Another 2012 Cob Building Workshop!

From September 13th to 17th, I’ll be hosting another cob/natural building workshop on Lasqueti Island. The cost of this 3 day workshop is $300 which covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 3 days, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

I enjoyed how you let us experiment and fail and learn on the fly.” – Luke ’11

It was empowering!  I really feel like in a short week like I can get going on building my own cob house!” – Jodi ’11

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 6 cob workshops and finished four buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

The food was absolutely incredible!  I’ve never been to any event where the food was as healthy, abundant, delicious, frequent.” – Jodi ’11

I was surprised by how much variety there was as my preconditioned idea of a vegan diet was that it would be very plain without much zing.  However it was a treat each meal” – Luke ’11

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.

What will the focus be for this workshop?

We’ll be finishing a guest house/garden shed that started with very short cob walls on a stone foundation.  10′ logs are used to cantilever the sleeping space over the garden shed and we’ll cob up to a metal roof that will collect rain water.  The floor is pine, and the roof will be sloped to make the guest house seem like a loft over the garden shed.  The 96 sq ft. structure will be done by the end of the month!

We’ll also be plastering with a lovely natural plaster: a cob bench, greenhouse walls, outside and inside.  You’ll find the ratio of materials that work best for applying and lasting, which can be used on any type of construction.

On site, there will be the beginnings of a stone foundation to help you understand an efficient way of creating your own.  Our time is too short to work on it, but the concepts will be on display so you can absorb it all while you learn to mix fast cob and plaster naturally.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Thursday, September 13th (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic dinner that evening) and Monday, September 17th (a farewell breakfast will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Friday to Sunday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure.

The pace is casual but determined; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

To receive an application form, please email Dave: bike at resist dot ca or write a comment below with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of natural building and cob soon!

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2012 Cob Building Workshops!

From August 18th to 23rd and August 25th to 30th, I’ll be hosting two independent cob/natural building workshops on Lasqueti Island. The cost of each workshop is $400 which covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 4 days, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

I enjoyed how you let us experiment and fail and learn on the fly.” – Luke ’11

It was empowering!  I really feel like in a short week like I can get going on building my own cob house!” – Jodi ’11

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 6 cob workshops and finished four buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

The food was absolutely incredible!  I’ve never been to any event where the food was as healthy, abundant, delicious, frequent.” – Jodi ’11

I was surprised by how much variety there was as my preconditioned idea of a vegan diet was that it would be very plain without much zing.  However it was a treat each meal” – Luke ’11

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.

What will the focus be for this workshop?

We’ll be creating a guest house/garden shed that starts with very short cob walls on a stone foundation.  We’ll add 10′ logs to cantilever the sleeping space over the garden shed and cob up to a metal roof that will collect rain water.  The floor will be pine, and the roof will be sloped to make the guest house seem like a loft over the garden shed.  The 96 sq ft. structure will be done in less than a month!

We’ll also be plastering with a lovely natural plaster: a cob bench, greenhouse walls, outside and inside.  You’ll find the ratio of materials that work best for applying and lasting, which can be used on any type of construction.

On site, there will be the beginnings of a stone foundation to help you understand an efficient way of creating your own.  Our time is too short to work on it, but the concepts will be on display so you can absorb it all while you learn to mix fast cob and plaster naturally.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Saturdays, August 18th or August 25th (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic dinner that evening) and Thursday, August 23rd or August 30th (a farewell breakfast will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Sunday to Wednesday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure.

The pace is casual but determined; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

To receive an application form, please email Dave: bike at resist dot ca or write a comment below with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of natural building and cob soon!

Self-Propelled film at Fest Film tomorrow night!

Human Powered fans and doers rejoice!

The 30th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival includes a documentary called On The Line, a fully human powered journey from beginning to end of the proposed Enbridge Tar Sands pipeline to Kitimat and into 250 Supertankers per year.

Frank Wolf and Todd McGowan have made an insightful film that simply shows where and who will be affected by this insane plan to make a few rich people richer.

What impressed me is how they did this.  First riding bikes (that they then gave away!) for over a 1000km, then when pavement and gravel come to an end, they convert to hikers and traverse through pristine wilderness over the Rocky Mountains.  When riding becomes an option again, they somehow travel over seriously dangerous logging roads until rafting and kayaking are the only options to get to point where the bitumen would be loaded onto supertankers.

Not only do they show the incredible beauty of the land and all that depends on it along the path of the proposed pipeline, they bring countless stories of the humans who will be affected into the film.  One fact, that 37 jobs will be created by the pipeline while 56,000 people currently make their living from fishing in the area, was shocking to me.

Not surprising was the fact that the Environmental Review Panel evaluating this pipeline is set up to approve it at all costs.  That a Member of Parliament so plainly stated this fact on film was startling, to say the least.

I’m quite certain that anyone on the fence about this Northern Gateway Pipeline Project proposed by Enbridge (who declines their invitation to speak) will simply not be able to sit comfortably anymore after seeing this self-propelled film.

2 screenings remain for On The Line:

  • Tomorrow, Thursday, Oct 6th 7:00pm @ Empire Granville 7 Th 2
  • Tue, Oct 11th 1:45pm @ Empire Granville 7 Th 2

BC Ferries loses another $5.5 million; targets cyclists to recoup loses

A search for bicycle facilities at BC Ferries produced this.

A press release issued by BC Ferries on August 24, 2011 states that it lost another $5.5 million during April, May and June of this year.

It also confirms the devastating decisions they have recently made without public consultation: spending half a billion dollars on 3 giant new car ferries made in Germany while vehicle traffic reached an eleven year low.

In an effort to recoup these losses, BC Ferries recently sent 3 security people and a trained German Shepard after a cyclist to ban him for not paying $2 for his bicycle.  The only other ways to cross the Salish Sea are airplane or private boat.

After the cyclist explained that BC Ferries own Experience Card allows cyclists to travel without paying the $2 bicycle fare, the Terminal Manager lifted the ban.

However, the security personnel stressed that any cyclist who does not pay the $2 for their bicycle, even if BC Ferries staff sells them a ticket, are considered criminals and will be banned immediately.

BC Ferries press release did not comment on whether bicycle traffic increased or decreased in the last quarter, nor did it comment how customer service practices affected revenues.

David L. Hahn: "Sorry, my hands are tied."

President and CEO David L. Hahn did state that cutbacks will result from this loss, but the salaries and bonuses received by BC Ferries Executives will not be reduced.  The press release did not mention that David Hahn’s annual compensation, when added with the other members of the Executive’s, exceed the loss in the past quarter.

The press release stated that steep discounts for motorized vehicles and their drivers during peak travel periods in June did not increase revenues.

However, no mention was made of how a passenger only service would dramatically reduce costs (it currently costs $2,000 in fuel for one of the Giant new ferries to make a crossing of the Salish Sea) while simultaneously increasing service.

The press release also contains financial information that shows that BC Ferries has accumulated a $1.3 billion debt in the past 8 years; a previous press release stated that prior to the hiring of David Hahn as President and CEO, BC Ferries was debt free after the Provincial Government wrote off $1.1 billion in debt that was accumulated over more than 40 years.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.bcferries.com/bcferries/faces/attachments?id=528847
https://www.bcferries.com/bcferries/faces/attachments?id=477419
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Ferry_Scandal

2011 Cob Building Workshop!

From July 23rd to July 30th, I’ll be hosting another cob/natural building workshop on Lasqueti Island. The cost of $600 covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 6 days, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 5 cob workshops and finished three smaller buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Our chef, Bethany Scott, first came to cob by way of the Mudgirls, hosting a work party and seducing them with her amazing culinary talents.  She has worked her magic at multiple cob workshops, both on and off Lasqueti Island, and hasn’t met a diet that she hasn’t nourished fully and deliciously yet!

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Saturday, July 23rd (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic and vegan dinner that evening) and Saturday, July 30th (a farewell breakfast on the 30th will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Sunday to Friday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure.

The pace is casual but determined; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

To receive an application form, please email Dave: eec at resist dot ca or write a comment below with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of natural building and cob soon!

Time to toot a horn long overdue

It seems that when it rains, it pours, especially with elections.

Not that any of them have improved anything for the average person for a long, long time; they have enabled the rich to get richer but I’ll save you that one for another time.

The Provincial NDP have a leadership race on right now.  If you’re a member, you can vote for their new leader.

I was astonished when one candidate, Dana Larsen, asked me for more info about Fare-Free Transit.  After our chat, he asked that we do a video together.  It’s short and concise and I’ve received very positive feedback from it.

You can view the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3dI-kQgwDA&feature=youtu.be

What inspired me to write this though, is that Dana has created two platform pledges from this work: making the Skytrain Fare-Free and then converting all of the BC Transit systems to Fare-Free.

He really seems to understand the necessity of moving our transit systems to Fare-Free:

  • we need to help people out of their cars if we are to survive as a species
  • it costs more to collect fares than to not collect fares in every community in BC, save Vancouver and possibly Victoria.  Shockingly, we have no idea how much net revenue (if any) is actually generated by the farebox in either of those cities.

Don’t get me wrong: the political/electoral system that is in place will make these kinds of changes next to impossible, regardless of who is elected.

But if you believe in peaceful change from within, then here’s a rare opportunity for you.  Fare-Free Transit has happened in many other places in the civilized world, so it could happen here, too.

For more on Dana’s and the other candidate’s platforms, you can read them here:
http://conservationvoters.ca/leadership-race-2011/ndp-candidates/dana-larsen

If nothing else, spread the news that a potential Premier wants to make it easier for you to take transit!

PS.  In related news, the Ontario Legislature just voted to remove the right of transit workers in Toronto to strike, deeming the TTC an “essential service.”  This is on the eve of the Amalgamated Transit Union contract expiring at the end of this month and on the heels of Wisconsin, Michigan, and other US states’ legislatures removing the right for public workers to collectively bargain.

ATU Local 113 president Bob Kinnear stated in response to the legislation: “If we are so essential why hasn’t there been legislation to properly fund the transit system.”

Weekend Workshop September 18/19 2010

If you’ve been meaning to get your hands muddy but just haven’t had the time or money, this weekend workshop just might be your ticket!

Cob Oven on Fire!We’ll be starting and completing a cob oven, as well as plastering, building thin walls, and probably a bit of roofing as well (we’ll see what the August workshop leaves for us to do).

It all happens on Lasqueti Island and starts on Friday evening (September 17th) with a welcome dinner prepared by our chef, Bethany Scott.  She’ll feed us well all weekend with 3 hot, organic meals a day and two yummy snacks.  Then she’ll send us off on Monday morning with a hot farewell breakfast in time to catch the 8am ferry.

For more info about your instructor and chef, please see the previous posts for our week long workshops.

One of the highlights of our workshops is the real life example of living of the grid peacefully, easily, and very comfortably.  It’s all in harmony with what nature provides, so the energy around us is full and enriching.

The cost for the weekend, which includes camping, is $300 (barters and trades welcomed).  To reserve your spot, email eec at resist dot ca (replacing the at and dot, of course) for a quick and easy electronic application form.

Here’s hoping we can get our hands muddy together soon!