Susan and I are interested in self-sufficiency and attempt to use local foods as much as possible. We prefer healthy, home-made Mediterranean cuisine made with a variety of vegetables and seafood. Dannie is a bird guide, loves cycling and hiking, and has retired from a provincial government job helping municipalities. Sue loves to bake bread and try new ways of preparing Dannie's garden produce. Dannie is a winemaker and blends Bordeaux style wines and makes beer in the basement along with blackberry and crabapple fruit wines. We enjoy people and especially like to show our guests the wonderful natural features of the local landscape.
Please be aware we do have a ragdoll cat, Rambo, who usually follows you around the garden and watches with interest.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
We enjoy showing people the sights, sounds and culture of sea-surrounded southern Vancouver Island. Our forests are green, we have an environmental ethic, and there are many exceptional landscapes and Canadian and First Nations cultural traditions to be learned. I trade garlic for sockeye salmon, a traditional food of Nuu-chah-nulth peoples, and can provide nature experiences including birding, nature walks and kayaking. We have binoculars to use to enjoy the many birds and animals on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and there are kayak rentals, whale-watching tours and oceanfront walks nearby.
We are in scenic Brentwood Bay, minutes from the water and the Mill Bay Ferry which you may we have bikes for long rides to Cherry Point or Cobble Hill! One of our best workaways ended up working for a nearby kayaking rental company and has moved to Vancouver Island to run an organic farm. We are very close to attractions such as Butchart's Gardens, trails through huge trees on scenic trails to seashore and hilltop destinations and tours of local wineries and breweries.
My wife and I have a rustic property on a tiny creek - in semi-rural Brentwood Bay with large vegetable gardens and a native plant garden instead of a front lawn. I grow half our vegetables for three seasons using raised beds, composting and organic additives to create exceptional soils and wonderful tasting vegetables with good nutritional properties. If you enjoy local food, are keen to help with gardening and a bit of landscaping, and like having fun while you work you will fit in well here. A side benefit is enjoying the natural world from nearby hiking and cycling trails for early morning or evening walks and cycle tours.
We need help for at least 2 weeks in March for constructing new garden beds, preparing the beds for planting and helping with cleanup from construction of basement rooms. Some basic construction experience is helpful, as we will be using 2"x12"x12' yellow cedar planks to build the new cedar beds. By March we are starting to harvest overwintering kale and chard and planting spring vegetable starts. There is a comfortable guest room upstairs where you'll stay where you can listen to the lovely song of Bewick's Wrens from the corner windows.
We would also appreciate help for a further week or two in April for preparing the remainder of the garden beds for beets, parsnips and beans. By April, the rains have mostly stopped, the temperatures have risen to 8-10C at night, and the light is fantastic. The birds are singing (many species in our yard), the sun is shining and those of you that come from a cold climate will be amazed at how far ahead the foliage, flowers and gardens are here on Vancouver Island.
We are winemakers and produce Blackberry wine plus we blend wines from Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. I also put on double batches of beer in my mashtun which I transfer to my kegerator for summer pale ales made from North American grains and hops.
We have a modest but comfortable 2 bedroom home that is a busy place in the summer. You will be staying in our spare room while we complete the makeover in the basement. Healthy lunches and suppers will be provided on working days, and breakfast is as you like it. Your participation in meal preparation or cleanup would be welcomed.
We live 10 minutes walk from Brentwood harbour, 10 minutes from two local parks with amazing Garry Oak meadow flowers and birds. We are also only 10 minutes walk from Brentwood Village with shops, a pub and amenities. Our house is in rural Central Saanich close to farms, fields and green spaces that will delight the naturalist, walker and cyclist (bicycles available). Transportation will be available for field trips, and we can assist you with finding more adventures.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week