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!
I am not sure you know this, but our family Christmas tradition is to share stories rather than gifts purchased. The Christmas stories are collected, and every 5-10 years or so a new ‘Brown Family Chronicles’ is published. We are currently working on the 4th volume.
Hungarian plum dumplings, known as szilvas gomboc, are
a delicious dessert, meatless
main dish, or side dish. I know this for a fact…
One afternoon this past summer Diane’s friend called to let
me know his plum tree was ready for picking.
Off I go to Parkville. It’s too bad Diane is away visiting her kids so
we won’t get a little visit. On the
other hand, if she were home I may not have gotten the plums!
After a nice chat with Don, I climb the tree, which turns out to be two trees actually. Soon I have two five pound pails and a couple of brown paper bags full of mostly ripen fruit. Back I go to the property to share the haul with our volunteers. Several have little more than enthusiasm for food storage skills so we have been making jams, apple sauce, pickling cukes and having a lot of fun in the outdoor kitchen. I have done no preserving of food for several/many years but find myself really enjoying the time in the kitchen. I am getting to know our niece Alesha, Maddy (Cecilia’s Swedish friend) and Iliya (our Jamaican friend living on the property). Our plan is to perhaps make plum jam and can a few pints of plums.
David Koblos is a ‘regular’ volunteer. He has spent 2 summers with us now, learning and teaching us all. This year he started in May, shortly after Tony retired, and stayed until the first week in September. He has a wonderful sense of humour and a passion for Earthships. He always has a story to tell and a way of interacting that is truly authentic.
David was born in Hungary and has lived in many different country and speaks several languages (beautifully).We can’t imagine building our Earthship without him.
One of the best parts about the Bear Paw Cafe is people
sharing their family recipes and even better… making them for sharing.
Well… the minute David K. hears of the plums he is eager to share his family
tradition of making szilvas gomboc.
A typical Hungarian dish; we are assured by David he knows
the recipe by heart. It will only take a
few minutes. We can have them for
dinner! An excellent idea; given it is
almost dinner time… David harvests about five (okay maybe six) pounds
of potatoes from the hugel closest to the kitchen. “How delicious these will be with such fresh
potatoes”. As the potatoes cook David assembles the rest of the
ingredients. Iliya appears with a
rolling pin! We have so many plums; it would be good to make a large batch. The
dough is first a little too dry then a little too wet, then a little this and
then a little that…Soon there are several people in the kitchen helping.
Several hours later with the plums nicely tucked inside the perfected dough the cooking begins. Dinner is served… I can’t recall exactly the time, but for sure the solar light in the kitchen came on…The dumplings are delicious and enjoyed (for several meals actually), by our volunteers and Tony and I as the minor modifications and adjustments to the dough have resulted in dozens and dozens of dumplings, not the typical 18 the recipe below suggests. I couldn’t say this recipe is exactly as David made it, but it seems close!
5 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled (don’t use leftovers)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
18 damson or Italian prune plums, washed and pitted
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups very fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
Steps to Make It
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, and
salt. When well combined, add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Cover
with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Place a large pot of salted water on to boil.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/3
inch. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place a plum in the center of each square and
fold in half, pressing out all air and sealing the edges. Moisten edges before
crimping if necessary to seal.
Carefully drop filled dumplings
individually into boiling
water. Repeat until all plums are in the water. Cook 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet, add
breadcrumbs and brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a slotted spoon, remove dumplings to a
colander to drain. Place skillet back on the heat and add dumplings, coating
with buttered crumbs.
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with
These dumplings were truly delicious! They are easily reheated too, by frying the
leftover dumplings in a little butter or olive oil the following day.
We have had such a lovely time this year at
theDoighouse. So many guests,
volunteers, new friends and old have come to visit and have shared their time,
patience, laughter and enthusiasm. We
would not be doing what we are doing without you!
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.
This is my second hugel kultur garden. It’s a whopping 79 feet long, 6 feet wide, 3 feet deep and about 4 feet high. We haven’t watered the squash or the potatoes since early spring! Don’t the plants look super healthy?
How it was built:
We started by digging a 6 foot wide 79 foot long trench dug down about three feet. Once the trench was completed, a couple of layers of logs were place length wise covering the entire bottom of the trench. Continue reading Hugel gardening→
theDoighouse radically sustainable, 'Earthship' inspired, off grid home, food forest and Learning Centre on Vancouver Island, BC