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help exchange   Host 12608
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Help Exchange

Bruce Mines
All Year: All Year
Area (ha): 230 acres to 93 hectares
Persons: maximum 2
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 12608
Region: Ontario

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Last Updated: June 12, 2018

We live on our farming property with a campground resort component as well. Our farm is primarily a working alpaca farm located right off the Trans Canada highway in Northern Ontario which makes it an ideal place for anybody looking for helpx stops working their way across Canada. We are looking for mature visitors (19 and over) only. I am disabled so my husband is left taking care of all the animals and household chores himself and tries to fit in time to do the other things he needs to get done. We are not in a position to hire anybody so this volunteer program works great for us. My husband gets some help which lessens the load on him and we get to meet wonderful people and learn about life in other countries. In exchange our visitors get to interact with and learn about a variety of animals and experience life on a Canadian farm and all that entails.

On our farm there are horses, bunnies, alpacas, llama, goats, ducks, chickens, cats and dogs. I am disabled and unable to do anything around the farm (except enjoy the love of the animals). Breakfast and lunch is basically help yourself and dinners are eaten together. We have an open fridge policy if you are hungry in between.

We purchased this 230 acre (93 hectares) waterfront property in 2012 that was quite run down when we bought it so there is still a lot of work to be done. The main task will be helping with the animals and other farm chores and household chores. However, the property contains potential cabin rentals (once they are fixed up), a small campground and a working farm. My husband is working on renovating cottages, building run-ins, painting, etc. that he may need a hand with. Other additional projects may include piling wood, general yard clean-up or packing and unpacking also need to be done.

In the warmer weather, we have a heated/air conditioned excellent condition trailer which will allow privacy as well as provide a double bed, good sized fridge and stove and washroom (there is a shower - but it would be more comfortable to use the one in the house). In the winter, there is a bedroom upstairs. There are a lot of things for your enjoyment on your free time such as a hot tub and sauna, WII with many games or hiking the property. In the summer, we have direct lake waterfront for those who like to swim in the lake. We also have canoes and row boat to go fishing or just spend quiet time on the lake. In the winter, we have snowmobiles and the argo for exploring the trails. When the water freezes, there is an island across from us that you can explore as well as skating on the lake. This is a nature lovers paradise between the hiking trails, lakefront and wildlife, it is a fabulous place to be!

If you are looking at visiting our area for a minimum of 2 weeks (prefer 3 or more), and think it would be a good fit, please let us know. We have a lot of cats that share our house (except the kitchen) and don't go outside so you must like cats (in the summer there are accommodation options that don't involve being in with the cats)! Also, aside from very minimal French, we don't speak any other languages. In order to be able to communicate, we are looking for visitors who know enough English to communicate with us. We are more than happy to help you expand your English if that is what you want, but given our inability to speak other languages, it is necessary that visitors to our home have at least enough English skills and are able to ask questions and understand instructions in English. We look forward to hearing from you if you feel we are a good fit!

We have a very relaxed work load and are not morning people (so mornings usually start around 9 or 10 by the time breakfast is over - but Dave aims for Most days are planned as the day arrives so a very flexible attitude is a must. If you are looking for set times each day this is not the place for you. Our goal is to make sure our visitors enjoy their stay as much as possible so we encourage breaking up the work load when possible to allow you to enjoy the nice weather as well (which includes stopping for a couple hours in the hot hours to allow time for fun). We also try to incorporate at least one outing a week (especially in the summer months) so that you can see tourist attractions. At minimum, we plan an outing where we do something like go out in the boat for a relaxing afternoon and swim in the lake. Unfortunately when we are expecting babies its not as easy to leave the farm, but when that's the case we encourage hiking, boating, etc. We keep in mind that this is a vacation exchange and try to focus on ensuring that you learn about animals and Canada while you are here.

Serious enquiries only. We will not hold placement until you have verified that you will be arriving on a specific date. We have had too many instances of visitors cancelling after we have turned others away because they were still searching after committing to us. We also ask you do not commit to staying with us until you are sure you will be here. We plan around visitors because without them my husband has to do everything himself and he is only one person, so cancellations are very disruptive (imagine if a host cancelled on you). In addition, it takes the opportunity away from other visitors who were turned away while we were holding your spot and leaves us in a bad position. We are very honest trustworthy people and stand by our word. We treat all of our visitors with respect and we just ask for the same in return.

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