A life changing experience in Nova Scotia

We kicked off our trip with a long weekend road trip to Weymouth Falls, Nova Scotia. Visiting Halifax, Lunenburg and Peggy’s cove.   We stopped by Digby on the way to Weymouth Falls for lunch and had the most superb lunch at the “Shore Thing” – big portions, decent price.

Our 4th Workaway placement would be at a small hobby farm and doggy daycare. We made the choice to not work at another hostel or café. We wanted to see what it would be like living with a host and what it would be like working on a farm, and it was one of the most life changing decisions we made.

We started off being greeted by 8 dogs – 2 were puppies! – and by our host Virginia. Her home is in the quiet and rural area of Weymouth Falls. Her home has a cheese making facility attached to the main building and acres and acres of land. We quickly got settled into our rooms and got to know our way around her home; all heating and some cooking could be done on the wood burning stove, nothing other than human waste down the toilet (as the waste is fed into the land via a septic system) and there was no running hot water in the house, so we would be showering and bathing using the sink or bucket with hot water from the stove. Initially a surprise but we got used to this way of doing things incredibly quickly and ended up loving this simple way of life.

Digby Harbour

Our Host

A lovely lady from Newfoundland with a bubbly personality and an incredibly interesting background. She’d moved to Weymouth Falls with her family 15 years ago for a more rural life. Several years later she set-up a successful goat cheese business – the cheese is honestly amazing, Emma couldn’t get enough of it! Unfortunately a few years later, drought struck the area and the business failed as goats struggled through the heat and lack of water available. You can still see the remnants of the business around the home; Virginia clearly loved her goats, the cheese and the business and took great pride in her art of cheesemaking.

Today, Virginia responsibly breeds dogs; labradoodles and pyredoodles and has 8 adorable and loving dogs! At times there are an extra 11+ puppies on the farm, who are incredibly cute and a bit of a handful – they’re energetic balls of fur! The Farm still has 3 goats, 2 horses and a lot of chickens. Everyday we would have fresh goats milk and eggs on a daily basis; food heaven!

The Puppies 7 out of 11!
Mahala and Truffle having a swim on the Sissiboo River

 

Horses and Goats

 

All the chickens
Malala the goat

The workaway

The workaway, like all other workaways, means you work 5 days a week, 5 hours a day. For us, this entailed feeding all of the animals – yes all – helping in the garden, around the farm, fixing fences, tinkering with broken tools, socialising puppies (the best part), baking and cooking meals. It became somewhat of a tradition to have a 4 layer cake in the cold room which we could tuck into at every meal! It was incredibly homely and thoroughly enjoyable work. Who knew we’d enjoy scooping poop and mucking out horses as much as baking and tinkering!

For me this workaway was pretty life changing. When we started this workaway I was terrified of horses – I would not go near them and would be obviously anxious in their presence. By the end of our 3 week stay, I was able to muck out their home, feed them and stroke them without feeling nervous at all! Virginia took her time to explain the psyche of a horse and explained how body language is so important to animals like horses. I’m now keen to learn to ride horses and get more comfortable around them. Another change happened, as a notorious non-morning person the fact I was up everyday by 8am taking the dogs out for their first wee, was pretty miraculous. There was something about looking after them which really made me exciting for the day, I loved watching them play and grow, I loved making sure they were happy, comfortable and fed. It’s really something I enjoyed and I am now keen to explore the options of working with animals, I’m not sure on my next move just yet but there is time!

We were really sad to leave this workaway, we would have stayed much, much longer if we could. However, we feel we need to explore as much of East Canada as we can before our flight home on the 30th May. We’ll be returning to Canada in September but on the West coast, so our time is limited here. We felt so much love and respect around the farm for humans and animals alike. It was refreshing to be in this environment.

Puppy cuddles; Astrid is the large white pup

 

Peety on our first week

 

One of the cuddly cats

 

Two of the labradoodle pups

 

Sibling Kisses

 

Cuddles with Cookie

 

Peety on our 3rd week

 

Dave with Marion

 

Pups, nosy neighbours
Truffle and Amilie

 

Dave with Mahala and a kitty

 

Marion

 

Cuddles with Kiwi

 

The Surrounding area

We didn’t spend much time travelling around southern Nova Scotia…. we had far to much fun playing with puppies and looking after animals to do that…. However, we did get to see Digby, Yarmouth, Kejimkujik National Park, Mavillette beach, Leif Ericson Trail and went kayaking during our stay here.

Digby
A very cute little town – as we said at the beginning of this blog visit “Shore Thing” restaurant if you want the best food in town! It was off-season so not a lot was open but it was the perfect pit-stop and a walk around the town after lunch.

So much food from The Shore Thing

Yarmouth
We went here twice, once just to walk around (there isn’t that much there) and once for lunch at Rudders Seafood which offers some great food and beers – which I treated myself too as it was my Birthday afterall! There is also a farmers market on a Saturday morning, it’s a quaint little market which you can walk around in about 10 minutes but it does sell a variety of different goods for a place so small.

Kejimkujik (Keji) National Park
… is very pretty and worth the visit! This was the first walk of our trip where we didn’t need to wear ski jackets, yey!

We walked a small trail by the visitors centre (trail 1) which was a nice warm up – or would have been if we didn’t stop to take so many photos!

We then walked another trail (trail 13) which was just beautiful. It had a mixture of woodland areas, beaches and streams. we took over an hour to walk it as it was a sunny day, so we relaxed by one of the beaches for a while soaking in the warmth and sounds of nature – there was an active woodpecker somewhere in the woods.

Keji lake – trail 13

 

A small beach on trail 13

 

oTentiks in Keji

Mavillette Beach
So pretty, a lovely little beach situated about 45 south of Weymouth Falls. The beach is quite long, so you can walk for around 30 minutes and not reach the end of it. It’s quiet and peaceful as well, so perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

Sun, sand and sea

 

…and relax

Leif Ericson, Cape Forchu
We found this trail and lighthouse by luck after a short trip to Yarmouth. The trail is short but pretty is you’re on at the edge of an island you can see several different islands and even Yarmouth. The lighthouse was pretty to see as well but this site did some with novelty large deck chairs…. so they added something to this visit!

 

Kayaking

There is a kayak and canoe hire company, just around the corner from where Virginia lives. We hired a two-man kayak for $20 and took a paddle down the river to Weymouth and paddles back. It took around two hours and was so much fun! No one else around, it was quiet, the water was gentle – we definitely earned our cake that afternoon!

Kayaking down the Sissiboo river

 

Verdict

This was a truly life changing experience for us, and the best three weeks of our entire trip so far to Canada. We loved every minute, especially learning about the rural way of life and how to use resources effectively.

Next stop, Bonavista, Newfoundland

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