2016: The start of a new year

My what an eventful year 2015 has been. We traveled and built and volunteered and survived a really cold winter in a fifth wheel trailer. What did you do?

With all that we did last year, we are now much more comfortable in our trailer. We have also gained valuable experience in building Earthships, which we will put to good use when we get to building our own.

You may be wondering exactly how things are working out in our newly insulated trailer, now that some winter has arrived. Well, just before we left, we put up a plastic barrier wall from the edge of the roof down to the ground in front of the trailer. Here is a picture of me working on it.


That was December 9th, if you can believe it. It was quite warm; not even below freezing. That wall now gives us a covered walk-way from the trailer to the toilet, with only a small gap to go through where you are fully exposed to the sky. It is quite a nice feature to have as our front step is pretty much always clear of snow. I say pretty much, because you will inevitably track some in on your boots.

We headed out for the holidays on December 10th and we didn’t get back until January 1, 2016. Christmas was green for a large portion of us northerners, but the snow arrived shortly afterwards. This is what we got back to at the trailer.


Our driveway was nicely ploughed for us so we didn’t have any difficulties getting in. The wood stove didn’t have any problems and it didn’t take long to heat up the trailer. It hasn’t been super cold so it hasn’t been difficult to keep the trailer heated either, which is really nice.

I took some other pictures of our surroundings so you can all enjoy the loveliness that is winter.




A little while later, as we were nice and cozy inside by the fire, it started to snow again. It was one of those quiet, big-flaked kinda snows. Very Christmas-y, actually. I took this picture from inside the trailer.


So, now that we are starting a new year, we need to figure out what the plan is. The first order of business is to get our kitchen rebuilt as right now everything is just a pile of stuff. Once we get that out of the way, there probably won’t be much building going on until spring hits. That’s when we’ll be ripping out the other section of the trailer that we didn’t get to and having it spray foamed as well.

There will also be some more land clearing and working on house plans. We need to start collecting tires and cans as well. One thing is for sure, there is always something to work on so there aren’t any dull moments.


9 thoughts on “2016: The start of a new year”

  1. Glad to see that you made it back home in the requisite 2 pieces! Welcome to day #1 of brutal cold – how are you holding out?

    1. Pretty good, all things considered. We did have to get the propane guys back out to get the heater in the toilet room working again, but other than that, everything is working well. I did have to put a limiter over the vents in the floor beside the wood stove because the rush of cold air coming in was making our feet really frosty.

  2. Hey Earthship Captain. Just finished going through your posts of the Colorado build and going through your Academy now. I was wondering, being that I just got accepted for this year’s Academy, for someone who is first interested in building her own Earthship and then sharing the knowledge, would you recommend going through the whole process or simply buy Mike’s plans and go by trial and error with the help of a brother contractor? The exchange rate now for CDN to USD is putting a damper on my Academy enthusiasm. Mind giving a piece of your mind on this one?


    Earthship footsoldier

    1. I totally understand about the exchange rate right now. It is quite awful. That being said, once you get down there you will be surrounded by people of like mind who are all interested in Earthships, sustainable living, permaculture and all things related. The connections and experience you will gain are VERY worth it.

      When I went down in 2014, I had already spent a good decade reading the books, watching videos and gaining as much knowledge as I could. However, as I discovered, a lot of the material out there is dated as they do continue to improve and update their designs. I went down because I really wanted up-to-date information and I was not disappointed. The experience of working on a build is very worth it as well as it will give you a really good idea of what exactly you are getting into and whether you feel you can carry it through. The start of an Earthship build is very labor intensive, but it does ease off as you get passed the tire pounding.

      There also is no requirement to complete all three sessions of the academy. Many people just do the first part which is where you will get the largest amount of info.

      In the end, the choice to go is yours, but if you have the funds and the time to go, do it. I have never yet met someone who did the academy who regretted going.

      1. I totally understand about the funding part of going down to Taos. It wasn’t quite as bad when we went down to Colorado, but it still wasn’t great either.

        I have heard many things about the Collingwood Earthship. Some of it was a bit confusing. From their website it looks like things have been progressing well. Unfortunately what I had also heard from others is that it had been put on hold so it seems like there are mixed stories. I don’t know where you are located, but the Graf-Levac Earthship is just south of Ottawa. They had an open house back in September, I think. They are planning to have another one this year and if you are within easy travel distance I would recommend going just to see their progress and connect with other Earthship enthusiasts.

        There is also the Ottawa Earthship meetup group, which has lots of resources and meetups to help with builds and other sustainable living events.

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