Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beginning Again! Bob and Grumpy

Here we are in Powell River - a bit of Paradise by the Sea. Stunning ocean views, beaches everywhere, forests and mountains and birds and everything I like - even a Starbucks!

Last week we broke ground for our new state of the art aquaponic greenhouse. Here is a photo of the four foot deep hole which will someday provide geothermal temperature control in winter and summer.
Finished hole, ready for posts, pipe, ditch in foreground, large area is for grow beds and rafts, area to the right is for the fish. 6000 square feet of grow space.

Bob the dirt guy did all this with his digger in a couple of days - he uses that thing like his own arm, never seen anything like it - fast and efficiently he digs, smooths, rips out trees, piles stuff up. He can do a lot of damage in just a few minutes! 

work in progress

Don says, " see that 6000 square foot hole? How many times a day do you think you'll walk the length of that?" But I can only see a large hole in the dirt with a giant mountain beside it. 

The mountain will go back in the hole eventually, but Gerry is like me - he only sees a mountain and a hole and he freaks out. Gerry is the neighbor - all nice and friendly at first, till he sees all this action.  It goes something like this:
First day: we get a visit from the district rep - a neighbor complained that we will be producing light pollution. He left congratulating us on our new venture- welcoming us to Powell River.
Second day: the health inspector -  a neighbor complained that our septic field might not be right and we live near a salmon stream. Wrong, system recently inspected..
Third day: Gerry himself - I don't like what you're doing, I'm going to build something right on your border. Also, I'm bringing a surveyor in to determine our exact border and you will pay half his fee.

Gerry's interesting structure - we're not sure what it's going to be yet - any guesses?

Fourth day: (what took him so long?) The fisheries officer - a neighbor says you're working next to a salmon stream. Not close enough. We do have to put a couple of bales of hay in the drainage ditch though, to catch the silt draining from the hole. 

We think all the appropriate officials have now visited us and we're good to go. Tomorrow Bob puts the posts in. 
The greenhouse will have a solid wall on the north side with no windows, but a reflective wall. Attached to the outside of the north side is the fish house. There will be solid walls on the east and west ends with windows, and a hoop house-style south side with double film. Air will circulate from below the earth, keeping temps even. 

Meanwhile, we have bought some bamboo and some tall straight junipers to screen our offensive view from Gerry, though the saying ''good fences make good neighbors" has been coming to mind!

Here is a picture of Jeff on his birthday, standing in front of the garden and the giant hole/mountain, holding a giant broccoli. :)

It's hard to tell with a new project like this, but we're hoping to be selling greens by Christmas if not before.
Next post you will see some building going on. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Very big news for our little fishies

Life is never certain - our fish should know that by now!

We have found our new home - on four acres. Happily, it is "home" in Canada. Sadly it is nowhere nearby. Also sadly, we will have to take apart our now-seasoned aquaponic operation and start over. That is going to feel terrible to tear apart all that we created, all that's growing, all that growing potential! Sigh. At the moment, the greenhouse is dormant - things look the same as they did in November. Well, some things are growing slowly. I expect by the end of February, with the lengthening days, it will burst into growth again.

We won't abandon our fish - we'll find a fellow aquaponic farmer to adopt them. And hopefully the tanks and grow beds as well. Anybody want to start a backyard system? Now would be the time. We'll take all the things we can use with us to start our new system. We are believers!. We've seen how and what it can grow. Our new system will be in a warmer greenhouse, heated if necessary, with solar panels to heat the water for the fish, propane back-up, and lights for the winter. We have learned so much here. Thank you, Hunt Academy. :) We will take our knowledge with us and start a new system. Powell River, and possibly Comox and Courtenay can look forward to greens and herbs year-round.

The really really cool part is, we get to start our new adventure with my sister and her husband! We feel so grateful and blessed! Thank you everyone, for your good wishes, and your prayers. I'll post again when we start building our cool new greenhouse!