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We are a 5th-generation grain farm in rural Saskatchewan Canada. We grow 5,000 acres of wheat, canola and dry peas every year between May and October. We also have a hobby farm of goats, horse, donkey, pot-bellied pig, alpaca, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea hens, dogs and cats.
Our location is quiet and beautiful, with nature all around us and few neighbors. We know everyone in our small town, and we (and the town residents) love to meet and help new friends.
We are conveniently located right beside the VIA Rail Train that crosses Canada (you can see the train pass by when at our barn) and are easy to find if driving yourself. We can pick up from the airports in Saskatoon or Regina.
Your accommodation will be a new house trailer, with two private sleeping areas. This might be shared with other Workawayers. Toilet and shower/bath in the house, just a few steps away.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
We have traveled extensively as tourists, backpackers and also worked abroad. We understand the needs of travelers. We enjoy hosting and telling people about Canada. We really like teaching and showing off our farm operation. How food is produced, is a topic we are all interested in, and we appreciate the opportunity to show you why we farm the way we do. Animal care and welfare, sustainable farming, and minimum-till soil conservation practices are always interesting topics of conversation and you will experience real-life decisions being made. If you are here at the right season and the weather cooperates, you will be able to witness seeding, spraying, or harvesting, and may even be offered to ride-along in the big equipment, in the fields, while we work!
Visitors will learn about Canadian culture in a rural farming community. We can experience Native Canadian culture by visiting reserves and pow-wows. Past visitors have seen deer, coyote, fox, porcupine, badgers, and even moose, right in our area! We live on the Central North American flyway for bird migration and you will see huge flocks of birds in the spring and fall.
Because we know our town and neighbors well, we will be able to introduce you to other people in our community who may share your interests, be closer to your own age, or keep you busy or entertained, when we cannot.
About us: I (Janice) am 53, and lived in Japan teaching English when I was younger. I enjoy yoga, drawing and painting, photography, hiking, backpacking, tenting and being outdoors. Darryl is 62, backpacked around the world several times when younger, and enjoys history, politics, and travel. We travel overseas regularly and spend a few weeks in Mexico every winter.
Help on our farm will include:
Animal care: feeding, filling water bowls, assisting with health care such as hoof trimming, moving animals, cleaning manure out of sheds and coops, lifting and stacking bales from the field into the barn, salvaging and bagging spilled grain for animal feed.
Gardening: planting, weeding and harvesting our vegetable garden.
Landscaping: picking rocks and roots, and raking newly prepared ground. Spraying for weeds. Mowing grass. Trimming trees and shrubs and hauling away.
Painting: Sheds and fences. Scraping, prepping, and painting.
Building: Fence and shed building and maintenance. Assisting with measuring, holding and cutting wood boards, screwing screws with a power drill.
Housecleaning: washing dishes, sweeping, washing windows, organizing.
Cooking: prepping and peeling vegetables, cooking meals, baking - whatever your abilities are.
Our main grain farm uses large equipment and advanced technology so we are unable to use casual labour on our grain farm.
Hours are flexible so you can likely work some longer days and then have more days off. Most work is outside in the summertime, so the volunteer should enjoy being outside, even if it might be hot, cold or windy. Visitors should expect to get dirty!
I try to provide a list of a variety of jobs, and let the volunteer pick what suits their skills and abilities. Occasionally I have jobs that "must" be done, (often due to incoming changes in weather) and we will all pitch in. All I ask is that visitors have a enthusiastic attitude and be willing to have sore muscles or a blister or two. Most of the work is jobs I would not get around to, without extra help, so its very exciting for me to see our farm getting more organized and looking better!
There may be other opportunities to do volunteer community work in the town, like helping at the community-run Museum, or helping at events like the Agricultural Fair in August where I provide a "petting zoo".
I have started studying German, as my mom was German and since many of my workaway guests have been German, this is a good opportunity for me. I would also like to refresh my Japanese and begin to learn Spanish.
We will consider hosting guests in the winter months of November through to the end of March. All outside work projects end, but occasionally I need help moving feed or cleaning barns. If you are travelling through the area and need a rest stop for a few days, you may contact us to stay at our place, if we are available. We have a lot of free time in the winter, so its actually nice to have a visitor to pass the time with. In the winter, you will stay in the house rather than the trailer.
Winter visitors need to be independent adults, who are prepared to entertain themselves or are okay with lots of downtime. There isn't much work to do, and honestly I don't want to do much work. I use the winter to rest and watch Netflix, do art, take naps etc. So its better for a couple who can explore the area on their own. If the weather is extremely cold, we become entirely house-bound as travel is difficult and even dangerous.
We occasionally could use a reliable, trusted worker, to look after our house and animals if we take a trip during the winter months. This would be planned a few weeks to a month in advance. We travel when an opportunity arises.
English, some Japanese
Workawayers will stay in our new, 32-foot trailer that sleeps many people with a private queen-bed room, private bunk room, and fold-away couches and benches. It has electric power, air-conditioning,and a heater. We do not use water or the toilet in the trailer, as it needs to be drained and winterized then. Workawayers will have access to the bathroom with toilet, shower and tub, in the house, which is just a few steps away from the trailer. WiFi and Netflix is available in the house, with your own lounge area. Deck and BBQ available for your use. There is a fire-pit for nighttime fires. You can watch the Northern Lights and enjoy the stars and see planes and satellites overhead, without any light pollution!
Food is casual. The fridge is always stocked and we all make our own breakfast. Lunch is make-your own sandwiches, etc. Dinner is also informal and irregular as our working day in the summer is very long. Usually I make big meals that can be reheated whenever needed.
We have often rented out extra rooms in our house, to students or temporary workers in our town (as there are few rental options) so we are very used to sharing our house with others. We are casual and flexible. This is a working farm, that can get very busy, so farm work takes priority over worrying about housework.
We are very centrally located, perfect for a stop while travelling through Canada from East to West (or vice-versa). If you are travelling with your own vehicle, we are an hour or less from Highway #1 or Highway #16. We are very near the VIA Rail Train that crosses Canada (you can see it pass right by our farm) and the pick-up and drop-off station is at the town of Watrous, just a half-hour away. Many of our visitors in the past year have travelled here by train. If travelling by plane, we will pick you up from Saskatoon or Regina.
There is no public transportation here, either between cities, or in our local area. If our work schedule permits, we will help you see local sights and attractions on your time off. In the past this has included summer fairs in Saskatoon and Regina, hiking, pow-wows, local lakes, shopping, etc.
(NOTE: We DO NOT offer horse riding here on our farm. We have 1-2 horses at our farm, but we don't own them, and they are retired and no one rides them. I can recommend some riding stables 1-3 hours drive away, in Saskatchewan, where you can pay for riding, that you can go to in your free time.)
A highlight for many of our visitors has been having a beer and meeting people at "Nokomis Craft Ales", our local small craft brewery, with live bands on an outside patio throughout the summer. "Wings night" on Thursday at the bar is always fun! During the summer season there are many dances, ball tournaments, music festivals, and agricultural fairs in the area.
Just a short drive away is Manitou Lake and Springs, with a salt-water lake and indoor pool and spa that is a nation-wide tourist attraction. We also have the oldest Bird Sanctuary in North America just a 15 minute drive away. We are on the major bird migratory path in North America and watching the geese, ducks, cranes and herons is spectacular! Deer, moose, raccoon, muskrat, coyotes, fox, porcupine and badgers are a common sight in our fields around our house.
We own two kayaks with life jackets that may be available to use on our nearby lakes or sloughs. I enjoy hiking in nearby fields and wildlife areas and am happy to have a hiking partner if we have time to get away from the farm. This past summer I went on a multi-day hiking trip with a couple Workaway guests.
My current passion is art, both viewing it and making it. I would enjoy visitors that share this interest and passion!
We are very casual as this is a working farm. There are no small children; only myself, my husband and occasionally our adult daughter. So basically we all look after ourselves, in regards to food. The farm work takes priority in the busy season. But we all enjoy working together, and there is a good energy and its exciting when we are seeding or harvesting, full blast. We get a great feeling of accomplishment in getting the job done!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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