Originally published January 6, 2022.
I mentioned back in December that I had some super-secret news to share come the new year. Well here it is (spoiler alert, it's not a baby!):
Ross Farm Museum
The first part of our news is that Tyler is officially the new Cooper (read: barrel maker) at Ross Farm Museum, a historical working farm circa 1816 in New Ross, Nova Scotia.
For those back home in Ontario, you can think of it as a smaller version of Upper Canada Village, though still complete with stables, a blacksmith shop, a cooper shop, a mill, and more. Tyler loved going to Upper Canada Village so much it inspired him to attend college for a Heritage Millwork and Joinery at Algonquin College (a program that no longer operates). He thought that working there would be a dream come true. It's also the place that we went to on our first date (Happy Anniversary by the way...forgot to mention that back in December).
I randomly saw the job posting on my Facebook news feed and just couldn't imagine a better job for him and encouraged him to apply. Coincidentally, we have been binge-watching the BBC's youtube videos of Edwardian and Victorian working farms so this just seemed to really suit our desire to build an off-grid farm that borrows heavily from the sensibilities of historical times where possible.
As a Cooper, Tyler's main role will be to build barrels from wood milled on site. He also carves wooden spoons using traditional methods. Both barrels and spoons are available for purchase in the museum gift shop. While he is working, you can visit with Tyler and learn about his methods, the other farm chores and maintenance that he does on-site as well as take in the magnificence of his new custom historical clothing made to suit. Is he adorable or what?! (he would hate that I wrote that but he does love the outfit).
Tyler doesn't believe in selfies or social media. This photo is what he chose to send me as his first selfie in the 4 years I have known him. He plays the role of austere farmer well. And no, the beard did not come with the uniform.
Once the museum is open to the public again, I will be heading out there for the day to check out the site and do my own little virtual tour. I'm trying to figure out how I can get myself a cute little 1816's outfit to match so I can *hopefully* volunteer and get to be a part of the community too.
This lovely rendition of us was posted to my Facebook by our pal Cliff back in Gananoque the year before we moved. I love it. At least we can say we come by it honestly.
SEB Program and launching a Bookkeeping Service
The second part of our news is that I have been accepted into a program called the Self Employment Benefit Program through the province of Nova Scotia.
As you may remember, I had taken college courses for a bookkeeping certificate in January of last year through my job as the General Manager of our local brewery to learn more about the financial lifecycle of a business. Back then, I thought it would just help me develop some skills to be better at my job and maybe someday...in the distant future...allow me to work from home when I had my dream farm. Amazing, right? smh
You'll start to see more information come through my posts as I get more settled into the program because *surprise* my goal is to work primarily with local farmers and lifestyle entrepreneurs in our area. If you are interested in learning about my services, feel free to shoot me an email or just follow my posts to see when I'll be taking new clients.
Moving to Nova Scotia was not just about finding land to farm, but flipping our priorities to have jobs that fit our life, not a life around our jobs. We are feeling like these new opportunities for us made the last year of changes really worthwhile and the luxury of being able to take the time to find the right fit came at the cost of risk, the risk of not knowing if everything would work out or not. While we are far from where we want to be, we are feeling a lot closer than we were before and pretty optimistic about the future.
We're heading into the bleakest time of year, the deep winter months we've prepared to weather for so long. I can tell you it has already been a lot more difficult with the onset of icy weather, traveling to Ontario unexpectedly and our truck being unable to leave our property due to the icy death hill on the way out. Winter is requiring that I huddle down, focus on our daily chores and maintenance projects and plan for spring. While I know that a lifecycle around the seasons makes these tasks natural, I am still a Mindorff and don't respond well to being given limitations. I remind myself that we are happy, healthy, and have all our basic needs and comforts met. I really should be using this time to rest and recuperate from a long year and really dig into planning how I want to run my own business. So...yeah. Bye!
Thanks for reading 2 Kids Off-Grid! We've had many new people join us recently and I figured it might be worth talking about our backgrounds in the next post and how it is quite possible that we can't claim the most extreme lifestyle amongst our family members. Subscribe to get new chapters weekly by signing up for our newsletter below.