We love the spirit of Christmas — spending time with family and taking time to give each person in our lives a meaningful gift to show how we appreciate them. As the days become short and winter holds us in its grip, there is nothing better than big feasts with family and friends and huddling by the fire. Fundamentally it is about generosity, gratitude and appreciation. However, there is a darker side of Christmas — the commercialism, the out of control consumption, the spectacular waste generation, and the lack of authenticity. Nonetheless, we would rather adapt our rituals for an authentic, thoughtful Christmas, than throw the baby out with the bath water.
We are always looking for ways to remove the use of plastic from our lives and I always had mixed feeling while flossing. Conventional flosses are made of either polyamide or Teflon. They can both be recycled but I have yet to meet someone who saves up all of these little strings and brings them to the appropriate facility.
One of our major goals is to prototype a post-carbon lifestyle to demonstrate that it is not only viable and within reach but also comfortable, easy and desirable. When we purchased the house, it had a gas furnace, hot water tank and cook top and we drove an internal combustion engine car. Going post carbon effectively means eliminating fossil fuels in all aspects of life, so switching everything over to electric is the crucial task. This is made considerably easier in BC where almost all the grid power comes from hydro energy, which is both (nearly) GHG free and (relatively) inexpensive.
It rains a lot in North Vancouver. We try to find opportunities to celebrate it so that it becomes a special, enjoyable aspect of our lives rather than a hardship to be endured. We harvest rainwater from our roof and direct it into the bio pond in our back yard via a scupper connected to the roof gutters. We decided on a metal roof to ensure no contamination of the water with petroleum by-products found in tar shingles.
My oregano bush was so abundant this year; my honeybees were loving its blossoms so I decided to delay the harvest for a few more days… After harvest, I had to prepare the plants for drying and remove the leaves below the flowering heads. This is simply done by pinching the stem under the FH and pulling downwards.
Our front yard faces due south so to optimize this precious solar ressource, we installed 21 solar panels on our roof which provide half of our energy consumption on a yearly basis. We also set up 11 large planters which produce a bounty of herbs, berries and vegetables every summer, and kale, garlic, leeks and chards during the shoulder seasons. In order to shield our potager from the road and create a peaceful setting, we planted a perimeter of tall drought tolerant grasses.
Our raspberry bushes were planted last year and they are now well established. They produced berries throughout the summer to the delight of our children. With this latest harvest, we decided to make a special treat...