After two days of sold-out tours last fall, the Newton and Burkholder family of Darfield is opening its earthship doors to the public again in May. On May 30 and 31 the Darfield Earthship will be hosting two-hour tours of the inside of the first permitted earthship in B.C., as well as showing off its Zone 1 food forest and other permaculture features on the site.
Darfield is located 15 kms north of Barriere, on the Yellowhead Highway.
Due to this year’s early spring, the family says they have been spurred on to increase the growing areas in front of the earthship – a sustainable home made from used tires and pop cans.
One can already see garlic and other early plants have sprouted up in the hugelkultur, a type of composting mound gardening technique. Oregano, peas and wildflowers have been seeded into the berm of the building to improve the soil, control weeds, encourage bee visitation and to provide more colour to the landscape.
Sandra Burkholder says her hip replacement in mid-March slowed some projects down, including the start of several bee hives on the property, but this project has been shelved until next year.
Inside the alternative home, Chris Newton has been implementing monitoring systems to assess current on-grid usage with an eye to phasing in solar or other alternative energy sources in the next few years. He says that a solar hot water system will be the first project over the upcoming summer.
Newton has also been teaching online robotics courses for B.C. high school credits, and a few of his students have been integrating technology in projects to save energy and to monitor soil temperature and moisture to encourage optimum plant growth.
Burkholder says summer projects at the earthship may include starting the garden pergola, applying the colour plaster to all interior cob walls, and beginning to set up the interior greenhouse and growing areas.
You can find more information about The Darfield Earthship at their Facebook page: The Darfield Earthship, or go to; www.darfieldearthship.com
Tickets to the May 30 and 31st tours are available online at Brown Paper Tickets http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1438485.
For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 250-672-2420, or see The Darfield Earthship ad on page 11.