OK, so Easter blew by us and so much has been going on over the past while it is hard to know where to start.
Lets go over the course and go from there.
We had our Aquaponics course at SAIT and it turned out pretty well. We learned a lot from the experience and hope to implement some changes to make it even better for the next go round. From the people who attended, we had some fantastic feedback and suggestions. Overall the reviews of the course have been very good with a LOT of positive things to said.
We are very happy to have been able to put the course on and to have so many awesome people involved in taking it!
We of course are not done yet. We still have our bus trip to Lethbridge on May 3, and we will be covering more of the course in the bus as we are on our way to see the Lethbridge College Aquaculture Centre Of Excellence and getting a tour and lecture from Charlie Shultz.
We are looking to do a full IBC tote build course later this year where it will be a full hands on build for those attending. We will build an IBC tote system with a media filter, Deep water Culture bed (floating raft), a standard Ebb Flow bed, a duckweed bed and an NFT system attached. and we will attempt to have more info on that coming up shortly.
We have had a couple of conversations with Jon Rotter From Solar Wholesaler in putting on a solar course. Over the last few months we have had several people inquire about setting up solar for aquaponics as well as for greenhouses and for taking their homes off grid. As a result of the questions, I have asked both Franco Mosca and Jon Rotter about putting on a basic course for solar and how it applies. We are looking at getting something set up for June for those interested.
We have also been asked by Rob Avis from Verge Permaculture to put on a course for his Permaculture Design Certificate for aquaponics and aquaculture. This is an amazing course and we are honored that he would invite us to be a part of it as instructors!
I strongly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in taking on a bigger picture of permaculture. It is well worth your time, money and efforts!
Since the course I have been busy putting together aquaponic gardens with several people in different levels of involvement. I think I am now at a new record of building 12 in a week and it looks like it is not about to slow down any time soon! I am very happy to see it!
I have hopes that we will get some pictures and a couple of write ups for the website here soon and maybe even a couple of videos from those brave enough to take on some camera work and explain what they are putting together.
On the home front here, we managed to get one day of the long weekend in on getting the greenhouse somewhat set up. I didn’t think it was going to happen at all with the weather we had but we took advantage of the break in the snow and got down to a fast build for one of the greenhouse systems. From there we moved out some bunnies to make room in the greenhouse from the spring plant and setup.
We have a lot of big dreams for this spring. I don’t know how much we will get accomplished, but we are going to attempt some new things installed and running.
On the plan is:
An upgrade of the Solar on the garage
Installation of the Solar Concentrators for hot water heating for winter
Addition of summer grow beds for the fishery
Building a Rocket Mass Heater
Raised Grow beds for the front yard and start of the edible yard (permaculture build)
Addition of two more rain water capture systems
Improved worm farm and black soldier fly compost systems
improved hot compost system
Branding and selling of fish water (Fish-It), bunny droppings (Bunny-It ) and worm/BSF castings (Verm-It)
The list goes on…
Needless to say, there are lots of updates coming and lots of things to keep us amused.
On the subject of keeping us amused, I have started up making mead again. and have a batch currently under way.
For this batch I have gone with an Orange Blossom honey and am just running it as a standard mead with no additions. I am using 8 pounds of honey for a 5 gallon batch. Sadly I am stuck with some basic EC 1118 yeast for this batch as I was unable to find anything better in Calgary (I don’t know what happened to the wide range of yeast that used to be available).
At the moment (and after a 2 month brew) the mead is sitting at about 10% and is still mega sweet. I have offed a gallon from the primary and have it sitting to mature on its own. The other 4 gallons in the primary I have running with another batch of yeast for a second ferment to bring down the sweetness and take it up for about 14%.
I will attempt to do some videos on this as we go and post them up.
Donna and I have also been making up yogurt for the past while.
I think this is something that everyone should give a try at. It is amazing how much yogurt you get out of a jug of milk and how awesome it all is when it is done! I can tell you I am junking and love making and eating it!
The process is pretty simple and easy to do.
We even went a little on the nuts side and attempted doing it with chocolate milk. It actually worked and when you add honey to it, you get all of the chocolate flavour back to make one of the coolest yogurts you will ever eat!