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We live downtown Owen Sound, Ontario, in a sunshine yellow house 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 39 year old high school Art teacher, currently on maternity leave. My husband is a carpenter/musician. He is 43 years old. Our children are 4.5 yrs old, 3 yrs old, and a baby. 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. :)
In the cooler months of the year
(Nov 1-Mar 15)
we'd be happy to simply share some family life with you and fill the winter days with good food, fun games, art, music, indoor projects, and outdoor snowy fun -ice rinks, ski/snowshoe trails... WITH 3 young kids!!!!
As for the working part, we'd be grateful for your help...
a) Cooking, processing food, and doing some house work
b) Caring for 3 strong children in a colourful, primarily screen free house...
c) Organizing and engaging in projects
During the warmer seasons,
(Mar 15 - Nov 1)
we're hoping that there are some other people out there who want to join in the fun of creating an inspiring place to be in the countryside –a rich, healthy land for animals and people alike. We have 32 acres of wild land that needs both taming and nourishing. 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 that flows into beautiful Georgian Bay- just steps away. We call the land “Loxley.” It is at the edge of a tiny, tiny town with not much going on in it BUT is has a nice soccer field!!!, a children’s park, an old baseball diamond, and a community hall that hosts social dinners every now and then.
The work at that time will primarily be outside...
d) Landscaping and gardening
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
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. Note: this will mostly take place at our home in Owen Sound.
Our children are very lucky and awesome but they can also be little lions. 🤪 They rarely watch screens, barely eat sugar, play outside a lot, run around barefoot and get dirty. They don't have plastic toys but they do have a circus hoop, climbing wall, 2 story playhouse, aerial silks, and gymnastics rings to play on in our living room...
We believe in holistic education, fitness, healthy food, the arts, community, environmental stewardship, social emotional intelligence, and love.
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 with our children during the winter school days). 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.
Life on the land during the warmer months of the year...
You will have several options on how you want to experience life on the land.
What lessons you want to take home with you depends on you.
You can choose to focus on learning and/or sharing any and all of the skills, knowledge, and tools related to…
1. Carpentry, alternative house building, masonry, and welding by building structures to complement the natural beauty of the land.
2. Landscaping, forestry, and gardening by creating trails and clearings; managing forests; planting trees/bushes/veggies; grafting, pruning; and harvesting and processing food.
In the warmer months of the year, travelers will primarily reap the rewards of living and working independently on a pretty wild piece of Canadian land.
You will gain skills and knowledge related to outdoor living (gathering firewood, making fires, cooking meals on an open fire/propane stove, searching for wild food, collecting water, and handling the local weather and wildlife).
Again, the Canadian weather will dictate what projects we will be working on.
Travellers visiting us must be patient, thoughtful, independent, self-motivated, and open-minded.
From MARCH - NOVEMBER, they should be happy spending most of their time outside. Ideally, people arrive in pairs or they must feel content to work alone in nature and be self-motivated to do a variety of tasks.
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.
During spring, summer, and fall,
if you’re happy working in nature for several hours a day then this exchange might be right for you. Some of the outdoor tasks you could take on are…
a) Build a bridge, fences, boardwalk, cabin/tree house, outdoor kitchen, composting toilet, greenhouse, water filtration system, and outdoor shower etc.
b) Clear trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing/snowshoeing
c) Cut-down Buckthorn trees (invasive species), make small clearings, and manage a plantation Pine forest
d) Plant and water native trees/berry bushes
e) Create campsites (burn brush, make fire pits/ovens/tent platforms)
f) Raise chickens
g) Fish and/or hunt
h) Set up a 14 ft trampoline ;)
I) Harvest and process food either from our garden or local markets etc.
From NOVEMBER - MARCH
If you’re more interested in helping out at our house in town, then you could volunteer to…
a) Help with daily house and/or yard work
b) Help with childcare
c) Cook meals
d) Make/Organize/Develop family drumming activity, art workshops, noise pollution campaign, a word board game, write a book about feeding kids, crochet socks...
English, French, some Spanish and German, tiny bit of Japanese
Now that winter is here and the weather is cold, guests will stay in a small, cozy cabin attached to our house in town. We'll share the rest of our house with you too.
In warm weather, you'll more than likely, be living on our land, a 15 minute drive from our house in town. Your dwelling at this time will be a large, good quality camping tent in an old growth Cedar forest beside a creek... until we get the platform built for a beautiful 13 ft Lotus Belle Canvas Tent.
We will share our meals with you or provide you with camping food if you're living on the land during summer months.
You will have access to everything you need to cook food in the house or over an open fire/on a camp stove. There is also a large, pioneer woodstove that could be set up at the land when an outdoor kitchen structure is built. You can shower at our house or in the creek. Depending on when you arrive, you might be building your own outhouse and camp shower too! Like I said, we're in the very beginning stages of developing the land.
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.
If you have a driver's license, we ***possibly*** have an extra car for you to use. We also 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.
Pessimism is not welcome, just be ready to go with the flow and look at the bright side of life. Constructive feedback, yes, of course, but we’re on a happy roll, and have big dreams, so arrive with some drive and similar dreams of your own!
Patrick, Emma, and 3 children: Rosalie, Quinlan, and baby, Nelliana.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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