My partner Brian and I have owned our century farmhouse for 6 years, and moved here in 2018. I am more active in the gardens, while Brian spends most mornings writing (he is a published poet). I have a strong interest in applying permaculture principles to our 2 acre parcel, and am becoming avidly involved with our amazing neighbourhood in the McLennan Valley on the south end of Salt Spring. Brian and I have been together for 21 years, and enjoy smart, creative people open to the beauty and difficulties of our world in these crazy times. We are both looking for ways to bring humanity together in a way that respects our earthly home and its creatures.
This is an amazing island from the point of view of organic food production and permaculture so lots can be learned from the people here in these respects. As well, there are many young travellers volunteering or working on farms in the nonwinter months, along with a highly literate population of people who've chosen this place as home, making Salt Spring a cosmopolitan rural experience! Brian and I are well-read, educated, creative, and love engaging conversation and the exchange of ideas from ecology, spirituality, politics, and more. I have learned a fair bit about gardening over the decades, so might be able to impart some knowledge, and am learning a lot particularly about tree fruits -- this area is totally new to me! 2019 marks our first full garden season here, since our arrival in June 2018, so there is lots in the works to enhance fruit and vegetable production. Learning to build a greenhouse is a great life skill to have!! ;-)
I am looking for one individual, with a good amount of strength to help with many garden related tasks and learn about gardening and construction in the process. The experiences may include vegetable seed bed prep and planting, orchard maintenance, mowing, and likely this year, dismantling a shed that is blocking prime sunlight and building a new shed. Up this year will likely be the building of a 12x24-36' hoop house. In 2018, I built a 20' x 60' set of garden beds, and have expanded those to 40' x 60'. I also built a 20' x 30' bed, which will be expanded to 30' x 50' once the existing shed is demolished and rebuilt. These beds are used for a wide range of vegetables for fresh eating and storage through the winter. There are about a dozen apple trees, three pears, along with hazelnuts, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, kiwis, walnuts, peaches and more. Many are young trees and some have not yet produced. I have a gas powered tiller (small size so manageable for fit but retired office professionals like me! :-)), a gas powered and powerful weed whacker, a lawn mower, and the usual array of gardening tools. Most of the orchard and existing garden beds are irrigated and mulched heavily with wood chips or straw. We are flexible as to length of stay and if the match is awesome, we could extend. This is our first foray into workaway, so want to start with at least a month and see how it goes from there!
I am looking for someone who is reasonably easy to work with (introversion is fine! My partner Brian is one and I know it takes a bit of time for them to warm up!), genial, and likes to focus on the task at hand and some stints of hard work, mixed with good humour and levity. Based on my experience working with people so far on our land, I have reasonable expectations of people, and am good at accommodating an individual's needs and work preferences. I am happy to give coaching on how to do a task, but am hoping for a person or people who are self-starters. I hope that helps! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have!
English, French, a bit of Spanish, German, and vestigial amounts of Japanese
We live in a beautiful 100 year old red and white very comfortable farmhouse. Your room is in the gabled section of our second storey on the same floor as Brian's study, and our twin guest room. The room itself is about 11'x16' with a comfortable queen sized bed, dresser, reading chair with footstool, a carpet and a small set of steps up to the room, separating it from the rest of the floor. There is a curtain for privacy, and a door leading up to the second storey. Two windows by the bed overlook the sheep fields in the valley with views to the forests of fabulous Ruckle Provincial Park. There is also a skylight. There is a two-piece bath upstairs and a shower in the three-piece bath on the main floor. Nights are nice and dark and wonderfully quiet, except for frogs in spring, and mornings and evenings, you can hear the sheep in the valley. Common spaces include our living and dining room, and our kitchen. All of it is very well-equipped with a mix of antique furniture, funky objects, and family treasures. We will provide veg or non veg (chicken and some sustainable seafood) meals in exchange for 25 hours of work per week. We are fun but on the quieter side, enjoying reading or other quiet time in the evening, going to Dance Temple on Mondays or Thursdays (see section on cultural exchange), or enjoying conversation over dinner or on our front deck overlooking the valley. We are non-smokers for sure, and would prefer non-smokers staying in our home. We drink a bit socially, and are not big partiers for sure, but are good humoured and fun to be with.
Salt Spring Island is a Canadian crown jewel in terms of its beautiful scenery, warm climate relative to the rest of Canada, and great culture. Its Saturday market in the town of Ganges is legendary, there's a ton of things to do and see artistically, and just down the road from our house on Mondays and Thursdays is Dance Temple -- two hours of free form dance with a beautifully mixed crowd of women and men of all ages and orientations. There is an excellent swimming lake an 8 minute bike ride away which is clothing optional, and of course that is just one of several excellent swimming lakes on the island! There is also the ocean for hikes and, yes, for swimming too. There are some sun warmed bays that make for excellent afternoon swims when the tides are right! There are some great trails up the many mountains on Salt Spring, and excellent kayaking around the this and nearby islands. Musically, a lot happens here, particular in summer at outdoor venues like Pitchfork Social. Salt Spring has an eclectic mix of artists, travellers, back-to-the-landers, alternative medicine practitioners, and more. It is fairly easy to hitch hike, and there is a pretty good local bus system on the main roads (we are a 10 minute drive away from a main road). In summer, twice a day, there is even a bus that goes past our house on the way to Ruckle Park, and connecting with the island's small town, Ganges. We also go into town a couple times a week in our electric vehicle and would be happy to take passengers.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week