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My name is Ruthie and I just bought a farm on beautiful Amherst Island, Lake Ontario. The Island is beside a popular wine region of Prince Edward County. I am friends of Patrick and Valencia who also host workaways.
I am a Chef and wild edible expert specializing in mushrooms and native edible plants. I am studying horticultural science specifically focusing on Boreal Native plants and tree species. I have partnered with the Canadian Wildlife Federation for a Wild Foods cooking show airing sometime this Spring. It's just me and my dog Lou (old farty chocolate lab) who live here. We lead a quiet life but love card and board games. Also love music. The house is stocked with raw food ingredients and everything is made from scratch. It is not a vegan household but vegan foods are happily produced. I am currently writing a book and when not exploring the property and woods, I am sequestered in my office nose deep in references and findings. I do leave regularly to attend conferences and lectures (regular in the sense of maybe once a month and not during lockdowns). I have bad arthritis in my hands, so some days can be quite bad, but for the most part...I work through it.
It is 130 acres of land with an 'Off-Grid' farm house that was built 100 years ago. The house went fully off-grid 5 years ago. Also on the property is a tiny home which is also off grid. Work-aways could stay in the tiny home so they have privacy but they would need to come to the main farmhouse for kitchen and bathroom facilities. There are 2000 Haskap bushes on the property that will take at least 2 years of pruning and care before they start re-producing fruit as they have been neglected for at least 6 years. There are Bee hives located on the north end which are taken care of by a local bee keeper. One of the previous owners was a pilot and created an air strip close to where the hives are located. No Planes land there any longer but I have big plans for the airplane hanger and can use a little help with that as well. There are at least 30 wild deer that roam the forests around the farm. They do come quite close to the farmhouse. One of the larger ponds has muskrats (at least 4 families). 5 large Ravens live in the old large barn and bring me trinkets regularly. In the winter are many species of Owl and other birds of prey. It's wonderful watching them hunt by day and witnessing the incredible wing spans of some of the larger birds. Amherst Island is a well known bird watching island. The are no farm animals on this farm - Only lots of wild animals.
I intend to fully re-wild the property but it currently boasts 2 huge forested areas that I want to develop hiking trails using Deer Paths. The back of the property is on a marsh with a river running through it that is perfect for canoeing or kayaking. The plan is to eventually build a board walk to the river and adjacent beach ( which is on the other side of the marsh).
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Work-aways would learn about native plants and trees along with basic identification. Wildlife identification and animal tracking. Wild food harvesting and processing - from tree nuts to berries and roots. . From scratch cooking techniques and food preservation. Wilderness survival. Off-grid living.
This property is newly owned but I have been coming here for quite awhile. There is a lot of general cleanup to do that has accumulated over the last 50 years. Specifically in the last 20.
The wildlife (deer/rabbits/foxes/voles) have been helping themselves to the gardens and almost all the fruit trees and edible shrubs have been killed because they're getting eaten. I have over 10,000 seeds germinating for Spring planting that will need protection from our furry land-mates. A permaculture and ethical plan has been developed to needs assistance putting into action.
Some of the projects I am looking to accomplish on the wide scope of the property are the long boardwalk to the water so someone with carpenter experience would be an asset. The farm comes with a ton of wood working equipment and shop - I just don't have that back ground to use this equipment.
In the forests I would love to have help creating large installation art projects using organic materials such as grape vine, limestone, plants and trees that are in abundance here.
Also wanting help with the vast gardens I intend on creating around the small barn. The idea is to make the farm 100% self sufficient but also beautiful using as much native plants and trees as possible.
Creating native food forest walking paths with Art installations at different points of the path and entrance to the farm. I should mention the driveway to the farmhouse is one kilometer long.
Basic help inside the house would also be wonderful - help with cooking, cleaning, laundry and general maintenance would be awesome. Splitting and stacking wood for the wood stove.
Help harvesting and processing wild foods.
I also want to build a food smoking hut.
There is also help needed in some repairs to the farmhouse and attached swimming pool. The swimming pool will be switched to a salt water pool, for health restoration.
This host offers a language exchange
I'm always interested in learning something new
The types of accommodation are split by the following;
-There are several private rooms in the farmhouse for year round occupation - Best for winter travel
-The Off-Grid Tiny home located close to the farmhouse with full use of the farmhouse kitchen and amenities. it has a wood stove and solar electric.
- 3 season - Yurt style tents located in private areas of the property - best for those looking for up close experience with nature. Each tent accommodates 4 people and has an outdoor kitchen ( outdoor showers/organic toilet to come this season). Each tent has a small wood stove for heating during shoulder seasons.
Everyone is supplied fresh bedding and towels when they arrive but are responsible for it's upkeep for the duration of their stay.
Food is supplied at the main farmhouse. Everything is made from scratch and locally sourced ( as much as possible). This is not a vegan household but vegan foods are happily created. Cooking is shared by everyone and I am happy to teach techniques to anyone who would like assistance. I love creating international foods and would also love to learn from everyone else as well. Fresh sourdough breads are served daily. I get bored regularly so don't expect the same thing everyday. Dietary restrictions are accommodated.
Amherst Island is beautiful and the farm is located right beside a protected long natural beach. There are a couple of unmanned islands off the coast of the island that can be camped on but if you go.... I might tag along because I haven't made it there yet...lol
There are Island tours individuals can take and bikes will be supplied for use. There is a seasonal local diner on the island that has burgers to Buddha Bowls and local ice cream. There are a multitude of artist studios to visit here as well as other farms.
Amherst Island is 20 minutes from the City of Kingston. A car is available for responsible use to individuals who would like to take some time in the City. Everyone has 2 days off a week to do as they please. Locally there are at least 10 different Federal parks with fantastic hiking trails and canoe rentals. from Picton Beach to South Frontenac park - The cross Canada hiking trail 'The Rideau Trail' is easily accessed just north of Kingston for back packers.
I respect good help with good time off to recoup. I request everyone to keep shared areas clean and tidy. Your private areas are just that... your private area.
The main farmhouse has wifi but all other areas of accommodation don't and reception here for cell use is a little sketchy. It is possible but not always reliable.... just so you are aware.
No Smoking in any of the buildings or tents. If caught you may be asked to leave.
Use of alcohol, cannabis, vaping, cigarettes etc. I am comfortable with as long as used in a responsible way. The farm will have its allotted 4 cannabis plants accessible.
Amherst Island is only accessible by Ferry. I can pick up new arrivals from the airport, train or bus station.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Wifi is only available in the main farmhouse and is satellite based. Not reliable but is available for light use. No Spotify use please.
Lots of space to park but we are off-grid and cannot hook your camper up to electricity
Dogs are welcome. Other pets as well depending. There are a lot of coyotes in the area and we cannot be responsible for anything that happens to your beloved companion. You will need to supply your own pet food.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week