Workaway #3: Building An Earthship!

[Matilda]

You may have noticed a lack of updates lately. This is because we’ve spent a significant amount of time off grid. For the past two weeks we were at our third Workaway experience where we helped a lovely family build an Earthship! This was also in Blaeberry – only a 12 minute drive from the buffalo ranch. What is an Earthship? Well, I could try to take you through it, but you’d probably be better off reading about it HERE!

This Workaway was different to our previous ones for a few different reasons:

  1. More work. Wintertime at our previous locations meant work was a little slow. Here, we worked 5 hours a day!
  2. Our hosts were a family. It was definitely a change of pace to stay with a family with kids.
  3. We were already well established in the area and therefore didn’t spend as much time “in the house” after work was done.

Our main task was to help build/insulate walls in the Earthship’s living area. We did this with cob which is a mixture of clay, water, sand and straw. It takes a day or so to really get the hang of working with cob, but once you do it’s like clockwork. We started out building walls. The ones facing the outside were decorated with bottles to allow more light in and for decoration:

Earthship bottle wall!
Moa built the lower half of this bottle wall and I the upper!

 

In our last few days, we began to cover the tyre walls. The Earthship’s outer walls are tyres packed with dirt which are then covered with different materials depending on their location. Inside they are covered with cob. This took a bit of finesse as they should be made as even as possible. After the cob, they will eventually be covered with some other materials before being completely finished.

Tyre wall in Earthship
The result of a day’s work covering tyres!

 

This type of work is very rewarding. It gets you focused and makes time pass really quickly. It gives you something to look at when the day is over and think “that’s what I made today”. And last but not least, it feels great to know that we’ve helped this wonderful family get one step closer to moving into their dream home.

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Photo by Jair

The family we stayed with was Jair and Mel and their two kids, Nova and Asher. Jair’s dad Tom also lives on the property and helps out in the Earthship. Though we were out and about quite often we really enjoyed the times we got to sit down and have a meal with the whole family. There was a great atmosphere and every person we met there was genuine and kind.

The family home, up until the completion of the Earthship, is a yurt. A yurt is essentially a big round tent. The yurt is completely solar powered so while we could happily charge our phones, we had to refrain from charging larger devices such as laptops. The water comes from a nearby creek! The family had a great name for going on a water collection mission: AQUA FORCE! We got to go with Tom, Nova and Asher on an Aqua Force mission when the family had a big bonfire.

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Left to right: Asher, me, Nova and Moa! Photographed by Tom.

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Our last day was yesterday and the family sent us off on our way with a big waffle breakfast. It was absolutely delicious. With our tour having two dates confirmed in Golden, I’m sure we’ll see them again soon! And if not, we’ll want to come back to see how work on the Earthship progresses. We definitely recommend you guys to follow these guys on Facebook! Check out Simply Not Square HERE.

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Sunset at “Inshallah”
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A Rocky Mountain Tour!

Guys! Starting tomorrow, we are going on tour and visiting a few places in and around the Canadian Rockies. This has all been put together by the super talented Eric Larocque, a local musician that we met on our first jam night at the Wolf’s Den. We will be playing our own set as well as backing Eric up with some harmonies and it’s going to be amazing!

Look at this epic tour poster:

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Interested in hearing about the tour dates? Look no further! Well, actually, you have to. Look below!

Thursday 10 May – The Whistle Stop, Jasper, AB

Friday 11 May – The Truffle Pigs, Field, BC

Friday 18 May – Rockwater Bar and Grill, Golden, BC

Saturday 19 May – The Station Pub, Invermere, BC

Friday 25 May – The Last Drop, Revelstoke, BC

Saturday 26 May – Whitetooth Brewing Company, Golden, BC

 

We’ve heard the drive to Jasper is one of the most beautiful in Canada so we are pretty damn excited. See you soon!

Blaeberry in Pictures

[Matilda]

Okay guys, here’s the deal… Moa was supposed to post a little something about her ski trip to Lake Louise but then she bailed to go on a climbing trip for 6 days! How rude. So here I am, left to my own devices in a camper van on the ranch. The light in the tunnel is that we got a car yesterday (thanks to our friend Matt, who couldn’t wait to get rid of it). We’re now officially able to explore the area and visit town without having to bug people (Matt) for rides!

It was also my birthday yesterday and the others surprised me with breakfast in bed and a little song to start the day. Moa and I spent the rest of the day getting the car into a somewhat better shape and in the evening we had drinks and good food around a campfire. Not too shabby!

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Posing with our WorkAway host Leo, the new stinky car, and Pippi the border collie.

Anyway, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken around these parts. My love of photography is really coming back!

Let’s start with some buffalo:

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And now, maybe some winter action…

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Let’s move on to spring, shall we?

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I really shouldn’t forget the very photogenic Pippi:

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And I’m gonna round this off with another buffalo. This guy is called Jack and we kind of love him! He is the only one that will let you pet him for a little bit. Buffalo cuddles, anyone? (EDIT: The photo below was entered in National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Click on the image to go over there and give it a like!)

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Watch out for an update from Moa at some point next week!

Live & Acoustic: ‘Nothing Holds A Candle’

It’s been a while since we last uploaded an acoustic video, hasn’t it? This song is called ‘Nothing Holds A Candle‘ and we finished writing it just over a year ago. We’d love to be able to say what exactly it was that inspired the idea for the song but Matilda can’t remember… All we know is she recorded the first verse on her phone very late one night, forgot about it, and then found the file while going through recordings on her way to Gatwick Airport. She was heading to Sweden for a week and sent the idea over to Moa who helped finish the song. Though we don’t know where the idea came from, we really love this one. For us, it’s about finding the good in each other even when the circumstances around you aren’t ideal.

Video shot outdoors at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch in Canada.

We’d like to dedicate this song to Mary – an amazing person and colleague who will be missed by many. 

Rocky Mountain Buffalo Jams

Having some good music to listen to is a pretty vital part of life in general, but it is particularly important while travelling. We thought we’d share some of the songs we’ve enjoyed listening to so far during our time in the Rocky Mountains! All compiled into a handy little Spotify playlist. Click on the image below to listen!

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Please feel free to let us know what your favourite songs are and if you have any recommendations for us!

FULL LIST OF SONGS:

  1. Emily Faye – Open Road
  2. Jake Morrell – Englishman
  3. Fifth Floor – These Days
  4. Thomas Rhett & Rhett Akins – Drink A Little Beer
  5. Lady Gaga – Yoü And I
  6. Dustin Lynch – Love Me Or Leave Me Alone (feat. Karen Fairchild)
  7. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness – Walking On A Dream
  8. Miranda Lambert – Runnin’ Just In Case
  9. Post Monroe – Better Place
  10. José González – Stay Alive
  11. Jillian Jacqueline – Hate Me (Acoustic)
  12. Two Ways Home – Push And Pull
  13. Leo Downey – Little Old Man
  14. Elliott Joseph – Dust And Memories
  15. Fifth Floor – Bought Me A Lie
  16. Jill Johnson & Dregen – Oxycontin Blues
  17. Maggie Rose – Preacher’s Daughter
  18. Morgan Wallen – Little Rain
  19. Iron & Wine – Thomas County Law
  20. Gitta de Ridder – The Wheel
  21. Demi Marriner – Cold Coffee
  22. William Michael Morgan – Missing
  23. Jarrod Dickenson – Take It From Me
  24. Fargo & Jack Jaselli – Long Way