All posts by SusanMDoig

Susan's passion for energy conservation, sustainability and creating community have fuelled her desire to develop the family small acreage on Vancouver island into a permaculture based farm and learning centre.

‘Sassy glass’ contest

Earthship seeking companion:

Strong, off grid enthusiast, interested in the outdoors, environmentally minded with a keen sense of humour, loves people and amazing dinner conversation seeks a unique and special companion.  One that will make my world shine brightly.  What I prize most is a flashy bottom, and a form that is brightly coloured, playful, and even sassy. The prefect glass bottle. If you have what it takes to be the perfect mate to the other bottles forming my bottle walls, please reach out.  You can find me @theDoighouse on Instagram or ‘theDoighouse Earthship Build’ on Facebook or by email  All it takes is a single photo and a hashtag. I promise to respond to all inquiries with details on how we can connect.

The Fine Print or stuff you need to know:

There is perhaps nothing more beautiful than a ‘poor man’s stained-glass window’ constructed with random sized and shaped coloured bottles. We are seeking your help to make it happen. The winning bottle will be on display in theDoighouse Learning Centre bottle wall. The owner of the winning bottle will receive 2 dozen farm fresh eggs. All entries will be included in a draw for a handmade rope basket by Left on Right Fabric Creations ( filled with farm fresh goodies.

Entries should tag @theDoighouse on Instagram or ‘theDoighouse Earthship Build’ on Facebook and use the hashtag: #theDoighouse – submit your entry before July 25th. The contest winner will be announced in the August Lighthouse Country Newsletter. Contest bottles will not be returned.  Each bottle will be judged for its playful colour, the unique base shape and suitability for the wall. Thank-you in advance to everyone who participates for donating the bottles in the photo entries – we will contact you to arrange pick-up!

If you are interested, or would like more details or if you would like to donate colorful bottles but aren’t able to participate in the contest – please email

Good luck!


Fireside Chats are Returning

We are pleased to announce the return of Fireside Chats at theDoighouse Learning Center ltd.

TheDoighouse Learning Centre team is developing this year’s fireside chats program. Our 2021 lineup includes panel discussions, local sustainability champions, lots of discussion, opportunities to win prizes like a night’s stay in the Earthship.  The fireside chats will be held the second Wednesday of each month.

Our 2021 programming will open February 10th with “Building an Earthship in a Coastal Rainforest”; a moderated speaker panel including the owners and others who’ve played a significant role in theDoighouse Earthship build project.

We’d like to invite you to join us on February 10th, 2021 on zoom for our kickoff.

Come learn about our journey, hear from a panel of natural building practitioners, and connect with other people interested in cultivating a life in harmony with people and planet. We look forward to seeing you there –   Tickets available on Eventbrite.

If you’re unable to donate for whatever reasons, please contact Susan at and she will provide you with a ticket.

What you can expect

  • Insight into natural building in a Coastal BC rainforest
  • Space to pose questions and connect with our panel of speakers
  • The chance hear from many different perspectives
  • A sense of community with others passionate about sustainability

Our Panel

  • Susan & Tony Doig – theDoighouse learning centre
  • Mark Fleischhaker – structural engineer
  • David K – amazing volunteer and teacher
  • Hans L. – international volunteer
  • Jay Need – Kiwi Built Ltd builder
  • Keith Tatlow – architect
  • Cecilia Jaques – Sustainability consultant & panel facilitator

This fireside chat will be focused on theDoighouse construction, linking it with the UN Sustainable Development Goals – specifically:

  • #3 – Good Health & Well-being,
  • #11 – Sustainable cities and communities
  • #12 – Responsible consumption and production
  • #15 – Life on Land

The event will be moderated by Cecilia Jaques, MSc, BA with the zoom panel session running from 7:00pm – 8pm.

Participation is by donation, with tickets available on Eventbrite.

Gardens on the Go Earthship Workshop Series

2021 Gardens on the Go
Earthship Workshop series

Although we love hands on, in person classes, the first three sessions will be held as on-line Zoom classes from 1pm to 3pm.  As things evolve with COVID-19 safety protocols we will continue to evaluate the situation and will hopefully be able to offer classes in person at theDoighouse.  UPDATE: July composting class will be in person at theDoighouse Gardens.

Instructor Bio:

Connie Kuramoto has been teaching Horticulture for over 30 years, and gardening for even longer.  She was a technician and instructor for Vancouver Island University for 20 years, and currently teaches on contract for North Island College and Gaia College, as well as numerous workshops and talks throughout Vancouver Island and beyond.

Connie has worked in the Horticulture Industry in Greenhouses, Market Gardens, Florist Shops, Farms, and has managed her own Horticulture Training and Service Business, Gardens on the Go for nearly ten years.  Her zoom sessions are filled with information and growing tips.

 Series Dates and Topics

February 6, 2021 – SOLD OUT
Zoom 1-3pm
Pruning Basics: Learn the rules that make pruning fruit trees easy!

Join Connie Kuramoto, long time Horticulture Instructor and learn to prune those fruit trees! Using the keep it simple principle, Connie will introduce you to just a few rules that will give you confidence in your fruit tree pruning adventures. This class will introduce you to pruning theory during a two hour Zoom class. Bring your questions. Send pictures and questions about pruning to Connie at
Eventbrite Registration closed

March 13, 2021 
Zoom 1-3pm
Building a Garden Bed: Learn to build a sheet mulched garden bed right on top of what you have now, whether lawn weeds, or bare soil. No building skills required.

Join this class to learn to brew up some good nutrition for your soil. Using easy to grow plants and plants gathered from the wild, as well as inexpensive microbial solutions, you can blend and brew some nutritious garden teas that your soil microbes and your plants will thrive on. We will talk about using common weeds to make brews, as well as compost tea and microbial blends. Bring your questions! There will be time to answer questions after the session, as well as by email.
Eventbrite Registration closed

April 24, 2021 – Garden Teas & Brews: Learn to make your own garden fertilizers using easy to find materials.

Getting started on gardening can be easy with the no dig sheet mulched garden bed method. This method will turn any area of your yard into a garden in one afternoon. Grow fantastic vegetables, herbs, or flowers, with a minimum of effort and weeding using inexpensive and easy to source materials. Get a jump start on a garden this year. Food prices are expected to rise significantly and using this method you can build your bed and plant into it the same day. All questions will be answered either during class, or afterwards. Come and join us and join the ranks of thousands of gardeners growing fresh nutritious food for themselves and their families.
Eventbrite Registration closed

June 19, 2021 – Planting a Winter Garden: Learn about providing yourself with fresh veggies year-round. 

June is the time to start loading your garden with plants that will feed you all winter long, with little work involved. Learn what types of veggies do well over winter, what varieties are best, and how to care for them as the days get shorter.  Learn about watering in winter, and different methods of protecting your plants from excess rain, wind, and cold temperatures.  Discover some new vegetables.  Winter gardening and harvesting is a major step towards your family’s food security.
Eventbrite Registration closed

July 24, 2021 – Composting Methods including Worm Bins – learn how to build compost correctly at a hands-on class in theDoighouse gardens.

No more smelly compost, no more wondering what to do.  We will be building a compost from the ground up and learning what to put in and what to leave out.  Learn the difference between hot composting and cold composting.  We will discuss different methods of composting, including trench composting, bokashi composting, and last, but not least, we will be building a worm bin.  Come learn how you can compost in any space, no matter how small. All participants will go home with links to more information on composting and best of all, one lucky person will go home with the worm bin, complete with a population of worms, as a door prize.  Tours of theDoighouse Earthship will be available.

Eventbrite Registration

  • August – no class
  • September 25, 2021 – hold the date for the beginning of our fall 2021 ‘Gardens on the Go’ series.
  • October 23,  2021 – Propagation

Email and let me know if you would like to be put on our ‘reminder’ list.

Please note: Children welcome with supervision.



Installation: Drainage & Vapour Barrier

We’re finally getting around to sorting through paperwork from the 2018 summer build season. I thought it might be interesting to share photos of the installation of the vapour barrier and drainage system.

I know is some areas water (and therefore drainage) is not as much of an issue as it is for theDoighouse. We are located in a Coastal Rainforest with annual average rainfall of 872.11 mm in 2018.

The township of Bowser is the closest weather reporting. Here’s a glimpse at our average rainfall pattern. NOTE: this does not include annual snowfall.

Average Rainfall in Bowser

In many earthship build locations water is not as much of an issue as it is for theDoighouse. Along with the rainfall, our water table is quite high.

What you see here is the methodology we need to follow in order to meet the building code requirements for the Regional District of Nanaimo, BC. It may be different in your location.

Vapour Barrier Methodology

The tires were placed on compacted undisturbed soil following the layout of the string lines outlined in inspection #1 – Base Prep. A thorough check was made against the drawings. Section by section we moved the tires and placed 10mil Poly vapour barrier under before replacing the tires.

We assured that a 12 inch overlap could be maintained on all overlap joints For each overlap we placed a double row of acoustical sealant as specified on the drawings. We ensured that this double row closed the route of all ingress of moisture into the conditioned space. The pictures show both the pattern of sealant and the 12 overlap allowance. The overlap will be maintained as it follows the exterior of the tire wall both with sealant and approved tape.

Drainage Methodology

The methodology was to locate 4″ perforated drainpipe adjacent to the lowest course of tires (considered the footings) and on top of the insulation board. The pipe was laid on filter cloth and drain rock forming a tube.

Standing cleanouts were installed at the furthest most point from the drain and midpoint along the rear wall.

The same methodology was repeated at the base of the vertical insulation 4 ft out from the tirewall. These two drains were connected at each end of the rear wall to continue around each end of the house (east at garage and west at greenhouse. the pipe was installed with a slope 15″ over the length of the run.

The following are a series of photos taken during the installation of both the drain at the base of the tire wall and at the base of the out-board insulation.  

Drainage completed and backfilled to course 6

Can’t wait for the snow to go so we can unwrap theDoighouse and get back to pounding tires.

If you’re looking for a chance to hang out and help, we are always looking for people interested in learning about Earthship building, community gardens, and food forests! Email if you want to know more.

Or join us for our monthly fireside@theDoighouse chat connecting professional builders, enthusiasts and individuals curious and/or passionate about natural building. If that sounds like you, or someone you know, we meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

NOTE: 6:00pm start time – come a little early, stay a little late!

In the News

We frequently have guests and visitors to theDoighouse and love spending time sharing our journey. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of articles featuring the work that’s been happening at theDoighouse over the past many months. We look forward to sharing the coming year’s highlights; including the day we celebrate the installation of the last of the approximately 1000 recycled car tires used in the construction of theDoighouse Earthship!

It’s been a pleasure to get to know Doug Harrison from the Lighthouse Country Living Newsletter (LCL). A copy is delivered to every household in the area on a monthly basis. The LCL is the new kid on the block; creating a space that is strictly news from Area H.

Linda Tenney has graciously shared space for our words in her long standing and wonderful EyesonBC magazine. The Eyes (as Tony and I call it) keeps us “in the know” about Parksville, Qualicum and Lighthouse country. We have been reading and enjoying it since the first copy we picked up while having a coffee at the Sandbar Cafe & Art Gallery.

Adam Kveton from Parksville Qualicum Beach News has written over 800 articles for the PBQ. We were thrilled to meet and chat with Adam on the build site. He really took time to look, listen and share his thoughts with us. His article was also noted in the PBQ year in review. Thanks again Adam! Come back anytime!

EyesonBC Magazine Jan 2019

Lighthouse Country Living Nov 2018

Parksville Qualicum Beach News Oct 2018

Lighthouse Country Living Oct 2018

EyesonBC Magazine Sep 2018

Lighthouse Country Living Sep 2018