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.
We started the summer with passion, some really great volunteers, a cleared building site, a desire to build and no building permit.
A bit of a pickle really.
We decided to move ahead and work to the first building inspection (foundations). A bit of a gamble as we are using tires as our foundation – but we felt confident in the work by our structural engineer, Mark Fleischhaker and our architect, Keith Tetlow and the unofficial feedback from the Regional District of Nanaimo that we decided to take the risk and just start.
First… getting the plans finalized and submitted to the RDN …and then waiting for approval, answering questions and following up with information.
The RDN have been great to work with, a reflection of the quality of work and attention to detail by Mark, Keith and Daniel.
So..first things first.. if you want to host volunteers, you need some stuff.
The Bear Paw Cafe. Just saying it got it’s name from a couple of visitors (the black furry kind)… but that’s a story for another day.
Susan recently achieved her Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) through Oregon State University. Amazing course! Amazing instructors and cohort. Her final project was to design the layout of the Doighouse community gardens, orchard, personal, social and teaching spaces. Here’s an example of the overall plan.
Similar to the concept of ‘barn raising’ an Earthship build is typically a group of volunteers working together to build community; learning new skills; making new friends; and raising a new building.
This summer we will be hosting theDoighouse build. We are anticipating a global experience with volunteers from around the world and are currently accepting applications from people interested in working and learning together with us. Tire pounding, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, cement mixing/pouring, food prep and meal service are just some of the opportunities.
theDoighouse is committed to a safe build; all volunteers will be covered by WorkSafe BC.
The first of the solar systems to provide power to theDoighouse has arrived on site; it is a mini system compared to what we will need for the house. Right now, it is being used to a) power our daily needs for light/electricity; and b) learn how to manage the batteries and the Outback inverter… basically the system and how it works. It is beautiful!