Our second workaway stop in Canada was west of Prince George, BC and was a former fishing resort on Nulki Lake but now owned and lived on by a family who just love the place and keep a collection of meat rabbits, meat chickens, horses, cow and dogs. The work was very different to Workaway 1 on the organic farm – not nearly so many animals and very, very laid-back. Used to working much longer hours, at first I really struggled to adjust to only a few hours a day but soon settled into our new spot. We had our own lovely cabin on the lake front and close to the house so we had our own space when we weren’t working or hanging out with the family.
Our host, Claire, and her 11 year old son, Lucas, were really welcoming and we had so much fun getting to know them. Himself’s back was really, really bad and he could barely walk (not helped by a week of sleeping on a soft mattress at an odd angle in the back of a car!). Claire made him drink lots of turmeric tea (so nourishing!) and he spent plenty of time on the inversion table (a table which you lie on and then turn yourself vertically upside down on your head) with Lucas standing at the bottom, threatening to poke him! Here is cheeky Lucas and me feeling the effects of sugar after ice cream…
Most of our work involved feeding rabbits (and sometimes their two day old babies) and chickens:
Mowing the lawn and strimming (or as most other English speaking countries call “weed-wacking”):
Grazing and ‘joining up’ with Miracle and Whinny, the horses:
Stroking Stewart the cow (Stewart, as in beef stew-art):
I also did re-organising parts of the house but, I am sure you will all be sad to hear, I didn’t take photos of that…!
I spent most of my spare time hugging Kaia, the beautiful white German Shepherd, and she even slept in our cabin for a couple of nights. She looked very sad when we were loading our bags into the back of the truck and I missed her so much the first few days we were gone. She used to follow us around the ranch as we were working and come up and walk between our legs…and just stand there, waiting for us to pet her head!
Our lovely host took us out to a historical museum to learn about the Hudson Bay Trading Company and the fur trade which was done by the first set of European traders in BC, which was a great day out in Fort St James. Of course, the First Nations people had been trading for thousands of years! We learnt a great deal of the history of First Nations people and the way they were treated by Europeans. I was planning on going into detail about that here but I think I will write a post specifically on the subject as it feels really important to cover as we, in Europe, are not usually told of the awful things we did to First Nations people in Canada (as well as many other countries, of course).
Some lovely people from the First Nations Reserve near the ranch showed me how to gut salmon so I spent a morning helping gut 57 salmon and then helped start smoking the salmon. Great fun!
One sunny afternoon, we went to Cheslatta Falls and the Kenney Dam – a mere 1.5 hrs on dirt roads away from the ranch. The Kenney Dam is a rock filled hydroelectric dam built in the 1950s which flooded a huge portion of land, including traditional land of a First Nations band who had been living there for 10,000 years. Villages were demolished and the land had been almost entirely forested area – it is dangerous to sail a boat on the Dam as trees often ‘pop up’ from the bottom.
The Cheslatta Falls, part of the Cheslatta River, were amazing and the biggest waterfall I had ever seen. The sound of the waterfall was so loud and we had to actually move away from it to hear it. I could have spent hours watching the water falling – it’s the kind of place when one is having a bad time, they can think back to the rhythm of the crashing water. There is an amazing but terrifying video of some guys kayaking down the Falls, which I urge you to watch!
After seeing the Falls, we went for a swim slightly up river which was perfect on such a hot, dusty afternoon.
We were so sad to leave the lovely, peaceful ranch at Nulki Lake with the evening bonfires, pink skied sunsets, and our BC family but leave we had to so we could get on with the next leg of our adventure!