Exciting times on Cortes

Here are lots of pictures from all the exciting things I've been doing in the past two weeks.

First- we got to do our first blacksmithing class and I made a hook for clothes! I got to hammer the hot iron and twist it into shape( with lots of help from our instructor Jon). So awesome!

Then we went to visit Raven's farm on Cortes island where Bill has a fruit orchard with apples, plums and pears. He showed us around and taught us about how he sees fruit growing and propagation. Here's a picture of the beginnings of a plum fruit.

This week in permaculture we went to Manson's Lagoon while the tide was low to look at the flowers on and island in the middle of the lagoon. The lagoon is sheltered bay connected to the ocean. The island is similar to the rock outcrop garry oak ecosystems without the camas and garry oak. Lots of alliums, Plectritus congesta, Mimulus guttatus, Collinsia parviflora, Fritillaria affinis, Grindelia integrifolia, Sedum divergens and of course some weeds mixed in there (for more info about native BC plants go here). Cortes is kind of interesting biologically because it's an island in between Vancouver island and the mainland, it's on the northern tip of some of the Vancouver island species range. As well, some parts of Cortes are in a rain shadow and some are not. It's a mixture of all different types of terrains and climates making it really interesting biologically. I had this moment of thankfulness on Tuesday because I'm in a programme where class involves going to interesting ecosystems and walking along the beach talking about nature. So rad!

On Sunday, Tamara taught us how to shear a sheep using good old fashion shearers. The sheep's wool is full of lanolin oil which feels nice on dry hands, but also keds which are tiny little bugs that look like ticks that live in sheep wool.

We also had a potato coop workbee. The idea is a bunch of people get together and participate four workbees to help plant, maintain and harvest the potatoes and then have access to potatoes all year round.

And the last piece of news is that the chicks have started hatching! Fraser- one of my classmates, with lots of energy and ability to build awesome things- made a chicken incubator out of spare things he found at the recycling center. He's been monitoring the temperature, humidity and turning the eggs for the past month. There are two chicks hatched as of last night and two more eggs that are on the go right now. Sooo cute.


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