House for rent, Hastings-Sunrise

We’re renting our home near Nanimo and Hastings, on the bike route. Both the upstairs and downstairs suites are available for October 1, 2012. UPDATE Sept. 7. The downstairs suite is rented but the upstairs is available.


It’s a quiet neighbourhood (no traffic noise.)
Safe for kids.
Kind, responsible neighbours all around.
Local elementary school is Garibaldi Annex with an intimate, caring K-4 program and an innovative homelearning program.
Walk the back lane’s and see how generations of families have grown food in the city.
Fabulous local food shopping and restaurants along Hastings St.

About the house:
New drainage in 2006.
New roof in 2005.
Heating and insulation upgrade complete by October 1st, 2012.



Full of perennial food (raspberries, currants, gooseberries etc) asparagus, rhubarb herbs, flowers and art/craft materials. Care of garden will be negotiated between us as landlords and residents of both suites depending on interest level. There’s lots of room for annual vegetable gardens.


About the suites:

Upstairs: $1450 plus 60% utilities
900 ft2
2 bedrooms
Kitchen and private back deck face south over the backyard. Front yard patio.
Freshly painted this summer.
Gas Fireplace in living room
Storage closet on main floor plus overflow in downstairs laundry room.

Downstairs $1050 plus 40% utilities
850 ft2
2 bedrooms
New floor in living room.
Note: ceilings are 8 ft in living areas but shower in bathroom is 6.5 ft.
Private patio onto the back garden
Big closets in both bedrooms plus unheated 35ft2 storage room (good for root cellar!)

Interested? Call 604-707-0337 and ask for Keira.


Primordial soup, a thank-you to the Flaming Lips

Photo by strangejourney

I saw a swarm of mosquitoes hovering today

flying in drunk tired circles

stupid in the late season

There’s breeding ground a-plenty:

garbage can lids under pots of earth,

overflowing with rain water

mini ponds in low, sodden footprints

but I tracked them to a crack in the lid of  5 gallon plastic juice bucket

Inside a stinking brew of  weeds

water rich green, primordial soup

I remember now: a splash of olive oil on top of the weed tea prevents this

Tip it over, wave goodbye, no tears at the

mosquito graveyard (where the garlic grew)

There’s death in the garden. I’m  always murdering something when I’m out there. Slugs get it the worst. Right through their soft bellies with a sharp stick. I don’t show much mercy to aphids and their nasty leaf-sucking ways either.

However, it’s all hand to hand combat and I don’t focus. I’m opportunistic and lazy. I’m picking greens for dinner or throwing a bit of mulch around, thinking peaceful garden thoughts (or anxious thoughts about money or bored considerations of what to make for dinner) and then GWAH HA HA…!

What I need are  more predators. Garden snakes eat slugs. They’d be more consistently motivated.  But it’d take some doing to get a habitat corridor going in this neighbourhood that would support a snake population. A snake learning party? Invites all done up with skull and cross-bones with a big X through the slug? T-shirt tie-in?

Photo by photogirl7.1

Gardening, from a permaculture perspective anyway,  gets you thinking about sex and death pretty much all the time. A permaculture garden provides the setting for a frenzy of fucking, birthing, eating and dying. (I liked when farmer, story-teller Michael Ableman said last year at his talk in North Van that we we are missing the boat trying to interest people in sustainable farming by talking about health and abundance etc: it’s SEX, SEX, SEX all the time people. But then again, you start with sex, you get to death and in that little human conundrum there lies the story of how we got to the hyper-controlled rows of veggies jacked up on fertilizers.)

I spent yesterday’s late afternoon out there in the end of September sun; warm enough for bare skin, humming the same song over and over, like an am transistor radio in the 70’s


Do you realize

that everyone you know

someday will die

and instead of saying all of your goodbyes

let them know you realize that life goes fast its hard to make the good things last

You realize the sun doesn’t go down

it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning around

The Flaming Lips know what’s up. They share it generously with balloons and confetti and smoke and LOUD, BEAUTIFUL noise. I loved hearing the new Embryonic songs live and loved, loved that Steph was there with me.  We’ve been listening to new music together since we met in grade 9 but its been a million years since we’ve been able to go to a gig together.

It was perfect- well a drink or two would have made for more unrestrained dancing but as Wayne points out there’s trade-offs to the Malkin Bowl. You get to rock out in a forest cathedral but they kick you out at 10 and don’t serve booze.  Isn’t that just like real life.

Thank-you Flaming Lips for another magic show in our forest, in the heart of Vancouver. ’til we meet again, in the meantime,  I discovered you’re all on twitter…

photo by draggin

photo by draggin

Growing Traditions: Sharing gardening knowledge across generations

The elders in our community have abundant knowledge of gardening practices. My grandparents grew up on farms on the Prairies during the Depression. Growing food and composting were facts of life. But as this generation of gardeners retires to smaller homes, their knowledge is leaving us.

At the same time, so many people are getting excited about growing their own food. Maybe it’s the recession, or maybe it’s just time: new parents want to teach their children how to garden, and flower gardeners are starting to cultivate food as well.

This year, the Sustainable Living Arts School, in consultation with the Edible Garden Project, is  working on a small garden mentorship program funded by North Shore Health. The Growing Traditions project is a small pilot program designed to help us learn how elders and new food gardeners can share their knowledge. We would like to learn how garden mentorships work, experiment with how learning parties can support these relationships…and get families growing food!

A big thanks to Stacey Friedman and all the participants of Intergenerational Landed Learning at UBC Farm who welcomed us to join them for a day of Landed Learning fun at the farm. We also took the opportunity to crash in on  Diane Johnson, who managed UBC’s Trimentoring Program through its start-up years.  They both asked great questions, created a context where we could ask what we needed and well, mentored us for a day.

The project is looking for experienced gardeners on the North Shore who would like to mentor newer gardeners. We’re also looking for families to participate – newer gardeners who would both contribute to and benefit from a community connection with an elder gardener. The mentorship would occur from June until the end of September.  At the end  families and elders will share their knowledge with their neighbors and friends by hosting a learning party.

Do you know anyone who would like to do something like this? Interested participants or those with any questions are welcome to contact Tricia at 604-842-3251 (please leave a message) or email growingtraditions(at)

She even hung up paper towels to dry

Since I got my picture in the paper some people assume I know what I’m talking about, and that I’ve got some serious credentials to back up my “environmental work”. This article from the Guardian describes exactly my schooling in this area.

Over by the sink, you’d find a soggy tea bag, maybe two, awaiting second use, and dotted around the Aga would be several saucers of leftovers – some likely to contain as little as a few peas or a handful of pasta shells. Meanwhile, upstairs, you’d doubtless come across a toothpaste tube, or maybe a bottle of moisturiser, cut open with nail scissors to reveal its final scrape.

This is not about saving money, although I’m sure finances played a part. We weren’t seriously hard-up. It was something else. A hangover from wartime austerity, perhaps,…#65279; which both sets of grandparents passed on to my parents when they were growing up in the 50s. An almost moral sense of obligation not to waste what you have but make it go as far as possible.  The Pleasure of Penny Pinching by Anna Shepard via my good friend Wendy

I did throw out a number of used tea-bags when I was home at mom’s last month- sorry mom. I also came across some photos of the backyard when I was a kid. It is a huge suburban yard; I was deeply proud that it was the biggest in our neighbourhood (by some fluke I assume for our house was no grander in any  other respect).  Mom planted a massive vegetable garden to which I’d be chained to pull crab grass. Good thing I could turn myself invisible and so could quickly slink off to read books.