We are at one with Gabriola


He takes a breather

He takes a breather


Brraaaa, brraaa, brraaa.

Not a new age mantra.

Rather, the incessant rattle of an industrial hammer drill.

When the machine arrived to excavate we knew our house site would be rocky. Once the excavator left I spent a week with a pick and shovel cleaning off the rock. The result was fractured post-glacial jumble beneath what will be our concrete stem wall and the 22 post piers of our foundations. Early on I suspected we’d hit bedrock so I asked our structural engineer Kris Dick at Building Alternatives for a foundation detail for our house plans that covered this scenario for our high seismic area.

So when we hit rock, the need for a massive 30 inch (76 cm) wide spread footing was out in lieu of 15mm rebar for our concrete stem wall being sunk a foot into the rock every 24 inches (60 cm) around the house perimeter plus four 15mm rebar dowels for each concrete pier.

Alas, holes don’t drill themselves. I promptly destroyed the first DIY grade hammer drill on hole number six so I rented an industrial beast and let the hard core vibrating begin.

Three days later I’d smashed 150 holes 12 inches (30cm) deep into bedrock to pin our house foundations to Gabriola.

Gabriola never stood a chance. We will be one.



The Wilf in me emerges. You can't be too precise.

The Wilf in me emerges. You can’t be too precise.

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Our eventual north wall

Our eventual north wall


The Hitachi Beast

The Hitachi Beast

Rob's wacky lunar lander thingy for laying out the holes

Rob’s wacky lunar lander for laying out the holes

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It's always 1974 on Gabriola

It’s always 1974 on Gabriola


Daddy, WTF are you going?

Dada, what exactly are you doing?



Gabriola, our wee island

Sunset over Vancouver Island from Gabriola

Sunset over Vancouver Island from Gabriola


Called the ‘Isle of the Arts’ by some and the ‘green’ island by others – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – Gabriola is a jewel.


The northern most of the Gulf Islands tucked up against Vancouver Island to the west and about 20 miles across the Salish Sea to Vancouver to the east. It’s a stunning place of beaches, rock formation, secluded coves, First Nations petroglyphs and parks offering staggering views of the Coast Mountains.


Those who call it home include ex-hippies, new hippies, farmers, publishers, musicians, authors, glass blowers, potters, natural building designers, poets, tea makers, actors, budding film makers, photographers and even regular people who lead regular lives. And now us.


Our neighbour's organic farm IMG_3474 IMG_2770 IMG_2765 Starfish