Permablitz 2014 – Cold Climate Food Production and Edible Landscaping

Bring your Dad to our permablitz at The Darfield Eartshhip on June 14-15, 2014, Father’s Day weekend!

After nine months of planning we are getting closer and closer to our permabltiz. A month or so ago Javan Bernakevitch and Gord Heibert came up with the following initial design for several zones around the earthship.

This is an overview of our permaculture design...there's a few years of work here!
This is an overview of our permaculture design…there’s a few years of work here!











On Father’s Day weekend we will be welcoming only 20 registrants to learn how to install fruit trees, hedgerows, high beds, and if we are lucky, we will install one hugelkulture bed in anticipation of a whole bunch this fall!

Because we are considered a “cold climate” there should be some interesting questions and solutions to some of the challenges of food production in our region.

We’ve been acquainted with Javan since 2009 when we visited the OUR EcoVillage near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. He was there teaching and learning and was the person who gave us a tour of the grounds. I euphemistically refer to Javan (here at home) as Mr. Permaculture BC.  After first meeting Javan he went on to form Permaculture BC and has been around the world learning permie techniques from Sepp Holzer, Richard Walker and others. He recently took some Canadians to both Cuba and Kenya to oversee permaculture installations in some very challenging locales.

We met Gord (all online so far) when Javan pulled him in this winter to help with the design.  Although Javan and Gord collaborated on the initial design, I believe Gord and his wife, Jana (Elements Eco-Design in Vernon, BC) were responsible for creating the visual with all the lovely colour.

Here is a photo of Zone One, taken today.









Registration should be open by May 3rd. We are meeting with Javan and Gord on May 2nd (online) to iron out details and talk about what the cost for the two-day even will be.  By taking only 20 people, Javan and Gord will be able to make sure each person gets maximum benefit out of the weekend.

Information will also be posted on our FB page, The Darfield Earthship.  If you  have any questions you can email me at

The Ultimate Radiant Heat Floor

I had the opportunity to work on the ultimate floor today; radiant heat, about 8″ thick, and on top of all that the floor is soft and springy.

I am talking, of course, about the floor in our barn … this floor is amazing!  I guess I should say was amazing.  We cleaned out the barn today and took all of the compost off of the floor.  Last fall we cleaned out the barn and put down a clean layer of shavings about 4-6″ thick (a lot less compressed).  Over the winter our flock of five sheep have been busy.  The floor was a good 8″ higher this spring (a record); we were all paying attention so that we did not smack our heads into the loft floor beams.  The floor was a compacted layer of shavings, sheep dung and hay the sheep had scattered from their feeder.

The heat came from the composting taking place below the surface of the floor.  Going by te smell there was a lot of composting going on.  Despite winter having just retreated last week there was no frost in the barn floor.  I am pretty confident there was no frost all winter.  I suspect the sheep were actually pretty comfortable all things considered!

I can see how a compost pile might contribute to heating a house … although I’d want to do something about the smell first!

Turkeys and Chickens

On July the sixteenth our hens and turkeys finally hatched we ended up with six turkeys and about 17 or 18 chikens. the chickens were mostly black but we had 5 or 6 chicks that were yellow. last night the 17th 3 chicks couln’t hatch so we had to help themby peeling there egg shells and this morning one was dead.  The other two had wing and leg problems. so the have to live in a box with a turkey that has leg problems.


Yes, they hatched. A couple of them have “special needs.” (Bent leg, undeveloped wing, ect.) All together we got about 18 chickens and 5 turkeys. Shelly and Eggbert hatched succsessfully, but Yolko was a dud. The ones that require a bit more help have been isolated. Honestly, I think all the turkeys need a “bit more help” because they aren’t the brightest bulbs