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Mahone Bay
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 30
Persons: 1 or more
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 19915
Region: Nova Scotia

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Last Updated: September 12, 2016

I moved to this beautiful region of Nova Scotia about 4 years a go after living 10 years in Britain. I'm in the process of setting up an artisanal micro-scale goat cheese dairy and I run a pastured operation with dairy goats, heritage breed pigs and poultry. Hoping to have the creamery licensed by September so it's an exciting (and busy) time!

My home (and the farmstead) dates from the 1700s when German settlers first arrived to this region of Canada. I've accomplished a lot since we arrived to restore this farm to be a nurturing place for people, animals and the land.

The farm is a mix of woodlands, pastures, an orchard, some ponds etc. and is near the gorgeous seaside town of Mahone Bay (10 mins by car, 30min by bike) but also completely private. Most everyone comments that the farm is a truly beautiful and peaceful place.

There's kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding etc nearby. The UNESCO World Heritage Town of Lunenburg (lots of German and sailing heritage) is also nearby and Halifax is an hour away. The South Shore of NS is known for its beautiful coastline, antique shops, wineries and sandy beaches.There are multiple farmers markets in the vicinity.

Animal welfare is important to me - so if you want to learn about animal husbandry and generally like being around animals, and don't mind physical work, you should enjoy being here. The reverse is true if this isn't your cup of tea. Aside from goats, we also raise heritage pigs on pasture and heritage chickens and guinea fowl. Being out on pasture means we move our goats and pigs around - that's an ongoing chore to move electric fencing but it's healthier for them and for us (and the land too).

I make cheese for our own use and teach cheese making at the farm and sometimes other heritage skills. We have a beautiful Mongolian yurt which guests or helpers sometimes stay in. And I have a neat eco-chalet and a nice woods cabin for farmstay guests (and also for helpers sometimes too).

Helpers may assist with many different things, depending on the season - feeding, cleaning stalls, milking, making cheese, helping with fencing, wood cutting/stacking, gardening (seeding, weeding, etc), renovation projects (that's a big one now as we're working on the creamery!), house tidying. Usually there's lots going on and an opportunity to learn specific as well as general things. If you have particular learning interests please let me know.

No prior farm experience is needed - though enthusiasm and a cheery attitude is. A lot of farm work is physical.

I prefer helpers who can stay a minimum of 2 weeks, 3 weeks in summer (shorter is sometimes OK, a month is often ideal here or longer term apprentices can also sometimes be arranged). A private room in the house is the usual set up, or you may team up with 1-2 others in the off-grid woods cabin (pretty nice spot, on its own pond). Or in other accommodation on site.

We require 5-6 hours of help/day typically in winter and 6-7 hours of help 5 days a week in other seasons, in exchange for room and hearty board ('The best food we've eaten in our year in Canada' ..). We start about 8 in the morning in summer with chores and repeat in the early evening, with usually a project or two in between, or sometimes a visit off farm to a farmers market, to the beach etc. Ideally we have 2-3 helpers at any one time, so one helper may start later in the day and do evening chores with both overlapping on a special project.

Bikes are available. For stays of at least 2 weeks we may be able to collect you in Halifax or arrange a ride. Non-smokers only please. Vegetarians and vegans cannot be accommodated (sorry); although we do often eat vegetarian meals we can't arrange for special meals when we don't and we try to be self sufficient from what we produce (as much as possible).

I frequently host foreign students and enjoy having cheerful folks about. Having traveled a lot myself (to over 50 countries) and worked professionally in supporting others to do the same on volunteer placements around the world, it's great to continue to support cross-cultural learning.

Placements available year round including in winter. Spaces available still for September and into the Fall and Winter 2017.

Note: If you secure a placement, please show up and commit to the time allotted (no shows are extremely difficult to cope with on a small farm). This is not a farm holiday, though it is considered my most anyone who's stayed, to be a great place to be.

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