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Okay, okay, she’s not OUR dog … she’s Rin’s new friend! Here’s the word from our Powell River correspondent:

hi family, meet my new little buddy! Kaya, this is everybody; everybody, this is Kaya! She is five and a half, and has lived her whole life in a teeny yard in Powell River with a family that almost never walked her off the leash; lucky for her, and for me, they can’t keep her any more, and now she lives here and gets to be a farm dog. so far her favourite things are playing in the pond and sleeping by the fire and inspecting everyone and everything within nose reach.

She is super smart and good tempered, so even though she hasn’t really had much training she listens well and has already learned how to stay out of the garden beds and come when she’s called. I think she chased off her first bear the other night, although I can’t be sure what she was barking at, could have just been raccoons, too. they’re all just chicken-stealers as far as I’m concerned :)

And what else has our Rin been doing? Oh, just a little thing called farming.

it gets more and more like a proper farm around here all the time. next up: chickens! and ducks! things are growing slowly with the cool spring, but it always comes eventually—it was 3 degrees here the night before last, brrrrr (that’s about 42, for those of you in
Americaland), and everyone says we’re about a month behind where we usually are. But the greenhouse is hopping, and in the next couple of weeks there will be corn, beans, squash, and buckwheat to plant. so here’s hoping for a long, hot summer and bumper crops all around.

happy summer to everyone everywhere.
love love love love love!

rin

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Ah, yes. I’m being negligent again about the blog. But I’ve got lots for all you animals today!

First up, Rin was featured in the Powell River Peak this week!

There’s a new farmer in town and she’s uber urban. Rin Innes is offering the community seasonal shares of her urban farm harvest. With pre-season commitments she plans and plants to fill members’ weekly bins with fresh, organically grown produce through the entire harvest season. Everybody wins and everybody eats.

This quote is also from the article. Keep it in mind. It’s entirely relevant to the next part of this blog post today.

Innes believes healthy communities need healthy farms. Aside from the obvious benefits of eating locally-grown food, such as freshness, taste, nutrition and the knowledge that the food has not been sprayed, irradiated, waxed and transported great distances, she believes that when people make a direct connection to their food they build strength in their community. Supporting farmers means stronger food security… [emphasis mine]

Got it? Good. Hold it in your mind, then read on.

 

So, there’s a lot of stuff going on at the Farmhouse right now. I’m too weary of the subject to get into all the details, so here’s the gist: Neighbours complain about the state of the yard. Neighbours call city. Bylaw enforcement office threatens us with a huge fine if it’s not cleaned up by May 1.

But … it’s a GARDEN. We grow FOOD. It disgusts me that Vancouver touts itself as some sort of green leader—a model of sustainability—but as soon as someone tries to live that way, it gets shut down for being an eyesore.

Seriously, the rhodo is beautiful. I suppose if we planted only flowers our neighbours would be okay with it?

New smoking area. I'll concede we need to move that pile of bricks.

This? Gorgeous! But it's within two feet of the sidewalk so it's got to be moved. Ooh, and I should sweep the sidewalk and tidy all that up.

As Ander put it: 'If the city bylaw says all yards must conform to the prevailing standards of the neighborhood, and your neighbors all have square, manicured lawns, then it is simply not possible to grow your own food in most parts of Vancouver.' I'd like to point out that the house to the left of us currently has nothing but dirt in their front yard. And the yard beyond that gets covered in chemicals on a semi-regular basis.

I just don't see how anyone can find this ugly.

A bed all ready to be planted.

See, we use the leaves for mulch. Like in a forest. It's called permaculture; look it up.

One of the complaints levelled at us was that we have a number of plastic buckets laying around. Guess what's in them.

DIRT!

Two feet. We've got to move the garden two feet from the sidewalk. Also, the boulevard can't be planted without city approval. Apparently.

The city also complained about the palettes we have laying around. You know what we're using them for? Firewood and building compost bins.

Oh, look. More buckets full of dirt! And that tarp? Covering more palettes. Aren't we just the worst?

All I know is that Garden Buddha is not amused.

I don’t want to direct my anger towards all of my neighbours, since it seems like the majority are supportive of the garden. We have lots of curious people stopping by and asking about what’s going on. Despite a language barrier, an older man was trying to give Max gardening tips last week. One of our neighbours thinks we are awesome because we drink and play guitar on our porch sometimes. And several have been open to Ander’s idea for a block party.

Here’s to hoping we can do some serious community building in the face of opposition.

Since there are some things that must be done for us to avoid this fine ($250 minimum, up to $2000 plus an additional $50 each day past May 1 that we don’t “adhere to the prevailing standards”), we are having a yarden work party on Saturday. We’re going to clean up what we can, collect mulch and woodchips, clean out the garage, and whatever other yardening that needs to be done. Feel free to stop by our little hippie house to lend a hand or just to chat. We can’t pay you but there will be beer to drink!

Location: The Farmhouse (470 E. 56th Avenue)
Date: Saturday, April 24
Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

And now some links.

1. Urban seeds promote more genetic diversity and City of Vancouver aids the planet by collecting food scraps—a couple of excellent articles from the Georgia Straight‘s Earth Day issue.

2. Photo gallery: 420 marijuana celebration in Vancouver—a bunch of photos I took at the 420 rally on Tuesday. Yes, I’m an egomaniac. Now go look at my pretty pictures! I also wrote this: Vancouver’s 420 rally sees thousands gather for marijuana. Read it too.

3. Edible Geography—all sorts of interesting facts and history about food in interesting locations.

4. And thanks to the magic of WordPress, I found this blog: Fairview Gardens CSA, a community supported agriculture project in California. The recipes are making me drool right now. Also, they’ve got a killer blog layout ;)

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Rin, who happens to be the most sensible hippie I know, has opted to GTFO of Vancouver for a couple of months (hmmm, wonder why?) and head down south. She sent an e-mail update this morning, which I am reposting here so we can all live vicariously through her!

* * * * *

hola familia!

greetings from the hot and steamy Costa Chica, the south pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca. I’m at a spot called Playa Zipolite (thanks for the tip, Listabelle!), which is an old hippie town turned hippie tourist town, pretty quiet now that the Christmas rush is over. Camping on the beach is 40 pesos or about 3.75 a night, but so far i haven’t actually found anyone to take my money, so maybe it´s free! It’s the only sanctioned clothing-optional beach in Mexico as far as I know, so I plan to spend a few days relaxing away from the hostel-hopping circuit and the waxed-and-greased beach crowd.

The ride down yesterday from Puerto Escondido, about 90 k.m, was hot hot hot, and even with my SPF 30 sunscreen i have a couple of nice red spots on my legs… here we go with cyclist tan! Good times. By the end of this trip I bet I’ll have sunglasses and helmet chinstrap lines to match my bike shorts tan. It’s above 30 degrees here already and it’s only 9.40 in the morning, I can’t even imagine what it’s like here in summer. I’ll be glad to get up into the mountains and away from this stifling heat, it’s almost too much for my poor Canadian bones to handle. The landscape is hilly, and a mix of flowering trees of every description, coconut palms, and cacti in every shape and size. Many of the cacti are also flowering right now, so i took the excuse of looking at the flowers to take lots of breaks at the side of the road on my hot ride yesterday.

So far my favourite things about Mexico are:

1. Everything is pink! Pink flowers, pink rocks, pink buildings… pink of every description everywhere you go. My old pink room at the Farmhouse has nothing on the brilliant pinks I see everywhere here. Maybe I was Mexican in my last life, it would explain my deep and abiding love of the colour pink. I feel vindicated.

2. The buildings are beautiful, brightly coloured with lots of open courtyards and almost all have an extra floor on top that consists of a palapa on top of the flat roof for shade and breezes when it´s excessively hot (as opposed to now, when it’s only extremely hot). I love the colours, the decorations in the plaster and tiles, and the courtyards filled with flowering trees.

3. The days seem much longer here, for no reason I can discern. They just do. Further proof that time is neither linear nor static, as far as I can tell… although maybe it’s just that I came from short winter days to here where the days don’t really change much winter or summer. But I’m choosing to take it as proof of my theory that time does not exist.

4. There don’t seem to be any rules in Mexico. No stupid signs everywhere telling you what to do, no constant overregulation of everything in sight, and yet people seem to do just fine. Works for me!

Of course, my least favourite thing about Mexico is that none of you are here to share it with me. I miss you all, and will write again at the next stop. Love and be well!

rin

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So astute readers will notice there is now a tab at the top of this here blog linking to the Farmhouse Dictionary. This is by no means the full list of words, phrases, and names heard around the Farmhouse but it’s a start. I promise semi-regular updates!

Rin was in town last night so ten of us Farmhouse and honourary Farmhouse animals made the trek up to All-India Sweets for the $11 vegetarian buffet. Every time Rin’s in town these days, all she wants to do is consume massive amounts of curry … and who are we to refuse such an indulgence? Afterward, we trekked back to the house for imbibing and music making. Then we all went to bed by 11 p.m. We might be animals and hippies, but some of us have full-time jobs!

I must get batteries for the camera as I have many things to photograph, including the state of the garden in winter, Ander’s new Farmhouse tin can marquee project, the hilarious decorations in our bathrooms, and one very ugly paint scheme that’s going to be painted over.

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Farmer Rin inspects the troops.

Well, she finally did it. Our illustrious Farmer Rin has departed the big city for greener pastures (literally) on the Sunshine Coast.

Our darling Rin was the last member of the original Farmhouse crew who moved into the house in 2005. Technically she left in November, but time at the Farmhouse moves at a rate different from the rest of reality (we creatively call it “Farmhouse Time”, although Ander quite steadfastly remains on normal time) so I’m only getting around to posting about it now.

(Also, there was this thing called “December”, during which I mentally checked out while consuming vast amounts of sugary baked goods and delicious holiday libations.)

She’s come back to the big, bad city a few times now to visit but is certain she’s made the right decision. She’s busy putting cob on her 8′ x 12′ cottage and making furniture for her wee dwelling these days—well, when she’s not hiking through the forest and generally making us jealous with her accounts of nature. (Nature? I remember that.) Rin has made me promise that as soon as I get knocked up that I’m moving out to the commune with her; trust me, she’ll be waiting for more than a while … but I’m certainly planning a big-city escape of my own!

Alright, since it’s a new year and all, I could promise to update this blog more but we all know that’s a pipe dream! But we’ll see if I post at least one entry a month from here on in :)

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So, I’m in the kitchen of the Farmhouse right now with a slowly growing group of cohorts for a night of dinner and music in celebration of the equinox and, you know, life in general. We just talked to our beloved former roomie Caterina, who’s chillin’ out in California right now. Rin’s going to visit her soon-ish and I’m extra jealous. She promised to give the Goose lots of pets for me!

All’s well in Farmhouse land. There are little plantings growing in the yard, despite the horribly unseasonable snow that seems to keep falling in our fair city. Rin planted some mushrooms today (a first for her) and a perfectly timed thunderstorm watered the patch after. I picked some chickweed and corn salad for dinner and it always amazes me that food grows out of the ground. I’m so accustom to foraging for food at the grocery store that when it comes from my own yard, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Miracle in action, obviously.

Mmm, fennel is getting roasted and Margaret has affixed bells to her hat. I see Margaret scooping tahini and Rin is making something; she informs us that she’s just making it up as she goes along. I just show up and eat. I’m also a world-class stirrer.

Alright, it’s time that I stop being an antisocial crab and maybe play some bass? I’ve got a new (and unnamed) acoustic bass to play and many ridiculous songs to sing. Happy equinox!

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Hey all. Just a quick post to say Happy June – summer is officially in sight! It’s promising to be a splendid (and busy!) month around Ye Olde Farmhouse. Rin’s started her weekly garden deliveries – we were all drooling as she was packing up yesterday. Margot and I have rooms to paint and I have zines to make, concerts to see, all sorts of good stuff. I’d like to fit some music making in there somewhere, too.

There are pictures floating around the house, which I will try to entrap and place here for future consumption. I’ve just been lazy and not uploaded the images from my camera on to my computer in about a week!

Here’s the latest word from Caterina, who arrived safe and sound on June 1 in the States:

“Hello from Lummi Island USA!!!

Hello I made it to the homeland safe and sound! I am on beautiful Lummi Island off the coast of Bellingham! It is beautiful and the town is only pop. 816.

I’ll be here for 2 weeks and then heading down the coast.

The farm here is great and the Goose is in animal heaven.

Life is good! Thank you Universe!

With love,

Caterina.”

Now if I can just get her to send me some pictures for the blog … maybe I could bribe her with some Melrose Place DVDs?

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