EcoReality Co-op Newsletter
For various reasons, we haven't had a newsletter since 2009. What can I say -- excrement occurs. But we're still here, and I hope you've missed us!
The only thing we've sent out since 2009 has been this year's annual report, which gets into some of the reasons for our absence. Suffice to say that we've been through trials and tribulations, and after a long and ongoing recovery process, things are beginning to look up again, with significant progress in several areas.
First off, we'd like to invite you to come over and observe some of the ongoing changes first-hand!
Salvador Dali Lama house concert and greenhouse celebration, Friday, 25 May 2012Willing Workers on Organic Farms.
Dali and travel companion Clyde Bennet will perform at ten organic farms and farmers markets in BC and other western provinces this summer, with the goal of creating an organic farm house concert performance circuit.
MusicInkorporated.com says Dali "hopes to raise the awareness of WWOOFing, the organic farm lifestyle, local food production, and the joy of traditional acoustic music," and that Dali is "truly nothing short of a good old-fashioned entertainer, a throwback to another time."
Dali has recorded two albums, available on-line on a "name your price" basis.
The greenhouse is up!
The 3,550 sqft greenhouse comes at the cost of a huge sheet of long-lived plastic, so in repentance, we have declared "war on plastic" in our greenhouse operations, structured around plastic-free "soil blocks," as promoted by renown organic farmer and activist Eliott Coleman.
But with soil blocks, a small, simple press is used to make blocks of a special potting soil mix. These presses come in various sizes, with impressions in the larger ones precisely ready to receive transplants from the smaller ones. Although this is more labour-intensive than using trays made of non-renewable fossil sunlight, it generally results in healthier plants with better root development and less transplant shock -- not to mention less carbon in the atmosphere and less plastic in landfills!
We will still re-use "previously-owned" plastic pots for larger sizes, but our intent is to buy no new plastic greenhouse containers. The soil blocks are ready for putting right in the ground -- no waste required!
Doors open at 12:30 PM on Friday for an informal "meet-n-greet" where people can have a word with Dali and get a quick tour of our new humongous greenhouse.
The house concert begins at 1:15 PM, in the greenhouse. (Or if the weather is totally unsuitable, in the classroom.) Dali will perform two 45 minute sets with an intermission in-between.
Then from 3-5 PM, we get informal in the "open house" portion of the event, and Dali will jam with whomever brings instruments while Jan, Carol, and Ben give tours of the newly completed greenhouse and the gardens.
Organic, local snacks and refreshments are served at intermission and during open house.
EcoReality Co-op farmstead items will be available for purchase, as well! We will also be taking applications for our community supported dairy shares. (Only dairy herd shareholders may receive dairy products.)
Admission is by donation, with $5 to $15 suggested.
CLICK HERE or call 250-653-2024 to let us know you're coming so we'll have enough eats, or simply show up for the concert, open house/jam, or both, and hope we have enough!
We hope to see you on Friday, 25 May! More photos are available on our greenhouse celebration page.
Kids, kids, kids!
Then Tuccha delivered triplets five days later, and trouble began. She rejected them, kicking them off when they tried to suckle. The three kids looked dejected, heads and tails down, not cuddling, not nursing. Carol and I and helper Anna began bottle feeding them colostrum every two hours to keep them alive.
On the morning of the third day, we found the lighter buckling dead. It was a bit devastating, as we'd never lost a full-term kid before. A bit of detective work raised more questions than answers, as the poor thing had a bit of blood around the mouth, and was quite flat. And Tuccha was now giving proper care to the surviving two kids.
Had Tuccha made a command decision that two was all she could handle, and so crushed the third kid? We'll never know. But "Saddleback," as we had called him, was to play yet another dramatic role in the play of life and death at EcoReality.
So we decided to put him out for the scavengers. By supper time, we had two eagles and three vultures vying for him, and watched in rapt attention as the five big birds jockeyed for position. One eagle finally got the upper hand, and was busy feasting, when five Canada Geese flew over very low in tight formation. I know they weren't interested in Saddleback, but they seemed to have some interest, perhaps to chase the eagles away from nearby goslings.
The geese circled and landed in a loose semi-circle around the scene, perhaps only 20 metres away, and began slowly advancing on the remaining eagle, who stopped eating and looked about nervously, finally taking off to the east with 2.1 kg (4.6 lb) Saddleback in tow, barely clearing the ground. I imagine it had to land on the ground somewhere nearby, but it was out-of-sight behind the greenhouse.
What a thrill to have such big-bird drama after dinner! I never would have dreamed that Canada Geese would intimidate a Bald Eagle. Seems like a fitting end for Saddleback. I hope it's the last such drama we'll have for a long time.
After such drama, it was a bit anti-climactic when Maya gave birth to two large bucklings on May 9. We had been speculating that Maya, who was absolutely huge at the time, might give us triplets, but instead, we got the biggest buckling we've ever seen, at 4.1 kg (9 pounds). So now the kidding season is over, and we're going back to much more milk and cheese than we've been used to having.
After studying golf course greens keeping, Ben decided he needed a more sustainable career, and began learning all he could about organic farming.
Ben is super-organized, known for his little notebook and written checklists. He does what he says he'll do, and brings out the best in us by inspiring us to do the same.
He also is the host of the show Radio Free Salt Spring, heard Monday afternoons at 5PM on CFSI FM, 107.9 MHz.
Shown here before and after a haircut during his recent Nepal trip, you can also spot him above, working with helper Carrie in the greenhouse, and there will surely be more photos as time goes on.
Ben will be teaching a song writing workshop in July, but the details aren't in yet -- we'll let you know in the next newsletter!
We are extremely fortunate to have Ben supervising our market garden and greenhouse work for the next year. Please join us in welcoming Ben to EcoReality!
Welcome, Geo!Geo Morrow to our little community! A retired mother of three grown children, Geo seeks a simpler, sustainable, rural life-style, and has a wonderful contagious optimism that brings out the best in all around her. She'll be moving into the white house at the beginning of June.
Geo last visited in September of last year, before coming again early this month. Circumstances were in alignment for a change for her, and the white house was vacant. And the rest (as they say) is history.
Thank you for helping with our experiment in sustainable living, Geo! We're looking forward to working with you.
Recent sightingsvalues, vision, mission, and purpose.
Have you come across a link that you think might be of interest to readers of this newsletter? Send it to the editor, together with a few words about why it is important and how it relates to EcoReality, and we'll try to include it in the next newsletter.
More categorized and reviewed links are available via our reviewed links page.
- End Polluter Welfare Act
- US Senator Bernie Sanders is speaking truth to power once again, introducing legislation that will eliminate tax breaks for non-renewable energy companies. You can go to this site to sign a petition in favour. If you can vote in the US, please also contact your US Senators and urge them to co-sponsor this bill.
- Club of Rome issues new warning
- The group that commissioned the paradigm-shattering "Limits To Growth" 40 years ago says humans may not survive without a major change in direction.
- How should government treat raw milk?
- A new milk advocacy group sponsors a poll on how people think raw milk should be treated by the Canadian Government.
- Mother Earth News Fair comes to Puyallup
- A full slate of sustainability and homesteading topics are covered in this June 4-5 event, featuring actor and activist Ed Begley, Jr. as keynote speaker.
- May 16 Residents' Meeting
- greenhouse finishing touches, water system repair, greenhouse celebration planning, grant approved, more.
- May 9 Residents' Meeting
- greenhouse work, goat babies, east field planning, more.
- May 2 Residents' Meeting
- comings and goings, moving chickens, soil blocking, more.
- April 25 Residents' Meeting
- funding new rotovator, moving starts to new greenhouse, peas in ground, more.
- April 18 Residents' Meeting
- greenhouse celebration agreed, Bioestate Tea proposal agreed, greenhouse doors complete, more.
Get all the details of any meeting via our meeting minutes log.
Upcoming eventsmeetings page on our website. All activities are at EcoReality, 2152 Fulford-Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island (directions), unless otherwise noted.
- Greenhouse celebration
- 1-5 PM; farm house concert by Salvador Dali Lama at 1 PM, open house and jam session at 3 PM. Local organic refreshments included in admission by donation ($5 to $15 suggested). Local farmstead products available.
- Cheese Making Workshop
- Learn the basics of cheese-making while you use two different techniques to make two different cheeses -- which you'll get to take home to eat! 10AM to 3PM, $55. Pre-registration (via link above) required.
- every Friday
- 1PM to 4:30PM: work party.
- every Friday
- 5PM farm tour: please bring footwear appropriate for soggy fields! Please call in advance during the winter months, as we may make other plans if no one is scheduled for a tour.
- every Friday
- 6PM potluck: Please let us know you're coming, so we have enough place settings.
- every Friday
- 7:30PM movie or program: Call or check meetings to see what's playing. If nothing is planned, bring your favourite movie! (No gratuitous violence, please.)
- every Wednesday
- 9AM: Residents' meeting, business and work around the farm. Please ask to attend; no drop-ins, please!
- Last Sunday of every month
- workshop or special event. See upcoming classes and events for details.
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!
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