Homesteading and Seed Saving on the South Shore of Nova Scotia- Canada

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Canada

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    Last activity

    11/10/2019

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  • Description

    Description

    We are now accepting workaway interest for the season! June-October, variable lengths of stay. We welcome your interest, read on for our farm's description!

    Our Farm is small family farm tucked away on a dead-end gravel road on the South Shore of Nova Scotia-- 10 km to downtown Bridgewater, 20 km to Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, or LaHave, 25 km to beaches, and less than 100 km to Halifax. We have 20 acres of fertile soil on a gently sloping drumlin hillside, 200 acres of forests and wetlands to explore, and frontage on a pristine spring fed lake. Wildlife is abundant, though kept from the main farm area by our trusty farm dog, and includes ospreys (nesting within view of the field), owls, loons, eagles, songbirds, deer, raccoons, porcupines, pheasants, wood cocks, coyotes, rabbits, and the occasional roaming bear or bobcat.

    There are 12 old apple trees, countless wild apples, and wild blueberries in the field, and we are in the process of establishing a diverse perennial crop system of fruit, berries, nuts, and herbs. We have around 2 acres in cultivation for annual vegetable and grain crops (1 acre fenced), and a 20'x48' greenhouse. Our primary farm product is ecologically grown vegetable, grain and flower seeds- we currently maintain over 150 varieties which are wholesaled to a regional seed company and retailed locally. We grow a homestead-scale vegetable garden, selling some excess produce to a local cafe. We also raise ducks (eggs and meat) and pigs for home use.

    The heritage post and beam barn is useable although currently under renovation. We have a couple of outbuildings and a 20'x48' greenhouse. There is ample tenting space, a cozy barn loft, as well as our 28' camper bus available for long term workstayers/apprentices.

    We have been farming together for over 15 years in the northeastern U.S. and Nova Scotia, always according to organic principles and standards. We do not even use organic sprays unless absolutely needed, preferring cultural methods of pest control. We add generous amounts of organic matter to our soil, including composted horse manure, leaves, and seaweed we collect from the beach. We use fish/seaweed emulsion as fertilizer when needed, and inoculate plantings with a broad spectrum mychorizal inoculant.

    This is our farm’s 8th growing season; thoroughly entrenched in the start-up phase of a diversified operation, we are in the midst of numerous projects. Thus, we are accepting workawayers who have interest and capability in homestead tasks while keeping up on garden tasks.

    Our current projects are:

    - maintaining vegetable garden for seeds and home use

    - maintaining perennial crop systems (nut, fruit, berry, and herbs)

    - barn renovation, specifically re-siding with cedar shingles and building root cellar

    - basic homestead tasks (firewood, ducks, processing storage crops)

    Farm work varies with the seasons:

    - June: Bed preparation, planting, and mulching.
    - July: Weed and pest management. Firewood cut, split, and stacked.
    - August: Seed crop harvesting. Weed and pest management. Wild blueberry harvesting.
    - September: Seed crop harvesting and processing. Storage crop harvesting and preservation.
    - October: Seed crop harvesting and processing. Apple harvest and processing. Storage crop harvesting and preservation. Garden cleanup/bed preparation. Collection of seaweed and leaves.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Gardening
    Building
    General Maintenance
    Farmstay
    Animal care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We enjoy sharing cultural experiences with others and living in community. As we were farm volunteers and apprentices ourselves before buying our own land, we value being able to provide an opportunity for interested people to experience rural and rustic living at a homestead. We are happy to share our varied knowledge, skills, and experiences with workstayers.

    We do not rely on volunteer labour to run our homestead or farm business, but rather enjoy having willing extra hands to get more accomplished/faster. We have had very positive experiences with visitors that are a great fit for our situation, so happily continue to offer our farm as a host.

  • Help

    Help

    We are looking for 5 hours help per day for 5 days per week. Throughout the season, heavy physical work is a must- lifting, wheel-barrowing, shoveling, digging, raking, etc. Establishing a homestead involves a lot of moving things around by hand, in wheelbarrows and buckets. We believe strongly in setting a pace that is both productive and healthy for body and mind, being present and mindful, and taking adequate breaks, but it must be understood that hard physical work is central to small-scale farming and will be a necessary central feature of our workstay experience. That being said, our farm experience includes varied tasks with lots of interesting things going on to learn from. Workstayers need to be self motivated and willing to integrate themselves into our lifestyle. And we have found that previous work experience is much less important than a person's work ethic, positive attitude, and general willingness to work hard outdoors.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Spanish, German

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Workstayers can bring their own tent/borrow one of ours or stay in our cozy barn loft. Our 28' bus camper may be an option also. Board consists of farm raised veggies/fruit, eggs, and basic groceries (flour, rice, oil, pasta, etc). Workstayers are welcome to come along on town trips to stock up on their favorite foods, or borrow a bike to ride to the local farm market/bakery 5 km down the road. We enjoy communal meals and are open to incorporating up to one shared meal per day. As we are relaxed, easy-going people who prefer flexibility, we would rather allow everyone to be in charge of feeding themselves/doing their own cooking chores, with the option to share family style meals with us when it suits everyone’s schedules and needs.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Our workstay opportunity is ideal for people who enjoy spending most of their time outdoors, enjoy physical work, have interest in living off the land, and are comfortable camping out. We work hard and enjoy relaxing by a campfire, playing music, and swimming in the lake. We have canoes to take out on the lake, and bicycles available to borrow for sightseeing. We are well connected socially with the active and growing rural community on the South Shore. There are frequent social events and concerts, as well as plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in the area.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Adding seaweed to the garden.
A view of the fenced garden from the barn roof.
Our heritage apple orchard
Our mixed breed flock of ducks
We have frontage on spring-fed Andrew Lake, great for swimming and canoeing.
The farmhouse.
Our library in the farmhouse.
The Plumnose, our camper bus.
Inside the Plumnose.
The barn loft
Our table at Seedy Saturday- over 100 varieties on display
Our happy crew in 2015.

Host ref number: 522719733768