Sunday, June 15, 2014

Solar Tour

I had the pleasure of doing a solar tour at 3 different sites on the weekend. I got to say that I don't understand why this isn't being fully embraced by everyone who owns, such neat stuff. I've been trying to get into the alt energy market for a bit now (or at least becoming more knowledgeable on it) and just now this thing is going to explode.

I really enjoyed taking a look at the thermal water reclamation setup the Marian centre was using....such a neat setup....why do people spend thousands on infloor heating instead of just routing the hot water through the bathroom floor...get out of shower...the floor is nice and toasty...just a bit of extra copper tubing.

Lots of idea's for tiny haus.

pictures below: (once I can get my phone working)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ghey Pride

If I spell it ghey is that disrespectful? I dunno. 

 Anyways, Had a fun time going down and hanging out with Liz and Greg at the Pride Parade. Note to parade planner hour and like 40 that's a long time......after the parade I hung out with a few members of our crew and went to the Old Spaghetti Factory and then over to a bonfire.

 I don't get a huge amount of exposure to kids but I got to admit they can be fun sometimes. Janelle and I have solidified our decision to not have's a bit strange to have truly made the decision...we never wanted kids...seriously never even considered it...but to have made the decision to not procreate does feel like I am closing the door on a whole lot of future Justin' also feels somewhat liberating though as I can now throw all that possible energy into something else worthwhile. 

 Also...I've been playing around with wordpress on some of my other domains...fawk...I love that thing...going to be moving this blog over to a new domain soon...I just like the idea of it being pretty self contained instead of on something that will inevitably move livejournal....myspace....nexopia...etc. 

 Enough yammering here are some pics:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Let food be thy medicine

This is my grocer and he is an amazing upstanding guy....I made a decision a long time ago to not buy anything from anyone (99%) unless I trust the proprietor or farmer and this is a dude you can trust. People have a family doctor..a accountant...yet don't even think of ever forming a relationship with their grocer...who they deal with every week! Try him out, you won't be disappointed, Edmonton Journal Article

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Saturday, May 24, 2014

March against Monsanto

Janelle and I had a great time attending our 3rd annual March against Monsanto walk on Saturday, it was a stunning day and it was just great to see hundreds of healthy like minded people out on a beautiful day. So many good speakers and I always love the performances by the Raging Grannies.
I'm really hoping to get more involved in a career that offers me something related to food security or sustainable minimalism/consumption. I just see how much happier (albeit also stressed from school work) the wife is now that she is transitioning from a career in a sterile (pun intended) "big" health system to something with a more holistic approach.

I got to get me a better camera to bring out...ah well

I also wanted to say that I had a great time helping out at the Jon Janzen nature centre's composting ....centre? it was overcast and kind of rainy but I got to speak with several people about compost and pretty sure I convinced one guy to get out there and do it.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I enjoy sitting outside and listening to big fat bumblebee's doing it with my trees

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tiny home visit

Janelle and I had the distinct pleasure of recently visiting Turtle Island Tiny Homes in Calgary over the weekend. As some of you may know (or likely not as we've been kind of hermit-y for the last year) we've been toying with the idea of really truly downsizing our first we toyed with the idea of a small cabin...then maybe an RV...then we fell upon the Tiny Home movement which seemed to combine the best of all the options.

Getting to see a tiny home in the flesh was great for us to really move around in it and ask the builders a tonne of questions. It really got us inspired and could be something we can see ourselves doing in the next 18 months.

Some good points were also brought up during it...I want to of course try to build this all environmental hippy like with wool from organic sheep for insulation...but it was somewhat casually mentioned by the builders (and I'm paraphrasing) that the financial cost of going totally "green/enviro/pretentious" could mean you'd be living in a more conventional house for a longer period of maybe the poor hippies that are doing it are right to just jump in as quickly as you can.


Janelle and I had the pleasure of attending a Verge Pemaculture 1 day intro session in Calgary over the weekend. 

Despite is being super cold to sleep overnight in the parking lot we had a great time. I found Rob to be a good teacher who was obviously very knowledgeable and passionate about this topic. 

I've already booked off the time this fall to take his two week class but am not 100% positive it makes financial sense....still something that very much interests me to get out of this office done work....just feel my life energy slipping on away. 

The strongest sentiment I took away from the class was that it's not enough to be "sustainable" or "minimal impactful" but that we need to all be act as good stewards to the land we live in...we have the capacity to exist in a positive impactful way...

 Someone came into work today totally sick as as dog...could barely speak but he said he couldn't afford to miss work...and I got to say I kind of understand it on some levels...I took a week off about 4 weeks ago and still feel like I am catching sad is that..

Friday, April 25, 2014


Hello all,

Janelle and I have decided to end our experimentation with vegetarianism. Don't get me're not going to catch me wolfing down on some pub chicken wings or steak's anytime soon...but after 16 months we decided to reincorporate poultry back into the diet....mind you we sill need to know that it's ethically raised stuff...

which is awesome as we have made some pretty good connections out at Greens, Eggs & Ham and think we're going to source a fair amount of turkey and duck from them...

I think at most we are still planning to only do the poultry thing once a week...if that...and while I might do a hamburger or two this summer I don't think I'll ever do the pig again...those things are just too darn cute and awesome to eat imo anymore.

I've decided that people still eat far far too much meat in their daily diet...but also that some meat provides a tremendous source of nutrients and health to people...I don't want to say it's directly related but since I've already noticed a difference in my energy levels in the last two weeks...a few months ago I could run my hands through my hair and come away with a bunch of loose hairs but got to say that even my hair feels thicker and healthier.

I still really like a lot of the people I have met through the local veggie meetups so I hope I won't get judged too harshly and can continue to participate with them sometimes.

Onwards and forwards peeps!

Ohhh in other news I got a .49 cent refund when I did my taxes...while it's better than the 20k+ bill I got back in 2010 one of these days a refund would be ohhhh so nice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ducks Ducks Ducks everywhere!!!

I didn't take any photo's but I am hoping someone will send me a cute one they took of Janelle. On Sunday night her and I went out to help out Andreas and Mary-Ellen of Greens, Eggs & Ham with 500 ducks that were giving them some issues. (BTW: DON'T CLICK THAT LINK, their site is infected by a worm right now)

 It was cold hard work but both Janelle and I really enjoyed it. As vegetarians we were more interested in the microgreen operations they have but didn't get a chance to see that this time.

We'll be back out again though during the summer to help them out with some farm work and hopefully at a farmers market this summer. I can see farming being really hard but so rewarding. Mark my words...another year...maybe two...then I'm going to be done with this grey office drone career that I've boxed myself into. *above farm stock photo but similar.

Down at the Remedy

I've got to say that Remedy Cafe is still one of my favorite spots in the city. I think the main reason I really enjoy it is because it's such a good mix of coffee and booze....not a bar...but not a coffee shop....It's Janelle's birthday tomorrow but we are going out a bit tonight because I am going to be in the Master Composter class tomorrow. I've finally gotten full access to the new Community website I am working on so looking forward to doing some changes there.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Physical Goals

Got to get in better shape and I really really mean it. I'm 33 but swear my dad who is turning 65 is in better shape than me. As much as I don't want to be a gym guy I think that's really the only option I got and the only one that has ever worked.

I am 20 pounds overweight and know it is slowing me down too much. Physically and mentally.

My diet is decent but I just need to move an hour a day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Busy Summer coming up

I have a lot of obligations and objectives this summer but I am really happy for the challenge and think I'm on a good path.


1) Blog more often and better...try to get a handful of people following this and do something that interests people

2) Complete my Master Composter Class

3) Be accepted into the Master Naturalist Class (with possible completion in 2014)

4) Complete 100 hours of community service

5) Create the Icelandic Community website (Once I get full domain access,....grrr)

6) Get into some kind of physical activity...fuck..I'm 34 and getting FAT...If I can't take some kind of care of myself now where will I be in 20 years? And I can only blame my office life so much.

7) Get fixed

8) Downsize my material belongings, I know I'm pretty good...but I would really like the sound of this 100 thing challenge...

9) Expand my friendship circle (both with current friends in depth and new ones) but do it without booze or loud's a shame that you can know people for years sometimes but barely know much about them because so often what we do socially doesn't really allow proper interaction.

10) Be debt free or well on way

11) I already booked the time off work for the Verge Permaculture course this would be totally awesome to complete that....and be a certified Permaculture guy...woot?

12) Setup weekly touchbases with my family via skype...sometimes being far away sucks :(

I think that's a good rambling list for now....
Step 1) Figure out why my blog posts aren't formatting properly Step 2) ??? Step 3) Profit

Friday, March 14, 2014

Different strokes

Different strokes for different strokes.....

I've always been a somewhat competitive person.....but I'm actually trying to make a conscious effort to try to stop's not healthy for anyone....and frankly...I highly doubt anyone will look back from 2050 and go "oh yeah, that Justin guy....always the top sales guy...or always the guy with the cute curly hair"

Recently one of my coworkers mentioned offhand that the city she lived in (St. Albert Edmonton) was voted <a href="">the best city to live in in Canada</a>. That is great and I am very happy but it really throw things into perspective for me a bit.

What is "best" and why do we always strive so hard to get there and why must we measure it? "Best" should be an individual metric...that only each individual person can truly reach. I don't care who you are or what you accomplish but I hope you are happy (while doing no harm).

It got me thinking what is really important about where I live. My beautiful wife an I both acknowledge that our move from crackhead downtown to the south was great in so many ways but we really miss walking through a neighborhood.....there is something so intangible about being able to stroll up a neighborhood and feel the history though it.

We've decided to stay where we are another year...because of the large south window and patio where we can grow our plants....and truth be told the fact we have a fireplace and a washer/dryer means a little bit to us at this point. hmmmmmm fire.....

It frightens me that the "best city in Alberta" can be on that is ranked 163 out of 180 cities in me...that would be one of my absolute top priorities, my coworkers said she really enjoyed this city and loved it...despite admitting that she had never once...not once...actually walked anywhere from her home....not to the store..or the walking trail...or the local community centre...or a coffee shop. (For the record, I really respect and admire this particular coworker, she is a great person). Is it even a city or a community if you have to hop in your car everytime you need to go somewhere?

The nearest reason I can determine it was "the best city to live in" was simply wage and high discretionary people made a lot of money...and didn't have alot of money drainers (ie: kids). While I am not a pro-kid guy guy I do think they are part of a healthy community...Most of my life I have made ok money but I am really excited to spend the next few years ...frankly..not making that much money.

If my wife an I push it we will be debt free by the end of next year and WWOOfing throughout the Kootenays in to embrace life people....or it just skips on by..

Friday, March 7, 2014


Me and the pm yo

I got hang out the with Prime Minster last was a really great time hanging out with a great group of people. At one pint in the night I actually managed to steal the Prime Ministers beer and drink it throughout the night....sweeeet I also managed to get a really fly Iceland pin from his..ambassador? liason? I dunno..guy...

Monday, February 24, 2014

So I was taking my normal walk...

One of the main reasons I really enjoy my job is that there is a large meadow out back I can walk through at lunch. it's such a shame that most people just sit inside on their computers during lunch...or run errands to wal-mart....I've seen all kinds of birds, beaver, deers and even the other day I saw a coyote!!! Crazy world we live in eh...

Monday, February 17, 2014

My scribbles

Life is pretty dang good. Happy with all my extracurricular stuff and volunteer duties. I do totally enjoy my job but could find something that is a bit more fulfilling. My personal debt will all be gone by the end of this year then we can focus on what little Jnel that point...with no really becomes our oyster

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Overtime Pub

One last thing...overtime pub near my place...pretty nifty... I paused at the door today and the waitress came over and said "Here is your beer, rickards white right?" ...blew me away I had been here only twice in the last six months....
Janelle and I decided to give our strict financial plan a bit of a heave ho and are flying out to Winnipeg for a few days in March to visit my mum for her Birthday. Very very excited for that...and the amazing kicker? My mum is coming out for Jnel's birthday the week after!!!! eek so excited.

Pizza in a cast iron pan

Love it...wish I knew how to take better pictures...always envied my sister that way...I should take a course of some kind...cause this pizza is awesome.

Iceland air

Janelle and I had the great pleasure of recently attending the Icelandair launch at the Art Barn which was a totally fantastic little to mingle with some aviation people and get to know a bit more of the Icelandic group here in Edmonton. I am really excited for 2015...that's the year Janelle and I are going to head out to Iceland for a week or two me thinks...get to know the old country.... Of course...if we win the Icelandair tickets at Thorrabolt next week we'll have to go a bit sooner... The picture below was taken by the Icelandair CEO type dude! and there was a volcano!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Master Composter Class!!!

Yay for Justin. I recently applied for admittance to the City of Edmonton's Master Composter class and just found out I got accepted. I have to say that I am super psyched to be involved in this opportunity. Every since Janelle and I have moved away from downtown and had to withdraw from the Queen Mary Park Community Garden I've felt a bit of a gap in my community involvement. Empire Park isn't far during the summer...I often walked it or biked it but during the winter I feel a bit reclusive. The Master Composter class is a great step to get more involved with the city and the gardening community here in Edmonton. It involves approximately 40 hours of classroom time spread out across the city and it's facilities and upon completion I have to contribute about an equal amount of volunteer hours. I am hoping to get involved in doing presentations to different groups around the city. Also should mention that out compost at home has been a breeze and super fun and easy...all our veggie scraps just go away and the worms are fat and happy...really such a neat thing...some people might find this a bit gross but I hope to get involved in some composting's so easy to compartmentalize our poop and assume its bad and gross and the toilet magically takes it away...and not realize it's truly a a critical part of the cycle of life that's so close to great compost soil. Thanks again for reading (no one).

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I did a a couple of great shifts down at the Byzantine Deep Freeze festival...really had a great amount of fun slugging around 5 gallon pails of frozen soup and setting up the hockey's funny how sometimes as a daily office drone you really lose touch with your muscles and how throwing them around a bit can make you feel alive... Janelle and I went down and walked around and really enjoyed it...a bit of a cold snap but well worth it...My buddy William was doing an ice sculpture which was great....and it even had an Icelandic theme! how appropriate.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014