This week brings us to the first anniversary of our big move to Nova Scotia. First off we love Nova Scotia and we have zero regret looking back over the year in our decision to move here. Coming into the Spring again and having all our farm work pick up, we really appreciate how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to start a farm and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of our new home.
In honour of all the CFAs (Come From Aways) who decided to pack up their lives to try something new, I polled our community on Instagram and Facebook on their experiences moving to the Maritimes and how it measures up to the grand generalizations or stereotypes we had before we got here.
Of course, most of our information about Nova Scotia before we moved here was comprised of generalizations from people who visited the more populated or tourist-oriented parts. In reality, as one person commented, the cities offer different cultures from one another and both are so different from the rural areas the North Shore, French Shore, Valley, Cape Breton and South Shore all have completely different vibes and the people out of those areas are all different as well. Where we live, there is a strong German heritage, along with British, which means people are polite, yet much quieter and more reserved than the generalized reputation of Nova Scotia on a whole. Once you get past that initial reserve, we have found many new friends and neighbors to be bending over backwards to help us and we are trying to join in and lend a hand in our community when possible.
The weather is better than expected. There were horror stories about the weather, and we have found it to be reasonable, even with the worst winter in the past four years. A takeaway that we LOVE so far is that the seasons are so longâ¦.spring starts in March and goes until May, summer runs into October and the slow transition of Fall means we get a solid three months of breathtakingly beautiful leaves. Winter felt exceptionally long because it is cold and the snow kept coming, but by the beginning of March you get a definite sense that Spring is coming.
The growing climate is also great, it is much milder than we expected, with less shocking weather and slower transitions which is good for plants. Everywhere except the valley has limited top soil and its really rocky, so any of us who came here to farm have our work cut out for us. That being said, I love walking around in the summer with the smell of the fresh pine needles warmed by the sun and the rocks are put to excellent use for ample retaining walls, pathways and for shaping a gardenâs border.
Nova Scotia is, hands down, our favorite province environmentally. There are huge swaths of land that are kept rugged and wild and the water is clean enough that you can still eat the fish you catch. There is a general sense here that people love this quality about Nova Scotia and most people want to preserve it.
Like another contributor, we came here for the peace and quiet. Our attraction to Nova Scotia was the appeal of rural living and to preserve and enjoy the natural environment. So if you came for similar reasons, youâre probably pretty happy with your decision.
The only thing we really felt culture shock around was the change of pace and the relationship with paid employment. I had planned out our projects, set a timelines and was pushing to stay on track, but to my chagrin we were often falling behind because our suppliers weren't able to fill our orders (even with two months notice). While that was frustrating for me, it did make me rethink my perspective on work and whether I was justified in my feelings. We moved here to get away from the Rat Race and to move away from the pressure to compete that oozes through every aspect of life in Ontario, yet I was acting in the same manner as what we were trying to leave behind. I've been actively working on reducing my need to set strict timelines and being more relaxed in getting our projects done. This not only suits the local suppliers but also means we slow down and enjoy each step of the process more fully, which is where we wanted to be.
I wonder if I caught all the differences between expectations of Nova Scotia and reality. If you didn't get a chance to contribute to the conversation as a new CFA, please share your experience with us in the comments below. Happy Farming!