Monday, July 18, 2011


Well, in one word, the Earth Plaster workshop led by the Mud Girls Collective, was:  awesome.   In more words, it was truly inspiring, successful, fun, educational, and often times comedic (in a good way). Not only did we manage to sign up 17 participants, one who came from as far as Ontario, and some from as close as neighbouring communities, they all showed up, set up their tents, worked their butts off in the heat or in the rain, laughed, cried, sang, danced, ate together,  made life long connections... and learned an earth friendly skill.  Oh ya, and plastered our straw bale home and made it even more beautiful...the icing on the cake as it were!
We ourselves learned tons about how to put a workshop on, and we would love to do it again!  maybe a straw bale sauna?  guest house, barn, who knows.  It was just so much fun!

Thanks first, photos next!
in no particular order....big thanks go out to:
  • Stepha, the workshop cook and our comrade, who cheerfully worked 14 hr days creating delicious, healthy meals, for 34 people no less, in unconventional help set up the outdoor kitchen and prepare for the workshop in general
  • the Go Boy for Stepha, us, everyone, set up/ take down dude, the all amazing Travis
  • Jen the awesome and hilarious and competent Mud Girls coordinator for this project, and founder of the Collective
  • her wonderfully skillful and energetic cohorts Molly and Sheera
  • Devora, the incredibly creative and energetic and cheerful child care provider!
  • the Participants: Jaylene, Erik, Brianna, Jai'leen, Theresa, Marla, Christine, Badger, Dawn, Dianne, Marianne, Zack, Lauren and 8 1/2 month belly!, Krista, Heidi, Meagan and JJ - we loved meeting you all, endless thanks
  • Wren our niece, and neighbour Ayla for helping to entertain the kids!
  • Ayla and Robin for contributing desserts and such, Chrissie for the greens
  • the beautiful kids Arthur, Willow, Isis, Aquinna, Coast, Rowan and our own Jamie who kept us laughing and smiling
  • Becca and Tony the ever pleasant and hard working WWOOFers who kept the gardens from being overthrown by weeds, helped in the kitchen, fed the horses, etc etc...
  • Leslie who came in towards the end of the workshop and got muddy, who has helped build our house almost from the beginning and continues to pop in and lend a hand
  • our community for having things available to use like giant tent canopies, stainless steel counters and sinks, tables, dishes, buckets for the plastering, and people to visit us and check out what this was all about, and go to town for us for supplies...mucho gracias
  • of course, everyone who has ever had anything to do with the creation of this house...
  • if i have forgotten anyone, you will let me know, yes?
DAY 1 - clay slip layer numero uno

Day 2 and onward: smiling

oh they're so clean!

Day 6: creative time

The colour I aimed for: straw colour = it worked!

The Crew!

Our Fearless Leaders!

and then we had a community workbee to finish off what we hadn't finished in the workshop...but that's another post!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


here it is at last, a marriage between the Mud Girls and a house that needs to get plastered....
Come Explore the Ancient Art of Earth Plaster!

Experience the elegant simplicity of this truly sustainable building technique in a six-day  workshop facilitated by members of the Mudgirls Natural Building Collective, June 6th-11th (2011).  Over the course of the workshop you will learn, through instruction and hands-on experience, about the materials, proportions, mixing and application of earth plaster to straw-bale walls, inside and out of a hand crafted post and beam home.  Camp out in a beautiful meadow at the foot of Vast Mountain (30 km outside of Lillooet), make new friends, get muddy, and learn! Free child-care provided, as well as three delicious, mostly organic vegetarian and/or vegan meals per day for a minimal cost ($35/day per person going towards paying a cook and food), and your labour in exchange for teaching.THIS IS A COED WORKSHOP.

For more information about the workshop and your hosts, please contact Gillian by email :, and check out the rest of this blog!  Registration is limited - please register by May 15th.  TO REGISTER, and for more information about earth plaster, your instructors and their work, check out

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Planning for Spring

The sun is returning, and between updating websites, making herbal medicine as always, and cleaning out closets, I am making an inventory of my seeds, thinking about what to order, with a view to grow even more food this year, and getting super excited about next week's Seedy Saturday!  Lillooet's 3rd annual Seedy Saturday will be on Feb 12th at the Friendship Centre, followed by a seed saving workshop by local seed saver expert Sue Senger.  This is hosted by a group I am happy to be part of, Lillooet Food Matters, which formed in 2008 to address our bioregion's food security.
On the home front, we are looking forward to the spring when we can turn the water back on at the house site and start plastering.  The bales are surviving the winter well, due to the large overhangs of the roof, designed to reduce the intense solar gain during the summer and still allow the winter's sun rays in.   The plastering, we hope, will be accomplished with the help of the infamous and wonderful Mud Girls, who we are currently communicating with and who will hopefully facilitate an earth plaster workshop, here, sometime in May.  Stay tuned!  If you are interested in attending such a skill sharing workshop, where you will learn the ins and outs of earth plastering in exchange for your labour (and a small daily fee for yummy organic food), let me know by email:  info at gilliansherbs dot com.  
You may also be interested in a volunteer, work exchange, apprenticeship arrangement (often known as WWOOFing) - read the older posts (esp. 2008) to find out more about us and what we offer, and/or sign up with WWOOF Canada ( and search for Vast Mountain.  You can also email me directly (see above).  We are most interested in people who can commit to more than a couple of weeks, preferring a longer term stay, and who want to learn and help with growing food and all that entails, herbal medicine making, and who like kids!