Our off-grid 36 acre farmstead is just over an hour from Vancouver, but far away from the hectic pace of urban life. Cristal and Stephan work full time in mental health and education, while raising children, cattle, pigs and chickens! We have four children between the ages of 24 and 17; currently only two of them live at home. We are not afraid of hard work, but we also enjoy the Italian motto of "il tempo giusto". Craft beer, wine and cocktails on one of our outdoor patios round out many a sunny summer evening, while rainy evenings are best enjoyed in the "spa azul" or the "palais de Cristal".
Jade Pond Acres is a work-in-progress: juggling work, family life, animal husbandry, and building additions takes time! We are surrounded by forests and meadows, and a key feature of our farm is the two-thirds of acre fresh water pond -- we swim and boat in the summer, and spend free time around the campfire pit on the sandy shore.
We regularly see deer pass across our pastures, see black bears several times a year, and have seen cougars twice in almost twenty years. Coyotes and crows annoy the chickens, but our friendly farm dog Jasmine does a good job of keeping them at bay. Our aloof farm cat Salsa is a great mouser.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Cristal grew up in Mumbai and Dubai before studying in London, Chicago and Montreal. Stephan grew up in Chilliwack, but fell in love with the Francophone world as a teenager and lived in Nice and Montreal for a total of six years before returning to the Fraser Valley. Our children have studied in Germany, France, and Norway, and our entire family values the rich diversity of humanity. We have hosted numerous exchange students for anywhere from two weeks to 5 months.
Meals reflect not only our own multicultural upbringings but also our interest in international cuisines. We also appreciate the 100 mile diet; in fact, we are proud to say that in the summer, we often eat food that comes from within a hundred metres of our kitchen! Given that we are a farm that raises pastured meats, animal proteins feature in our meals; we are unable to honour vegetarian or vegan diets.
Cristal is an expert on hiking the local mountains, while Stephan's ruined knees make him better suited to looking at them. Join one of us, depending on your energy level and mood on any given day.
Your experience in our family would not be the typical Canadian experience, in that our remote Chilliwack River Valley farmstead and our lifestyle is different from urban or suburban living; however, we enjoy sharing what we have and explaining what we do with others, and look forward to welcoming like-minded individuals!
We speak English and some German and French. English is the main language of the household.
"Under construction" best sums up Jade Pond Acres. In the short term, fence posts and wire fencing need to be installed, some pathways need to be placed in stamped concrete, and a wood-fired bread/pizza oven needs to be completed. A vegetable garden and small greenhouse need a green thumb, and there is always cooking and cleaning to keep the household going!
Longer term, we would like to develop a walking path around our two ponds, and create a landscaped ornamental garden around one of the ponds (18th century British landscape? Japanese inspired? Who knows?).
We would hope for approximately 20 hours of help a week. Except for July and August, there would be some weekend work and irregular weekday hours, depending on our guests' skill-sets and our own work schedules. During the summer, we work four hours in the morning five days a week and then have the afternoon for relaxing at Jade Pond Acres or exploring the remarkable nature of the Fraser Valley.
You don't need to be skilled, as long as you are a quick learner and willing to work! That's how we learned to build up Jade Pond Acres without prior experience. That being said, you should be willing to learn to operate a tractor and implements, a chainsaw, and a brush cutter, as these are used from time to time.
We have two bedrooms available, with a shared bathroom. One bedroom is currently set up with two twin beds that can be pushed together to form a king (albeit with a small gap between the mattresses). The other bedroom has a queen size bed.
Chilliwack is located in the heart of the Fraser Valley, with many mountains, lakes and rivers within easy driving distance. While you would need a car to be completely independent, or in really good physical shape and happy to jump on a bike to get around, we are happy to drive you either to public transit or to go on trips together. We also just like hanging out at home, and we are sure you will too, once you get to know Jade Pond Acres. For more on our area, simply google "TourismChilliwack" and enjoy the opportunities!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week
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