Forget-Me-Not Homestead - August to December 2018
Homestead - August 2018
August finally arrived and it was vacation time. I had a two week window to accomplish what I needed to get done in New Brunswick. I loaded all our gear and the two dogs into the camper I built and we were off for our three day drive. Thankfully, my sister decided to look after the cat while I was away, as I was worried about her getting out. She is declawed and all I could picture was bad things.
On our way out to New Brunswick, I stopped at one of my van girl friends for the night. Oh yes, I belong to a couple of vanlife groups - you can check that out on the "Travel - Alternative Lifestyles" page. We had a great dinner and a nice visit. Next morning, bright and early, we were off for the second leg of our homestead journey. I wanted to push all the way through Quebec, if possible. As it turned out, we spent the second night at a nice little campsite by Riviera du Loop. The people here were great. On the third day, we arrived on our land just outside Shemogue, New Brunswick about 5 in the afternoon.
What lovely red soil. My drive, basically a lane they had used for lumbering, had several waterholes in it. Unfortunately, the dogs had to pee so bad I quickly put them out without checking the surroundings. The truck camper charges two 12v deep cell batteries off the alternator, so flipped the contoller off so it wouldn't drain the truck battery and set about organizing the truck for our few day stay. When I finished the organization, I went out with water and food for the dogs. What did I find?
I found my male Jack Russell covered in red earth and dripping wet. He loves water. I quickly grabbed him and set him on the deck on the rear of the truck to dry him off. Man, did he shake and red mud flew absolutely everywhere. Thankfully I had shut the screen door, but still everything was spotted. My cookstoves and sidewalls inside the camper took the worst of it. Even after I dried him off, he remained pink. Nothing I did, including pouring water over him erased the pink and my towel, although pink, had a lovely red smear everywhere. Guess what folks, that lovely red dirt stains everything it touches.
After putting the dogs into the camper to eat, I walked part of my land as dusk was settling in. I had checked the tracks in and around Shaggy's mudhole, so I was already aware that the land had moose, deer, bear, and from what I could tell a big cat. When I returned to the truck, we had dinner and settled in for the night. It had been a long day.
Homestead - Meet the Contractors
Shortly after we settled in, I heard a vehicle and looked out the front window to find a police car slowing down, but he carried on.
The next morning came bright and early and by the end of that day, I had met and worked out details with five of the six contractors. It was wonderful to meet everyone and they were some of the nicest and most helpful people I had met in a long time. They pointed out many things that I was not aware of, so I knew when I returned to Ontario I would have some final decisions to make as far as placement from the road for buildings to be located.
That night, I turned the truck around to keep the jacks out of the water puddles. The mosquitos through the day and especially in the evening were horrid, but thankfully the screen door kept most of them at bay. As I only had one contractor to meet with this day and he arrived early, I spent some time walking back the driveway until I reached the halfway point on the land. As the dogs were beginning to kick up a fuss and I was getting eaten alive, I returned to the truck. I watched the osprey soaring on the wind. There is a nest high up in the trees in the back section of the land. Late afternoon, two bald eagles settled on a large dead tree branch and sat watching us quietly.
That night, the police officer stopped again, but this time he got out of the cruiser and walked around the camper. I could hear his steps on the gravel. He didn't knock or anything, just got back in his car and left. Figure he ran my Ontario plates and was satisfied. At 2 in the morning, we were disturbed by a moose who had wondered down the drive to the watering hole. It was a mother with a young one. The young one kept its distance, but momma came right up close to the truck. After a drink, they both slowly made their way back to the bush at the rear and I was totally amazed as the Jacks didn't go ballistic.
Meet the neighbours - Off to homestead friends in Nova Scotia
After breakfast on our third day on the land, we were off to meet some homesteading friends in Maccan, Nova Scotia. While there I checked out thier homestead, the animals, the solar system, had a tour of their home, met the eight dashounds, and enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee and visit. They are making it work and totally off-grid.
The next leg of our journey took us high in the hills of Cape Breton to meet a van friend who recently purchased land and is refurbishing an old church. For her, this is a labour of love. She is planning a totally organic lifestyle with space on her land set aside for those who travel and live in vans, rv, etc. I enjoyed a nice dinner there with her and her friend and then returned to where I was camping on her land to bunk down. Next morning, really early, we were off to Inverness to spend a day at McLeods campground. Along the way, I stopped at the scotch distillery and purchased a bottle for my landlord who had requested it.
McLeods was lovely. It was a time to sit back and relax, have a shower (truck has facilities, but the really hot water was wonderful), enjoy a walk along the ocean, and watch the whales pass by the headland. The dogs and I spent hours sitting up there and enjoyed a nice packed lunch on our spare blanket. The temperature was warm, not hot and the sunset over the ocean was to die for.
The next morning, we were up and off to visit a friend in Lower Sackville, NS. We had a great time. We went out for dinner to lovely restaurant and I enjoy discussing ideas and travelling plans with her. She is a super girl with lots of ideas.
On our way home.....
Early the next morning, we were off and returned to our land. Before returning home, I wanted to do some measurements so I had some ideas how far back from the road was within reach for the various utilities. Speaking of utilities; I had planned initially to go off grid, but after viewing the land and realizing the majority had been logged, I decided that in-floor heating was the way to go. I often travel as part of the vanlife groups; therefore, this ensured that while I was away nothing would freeze and break. The in-floor heating will be fired by propane. I had already decided that we would by on-grid with electricity and since I have to install septic and well, these decisions just made sense.
After a night on the land, we were heading home. Our next stop was Elgin to meet another homesteader. Unfortunately, he didn't receive my message we were on the way, but we had a beautiful drive through the back country around Elgin. Upon arriving at his homestead, we stopped just inside his drive...there was no way I was taking my truck any further in. The dogs and I walked back a long way, but didn't find the homestead or my friend.
Next stop, was a campground just the Quebec side of Edmonstun. The people here were super. I was invited to bingo and enjoy listening to about a 10 year old calling the numbers in French and English. After the bingo came, I had a number of people asked to see the inside of the camper and being proud of it, I welcomed them in.
On our way again, my lovely gps even though told to take 30 around Montreal, decided to take me through Montreal to Ottawa....what! In downtown centerville at a light, it requested a U turn. I did get turned around and then spend what seemed like hours heading down 40 towards Ottawa with no way to get off. It then directed me to stay in the right lane and get off on 20 to Ottawa, but as we were approaching 20, on the left side there was a sign that said "Highway 401 to Toronto". With a quick look behind me and seeing only really nice cars, I flipped on my signal and quickly cut across all four lanes and jumped off onto the 401. Brakes were pumping my whole way across the lanes, but everyone avoided me, thankfully.
Next morning, in Ontario, I met up with another vanlife friend at the casino just outside Kingston. We had a lovely visit and talked about her travel plans and my build. Then it was back to my friends trailer where we spent our first night for a great visit. Dinner was lovely, the company was great, and we enjoy a special day of chattering about all my experiences and her travel plans down south this winter to visit with her second family in Texas.
We arrived home the next day - 7800km in 10 days. Needless to say, next stop oil change, only over by 3,000
The picture below is the wharf at Cap Pele, just a 10 minute drive from my property and all the fresh lobster you can eat. We had our dinner here the first night we arrived in the area, before we settled on the land to meet the contractors....yummy!