Sunday, 25 July 2010

Singing' in the Rain (Barrel?)

Never thought I'd say this, but we love our rain barrels. We picked them up in Thunder Bay at Eco Superior a few weeks ago: two sturdy 220-litre barrels. We paid $60.00 each for them, but if you're a  Thunder Bay resident you get 'em even cheaper if you bring your water bill with you.

Because that's the whole idea behind these rain barrels: to save on tap water when watering your garden, and use free rain water instead. And with the summer heating up it's safe to say our veggie garden is very happy with them. Without this free, clean water our veggies wouldn't be looking as healthy as they do now.

And in cities, rain barrels also help reduce the load on storm sewers and waste water treatment facilities.

The other very cool thing about these barrel is they're a recycled product. In a previous life they were used to store and transport Greek olives. They were slated to go to the landfill, destined to become part of the growing garbage problem our society is experiencing.

Well, not if it's up to the non-profit organization! They obtained tens of thousands of barrels and retrofitted them with a spigot at the bottom, a 6" hole and a filter basket at the top and a simple yet effective overflow hose which also doubles as a connector in case you're hooking up multiple barrels (as we will).

These recycled barrels are environmentally friendly (in several ways), durable, cost-effective, and people all over Canada just love 'em. Oh, and did  mention they'll save you money in the long run? So give Eco Superior a call (at 624-2140) to arrange a time to pick one up. Or more than one!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Babees Are Safe

The last 4 weeks have seen little blog action, but we're back again! Not that there was nothing to blog about, but life has just been too darn busy for any weekly updates; and being on an intensive 2-week film shoot followed by a week out of town didn't help much, either.

Still, much has happened and is happening. We'll be offering our "Intro to Solar Energy" and "Living off the Grid" evening classes through Confederation College this fall again, dates will be posted shortly. We're also mulling a full-day "Advanced Wind Power" workshop, and will announce more as soon we have made a final decision.

Our House Tours also prove to be very popular, with a steady stream of folks visiting our place. Word on our Eco B&B is getting around, pulling more and more guests, all of them lovely people we thoroughly enjoy having.

In the mean time, our previous blog about the bee hives that beekeeper Tom placed on our property drew a lot of response, many expressing concerns about the fact that there was nothing in place to scare the bears off. Of course they were correct in this, and of course Tom was aware of this issue as well. So 3 weeks ago he installed an electric fence around the hives, specifically designed to keep bears at bay.

So call us solar geeks, but what we like about it it's a solar-powered electric fence; and I can tell you first hand that it works. In case you're wondering why the hives are sitting on those cement blocks, that's to keep them out of reach of another predator: skunks, of all animals. Skunks love burrowing into those hives with their long sharp claws and aren't deterred by any stinging.

So far we've had a pretty good, almost average summer, making happy bees (and people). Our fields are filled nectar-filled wildflowers and clover is growing abundantly; I can't think of any better excuse to go easy on cutting the grass...