Without further delay, here’s an announcement:
- Aug 17 -24
- Sept 7-14
- Oct 12-19
Please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to sign up!
There is an insane and intense workload ahead of us and we already feel physically drained and exhausted. But our hearts and minds are moving a mile a minute with all the plans and possibilities ahead of us.
Without further delay, here’s an announcement:
We have three work exchange blitz's lined up for the rest of the season. We have many tasks planned for these weeks, including plastering the roundhouse, some carpentry to complete a shed, some gardening and forest garden prep, completing an outhouse and many more. The dates are as follows:
Please contact me directly at email@example.com for more info and to sign up!
Hello friends. I know you may be wondering.. why last post?! What's happening?? Are they calling it quits?? Yes we are. It's over for the Landon Ridge Project. Goodbye, farewell, adios. We've had enough of Landon Ridge. We never really liked it anyway. We've actually been trying to think of something new for a very long time. And guess what. We've finally figured it out! We are so excited and relieved actually. What's this new thing you wonder?? Never fear folks - it's just a new name ;-)
It's true. We were never that pleased with the name Landon Ridge. It never really felt unique. It seems at least here in this part of Canada you can't turn a corner without encountering some kind of 'Ridge'... 'Maple Ridge' or 'Bear Ridge' etc. and we find it's commonly associated with more upscale kind of establishments. (ie. There's a Bancroft Ridge Golf and Country Club near us) However, we are not upscale. We are civilized and somewhat 'refined.' But we ain't no fancy Ridge!
It's also true - we've been trying to think of a more suitable name for a very long time. This has been harder then naming our daughters! We made a list of criteria. We've tuned into the land. We've made lists upon lists, countless mindmaps and consulted friends. I was ready to open a contest up to the general public but alas a name struck us on our last trip up the land. And wonder of wonders - we both finally thought, huh, that sounds pretty good. We were both waiting for that moment. The 'aha' moment. No need to convince the other partner. This is it. First things I did - check the domain, check Facebook groups, check Instagram. It's available, available, available! Yes, yes, yes. Swiped them all up. So here we are friends. We welcome you to the:
LANDON ROCK PROJECT
Isn't it brilliant?! Can't say it isn't solid hey?! Jokes aside. Sure, it's not a massive change but there are many reasons why Andres and I resonate so much more with this name. A few of those reasons for any curious minds out there:
The Canadian shield occupies the part of the North American craton that's on the eastern side of Canada. Unlike the rest of the craton, the Shield is nearly bare, with only a thin blanket of earth covering its surface. This makes the area much less useful for some activities, such as farming."
Indeed - it is truly just a thin blanket of earth (again.. Land-on Rock ;) covering our precious property but we will carry on our mission in making it a thriving place for us and many others to enjoy. And yes, it's not right for industrial farming but we're looking forward to achieving our kind of farming :-)
The only thing that perhaps does not jive with us and the word 'rock' is that a rock can be defined as 'un-moving,' 'inert,' and 'passive.' Hmmm.. kinda true about rocks.. however, as far as I understand, everything is always changing and moving. The forms and shapes of the rocks of today are very different to what they were millions, thousands and hundreds of years ago. So let us move and change together. In solidarity. Let's be the Shield, the protectors for the Earth. Our place is a horseshoe of hope, a good luck charm for us and the planet. Let's Rock and Roll people!
Oh and before anyone brings up Alcatraz (the infamous Rock), I tell you..
Landon Rock is a place where you are always free to go - but you'll never want to leave :-b
Peace and love to all.
This is something I've been wanting to write about for a while especially with my new intention of having a more consistent social media presence. I feel like I just have to get this off my chest and then I'll be able to breathe a bit better and then possibly end up polluting your news feeds like a mad woman! Because ultimately, I am very eager to share but at the same time I have intense hesitations and reservations about posting continuous personal content. And I know that Andres feels the same way (even more so really). To sum up, there are four reasons for our discomfort with social media.
1) We are private people. It simply feels strange to share any old experience so publicly, whether it's a photo of our progress, achievement, general enjoyment or struggle. This is an opportunity for everyone and anyone to have a look at our intimate and private moments. Because that's what they are - OUR moments and it's crazy to think that anyone from across the world could have a glimpse of it at any time and furthermore - have a judgement about it.
2) My past self is such a weirdo and I'd rather just deal with my weirdo self on my own rather then skimming through previous posts I've written and start to cringe at the thought that others whom I'm not even aware of, may have read my writings and see what kind of a weirdo I am.
3) This one is based more on paranoia. I feel a bit anxious about sharing a bunch of photos and information about my kids. With the idea of identity theft and even artificial intelligence becoming more and more of a concern, I don't want to add my daughters' info to the pool of content out there that could potentially be stolen and used in some God knows what way. I am not an expert on this. But here's an article on the fact that no one actually has any idea on how it will all pan out. I don't have time to research AI or to think about the consequences of corporations stealing my information. Because of that I feel like I won't flood social media with pics of me and my kids but nevertheless, I can't help but include some family photos here and there cause we are ALL a part of this project.
4) Finally, and this feels like the most important one to me/us. The idea that mental health issues are on the rise and it's connection to social media. I hear it on the radio constantly. I just did a quick Google search and a bunch of articles show up with studies on how unhealthy social media can be. For example, here's one from Forbes from a few months ago. And here's the statement from the article that sums up the main concern:
"Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there's an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people's lives, particularly on Instagram, it's easy to conclude that everyone else's life is cooler or better than yours."
So does this mean that I may be responsible for someone having a worse day then they would have had, had they not seen or read my post?! I don't want to be so dramatic. Besides, I'll most likely be posting info and pics on a compost toilet we might be building - not exactly a reason for someone to get down about themselves. But who knows?! In reality, the whole aim of my/our posts is to simply share information about what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve. I might be so bold to say that one of our intentions is to motivate others to start following their dreams. However, intention is one thing and the actual consequence of our actions is another. Even this post could somehow potentially offend someone! And I admit - I might take multiple photos to choose the one that looks the most flattering for us, for example. (I once heard an insane average of photos people will take before actually posting. It's crazy!) Obviously I choose pictures where we look happy and content. Although sometimes I wish I had an invisible floating camera around Andres and I when we get into our seriously, intense, blood boiling, 'let's call it quits' kinda discussions, just to share with you evidence that our lives are most definitely not so rosy all the time. I know in reality, every one is more or less aware that people, couples etc go through their rough times but this is the unfairness inherent in social media. We don't and I don't think there really is a truly authentic way of showing this side of our lives. Not that there is truly a need for that specifically but it all seems like such a grey issue and I'm simply acknowledging that here.
Anyway, my bottom line on this point is that I humbly and very seriously don't believe anyone would ever think my life is 'cooler' or better or more productive then there's. However, if I'm completely honest - I have found myself comparing my life to the lives of others who I've discovered through Youtube for example, and they are achieving so much! So much more then we have so far and I feel jealous. I start to analyze my life, our decisions, our actions and start to judge myself. At the same time I do find these people inspiring and I might end up using some of the experiences they share and post to my benefit. It's a very unsettling thought process going through my mind. Either way, I just really hope that no one gets an incorrect or skewed view of our lives that may cause them to feel down about themselves. As that article also stated:
"Social media, especially spending long periods of time on it, is just not that good for us. We may not need to quit it completely, but limiting our time on social media considerably, and reconnecting with friends and family in real life, is definitely the way to go."
At this point, I want to say that I'm not quite sure as to what I'm exactly trying to achieve with this post except to show some awareness. Awareness that yes - some incredibly remarkable and positive actions have resulted due to the thoughtful use of social media but negative impacts can also occur even with the most kindest and harmless of intentions.
Further, I don't want to sound ignorant to the fact that if I have these reservations and concerns then why do I even bother to post anything? The answer to that is, we have seen the positive ways that these incredible new technologies can be used and how they've helped others achieve amazing things. We could probably say that the Internet has had a lead role in guiding us on our own journey to where we are now and has helped us acquire so much new knowledge. The possibility to search for anything and connect with virtually anyone on the planet at anytime is extraordinary and we also want to be part of this evolution. As I said in the beginning - I am eager to share, share more than I have been and not just the serious hard work but fun stuff too. But we want to be mindful as well. We'll see how things go from now on. Besides this inner analysis that goes through my head, the time factor (and motivation) stops me often too.
I hope I'm making some sense here. Either way, even if all this explanation seems totally unnecessary, I just wanted to share these thoughts before venturing further into this whole social media dimension experiment. It's all being figured out as we go along and I think it makes me feel a bit more comfortable just acknowledging my discomfort rather then avoiding it and just aimlessly posting content. I mean, we have a very particular goal and vision in mind, besides our striving to achieve an alternative lifestyle, we are also in the process of designing our own business. Hence there is very deliberate information that we'll be sharing but as we're talking about an alternative lifestyle in general - it could appear a bit aimless sometimes.
Lastly, I'm also curious to what other project makers are thinking in regards to this topic while raising a family and sharing photos and info of their progress on social media. You can kinda tell some people are more private then others but for me, I'd rather lay out our feelings on it directly so I can proceed with sharing in our way and you can understand our boundaries however they may turn out to be after this whole rant!
To close, finally(!), I'm going to go against my usual behaviour and post a picture of our family with all of us facing the camera. Here we are, the four of us, the first time altogether at our land last July :)
We can't wait to get back up there again soon. We also look forward to the whole journey ahead and sharing it as humbly as we can with anyone that may be glancing our way.
Wow. It's just dawned on me that this evening seven years ago, Andres and I were scrambling around like crazy in our old London flat still emptying the place and getting ready for one of the most important and impactful adventures of our lives. Andres was still putting my bike together and we were getting ready to set off the next morning for our 6 month cycling and volunteering trip all around the British Isles!! Seems like yesterday and at the same time, a lifetime ago.
So much has changed. We relocated and settled in Canada, Andres started and closed two businesses, we bought the land of our dreams, started developing it completely from the ground up, got a dog, lived in Toronto, then Hamilton, then Bancroft, then Toronto, then who cares, I've lost count. Oh ya and we had two kids, among other things....
I mentioned in the last post that I'd summarize a little timeline but I'm too tired for that right now. I will one day. For now, I'll tell you that we are living full-time in Toronto as we have been for the past couple of years and we go to visit our property and do what we can, when we can. If someone had told me seven years ago that this is where we'd be and how far along we'd be with our project, I would've put a fist to his face and said - No way man! We're gonna do it and we're gonna do it fast and with no money!! Hahahaha And then life happens... oh well. I assure you - we have not lost our spunk. We've just got wiser spunk now :)
Anyway, I leave you with a link to our 2012 UK cycling adventure Youtube video! Enjoy my super high tech CGI editing skills. I think I'll watch it now and shed a tear or two with a wee glass of Grouse.
Good night all.
I mean we’re back online here, on the website, finally! Not sure who out there reads this (I’m thinking no one , except mom of course ;) but in case you weren’t aware, we had another baby. Been a year and a half already actually. So you can say we’ve been laying low since summer 2017. That’s not to say our whole homesteading project was ever pushed aside. We still live and breathe it every day. Looking after and trying your best to create two outstanding human beings sure does take up a tad of your time though.
It's looking like we won't be able to get back into our project with the full force this year as we so desperately would like to however, we've got many things in the works in achieving some progress and we'd like to share that with you all here. I'm also trying to create some kind of presence on Instagram as that's where all the action seems to be these days (or am I behind on that already?!) My name there is homesteading.gypsy.mama.
For the record and for anyone who may be curious about the timeline with our whole experience in setting up our homestead combined with personal circumstances then please check back soon as I'm hoping to put up a little summary of that for the next post.
In the meantime, here are some pics of Andres and our girls transplanting some young self-seeded, randomly scattered coniferous trees from our property as a boarder hedge, to block out view and sound from the road. The idea is to test out a couple different methods to decide how and what to specifically transplant before committing to moving a ton of them and realizing we should have done something different.
These pics were taken from the visit up to our land over this past weekend. It was Easter weekend, a celebration of rebirth, fitting for the intentions we have going on at the moment.
Here are some photos from as far back as April, when there was still snow on the ground! Yikes. It's a random collection of various happenings here on the Ridge. Most notably - the connection of our hand pump to our dug well (water on the land.. so exciting!!), graphting 50 apple trees (where a few actually bloomed), building a new tool shed (lot of stuff overflowing from our existing shed), and (I think my favourite this year) an outdoor shower!!
We will no longer be posting photos of progress on the roundhouse for various reasons. However, you are welcome to visit us and have a look if you wish. In fact, we will be hosting another friends and volunteers (who are/will likely become friends) building event this labour day weekend! Please go to the contact page here and contact me for more info.
Suddenly everything is green and lush and winter is a distant memory. We had our very first volunteers of the season, (back in April actually) a very kind fellow and his little energetic daughter. An array of jobs were tackled while they were here, mainly building a new tool shed at the roundhouse site, bush clearing, and some planting.
In the meantime, Andres and I have been trying to tackle as much as we can, however it is incredibly difficult to tick things off the to-do list while he works full-time and I am constantly chasing our intensely active one-year old daughter. We often discuss how we can progress further and quicker in our homesteading project. This seems to be our biggest challenge so far - dealing with the lack of time to do so many things. And I know we are not the only ones. Everyone, everywhere in urban and rural areas alike have little time to accomplish the things we need and want to do. How can we get over this obstacle?! The more I think about it, the more I am in favour of a reduced-hour work week. I think it is important for folks to have decent downtime for themselves in addition to some work time at home and/or in the community. For us, we are building our whole infrastructure - from scratch, with very limited utilities and with the aim to become as close to entirely self-sufficient as possible. This is not easy and it makes me feel in awe of all the people we visited on our volunteering/wwoofing travels in the UK who have children and who managed to do all this and continue to do it! Thinking of them sometimes is what really keeps me going.
This is a general list of the jobs we are working on at the moment.
Gardening tasks include: maintaining the annual garden, organizing and caring for our growing collection of perennials into a forest garden, caring for our newly grafted apple trees, building a greenhouse.
Building tasks include: completing a small scale roundhouse structure which will be our temporary home until the main house (an Earthship) is ready, finish building 2 outhouses, a root cellar, and a tool shed.
Landscaping tasks include: transplanting trees to make natural fences/barriers/hedges, carving out trails, paths and driveways through the property for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and general access.
Other homesteading tasks include: preserving our harvest, harvesting firewood, and maintaining tools, equipment and structures which includes cleaning, sanding, grinding, painting, and oiling.
Other creative tasks include: making signs for our property and other decorative features, basketry and ornamental weaving from our own harvested wild materials (we are not experts at this yet but would love to learn from someone or learn together!), and other wild crafting such as harvesting plentiful wildflowers for medicinal and cosmetic uses.
Told ya we're busy :-)
On that note.... I posted some ads on a couple volunteer networks. Links are below if you want to have a look or pass on to anyone. I am also setting up a host profile on WWOOF Canda and there should be a posting on the Earthship Ottawa Meetup group soon.
That's it for now. Will try to post some photos next time.
I got a good whiff of that fresh spring air today and it was heavenly. That means the gardening and building season is almost upon us. We decided to rent a house in town for winter but we are eager to get back to the landstead and carry on with all the projects we have on the go. Various tasks from our extensive 'to do' list include; planting the annual garden, starting to establish the forest garden, carving out more paths and trails, building two compost toilets and a root cellar and finishing the sandbag roundhouse build.
We would like to make this year our first official year as hosts for work-stay volunteers from May to October. In addition to the (hopefully) steady stream of visiting helpers, we also plan to host a few larger group gatherings to advance quicker on certain tasks. I will post info regarding dates as soon as they are confirmed. In the mean time if anyone is interested in volunteering please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, I leave you with a photo of the well we dug out last fall. If you look close you can see my reflection waving to the water down below. It is a strange feeling to have so much excitement for a substance that has always seemed so plentiful with the turn of a tap.
We're still cracking on with our building! Yes, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler (well freezing actually) but we are still motivated to get ahead on our roundhouse. As you can see from the photo the roof has not yet been erected. That's not because our incredible helpers did not work their super generous butts off on Thanksgiving weekend. Turned out there were some other details to work out first before proceeding to the much anticipated reciprocal roof raising.
Energy was spent on digging a couple trenches by the front entrance to insert the cedar posts that will eventually retain the earth that will be buried behind them. One team dug, another team collected the posts, and another team filled a few more sandbags. While the logs for the roof were peeled and cleaned, tough, burly friends heaved, carefully set and secured the posts into place.
It was work that came at us last minute as we realised this cedar retention wall would be great idea for the entrance and it logically made sense to put this up before proceeding with the roof. It is certainly necessary to have a plan in place before engaging in such a project however I'm finding more and more that what you 'plan' may not exactly turn out to be what you actually do - or least what you plan to do will happen much (much) later then when you think you're gonna do it!
In fact, we had an unfortunate set-back as Andrés injured his back at work a few days before the weekend. He was out of work for over week. He was unable to move much and to prepare as much as he would've liked to previous to the build. Luckily he is a lot better now but still has to be careful. And obviously this isn't stopping him from plowing on with the build.
Besides that Thanksgiving was a lovely success for us and as usual we are eternally grateful to the wonderful folks that came out again and for the first time. Thanks Abby, Alice, Dan, JF, Julia, Martin, Megan, and Tim. You guys rock! And thanks to Patricia, our amazing neighbour who came around with fresh baked, still warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies at just the right time.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which feels ages away already, Andrés and I have to say how incredibly happy and blessed we are, especially at this time in our lives. It was exactly a year ago at this time that we announced to our close family and friends that I was pregnant with our first baby. She arrived this May and has kept us very busy ever since but has also brought much joy to us. In the midst of caring for our newborn and dealing with normal day to day stuff, somehow we felt we could build a home at the same time - off-grid with no running water nonetheless. Sometimes I think we're a little coo-coo. However, it is because we know and can feel there are wonderful souls wandering this beautiful planet that would somehow find their way to us and lend a hand when we really need it. We believe in karmic connections, paying it forward, love and respect. We need you like you need us, we all need each other. Sometimes it is hard for us (me especially) to ask for help but I don't think it's a bad thing. It seems people really do want to help others, the only problem normally is time. Nevertheless, whether you are or have been with us physically or simply in spirit, we have benefited from your positivity and support, and for that we give thanks.
Oh and I did manage to cook a turkey for the first time in my life, which turned out alright. Made the cranberry sauce too for the first time - the easiest thing to make in the world, and why not avoid the canned stuff when all you need are cranberries (which are so plentiful and cheap at that time), some sugar (maple syrup would probably be better) and a bit of water. I also roasted a squash that self-seeded from our compost pile this year. No watering, fertilizing or even seed sowing required - talk about permaculture! Along with Patricia's homegrown purple potatoes (not kidding, they're proper purple and super yummy), it was a super feast. And for the finale a choice between three pies - apple, pumpkin and my naughty banoffee, nothing homegrown about that one but oh so irresistable!
Well if you're up for an adventure like this, then come on over and join us. With the nightly freezing temperatures we can recommend a couple cute BnBs in the area. Just assume we're working every weekend, we can always use an extra hand and you'll always at least be served a meal in gratitude.