Year: 2016


How to Get Started Raising Chickens

Warning: Chickens are addictive and you may soon gain the label of “The Crazy Chicken Lady” There is nothing more adorable than a day old chick especially if you’re the proud new owner. They’re so fluffy, surprisingly aware and the little noises they make are so endearing “cheep-cheep-cheep”. All your supplies should be ready and in good order for the arrival of your new flock. Baby chicks are usually better off raised indoors for the first 4-6 weeks depending on weather and conditions of their future coop. This way the temperature can be monitored and maintained, as well as keeps them away from predators like the family cat or dog. I had a terrible experience with THE CAT. The chicks were kept in one of our bedrooms and he must of heard the door not close tight so while I was in the kitchen I heard the bedroom door open. I went running down the hallway and there he was with one of my baby chicks in his mouth. The noise that came from me …

Empty Parking Lot

The Age of Anthropocene – What Does it Mean?

It means, we are out of time. We need to find our way out of this paper bag of our own making called climate change. Not a decade from now, not even 12 months from now – today. We have entered the 6th mass extinction and have been living in the age of Anthropocene for some time now, officially recognized or not. The official recommendation to the International Geological Congress was made by a group of scientist at the end of August. They say the age should start in the 1950s for that was the turning point in terms of waste we’ve produced that has changed the world for good. We have driven ourself out of the Holocene period. This is depressing, I won’t lie to you. If it makes you want to crawl into bed and throw the covers over your head, you’re not alone. But that’s simply not an option anymore. Every single one of us has to decide what kind of world we want to live in and what we’re willing to do for it. …

Arbutus Ridge Farm

Welcome to Arbutus Ridge Farm

If you’re ever in doubt about dreams coming true keep moving forward, you never know what opportunities are waiting! Background My husband Perry and I have embarked on the adventures of owning a 5 acre hobby farm in the making after selling our urban farm in the city, a modest house on 7,100 square foot lot. The real estate market was in our favour which gave us the opportunity of a lifetime to purchase only 40 minutes away but a world apart. Here, the sounds of whispering leaves in the trees, calls of wildlife, and colours of the night sky sooth my soul. I’m in awe of our new home and sometimes pinch myself for a reality check when watching an owl hunt at dusk or the deer graze among the trees. The house was built in 1958 and is one of the original homes in the area. It doesn’t stand straight but it’s pretty amazing and has loads of character. There is an inviting porch with wood screen doors to warm your heart. My …


Our Favourite Pumpkin Crafts

Whether you bought your pumpkins at a grocery store, garden centre, or stomped through the mud at a local pumpkin patch we’ve got loads of fun ideas for what to do with your lovely orange squash. Pumpkins are the quintessential fall and Hallowe’en decoration. Some of my best childhood memories are of my sister and I on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin then making a huge mess in the kitchen while we carved our faces and Mom baked the seeds. Food Pumpkins are firstly a food source loaded with all kinds of goodies such as fibre, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, all while being low in calories. Canned pumpkin is a great option for convenience, but of course fresh and organic is best. The seeds can be scooped out and roasted with an endless combination of spices. My favourite is chilli lime. The flesh can be roasted until soft then used for pies, muffins, cookies AND can be dehydrated into all kinds of pumpkin spice fruit roll up deliciousness. Another unsuspected use of pumpkin is …

Beach Scene in Malibu

10 Ways to Make Your Road Trip Eco-friendly

Thought caring about the environment meant giving up road trips? Think again! Roll down the window, crank the tunes and give slow travel a go. Car travel almost always comes out ahead of air travel for less emissions but there are many online calculators to help you out. Some of the factors include plane capacity, distance and the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Of course driving less is always better but if you need to get somewhere, why not enjoy it. I had to head down to LA for a conference at the end of summer so after roping in a friend we turned what could’ve been a fly-in/fly-out work trip into a much more fun west coast road trip. Both of us live a pretty eco-conscious lifestyle so while we prepared for the trip we definitely learned some more ways to reduce our impact along the way. Read on for my top 10 tips: 1. Camp or stay at eco-certified accommodations You will use far less power camping and likely conserve more water. What’s a road trip without sleeping under the stars anyways? If …

Mark Angelo from RiverBlue

RiverBlue – A Documentary Review

RiverBlue made its much anticipated debut this fall at the Vancouver International Film Festival. The film chronicles the high environmental cost of fast fashion and how the industry has destroyed some of the world’s greatest rivers. I came to know about this film through my education at BCIT. Mark Angelo, one of the producers and onscreen face of the film, has ties to the program I attended. Mark is a river activist, paddler, conservationist, and teacher but more importantly the Founder and Chair of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day. To say he has a passion for the conservation of global rivers is a huge understatement. RiverBlue focuses on larger rivers that border many towns and cities in the fashion industry such as: Ganges River India, Citarum River Indonesia, Buriganga River Bangladesh, Yellow River China and many more. Throughout the film environmental professionals and activist are interviewed regarding the low environmental standards in these countries where labour and materials are cheaper than if produced domesticly. There are no regulations regarding toxic runoff from denim and tannery …

Growing Sprouts Indoors

How to Grow Sprouts Indoors

We spent our spring renting a basement suite while waiting to move into our farm. I found myself longing for a garden and was suffering terribly from garden withdrawals. Today I’ll share with you how I beat the basement doldrums by growing my own sprouts. No garden, no problem! So much of my time is normally spent outdoors so our new living situation was not agreeing with me at all. It really was more about growing anything not just my own food but anything green. While shopping at an organic food market one day I came across some seeds for sprouts and a solution to my withdrawals. I purchased a bag of sprouting seeds found some random glass jars, cheese cloth and I was back in business. You can find sprouting seeds at organic food stores and larger garden centres or order them online. There are so many varieties to choose from now and some packages even have mixes which take that old green salad to a whole new level. Sprouts are very good for …

Luke Wallace

Environmentalist of the Month: Luke Wallace

It’s the fall return of our blog! First up, we’re introducing you to environmentalist Luke Wallace. I met this inspiring folk singer at the premiere of his first documentary, One Big Coast and was instantly a fan. His voice has the power to draw the whole room in and lift the spirits of every environment-loving listener. One Big Coast was shown at British Columbia Institute of Technology during a sustainability event my classmates and I hosted. An added bonus to the film was a concert at the end. We were blown away by how someone so young, 22 at the time, could have such a strong and powerful voice and how effectively it came across through art. Luke Wallace is a recent graduate of University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geography, a musician and a conservation activist. During his mid-teens he began to sing in choirs. Over time he picked up the guitar and starting writing, singing and performing folk music. He credits his love of music for getting him through …

Farm Field

7 Ways the British Live More Sustainable Lives

I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to the UK twice in the last three years, most recently this summer for my beautiful sister in laws wedding in Kelso, Scotland. During our trips we have spent time all over Scotland, England, Portugal, and Ireland. There are a few things I noticed on our first trip in 2012 relating to the environment that I never gave much thought to. They seemed like old fashion practices, not using dryers for example. Now that I have much more respect and awareness for sustainable living, I have to give British people a big thumbs-up and here’s why: 1. Laundry Like I mentioned- there are very few dryers in the UK, in my experience. It is common practice to hang clothes on a line in the yard or on pulley systems hidden in the high ceilings. I even stumbled across a apartment complex in Edinburgh that had a clothes drying courtyard with communal clothes lines. Living spaces are smaller than in North America so drying clothes outdoors is a huge space saver. Now you might …

Take It Outside

#TakeItOutside30 Winners!

We had so much fun with the #TakeItOutside30 challenge, remembering to get outside kept us feeling grounded and energized- we hope it did for you too. The #TakeItOutside30 contest winners from Instagram are… @katiebrockett, @keyabythelake and @islalifedesigns! A few of our favourite of their submissions are below: Thank-you everyone who participated in the challenge, we hope you’re inspired to keep it up throughout the year!