It’s summer, sort-of, and I’ve headed to my beloved Vancouver Island. My best friend, (you know the one who knows all your faults and still likes you) and her husband live here as well as my parents. I always look forward to going to Claudia and Darren’s, partly because I’ve seen the property grow and develop over the last 15 years or so. This property began as a bald moonscape thanks to bored horses. Most of the property has been lovingly rehabilitated with native plants salvaged from local construction sights, providing habitat for wildlife and food. Claudia always wanted a driveway where you can’t see the house until you emerge from the cool darkness of a tree tunnel. She’s got it now.
I would say everything, as much as possible, is ‘green’ in this yard. The people who live here live as lightly on the land as possible. The new roof was very expensive, but deemed worth it by Claudia and Darren because of the materials and the life expectancy. You can’t see it, but behind the caterpillar friend, is a gravel area growing cattails and sedges that beautifully filters household grey water before it makes it’s way into the pond. Beside that grows blueberries, zucchini, and asparagus.
The lower yard is dominated by a large treed pond, and a raised area that hosts the chickens, fruit trees, and the septic field. They have made ingenious use of the septic area, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Nestled beside the pond is an area fenced with heritage roses, that has a chicken coop, potting shed combo. Following the principals of permaculture, common sense in my mind, the potting shed uses heat from the chickens to help give delicate seedlings a good head start in the spring. The chicken waste is close to the garden for easy spreading… and the chicken yard is dotted with fruit trees. This provides shade for the hens, and they in turn help to keep the weeds down. I dare any wayward weed to even attempt to grow in a busy chicken yard.