After 20 months in our beloved South/South-East Asia, an opportunity arose for us to have a complete change of scene for a few months. Thanks to the extreme generosity of our friend, Wendy, we were presented with a chance to have a break from Asia, and spend the northern hemisphere summer in the Slocan Valley in British Colombia, Canada.
Some years back (eight to be exact), Richard and I set off for four months to have a WWOOFing adventure in Canada. (see below link if you think we're talking dogs!)
We instantly fell in love with Wendy's gorgeous property in Silverton, and the small community of lovely people surrounding it. It was a big influence on our buying our property in Northern NSW.
We stayed in contact with Wendy over the years (she thinks we are mad travelling around as we do!), and luckily for us the time was right in 2011 to visit again, and help out on the farm. It was a great opportunity for us to to something different. The property is 37 acres, lived on by four separate, but connected families (Wendy has lived here on and off for 40 years). Each have their own plot of land with a house and garden, and there is a huge area in the middle, known as "The Meadow" which is a shared area for growing veggies. Because of the harsh winters here (it can drop to -18 degrees below!!), all the crops must be grown with in a few month period, and there ideally should be enough to last through the winter. So, Spring (when we arrived ) is a busy period.
|Veggie garden in the meadow|
It's not an understatement to say we had one MASSIVE shock to our systems when we arrived! Firstly, there was the drizzly, cold "summer" weather to contend with. When we visited eight years ago, it was July and the sun blazed down lovely and HOT every day. Wendy wilted in the shade, and we worked away in the sun, in our element! It must be said, the situation was somewhat reversed this time, with us cowering inside the house with the fire blazing for much of the first couple of weeks! They have a saying in British Colombia, that when the sun and rain come together the foxes are getting married (I know, these Canadians are weird!), and it was pretty obvious there was a lot of romance going on in the fox world during our time in Canada. We found the weather situation very difficult at first, but it eventually warmed up nicely for our last few weeks, and it was very special.
|One of the few times I wore shorts!|
The second thing to contend with was getting back into "work shape". Although we are quite healthy when we travel, and get plenty of exercise, it is done whenever we feel like it, and doesn't compare to the physical work around a farm. Wendy had no expectations of us doing any work, but we had our own motives, and it took a while to adjust to the new program . To make matters much, much worse, the second day after we had arrived, Richard became too enthusiastic about chopping wood, and seriously hurt his back, which put him out of action for a few weeks.
|Two projects finished- firewood and cork curtain|
There's plenty of events going on around Silverton in the Summer, but between the bad weather and working, we didn't venture out too much. When we did, we appreciated the artistic bent of the community with many art shows, markets, musical concerts, nature walks, as well as the hospitality of local neighbours.
|Silverton Lake (there's no way I was jumping in that freezing water!)|
|Richard in cable car|
We also greatly missed the food of Asia, and realized how lucky we are to have someone cook us delicious food at every meal for a dollar or two! Having said that, we did eat very well during our time in BC. The garden was overflowing with fresh produce, and every day we ate organic salads, veggies and grains- a mostly vegetarian diet. We did still manage to put on quite a bit of weight thanks to the re-introduction of lots of dairy and bread into out diets after so long, not to mention the chocolates and sweets we had been deprived of!
|Strawberries from the garden|
|Our first moose burgers!!|
The landscape in BC is so entirely different from anywhere else we've been, with huge snow capped mountains, crystal clear (and freezing!) lakes, wildflowers, cold climate trees like conifers and birch, and wildlife such as deer and ......bears! We had a lot of bear sightings while we were here. The worst was a small black bear who looked all alone, who kept returning to destroy the garden every night (and some days). He was very brazen (and cute ), but no-one wanted him around. The last resort decision to have him destroyed was made, but luckily, he disappeared, and it never had to take place.
Naughty bear video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCnVEe6mqvg
Beautiful Wilson Falls video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdxiQfw5qFs
|River on property|