We live at the edge of Owen Sound, Ontario, in a century old farmhouse with 3 young children. We play multiple instruments, love sports and animals, eat well, enjoy working on the land and being in nature, and are connected to many awesome people in the area.
I'm a 40 year old high school Art teacher and my husband is a carpenter. He is 44 years old. Our children: Rosalie is 6, Quinlan is 4, and Nelliana is 2 yrs old. They're amazing and involved in everything we do. We're full of ideas, eco-conscious, hardworking, and always inspired to use our time wisely or passionately. :)
During the warmer season
(May 1 - Nov 1)
In January 2021, we moved to a new property that we call “The Lighthouse.” To be honest, we’re still just settling in but have managed to plant a garden, build a chicken run, and create some trails. The property itself is pretty special. When the house was for sale, there was a bidding war but our letter to the seller sealed the deal. Our family was chosen by the sellers, out competing a housing developer, who would have bulldozed the 2 acres flat and turned it into a suburb. There are 10 magnificent 100 year old Maple trees on the property and the remains of old flower gardens. The house and dairy barn were built in 1927 and the original owner’s nephew, in his 80s, lives next door. We basically saved it all from being destroyed, so we feel very proud. The reason we call the place, The Lighthouse, is because there is this really cool silo next to the barn that Patrick dreams of turning into a “lighthouse” for sleeping accommodation because from the top of it we’re sure we can see the deep waters of Georgian Bay.
Our plans for the near future include: building a bigger chicken coop, renovating the upstairs bedrooms, hanging a slackline and hammock, building a greenhouse, making a long jump pit, fixing up the camper, painting the outside of our house beautiful colours, processing food for the winter, and doing much more gardening.
In other words, the volunteer work, depending on your skills and interests, will primarily be connected to…
1) Landscaping and gardening
2) Construction and/or
3) Childcare, preparing meals and housework
We also plan to play music, make art, relax with friends around bonfires, and explore the local forests, fields, and beaches with our children either on foot or in a canoe. You are certainly welcome to join us in some or all of these activities.
So maybe there are some other people out there who want to join in the fun of creating an inspiring place to live?
On a side note, we also have 32 acres of wild land that needs both taming and nourishing so if you want to experience some true Canadian wilderness, you’re welcome to head there for the weekend and pitch a tent. It's got a large creek, old growth Cedars, huge Silver Maples, marshes teeming with life, a windy hill with a sunset view, a ravine with a tiny creek, evergreen forests, and a winding river, just steps away, that flows into beautiful Georgian Bay. We call the land “Loxley” and our goal is to also make it as rich and healthy as possible for animals and people alike but we’re focusing most of our energy on our town property this summer.
During the cooler months of the year
(Nov 1-May 1)
We'd be happy to simply share some family life with you and fill the winter days with good food, fun games if we're still awake after the kids have fallen asleep ;), art, music, indoor projects, and outdoor snowy fun -ice rinks, ski/snowshoe trails...
As for the working part, we'd be grateful for your help...
1) Cooking, processing food, and doing some daily house chores
2) Caring for 3 strong children in a colourful, primarily screen free house...
3) Organizing and engaging in projects, depending on your interests and skills
In warm weather, you'll more than likely, be living in our 26 foot camper on our property in town. It has electricity, internet access, and your own kitchen facility.
We’re still working on our plan for the winter months.
Lunch and Dinner: We will share the responsibility of making lunch and dinner (i.e. usually Patrick and I will make food but sometimes you will be asked to and every now and then we’ll all just fend for ourselves –grab and make whatever we want very quickly). The time you spend making these occasional meals is not part of your volunteer hours, it’s just part of living in this family. Note: almost all our meals are vegetarian.
Breakfast: We will provide you with the basics for you to make your own breakfasts in the camper.
Snacks: Other than the occasional bag of chips and jar of Nutella, you won’t find any snacks of that kind in the house. So if you’re wanting to snack in between meals on something other than an apple or slice of bread etc. then you’re welcome to buy your own treats and stash them in your camper. ;)
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Your learning depends on when you visit.
At all times of the year, you can gain valuable experience and skills related to...
1. Childcare of young children, including a baby, by helping out with the daily task of orchestrating meals, naps, and playtime.
Our children are very lucky and awesome but they can also be little lions. 🤪 Therefore, patience and understanding is critical. They rarely watch screens, barely eat sugar, play outside a lot, run around barefoot and get dirty. They have natural, creative toys to play with and a circus hoop, climbing wall, aerial silks, and gymnastics rings in our living room...
We believe in holistic education, fitness, healthy food, the arts, community, environmental stewardship, social emotional intelligence, and love.
Emma knows a lot about... Waldorf education, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, indigenous studies, feeding children vegetables, arts and crafts, song writing, sports training, salads, soups, mental health... 😋
Patrick knows a lot about... pop culture, board games including Chess and Go, fixing anything and everything, cleaning anything and everything, musical instruments, tools, mechanics, animals, stay-at-home fathers... 😋
The opportunities to partake in a variety of purely social and recreational activities are boundless as well because we love to have fun too, when time and energy permits (Note: we do often fall asleep early with our children a few times a week to catch up on sleep). We live in a unique part of the country and are part of a lovely community of outdoorsy/artsy folk. We enjoy swimming and hiking, playing music, hanging out at social gatherings, going to farmer’s markets, playing a game of footy, drinking coffee (Patrick!), attending music festivals and shows, making art, and checking out the big city of Toronto.
Furthermore, you have the chance to engage in many artistic and/or musical endeavors, if you so wish, in your free time. We would be happy to teach you all that we know about guitar, violin, piano, mandolin, banjo, accordion, flutes/recorders, singing/songwriting, knitting, sewing, jewelry, painting, batik, pottery, basic drawing, paper arts, wood burning, mosaics, wood carving, pen and ink, collage, printmaking, and sculpture.
But you MUST be proactive and ask to do these things early on because otherwise time slips away and suddenly you're off on another adventure and you missed your chance.
The Canadian weather will dictate what projects we will be working on.
Travellers visiting us MUST be patient, very flexible, thoughtful, independent, self-motivated, and open-minded. Participating in our daily routines, like eating meals with us and going outside on a daily basis, is also encouraged. The quicker you connect with the children the better, as is exploring the area within the first week of your stay.
AND it's really important that you have experience being around children under 6 yrs old and are prepared to respond positively and/or maturely to their ever changing moods and ideas. ;) In other words, you must be good with kids, enjoy their energy, and embrace their ups and downs. If rambunctious and talkative kids stress you out, then please seek another adventure. ;) Furthermore, we STRIVE to create a space that is void of pessimistic, negative, and apathetic attitudes so skip us on your travels, if you find yourself like that more often than not, at this stage of your life.
From MAY - NOVEMBER, you should be happy spending most of your time outside.
Again, being able to follow a flexible schedule is imperative at all times. Patrick’s work schedule and my parenting responsibilities vary from day to day, depending on weather, mood, kid well being, and social events etc., and thus plans can change very quickly with barely any communication at times.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
At this time you will have a few options:
1. Our 26 foot camper with a double bed, kitchen, electricity, and wifi
2. A big camping tent in our backyard, if you want to rough it a bit more. ;)
3. The Creamery, a small room in the lower level of the barn.
Our plan is to build a small, winterized bunkie for our future Workaway comrads but as this is our first summer here that hasn't happened yet.
Both Patrick and I are world-travelers with spontaneity in our hearts, who have returned home to make a life for ourselves where we grew up. We love and respect nature and people, and we want to live with other people who feel the same.
We have several extra bicycles. There is world-class hiking on the Bruce Trail, fantastic mountain biking and cycling around the Blue Mountains, and wonderful swimming virtually anywhere. The local food and arts community is also vibrant. There are several towns within 15-45 minutes away from the land that have many of the attractions you would expect from a small city: art gallery, library, recreation centers and parks, shopping and entertainment (music venues, theater, cinema, farmer’s market, coffee shops, and bars). Owen Sound also offers a premier folk festival, 'Summerfolk,' in August, and we can provide you access to it with us. Patrick volunteers as a juggling performer and I facilitate a flower garland activity.
We’ve opened up our home to many travelers over the years, usually through word of mouth or spontaneous meetings on the street. We look forward to introducing our children to other adventurous spirits and sharing some life, some work with you.
Be prepared for... an adventure, some family chaos involving young children, a daily work routine, our Grey county weather, and a learning experience.
Be ready to go with the flow, look at the bright side of life, and independently make yourself happy, that's very important. Family life with 3 young children is glorious but also super challenging and it's up to us to rise above their daily fussing. Overall, we’re on a happy roll, and have big dreams, so arrive with some drive, patience, and similar dreams of your own!
Patrick, Emma, Rosie, Quinn, and Nellie
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We've got great WiFi at the house, but only mobile data at the land. But if you are staying at the land you can come back to town to get your digital needs met
From May 1 to November 1 you can stay and park your vehicle on our land. Workaways have had good experiences doing this in the past.
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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