Our Valhalla !!!

My Sister and a few other folks have been asking me to post some more images of the land.. which is all ours today! possession is Dec 15, so tonight we are breaking into the bubbly!

Here are some snippets of the forest, views and a nice arial which shows just how much forest there is and you can clearly make out the trailer in the image too.

Some thoughts on a slow holiday celebration..

Not really related to the build of our house but timely, I think…

I am really embracing the idea of not being overwhelmed and over worked with crazy Christmas  purchasing / selling / decorating / and  overall overdoing it.

More than anything I want to focus on Family and Friends and good Food this holiday season and here is our plan for a sustainable season…

Firstly and most importantly we are not really buying any gifts this holiday, although I strive to make gifts each year inevitably we end up splurging on all sorts of un-needed and probably un-wanted gifts. But I am drawing a line in the sand this year… NO SHOPPING FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS! This might seem a form of child abuse to some, but our seven year old is totally on board!

Having spent the last 2 weeks packing up our lives and moving and now unpacking the abundance of consumer goods the three of us have acquired, it is all to clear that we have too much stuff! We have diligently tried to purge our home of unused belongings for the last year, donations, give aways, even forcing visitors to take items with them… but still we are drowning in things!

The last thing we want this holiday season is more stuff to haul out to our new downsized home. At the same time, our resources and efforts are all going into planning this big adventure ahead, and we just don’t want to be running around buying things and contributing to the “big buying machine” Also I don’t want to spend Christmas morning pulling plastic twist ties off Barbies legs, and un sewing her hair from packages…. drowning in wrapping paper piles, and un recyclable multi material packaging… no thank you.

So whats the alternative?

Well, staying true to our focus of Family, Friends and Food…. We are going to indulge in good company and sustainable food!

The menu:

We’ll we are hosting a dinner for 26 featuring a locally raised free range turkey, along with some other organic and local delights, and a plethora of desserts made from fruits I had frozen or persevered this summer, when Dyl’s sister loaded us up with freshly picked berries and cherries. I am also, much to my daughters delight going to be baking cookies with her this Christmas for the first time ever! I WILL NOT BE MAKING COOKIES COMMERCIALLY THIS SEASON!!! So we have about 5 years of IOU baking time to pack in. I also have some secret old world family treats up my sleeve too.

The non-gifting:

Rather than the usual tradition of ripping through piles of presents my entire family this year we will be adopting a Calgary family! I am really excited about this, and think that this lesson will stick with my daughter for ages. She knows she is giving up a mini mountain of toys soon to be forgotten in exchange for knowing that a single mom and her kids will be enjoying a holiday feast and some treats instead.

The other gift we are “giving” is Dyl’s side of the family are all chipping in to fly out his sister and her boyfriend for the holidays! She will be our gift to each other!

For any last minute hostess type gifts that we may need, I have stocked the pantry with jams and jellies, and we will have a freezer full of cookies and treats to share!

The decor:

We had the great Christmas tree debate again this year…. plastic or farmed? I have had many a potted plant Christmas, but while my daughter will give up her toys, she stands firm that we must have a tree and it must be real… But I just can’t get past the sad life of a farmed tree… so we have purchased a Douglas fir from Bow Point Nursery potted and all ready to be planted in the spring. We will keep it indoors for just two weeks and then store it until it can take root in my moms back yard! We are really excited about this option.

Other than that we are starting a little farm animal fund for our selves which will do perfectly as a tiding of comfort and joy for the summery seasons ahead.

Saving seeds…

A big part of this adventure ahead will come by way of growing food.

Real – whole – organic – heirloom – non GMO – no spray food!   In this day and age it seems a lot to ask, I know!

As a mother, foodie and consumer I am dedicated to feeding my family only S.O.L.E. foods = Sustainable Organic Local Ethical. I spend a great deal of energy researching producers, talking to local growers and farmers, reading labels and studies, in search of food which I believe possess the least risk to our health and the environment. I know that this criteria seems extreme to many, idealistic and novel to others and ridicules to most, but having spent the past 6 years involved in producing organic and special dietary food for the masses, and being a little more than obsessive about reading and watching documentaries on the state of our food industry today, I can’t help but feel the need to protect my family from the horrors of industrialized food.

Perhaps the biggest driving factor in this move is to become more self sufficient and one large step closer to producing so much more of our very own safe food.

I should start by stating that I am NOT a farm girl… armed with little more than 3 successful Calgary gardening seasons under my belt, I am eagerly looking forward to designing and implementing permaculture techniques into practice on our sunny sloping mountain side plot of land. Each time I taste the first cherry tomato, or pull an early tiny carrot from the soil I find myself overwhelmed with sense of awe and achievement that harvest provides. Our raised back yard garden bed has each season kept us in over abundance and delighting at garden fresh meals and preserves.

I know I have a TON to learn about gardening at this level, but I am thrilled with the results of my challenge to myself this season. I decided as I sowed the garden in May this year that I would learn how to harvest seeds and begin my own seed bank, as a first step toward this sustainable food producing future ahead. Well to my shock and chagrin it was way easier than I had thought, My tidy sorted collection of veggie seeds as well as pretty little unknown species of perennial flowers from our garden, will now travel with us to BC and make a new home in the Slocan. My plan is to grow this seed bank and share and trade seeds with others who practice seed keeping.

We have been reading and researching about Permaculture for some time now, and both Dylan and I plan to take Permaculture Design Certificate Courses this spring in the Kootneys. The brilliant idea of designing food forests which offer huge yield and bounty with very little human maintenance appeal to us and fit so well with our lifestyle ahead. The principals of utilizing free energy sources for multiple purposes, and designing and planning for each structure to benefit another makes for a beautiful symbiosis of our human needs and the wild around us. Here are a very quick You Tube blurbs about the very essences of Permaculture which you too may find inspiration in:

Permaculture Ethics & Design Principle with David Holmgren

Geoff Lawtons’ Permaculture Food Forest

Permaculture Design