks at the one terminal airport, loaded everything onto the back of a three-wheeled two-stroke motocarros and made our way into town. There are almost no cars on the roads in Iquitos as the majority of transportation is on these Chinese and Japanese two-strokes. The air they emit is choking and one cannot avoid having his/her mouth taste like an oil refinery after just a few minutes in the congested mess. There appeared to be no rules to the driving habits except that if you were in front then you made the rules, mom inhaled and hissed with each near miss of the other vehicles. My closest experience to this insanity was driving in Manhattan but that pales in comparison to this madness. My mother closed her eyes after we were nearly swiped by a truck overloaded with thatched roofing that was still green. She grabbed on tightly to one of the poles supporting the shade tarp covering us with one hand and the other clenched my arm. I secretly questioned the effectiveness of her bracing in the event of a topple. Just then a young family whizzed by on a motorcycle, sans helmets, their young infant nursing intently while mom held onto dad with one hand. Every so often a driver would be seen dismounting from his vehicle and pushing his bike to the side of the road, I would later learn that running out of gas was a common occurrence. Scenes of bikes tipped over onto two wheels with the third in the air and the driver underneath tinkering with the engine were commonplace.

Iquitos is a city with no roads into or out of the area. An airline ride or a long boat ride down the Amazon almost 2,300 miles to the eastern shores of Brazil are the only options available for getting to the city. Built from a small village of less than 100 residents in the mid 19th century it ballooned to over 40,000 in a matter of ten years during the short lived rubber boom. Tales of opulent wealth abound and extravagant displays of wastefulness such as lighting cigars with $100 bills and showers in fine French Champagne brought by boat from Europe still perplex the average person. Rubber barons exploited the native populations often through mechanisms of indentured servitude and debt. Workers were repaid with death, abuse and torture. Many of the city's buildings reflect the prosperity of the past, with fine tile and iron work from Europe still displayed on the main promenade overlooking the Amazon River albeit now covered with a well worn patina.

To be continued...

Justin Roller


Recent Happenings

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

Residents' Meeting 
house mates, workshop building stewardship, residents' meetings location.
Members' Meeting 
Tree Bressen workshop planning, property closings, equity adjustment, open house planning, agricultural lease, Tree Bressen workshop series discussion, yoga classes, agreed on labour policy, classroom rentals, Adam Perry workshop planning.
Adam Perry and Earth Rising Foundation 
Adam presented an inspiring slide show and talk on natural building and his humanitarian work in South Africa.
Residents' Meeting 
classroom rent, weekly residents' potluck schedule, open house planning.
Members' Teleconference 
expense reimbursement, agreed on classroom rental rate, agreed on posting political signs, residents' leasing explained, programs discussed.
Permaculture Design Course 
Jan assists with PDC at Blue Raven Farm.
Residents' Meeting 
Tree workshop planning, compost plan, garlic plan.
Dharm atma yoga 
Shannon's first yoga class!
Fall Fair 
Jan demonstrates biodiesel to an enthusiastic crowd of about 20.
Residents' Meeting 
Garlic plan, work parties, open house planning.

Upcoming Events

For details, please go to the meetings page on our website. All activities are at EcoReality, 2152 Fulford-Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island (map), unless otherwise noted.

Friday, 19 September, Bi-weekly Members' Teleconference 
Bi-weekly teleconference for members and prospective members who are not local to Salt Spring.
Saturday, 20 September, Open House 
Drop in any time between 1 PM and 4 PM for refreshments, conversation, tours, more!
Saturday, 20 September, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!
Tuesday, 23 September, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Saturday, 27 September, Consensus and facilitation workshop with Tree Bressen 
In this day-long workshop, you'll learn the basics of consensus and facilitation from author and trainer Tree Bressen, a regular columnist on the topic for Communities Magazine. Open to members and advisory council only; please join our advisory council prior to attending. Advance registration and deposit required NOW.
Sunday, 28 September, Monthly Members' Meeting 
Theme: Preserving and processing. We are expecting a number of visitors and prospective members. Due to space restrictions, please let us know if you plan to attend.
Tuesday, 30 September, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Friday, 3 October, Bi-weekly Members' Teleconference 
Bi-weekly teleconference for members and prospective members who are not local to Salt Spring.
Saturday, 4 October, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!
Tuesday, 7 October, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Saturday, 11 October, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!
Tuesday, 14 October, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Friday, 17 October, Bi-weekly Members' Teleconference 
Bi-weekly teleconference for members and prospective members who are not local to Salt Spring.
Saturday, 18 October, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!
Tuesday, 21 October, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Saturday, 25 October, Monthly Members' Meeting 
Theme: Structure and Facilitation. We are expecting a number of visitors and prospective members. Due to space restrictions, please let us know if you plan to attend.
Saturday, 25 October, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!
Tuesday, 28 October, Weekly Residents' Meeting 
EcoReality site residents figure out what they're going to do in the next week. All meetings are open, but let us know you're coming — no drop-ins, please.
Friday, 31 October, Bi-weekly Members' Teleconference 
Bi-weekly teleconference for members and prospective members who are not local to Salt Spring.
Saturday, 1 November, Weekly Tour, Potluck & Movie 
Tour at 5PM, potluck at 6PM, movie at dusk. Have a movie in mind? Please bring one!


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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