Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Craik Enviro Village in November

We have had one of the most beautiful, warm Octobers in Saskatchewan history and thank goodness because it allowed for work to continue on the Round house in Craik. This is another variation of strawbale housing, which I wrote about previously. Hopefully, they will be able to close the building in before winter. I have a deep affection for round dwellings, so I am eagerly anticipating the completion of this endeavor.

When I went to take a closeup of the Round house, I discovered the underground house. Another interesting approach to the harsh Prairie climate. This building looks like it will be completed soon.

Craik Enviro Village in October

The town of Craik has offered inexpensive land to people who are willing to built environmentally friendly housing. At the beginning of October 2008, I took the following pictures. This is how the village looked from the Saskatoon/Regina highway. Two buildings stand out, a traditional rectangle and the frame of a round house.

The rectangle house closer up seems to be a very large, traditional structure. I heard that it might be a new school for international students??

The round house.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Migration Update

As mentioned in a previous post, snow geese are flying south and find Craik an appealing stop over. A month after the previous picture, I discovered the water full of their white colouring. Unfortunately, they took flight in the thousands as I opened the car door but here is a taste of the experience.

Straw Bale Construction

What does Saskatchewan have in abundance?

So if you want to built an inexpensive, environmentally friendly dwelling, you use what's at hand. Straw bale housing lasts 100's of years in the prairie environment and its thick walls provide a high R value. Craik's Flaxhouse Larry is building a demonstration project using Flax bales, which have a high fire resistance and aren't a preferred insect food.

After the wall is up, you cover the bales with stucco to protect the bales from moisture and increase the asthetic appeal. Here is an example of the first layer.

Then add a couple more layers, smooth the final coat and paint it. Here is an example of the entrance to the Flax Store in Craik, Saskatchewan.

So next time you are driving between Regina and Saskatoon, check out the Flax houses.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chapter 11

CBC's "The Current" on Radio1 had an interesting debate today about whether Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) included water as a good or not. The debate is because chapter 11 is worded vaguely, at a time when water conservation was not a forefront topic at all.

According to some that weighed in, the growing demand for water in North America means that it can therefore be considered a good. This means going down a one-way street, because once considered a good and distribution has begun, it is a violation of NAFTA to stop. Basically, once the taps are turned on, it is very difficult to turn them off!

Others on the show said that it can still be argued that water is not a good, but a necessity, and NAFTA stipulates that trade does not have to occur if it is hurting the exporting country. It is still reasonable that if we start selling water, we can stop when we like.

To read chapter 11 and make up your own mind on the subject, go here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations to Ogema, Saskatchewan

OGEMA, Sask. - A tiny community in southern Saskatchewan is being recognized as one of the most livable places in the world. Ogema has made the shortlist for the 2008 International Awards for Livable Communities. See the CBC article for more information.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Love Fall on the Prairies

Snow Geese landing outside of Craik, Sask on their southern migration. They were so noisy you could hear them a mile away.


It's early in September near Edmonton, Alberta.
I feel a chill down in my hollow bones
The south suddenly has attraction because of the interaction
'Tween prolactin and corticosterone.
There's serious changes in the weather, gotta check my long pointy wings and feathers,
Gettin' ready for a three thousand mile migration.
Still gotta fatten up some more, put some energy in store.
But I think it's time for a tropical vacation.

O mighty North Wind, so cold and strong.
It's time to tell this summer place "So long!"
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder,
And there's changes going on inside of me.
It's time to migrate, so I'm putting on some weight.
This fat's gotta last 'til I get across the sea.
O mighty North Wind, up in the sky,
I feel the need to get on your back and fly!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Ecological Footprint

In times like these it is important to better understand the impact we have on the environment. One measure of your effect on the environment is the measurement of your ecological footprint. "What's is and ecological footprint?" you may ask; it is nothing more than the total square feet of land that produces food, divided by the population, giving you a square feet per person measurement (referred to as one ecological footprint).

I believe that the best defense is a good offence when it comes to the environment, and to me this means letting people know how they are directly affecting the planet, and even more importantly, those on it. Let me put it this way: if you calculate the amount of footprints each person on earth can have, and then calculate your footprint, you will notice something startling. If I don't miss my guess, you will find that your footprint is far above the average, meaning that somewhere on earth there is someone that is using less than one footprint (keep in mind that 1 footprint is needed for survival). Sadly, this burden falls most often on Africa, but there are ways that you can help. Sending seeds, engineers, and educators to third world countries allows the creation of more farmable land, meaning increasing the magnitude of one footprint. The other is to reduce your wear and tear on the planet.

This fight is not over, there is much that can be done.

Calculate your ecological footprint (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)