We are a large, lively multi-cultural family living on a farm in the beautiful Cariboo area of British Columbia, Canada. We are 5 hours from Vancouver and 2 hours from Kamloops.
At home we have four children varying in ages from 13-16. Our children are well-behaved, respectful, friendly, hard-working, and kind. :) The boy are 13 and 15, and the girls are 15 and 16. Our daughters are adopted from Ethiopia, and our sons are our biological children.
Ray is a self-employed contractor who builds houses. He spends a fair bit of time out of town working, hence my need for that extra set of hands. Our children are home-educated by me, and they are very capable farm and house hands with a large variety of talents and interests. The whole family is responsible for getting things done.
We live in a lovely home on nearly 200 acres of a mixture of forest, small lake, meadows, and farm land. Surrounding us on all sides are forest and ranches. The area that we live in has a wonderful climate. We have snowy winters, warm summers, very little rain, and beautiful fall colours.
Our family loves to travel and we take every opportunity we can to expose our children to the world, whether it be through traveling ourselves, or by having visitors from other countries staying in our home.
We have had many visitors staying with us over the last three years, and we have thoroughly enjoyed them all. They have come from England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, Korea, and Canada. We have learned about their cultures, foods, and their way of life, and in turn we have shared our life with them.
When a person joins us, our goal is for a mutually satisfying stay: One where we give a person the opportunity to learn all about the life we have chosen, and hopefully they gain some new skills, and in turn, we are grateful for the help we receive while they remain with us.
We have been pleased to end up with long-term relationships that have been born out of short term stays!
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
We embrace our visitors as soon as they walk through the door. They come in as strangers - for just a few minutes - but we see them as friends immediately. We want them to feel like they are part of our family, and our children view them as older brothers and sisters. The friendlier, the better!
Any guest to our home will be included in all that we do, whether it be work or going to town, or activities the family takes part in. If they are open to it, they are welcome to sit in with us when we do our Sign Language lessons and learn as much as they would like. We have had city kids come stay with us with absolutely no knowledge of animals, but a desire to learn, and we have found they loved learning everything.
They can learn to milk a cow, perhaps even witness the birth of the baby animals (at this time we have two cows due, plus, three rabbits), bottle-feed a calf, learn the lessons the children are learning. Right now, our family is spending two months studying the Famous Artists from the Gothic times to Modern Art, so an visitor to our home would be most welcome to join the class and learn to create like the Masters! We have had two movies created on our land where we had our Workaway young people get involved and act or direct. Those created wonderful keepsakes for our visitors.
Our children and family want to know all about our visitors. The kids will ask questions because they genuinely want to know about your country, your life, your interests, and all about you.
On our farm we have cows, horses, pigs, ducks, rabbits, two dogs and two cats. We enjoy a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle. We raise our own pork and beef, and this year we are venturing into meat rabbits. We put in a large family garden. We make cream cheese, butter, yogurt, ice-cream, mozzarella cheese, and other products from the milk from our cows. We usually have some building or repairs to do on the farm.
There will be many learning opportunities for you in our family. Jobs that are available on the farm are: milking the cow, making cheese, yoghurt, butter, and ice-cream; planting, weeding, harvesting the vegetable garden; preserving the fruits and vegetables from the harvests; building fences, repairing shelters, putting up new structures; tending the animals - cleaning out chicken sheds, collecting eggs, feeding the rabbits, pigs, horses, cows; brushing and taking care of the horses; bottle-feeding the calves; cleaning out stalls; landscaping, etc. The list never ends!
One of our bigger winter jobs is cutting down trees, bucking them up into logs and stacking them for the wood burner that heats the house. There is also wood to chop for the kitchen hearth fire. There are no two days the same in our house, so we take them as they come!
We are very busy with this a houseful of children and a farm full of animals, so life doesn’t stop! :)
Although there are regular chores that need to be done daily on our farm, such as feeding and watering the animals and milking the cows, our days are very irregular and because of this, we are very 'go with the flow' people. Each season and each year brings us different projects that need to be done. We are very much a team in how we work, with everyone working together.
There are no specific hours of helping in a day, and we do not start and stop at any specific time. Some days are earlier than others, and some can be quite late when there isn't much to be done. Sunday is a very laid back day, but other than that we don't have organized days off. But with that said, there is still lots of down time around the farm, either hanging out here, or when we make trips to town.
You can try pretty much try anything you would like while you are staying with us. If you have a special talent, we would love to put it to good use! We've had visitors who taught our children origami, cross-stitch, making crepes, acting, and movie making! For us, the visitor has as much to offer as we have to offer them, so we always like to hear what you enjoy doing!
A good work ethic and positive attitude is essential as some of the work might be new to you, and an independent and adventurous spirit would be wonderful.
Our children embrace each and every visitor to our home and you will find them most welcoming.
You must understand kids and be open-minded, tolerant, friendly, warm-hearted, humorous, and curious as you will be with children most of the time! You will learn a lot about children by being here as there are many ages and personalities! There are so many opportunities for learning and having fun on our farm and with our family that I believe you will enjoy your stay!
We are offering you a small town experience. We are about 10 km from a town that has a movie theatre, restaurants, shops, a library, and other conveniences. We generally go in once a week, and we can offer you a ride in when we go in. If you want a ride on other days we can work out arrangements with friends. We are also 1 hour from a larger town, and 2 hours from a larger city, and trips to these towns can be worked out.
We have found our guests often enjoy getting connected with our local church, and if that is your pleasure,there is a lot going on: weiner roasts, movie nights, bowling - a variety of things that the families get involved in, and of course, you would be welcome to join our family in going. We have even found that one of our young visitors played the flute beautifully and she chose to ask to join the music team at church. When she left she left many friends behind.
Rest assured that even with all the work to be done there is plenty of time for downtime, relaxation, and fun! As a family we go skiing, skating and tubing in the winter, and camping and swimming at nearby and faraway lakes in the summer. We love to take road trips and try to do at least one or two a year. We also enjoy visiting with family and friends. And then, of course, there are campfires and enjoying the warm summer nights of life in the country.
In our local area we have: a small mountain for downhill skiing; a health ranch for cross-country skiing, tubing and working out; lakes for swimming, fishing, skating; miles of land to hike and explore; two golf courses; dog-sledding; ice-skating arena; a local rodeo, plus, a larger stampede; and so much more! And of course, we have our own horses for horseback riding.
In our own property we frequently see deer and the occasional moose and babies. We have even seen a bear and her three cubs.
English, Beginning ASL (working on getting fluent)
We have a clean, private, and comfortable guest-room with shared bathroom and laundry facilities, a dvd player, and internet.
We also have a private caravan on the land set up for guests. There is no water hook up to the trailer, but there is power. You would have easy access to the house kitchen and there is an outhouse nearby.
Campervans, RV's, and tents are always welcome. We can arrange use of the laundry and bath facilities as necessary. We also have electrical hookups available.
We all eat together for dinner. Breakfast and lunch is eat when you arrive. :) Times are flexible due to the daily schedules of the farm, homeschooling, and work. If you are hungry between meals there are always cookies, muffins or fruit that you are welcome to help yourself to.
We like to experience different foods, so if you would like to cook us your favourite meal, please let us know – we would love to try it and learn from you. We are not health food fanatics, but we like to eat a variety of good, healthy foods.
As a family we are working very hard on learning ASL, so if you are a person who is Deaf, we would be happy to talk about a homestay! If you are not, but would enjoy learning a few signs, then that's great too! We do speak English as a norm. :) But we are trying to encourage the kids to use more signs to get comfortable with the language. You will find you learn very quickly if you do not already sign. We have a lot of fun with our second language!
Our home is in the country, so there is very little "nightlife" unless you wish to head into town to watch a movie, or if you are happy to sit around a campfire playing the guitar, or just chatting and enjoying the wide open spaces of country living.
If you are one that really wants to get around you may find the experience with us is too 'housebound'. We love our property and with homeschooling, running the farm, and just loving living in the country, we don't run around shops and town all the time. If this sounds like a lifestyle you would enjoy, then we would love to have you.
Our children are avid piano players and they are all at a grade 3 or 4 level, so hopefully you find the music entertaining. If you have a musical instrument that you are also good at, please feel free to bring it. We have had workaways that played guitar, piano, and even one that sang opera (that one didn't go over as well - lol), and we have had workaways that danced and sang constantly with the children with songs that totally entertained them. So you can see, we have had a wonderful variety of young people stay with us!
We like to include our visitors in family experiences, so some of our helpers have enjoyed lakeside camping, city camping, road trips, Cultural camps, skiing, and other such ventures.
Please, no smokers or pets. Travel medical insurance is a must. It is very important that you be covered in case of an injury.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
25 hrs max. It all depends on how involved they wish to be with our family and our experiences.