Hi!!!! We hope to meet you soon and to help you and other Work-Away friends find jobs around our house and yard best suited to your skills! We also want to help you see the area and have a great cultural experience, and we are excited to get to know you and to learn from one another!!!!
My name is Ume, my partner is Augie, we have four sons, Rye, Sal, Ash and Aro. Our home is on 3 acres, only a few blocks from downtown Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada. We used to live on an Intentional Community Land-Trust out East for 18 years, and we will still be living there occasionally, but for now we are enhancing our home in the West! Check out my Facebook profile- ask me for the link. There are unique qualities about our situation and dreams; Our property feels like it’s in the country even though we’re in the middle of town! We have lots of experience living in a cooperative community with friends’ families due to our living on a Community Land Trust and we'd like to recreate that kind of feeling in this new area.
The food we make is mostly local and organic, we understand how to cook for those with special diets, including vegetarian and elimination diets; we derive great pleasure from gorgeous, healthy food and creative, international cooking! (Though sometimes we order pork-free and vegan pizza or other treats from town! We only buy local pasture-raised pork, which is available at the farmer’s market.) Our son Ash eats an ovo-vegan diet (no meat or dairy, yes free-range eggs), so work away helpers with similar diets will be easy to cook with.
In the Spring and Summer we often have a litter of puppies, we have raised four litters so far with Mother Nueva (15lbs) and Father Ocho (8 lbs), our breeding dogs. We also have two other dogs named Burly (9 lbs) and Scotty (50 lbs). We hope to build a coop to raise small flocks of laying hens, quails, meat chickens, ducks and geese. We had a previous dog before our current four, and also chickens, turkeys, pet rats, mice, cats, a goat and a bunny in the past. You never know what new pets we might bring home, I have an urge to raise an Emu because it is my name backwards, ha ha!
Currently, we are renovating and working towards several yard projects including a guest-house, greenhouse (now finished), permaculture garden, gazebo, bird coop and forest trails for mushroom growing and dog walking. I am making a “bell trail” right now, and hope to integrate trails on our property into the Salmon Arm trail network. We want to be very creative with our yard projects, including garden art and natural hand-built structures. Soon, we are putting in an outdoor kitchen and separate Earth-berm guest-house (not for profit) and we are excited about our new gazebo idea, where we hope to be able to have outdoor meals. Though we are still in planning phase, the gazebo and guest-house have the potential to involve lots of ecological and creative building methods, and a tea-picking trail, plus berry patches, garden art and creative growing structures like arbours and green walls, mosaic walls and cob and concrete sculpture, etc….
International Student & Work Away Experience:
In the past, our family has hosted international students; so far we've had nine students live with us since 2015, from Korea, China, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan. We have also had 19 Work Away helpers live with us, for differing amounts of time. We have enjoyed every person and feel very lucky to meet everyone and learn about peoples’ families and homes. Work Away helpers have come from Portugal, England, Poland, Japan, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Germany and the provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia, in Canada.
We have Ecological, Humanitarian, Social Justice, Humorous, Friendly, Transparent, Interpersonal, Artistic, Nature-Loving, Tree-Hugging, International, Growing Values. Our eldest son, Rye, has graduated and is working at Strathcona Lodge on Vancouver Island, hoping to take the COLT program (Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training), so he is not often at home. Our next oldest son, Sal, loves music, downhill skiing and basketball, and attends the Salmon Arm high school. Ash is 14 now, and is homeschooling; he loves piano, programming, fantasy novel reading and writing and badminton. Aro is in Grade 6 at Shuswap Middle School. He’s into Oculus Quest, streaming, crafting, dogs and friends! We have mixed European heritage, including German, Scottish, English, Irish and French ancestry and one Mediterranean ancestor. As a group, our family likes skiing, biking, hiking, canoeing, skating and lots of other outdoorsy things, and the boys like all kinds of indoor games as well.
We have several family members nearby: Great Grandma Gwen (has four daughters, including), Grandma Susan (meditation/chanting instructor in this town) and her three younger sisters (my aunts); two live in BC and one in Arizona, with families. “Opa Bernd” (architect) lives nearby and has space for Work Away helpers as well. We also have my four sisters with their families in Revelstoke, BC, and High River, Alberta, and also Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Augie’s sister lives in Vancouver also with her partner and baby daughter. More distant, we have another Grandma (retired yoga teacher) and Grandpa (retired Biology professor and director) out East, in Fredericton, NB. There are lots of other Aunts, Uncles and cousins across North America.
Me, the Mom:
I am the Mother of the family, and was born in Vancouver and grew up in Salmon Arm; then I attended UVic for courses in mainly Plant Biology, Cultural Geography and Environmental Studies. I had a year as an international student in Hong Kong and backpacked around China the following summer. (I had a ten day exchange to Japan in junior high, and a three month exchange to Quebec, which helped my French speaking ability.) I also studied music my whole life, so I have some skills in piano, accordion, drumming and guitar. My studies in Biology have culminated in a strong desire to garden and create a permaculture yard environment. I personally love so many things, including music jams, gardening and wild-crafting, making hand-crafts, art projects, garden art, building outdoor ovens, paper mache, mosaics, mobile making and cobbing, etc.
Augie grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, had exchanges to the Northwest Territories and Guatemala, and studied at Mt. Alison University and Silva Bay Shipyard Boat-School. He now manages a company which makes laboratory instruments to study microscopic particles (including viruses, DNA and ribosomes). (But his business is not available for Work Away helpers to get involved in, though it is a very interesting discussion topic!) Augie also likes basketball, sailing, adventures and has an interest in politics and worldly affairs, and supports a permaculture gardening lifestyle. We met on the "Climate Change Caravan", a 4.5 month long cross Canada cycling trip encouraging energy reduction and awareness about Climate Change.
Our House and Property:
We have a two bedroom house right now, but we want to add a few new bedrooms for the boys, a bigger entry with a composting toilet and new kitchen and den space, and we need to finish the basement ceiling, trims and other details, rebuild the narrow stairs, and build an outdoor kitchen and sound wall. We have a shed and separate garage for extra storage and work space, and we have an RV with a very comfortable queen bed and three bunks for guests at the moment. My Father has offered his fancier, heritage-home guest rooms for Work Away helpers until we get our guesthouse finished.
Some of the features of our new property are exciting to us: We have quite a large lot (3 acres) in the middle of town, which is not common. There is a beautiful view of Mount Ida, with cliffs and crags facing us, that rises above Salmon Arm. There are eight lovely old lilacs with twisting trunks and intricate branches that surround the South and West sides of the yard near the house. We have an acre of forest on the North side of the property, full of mostly Douglas fir and maple trees. There is also an acre of semi-forested grass on the South side, a perfect place to start a permaculture garden and treat house / gazebo. This property is covered in wild cherries and apple trees which make tasty treats in the summer and fall. Our family has a history of making apple cider, though we missed doing it this year as we were moving into the house! There are also lots of hawthorn berries, wild roses with rose hips and some saskatoon berry bushes, and one Ponderosa pine, plus other shrubs. This fall, I planted about 50 plants; fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and flowers, in our new gardens. We have started several “Hugelkultur” (wood mound) garden beds, and we are in the process of pruning trees and clearing out messes left in the woods by the previous owner. We have begun building a tree house, that can also be used as a tenting space for adults as well as kids!
The town of Salmon Arm has some neat features as well: It is situated on the “Salmon” arm of the very large Shuswap Lake, which is approximately shaped like an “H”, with four “arms”. The town has a great walking trail along a bird sanctuary on the edge of the lake and a large dock and green space on the water. We can easily walk (or bike) downtown in about 5-10 minutes and access many of Salmon Arm’s businesses. There are quite a few trails in greenways through town that make walking here pleasant including the Turner Creek Trail, the Raven Trail (along the lake-front), the South Canoe trail network, Little Mountain trails, the Salmon River trail, and the walk to Syphon Falls.
Our area has many other excellent hikes including the Mount Ida Loop, the new Cemetery trail, Rose Bay, the Sky / Larch Hills / Whoopee / Baby Moonwalk trails, The Coyote Park Loop, Margaret Falls and others farther away, like the Enderby Cliffs, the Flume trail, the Adams River Salmon Run trail network, the Gibraltar Trail beside Paul Lake, and many more! "Silver Star“, in Vernon, is our nearest ski hill, 45 minutes away. There are several other ski hills in the greater area including “Sun Peaks”, near Kamloops, and “Big White”, near Kelowna. There are many special natural wonders to find in the area if you're lucky enough to meet someone who will guide you, including waterfalls, lakes (some great outdoor skating), sledding hills, mountain walks, rivers to paddle, natural pools to swim in, and shorelines to explore!
Other features in this town include a new permanent market called “Westgate Public Market”, which was opened in a former big box store. It has local arts and crafts, European imports and bakery, an organic pizza restaurant, a climbing wall and a "Westside Stores" outlet, etc. There is a Saturday market in the old downtown in the warm season and three other large grocery stores as well. We are not far from a lovely, modern grocery store, "Uptown Askew's", that hosts a weekly organic market in the parking lot during the growing season, and a bi-weekly market in the cold season. Wild-flight Farms is our favourite organic veggie producer in the area. We have some excellent, low-priced thrift stores with plenty of things to find and lots of retail outlets, including two health food stores, a bubble-tea and game shop, an old fashioned candy store, bike shop, painting cafe, and music store, etc. There are three theatres, a live theatre, home of the “Shuswap Theatre Society”, one rebuilt historical theatre called the “Salmar Classic”, and a newer community-owned theatre called the “Salmar Grand”, profits from which go to local charities and events.
Swimming, and other water activities, in the Shuswap Lake are possible at Canoe Beach, Railroad Beach, Pierre’s Point and a bit farther away at Sunnybrae, Margaret Falls, Blind Bay, the Salmon River Bend and many other spots. Margaret Falls recreation area has a camp ground and beach on the “Salmon” arm of the Shuswap Lake, and a walk to the falls; we often climb into the river to hide inside a cave under the falls! In town, there are boat rentals at “Sea Dog Rentals” at the wharf “Captain’s Cove Marina” near Canoe Beach and “Mountain Marine” in town. Fishing licences are available at “Westside Stores” and many other locations. Sicamous, the town to the East, is the houseboat capital of Canada, and also has a lovely beach on the Shuswap Lake. Other large lakes in the area include Mara Lake, Kalamalka Lake, Okanagan Lake and more, all with active lake culture and activities.
The Anstey and Seymour arms of the Shuswap Lake are mostly boat access only, and have some great campgrounds and places to explore, plus a floating store open in the summer. The last arm of the lake to mention is the Shuswap arm, with communities of Blind Bay, Sorrento and Scotch Creek. Copper Island is the only island on the Shuswap near Blind Bay and has a trail and high cliffs to jump from into safe, deep water. The Adam’s River runs into this arm of the lake from the Adam’s Lake, and has the famous, largest Sockeye Salmon Run in the world every four years. The Quaout Lodge and golf course, run by the Shuswap Native Community, sits on the Little Shuswap Lake, right beside the Shuswap arm of the Shuswap Lake, joined by the Little River, which is very fun to swim and boat down! Brave swimmers might enjoy floating down the Adam’s River Canyon in a life jacket, jumping from cliffs into the river with us, or white water rafting! Our family cabin is on a lease on native land on the Little Shuswap Lake, and we often spend weekends there doing water activities and having bonfires, etc. If you love water, the weather might allow a paddle or row in one of our little boats or paddle boards. We also love floating and swimming down the Salmon River, beyond Enderby.
Here is a note about our past experiences: When we lived in Nova Scotia, many guests and friends joined us over 18 years at the Farm, especially during our larger events: the "Summer Free School" (three days at the end of August), "slow food dinners" (often in the harvest season), and community potlucks. Other parties included live music, barn dances, bonfires, stone-oven cooking, "tapas trecks", Halloween and Solstice forest gatherings, forest walks, field camping, hosting cyclists, and movies that we played in our big barn... project parties (or "work parties") we've had include building a straw-bale cabin ("Leslie's cabin"), raising a post and beam structure (the “pod"), stooking grain and moving hay bales, harvesting and de-skaping garlic, tree-planting, stacking fire wood, working with stone, building and maintaining greenhouses, forest-floor clean-up, trail building, harvesting fruit and other gardening, planting blueberry bushes, painting walls, creating artwork, farmhouse and barn cleaning and maintenance, evacuating and tearing down an old barn (the “hog barn"), metal recycling, scrap wood burning, prepping mushroom logs… For fun we sometimes traveled together, played group games, had sing-alongs, bonfires, walks, swam together and goofed around on the beach, and of course, we shared food together! And much more... But now that we've moved out West, life is different. We're still building up our friend network, and Corona has made that process slower!
Again, We hope to meet you soon and to help you and other Work-Away friends find jobs around our house and yard best suited to your skills! We also want to help you see the area and have a great cultural experience, and we are excited to get to know you and to learn from one another!!!!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
At home, learning about new projects and new recipes is almost guaranteed! We can share the culture and lessons of large-family life, and we can show you many natural places in our area, because we love the outdoors! You can join us during outings, from sports to shopping, swimming to music... we love going out, but also, we have cozy times at home! You can spend some days with just our family focussing on improving the forest on our property, doing normal household jobs or helping us carry out more creative pursuits! You will also learn a lot from meeting other family members including "Opa Bernd" the architect, and "Grandma Sue", the meditation instructor, and seeing their homes and gardens, and from the friendly people and businesses in Salmon Arm and surrounding areas. Lessons are deep when you are immersed in creative projects, especially when things don't go exactly as planned! Hopefully there will be daily learning challenges to overcome and you will find new skills and improve the skills you already have!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We have diverse projects and tasks! We hope you can spend at least four hours per day helping us while you are here, and we hope you are always enjoying your time with us! The help should be interesting and skill-building! Thank you!
Ume and Augie's Projects:
-Help Cooking and Cleaning
-Help Harvesting: Cherries, Apples, Berries, Veggies....
-Quality Time with Four Boys
Finishing details on a large house and yard project:
-Cleaning & Tidying
-Stone Patio Building
-Garden Structure / Art Creation
-Tree Planting / Plant Care / Gardening
-Building a Guest House / Summer Kitchen with Cob Oven / Tea House / Chicken Coop
-Craft & Art Projects
Natural Mini Free-School:
-Help Organizing Projects and Mini-Workshops / Talks
-Wooden Sign Making
-Poster Making and Lamination
-Preparing Free-School Infrastructure (Interior Decor and Yard Work)
-During Sessions: Clear Jovial English Conversations
-Town and Property Tour Helper
Home Schooling Ash:
-Creative, Fun, Child-Led Projects:
-Math and Writing Tutoring
-Playing Learning Games
-Positive Companionship During Learning
-Artwork & Crafts
Creative Forest Site Creation:
-Work with Three Boys to make this project happen
-Create Art Spots Around the Property
-Set Up a Tidy Creative Outhouse
-Set Up a Donation Box and Bike-Repair-Station
-Extend the Forest Trail
-Lantern Making Crafts
-Make Long-Lasting Signs
-Publicize the Forest Camp Online
Lakehouse Cottage at the Little Shuswap Lake:
-Help Build a Sauna
-Stone Patio Levelling
-Help with Construction of Stairs to the Beach
Riverside Cottage Property:
-Tree Planting, Pruning and Clean-Up
If you are interested in Music, Chickens, Ducks, Organic Permaculture Gardening, Refugee Sponsorship, Alternative and Spiritual Workshops, Carpentry, Crafts and Art, Bicycles, Dogs and Puppy Breeding, Sustainability, Eco-Forestry and Trails, Mushroom Growing, Children, Free School, Cooking, Birthing... we can work together as an awesome part-time "work-away" team in-between your explorations of the beauty around us (with room and food covered)!
Chinese (Mandarin): Beginner
This host offers a language exchange
I took French Immersion from grade 8 to grade 11, including a 3 month trip to Quebec, so my French is a bit beyond beginner level. Augie also took French Immersion in school and knows some French. Our family also traveled to Mexico twice for a total of 3 months and I practiced a bit of Spanish on duo lingo before leaving, so my partner and I do speak a bit of Spanish. Our son Sal just finished one course in grade 11 Spanish as well. I also travelled to Japan briefly in grade 10 for 10 days and learned a tiny bit of Japanese, and I travelled around China for 2.5 months in the summer of 2000 after taking a course in Mandarin at Hong Kong University, so I speak a tiny bit of Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua). Also, my Father grew up speaking German, but I only learned the tiniest bit! Time with 12 International Students and Work-Aways gave us a bit more awareness of these languages plus some words in Korean and Swahili, though sometimes the newly learned languages blend together in my head, ha ha!
Right now, we have an RV available with a queen size bed and three bunks, but our second reno project (after the basement is done) is a guesthouse so we can accommodate more Work Away helpers and other guests. We hope to create space for 12 people in the guesthouse! We will also have extra rooms in our basement soon, when we have finished tiling, plastering and furnishing the space. We just added two egress windows so there is better light downstairs, and the terracotta tile is already ordered....
We can help you drive places, but we recommend you bring a vehicle or bicycles for more personal freedom to see the area. Scooters or other small vehicles would also be welcome as we have plenty of parking and storage space.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have fast internet in our house, though it sometime slows down a bit for no apparent reason.
Our driveway is a bit steep, but once you're at the top, there is space for a small to medium motor home near our own.
We have four dogs (and soon chickens and maybe ducks and geese), so if your pet can handle dogs and doesn't kill chickens, can be outside with you in your tent or in our RV, and can be kept within certain limits (like staying out of the gardens), then your pet is welcome! Please email or call to talk about it!
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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