Hello from WWOOF-land!
Here it is, folks: my first WWOOF post! Lots of cool stuff has been going on in the last week and a bit. I stayed in Richmond with my friend Sarah for a week, and it was great to catch up again. She showed me some cool spots in Vancouver and took me on a mountain hike, which was beautiful! I also had the chance to catch up with other friends in Vancouver and explore the city a bit. Very cool place. Interesting fact: Richmond (where Sarah lives) just banned growing GMOs!
Bald eagle at the beach. There were many! And they don’t sound as fierce as you’d think!
On Wednesday I headed to Vancouver Island via ferry and arrived at my first WWOOF destination, the Canadian Earth Institute, which is run by my host Beth. I’m writing this post from my adorable “eco pod” bunkie, which is a little cabin on Beth’s property made of cob (cob is a mix of clay, straw, sand and some other stuff, and it dries sort of like plaster. More info here). Some things I’ve been doing here include plastering the outside wall, digging new garden beds, watering gardens with compost tea, and weaving a trellis out of maple shoots.
So far it’s just Beth and I, and we’ve had some delicious meals and interesting conversations. Lastnight she invited me to a gathering that one of her friends was hosting. A group of about 8 people showed up and we watched a film called I Am. It was an interesting take on relationships between humans as individuals, as well as how humans as a species relate to the rest of the living world. It got us talking alot about how we define success, how we can redefine it in order to live more peacefully and happily, and also about the positive changes we’ve witnessed or the work each of us has done to create some ourselves. The movie was long and there were some things I would have done differently, but overall I liked it – it presented a unique perspective on the issues at hand. I especially liked its acknowledgement of the importance and significance of emotion (from a scientific standpoint no less!) and emphasis on cooperative interactions. Check out the trailer here if you like.
Other than the movie night, I was out & about in town yesterday as I don’t have to work on weekends. In the morning Beth took me to the llama farm next door where we saw some baby llamas, and then we went to the local farmers’ market to get seedlings and some tasty food. On the way Beth stopped to pay her water bill, which was apparently only $6(!!!) She claims it’s because she mainly uses composting toilets, which don’t need water. There is running water in the house for the shower, kitchen sink, etc and a regular toilet as well. Beth has some cool grey water collection systems in place that divert the water from the sink to the gardens, so very little is wasted down the drain. It’s great to see this kind of thing in action!
I also spent some time exploring Langford and Victoria in the afternoon on my own. Enjoyed a great mocha at a little cafe, went to a workshop at Camas Books where I learned how to make fermented blueberry soda, wrote some postcards and then stopped in at Sarah Kramer‘s shop. When I first started eating vegetarian, one of the first cookbooks I ever checked out of the library was Sarah’s. She was in the shop so we had a nice chat, and she even helped me search online for a bike (we found some leads, fingers crossed!) All in all a good weekend!