It's been a while since we updated the blog so I'll try and make sure this isn't too long. Wwoofing (or 'world wide opportunities for organic farming') has been amazing so far, it's given us a great experience of working on a farm, pioneer type living (the type that's helped build Canada's economy) and of Canadian culture.
We're staying on a farm with a husband and wife who have crops, plants, crafts (of all different varieties) and other sources of income. Our first day we spent in their greenhouse which has been unkept for most of the winter and needed a really good clean so we began with tidying that and making sure it was ready for the new season of plants.
Since then Abi has spent time helping Colleen and Gerry's daughter (Tracey) to convert an old barn into shop which will house Colleen's craft, plants and fanatical doll collection/museum. Additionally, she has been sewing clothes and items together with Colleen to sell in the shop.
Kieran helped with fixing the roof of the barn, collecting firewood and succeeded in completing my goal for Canada - chop a tree down. This was his favourite part so far as he was able to use a chainsaw to chop two tree's into firewood, he even ended up doing this for two days straight. Additionally, he spent another day using a circular saw to chop up more firewood that came from driftwood, building sites and other sources - it's cold in Canada.
All these new experiences are happening against an amazing backdrop of snowy mountains, farmland and beautifully clear rivers. And to make the experience that bit more rural there's a wealth of wildlife around, especially birds; woodpeckers; swans; ducks; geese; wrens; eagles; towhee.
It's quite a different way of living here too, unlike the throw away society of the UK the older people (children of settlers and immigrants) despise to throw away. They also have a great art of being able to fix everything themselves, whether it's the plumbing; the truck; the fire; the oven; or anything else, there's a clear attitude of living for yourself and in your own strength. It's quite a refreshing attitude that helps prolong the negative effects humans have on the environment as well as help save a fortune in repair bills or new things.
This is also how they teach, so for example when Abi was sewing she was taught the in's and out's of sewing machine and different types of sewing, ways to get cheap material etc... and when Kieran used the chainsaw he was not only taught the correct technique but how to fix problems, look after and maintain the saw. Althought the skills in themselves are useful, it's the mentality that we really enjoy, even as we type Gerry is fixing a leak in the barn.
We've been predominantly working, but have had a few outings to the nearby towns and shops which are a few miles away. The difference here is still crazy compared to other countries, or even cities like Vancouver. They have 'thrift' shops, similar to our charity shops, only prices are rock bottom. Yesterday, Colleen bought 3 long panel lights for the barn (worth about $30 each) which she bought for $6.
In addition to going to town we spend a lot of time socialising in the evenings, playing card games, listening to stories or drinking in the greenhouse with the various people that come and go from the barn, cousins, brothers, daughters and friends who all seem in ridiculously good health for their age. Even Gerry is 73 and still heaving logs about, I'm attempting to keep up and not look like I'm too far off the pace!
We had one incredible night too where we visited a friend of Gerry's called Bill who organised a bonfire in the snow in the middle of his wood(definitely a first). It was a chilled evening where we drank, listened to music and talked around the fire, with a vast collection of stars visible above the trees and fire.
We can definitely see this place as a place to revisit. :)