Spring 2016

It really is starting to feel like spring is here. This is a busy time of year so I figured I’d quickly outline some of the projects we have on the go.


My wife has been busy planting for the year. The space under the grow lights has been crowded for a while and now plants are starting to spend the days outdoors. Two new ground-level beds have been dug and turned in with lots of compost. On the roster this year are a lot of fruit trees. Last year I pulled up volunteer boxelder and walnut trees from the back of the property to clear space for something of a mixed orchard and companion plantings. I am also considering a large hugelkultur mound to act as a sponge in a large wet spot that tried to swallow the tractor earlier in the year. In the meantime, the spinach in our raised beds is growing again and providing us with regular salad greens.

Water Collection

Water collection system

The water collection system in the garage. The exposed section of wall to the left is where I later framed in the new door.

A few years ago we got our hands on some IBCs from a candy factory. Over the winter I assembled four of the IBCs into a water collection system for the garage. I will be providing a more detailed explanation of the system once it is complete, but for now water is collecting in the bottom IBCs while the top are still being drained of the last bits of corn syrup left from their former life.

Garage Door

Adding a door to the garage

Along with the water collection system, I took some time to add a door to the back of the garage as well as replacing an old broken window with a slightly larger pane of fixed glass. This lets much more natural light into the garage and, along with some serious spring cleaning, has made it into a much more functional workshop. Although the door currently leads outdoors, this will be changing this summer once we build the …


A greenhouse has long been on our wish list but with a price tag that we didn’t fancy. Hoop houses are relatively cheap to erect in the short-term but the repeated cost and bother of purchasing, installing, removing and disposing of plastic sheathing doesn’t really appeal. Rigid greenhouses are better but until recently my attempts to scrounge some reasonably priced glass or acrylic proved fruitless. That changed when I responded to a kijiji ad looking for someone to remove an enclosure around a pool in a nearby city. Three days of hard labour later and we had all of the glass, metal, wood, fittings etc. taken apart and moved to our property. As a bonus, we also got all of the pressure treated lumber from a deck that had already been torn out as well as the majority of a fence along one edge of the property.

Since then, I have been spending some time using Google SketchUp to hone in on a workable greenhouse design on which construction can start once the water level recedes to the point where a foundation can be poured.

Preliminary greenhouse design

Rear Deck

With the addition of the pressure treated from the deck of the pool enclosure property to the scrap pile, I finally have the right materials on hand to start tackling the deck at the rear of the house. Although the plan is eventually to have decking along the length of the house, the first stage is simply putting a small roof over the back door and a deck with a step over the mishmash of concrete, grass and mud in the corner between the house and the long storage shed I built as part of our courtyard.



Some chicks from the first hatch of the year.

While projects like the greenhouse are still a little in the future, this year’s chicken breeding is fully underway. While the initial group of eggs showed poor fertility (apparently a problem with our breed if you attempt to collect eggs while temperatures are still too cold), the second group has just emerged from the incubator and is our best hatch yet. Twenty-four new chickens have been added to the roster.

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