Workaway #4

[Matilda]

For the past 10 days, we’ve been on another Workaway experience – this time in Black Creek (near Saratoga Beach). We’ve been staying with a lovely family and helping out with gardening, painting and cooking, among other little things. So far we are 4 for 4 on great Workaways and we’re hoping to keep a good streak going! For me it’s been really nice to be so close to the sea again as that is what I love the most. You can take the girl away from the coast, but you can’t take the coast out of the girl! That’s how the saying goes, right?

Black Creek is a small town with a grocery store, a gas station, a couple of liquor stores and one pizza place. It’s a 20 minute (or so) drive from Campbell River if you go north, or Courtenay if you go south. While being here we’ve been lucky enough to see several bald eagles which is so cool! They are so majestic. Seeing one soar just above you is an experience that pauses time for a little bit and puts you in the now.

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The sunsets here are pretty ridiculous! We’ve enjoyed buying ice cream at the Pacific Playground Resort before heading down to the water to watch for wildlife. Other than eagles, we’ve seen plenty of blue herons, a couple of sea lions, and jumping fish.  No whales, though… maybe one day…

We’ve also made a couple of four legged friends while being here. There’s Dharma, the black labrador, and Smudge, the one eyed cat. Dharma loves people, sticks and swimming. Smudge loves sleeping.

On one of our days off we went on a day trip to Elk Falls, which is a provincial park just outside Campbell River. Elk Falls was probably the coolest waterfall we’ve seen so far on this trip AND there was a suspension bridge going across the canyon! I much preferred this bridge to the Capilano one as it wasn’t as busy. The park has a looped trail that goes past the much smaller Deer Falls, as well as the medium-sized-but-not-as-cool Moose Falls. There is, however, a really nice body of water called the Dolphin Pool just beneath Moose Falls. The water is really clear and blue, and, if the weather allows it, we’d love to go back for a swim.

We’ve also tried out busking in Campbell River. There’s a farmers market on Sundays so we went in to try our luck. When we arrived there were already a couple of acts busking in the parking lot outside the market so we had to start out a little further away next to the road. The traffic meant that not a lot of people could hear us and therefore did not stop to listen. We did however meet a really nice musician named Max who gave us a lot of useful tips regarding busking and stayed to listen to us play. When a spot opened up down by the market, we went and made a few more dollars. At the end of the day, we had made $80. All of which will go straight to gas…

We’re now about to head out on a 6 day roadtrip to Tofino and back. We can’t wait to see some of the western parts of the island!

Just a few more pictures from our stay in Black Creek:

 

See you on the other side of Tofino?

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Roadtrip to Vancouver Island: Final Day in Short

05/06/2018

  • Nanaimo –> Black Creek
  • Woke up super early to leave our homely parking lot outside Cassidy.
  • Drove to Tim Hortons where Moa continued to sleep in the car and I (Matilda) had breakfast.
  • Made our way further north and our first stop was Rathtrevor Beach. The tide was low so we were able to walk on the sea floor and see lots of cool plants, rocks and crabs.
  • VERY WINDY DAY. The Rocky Mountains don’t have much wind so we had forgotten about coastal weather a little bit.
  • Had lunch in Qualicum Beach which is the most British town we’ve encountered so far in Canada.
  • Made plans to camp out in Kitty Coleman Provincial Park before arriving at our Workaway the next day.
  • Texted Workaway and they said we could come early so we didn’t have to sleep in the car again. Yay!
  • Stopped in Courtenay to look for thrift stores. They have a MASSIVE one called Value Village. Moa was in heaven and found a rain jacket.
  • Drove to Black Creek where we settled in at our new Workaway.
  • Got to sleep in nice and soft beds and shower. Heaven!
  • This was the last day of our roadtrip so the next update will summarise our Workaway experience in Black Creek/Saratoga Beach after we leave.

In pictures:

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Roadtrip to Vancouver Island: Day Five in Short

04/06/2018

  • Squamish –> Vancouver –> Nanaimo
  • Moa started the day with some climbing in Murrin Provinical Park.
  • We drove to Vancouver!
  • We accidentally drove into the city centre of Vancouver.
  • Hung out in beautiful Stanley Park.
  • Visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
  • Treetop Adventure was better than the bridge!
  • Left Capilano at around 7 and made the ferry to Nanaimo that left at 7:40.
  • Looked for Spruston Staging Area to camp overnight but road was closed so we had to find a random parking lot to sleep in. Oh well.

In pictures:

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Workaway #3: Building An Earthship!

[Matilda]

You may have noticed a lack of updates lately. This is because we’ve spent a significant amount of time off grid. For the past two weeks we were at our third Workaway experience where we helped a lovely family build an Earthship! This was also in Blaeberry – only a 12 minute drive from the buffalo ranch. What is an Earthship? Well, I could try to take you through it, but you’d probably be better off reading about it HERE!

This Workaway was different to our previous ones for a few different reasons:

  1. More work. Wintertime at our previous locations meant work was a little slow. Here, we worked 5 hours a day!
  2. Our hosts were a family. It was definitely a change of pace to stay with a family with kids.
  3. We were already well established in the area and therefore didn’t spend as much time “in the house” after work was done.

Our main task was to help build/insulate walls in the Earthship’s living area. We did this with cob which is a mixture of clay, water, sand and straw. It takes a day or so to really get the hang of working with cob, but once you do it’s like clockwork. We started out building walls. The ones facing the outside were decorated with bottles to allow more light in and for decoration:

Earthship bottle wall!
Moa built the lower half of this bottle wall and I the upper!

 

In our last few days, we began to cover the tyre walls. The Earthship’s outer walls are tyres packed with dirt which are then covered with different materials depending on their location. Inside they are covered with cob. This took a bit of finesse as they should be made as even as possible. After the cob, they will eventually be covered with some other materials before being completely finished.

Tyre wall in Earthship
The result of a day’s work covering tyres!

 

This type of work is very rewarding. It gets you focused and makes time pass really quickly. It gives you something to look at when the day is over and think “that’s what I made today”. And last but not least, it feels great to know that we’ve helped this wonderful family get one step closer to moving into their dream home.

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Photo by Jair

The family we stayed with was Jair and Mel and their two kids, Nova and Asher. Jair’s dad Tom also lives on the property and helps out in the Earthship. Though we were out and about quite often we really enjoyed the times we got to sit down and have a meal with the whole family. There was a great atmosphere and every person we met there was genuine and kind.

The family home, up until the completion of the Earthship, is a yurt. A yurt is essentially a big round tent. The yurt is completely solar powered so while we could happily charge our phones, we had to refrain from charging larger devices such as laptops. The water comes from a nearby creek! The family had a great name for going on a water collection mission: AQUA FORCE! We got to go with Tom, Nova and Asher on an Aqua Force mission when the family had a big bonfire.

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Left to right: Asher, me, Nova and Moa! Photographed by Tom.

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Our last day was yesterday and the family sent us off on our way with a big waffle breakfast. It was absolutely delicious. With our tour having two dates confirmed in Golden, I’m sure we’ll see them again soon! And if not, we’ll want to come back to see how work on the Earthship progresses. We definitely recommend you guys to follow these guys on Facebook! Check out Simply Not Square HERE.

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Sunset at “Inshallah”

A Rocky Mountain Tour!

Guys! Starting tomorrow, we are going on tour and visiting a few places in and around the Canadian Rockies. This has all been put together by the super talented Eric Larocque, a local musician that we met on our first jam night at the Wolf’s Den. We will be playing our own set as well as backing Eric up with some harmonies and it’s going to be amazing!

Look at this epic tour poster:

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Interested in hearing about the tour dates? Look no further! Well, actually, you have to. Look below!

Thursday 10 May – The Whistle Stop, Jasper, AB

Friday 11 May – The Truffle Pigs, Field, BC

Friday 18 May – Rockwater Bar and Grill, Golden, BC

Saturday 19 May – The Station Pub, Invermere, BC

Friday 25 May – The Last Drop, Revelstoke, BC

Saturday 26 May – Whitetooth Brewing Company, Golden, BC

 

We’ve heard the drive to Jasper is one of the most beautiful in Canada so we are pretty damn excited. See you soon!

Blaeberry in Pictures

[Matilda]

Okay guys, here’s the deal… Moa was supposed to post a little something about her ski trip to Lake Louise but then she bailed to go on a climbing trip for 6 days! How rude. So here I am, left to my own devices in a camper van on the ranch. The light in the tunnel is that we got a car yesterday (thanks to our friend Matt, who couldn’t wait to get rid of it). We’re now officially able to explore the area and visit town without having to bug people (Matt) for rides!

It was also my birthday yesterday and the others surprised me with breakfast in bed and a little song to start the day. Moa and I spent the rest of the day getting the car into a somewhat better shape and in the evening we had drinks and good food around a campfire. Not too shabby!

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Posing with our WorkAway host Leo, the new stinky car, and Pippi the border collie.

Anyway, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken around these parts. My love of photography is really coming back!

Let’s start with some buffalo:

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And now, maybe some winter action…

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Let’s move on to spring, shall we?

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I really shouldn’t forget the very photogenic Pippi:

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And I’m gonna round this off with another buffalo. This guy is called Jack and we kind of love him! He is the only one that will let you pet him for a little bit. Buffalo cuddles, anyone? (EDIT: The photo below was entered in National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Click on the image to go over there and give it a like!)

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Watch out for an update from Moa at some point next week!

Live & Acoustic: ‘Nothing Holds A Candle’

It’s been a while since we last uploaded an acoustic video, hasn’t it? This song is called ‘Nothing Holds A Candle‘ and we finished writing it just over a year ago. We’d love to be able to say what exactly it was that inspired the idea for the song but Matilda can’t remember… All we know is she recorded the first verse on her phone very late one night, forgot about it, and then found the file while going through recordings on her way to Gatwick Airport. She was heading to Sweden for a week and sent the idea over to Moa who helped finish the song. Though we don’t know where the idea came from, we really love this one. For us, it’s about finding the good in each other even when the circumstances around you aren’t ideal.

Video shot outdoors at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch in Canada.

We’d like to dedicate this song to Mary – an amazing person and colleague who will be missed by many.