Archive for February, 2013

Once again, it’s been a while. I’ve been busy making considerable changes/additions to my life and have been somewhat on the fence about sharing those in a blog. Not because of any privacy issues but because this is, after all, primarily a blog about natural building and sustainable living, though my political views occasionally figure. Suffice to say I’ve been distracted by my other pursuits and made the decision to let Canadian Dirtbags slide for a while.


So what are we planning for the building season? Well, a greenhouse addition for starters. Someone had asked a little bit back whether we intended to go ahead with original plans to add a greenhouse and I believe I hemmed and hawed over the decision. I am getting somewhat tired of building all the time and wasn’t sure whether “more building” was something I was entirely into. I also have an extensive garden to tend that I haven’t had much time for, and plans to incorporate bees, and perhaps ducks and geese, maybe even a goat or two, plus- ooh la la- some time for me perhaps. So much to do, so little time! At least in Canada where all of the seasons but winter are short.


Having said that, we decided that food production was too critical a matter to slack off on. Especially since some of the changes I’ve made in the last while mean that we’re no longer purchasing any refined or processed foods and are instead going with Michael Pollan’s suggestion to, “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (If any of you have read “In Defense of Food”, let me know what it was like- I haven’t read it.) And since we are juicing as well as eating, we are going through a lot of produce.*


We have pretty much settled on, but not yet purchased, the Rion sunroom. It is not (in my books anyway) cheap but it will save considerable time scavenging and framing to just buy the thing new. We are leaning towards the 14’ model, since our summers are scorching and winters are lengthy. Anything larger than that could be an utter waste of space.


We will be building the back (north) side of the structure with earthbags for ease of construction and to provide some good solid mass. We haven’t finalized the plan yet but will be building with the intention of integrating an aquaponics/hydroponics system at a later date. Shane is quite interested in those things and I’m happy to leave him to it. I have seen the results of growing produce hydroponically, as opposed to traditionally, and they do seem to outperform.


If you have seen the pictures of the house, the completed structure will look just like that but with a greenhouse extending 14 feet on the east side of the building, connected by a central foyer. The entire back of the building(s) will be bermed and the long stretch along the south will have an extended garden. I’m excited to see the plan complete this year!


riongreenhousekit.com photo

riongreenhousekit.com photo

*I will write a post later about how to use veg pulp from juicing. We’ve found so many uses already!



On a totally unrelated note: I hope that many of our readers will be joining in the One Billion Rising movement today. When one in three women on the planet will be beaten and/or raped in her lifetime, this is a global issue- not a ‘female’ one. There have been actions all over the world today- including in Manila where 15 blocks were shut down for the mass of women and men dancing in solidarity! If you have not heard of this revolution, I encourage you to visit the One Billion Rising website.




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