Workaway 2018 – The French Connection

July 24, 2018

Maxime (with Sox), Sandra and Emilie

A big Thank You to our Workaway friends from France, Maxime, Sandra and Emilie. They stayed with us for four weeks and we really enjoyed having them here. They were a great help with our landscaping projects as well as general chores around the Ponderosa.

The big project that we planned to do with them was landscaping the lake side of the house. So they worked very hard – hauled a lot of rocks and shovelled a lot of shale and earth. And the project turned out really well. We didn’t get time to finish it completely, but the biggest part is done and it looks fantastic.

July 2, 2018 View of lakeside from Balcony

July 2, 2018 view of lake side from below









July 23, 2018 view of lake side landscaping

Before they arrived, we tarped the entire area to help get rid of the weeds and grass growing there. Ken had excavated the lower path already. They  helped cover the lower path with shale, level out the middle garden bed area and upper shale path. Then they helped Ken build a rock wall around each level. They even built stairs leading from the patio to the lower path. Finally, they helped fill in the garden bed with earth. That’s a lot of rocks, earth and shale to move! So grateful for their help. I plan to plant wheat grass in there this fall and then work it under next spring and plant strawberries and herbs.

lower path


shovelling earth for garden bed








rock covered slope on south end








Building muscles

working hard, getting dirty









Besides the lakeside landscaping, they also helped clean out the center turnaround bed. They weeded, mulched and built a log border around the outside. Looks so much neater now.

Sandra splitting wood

And of course there was wood to haul in, split, and stack and dried firewood to load into the wood shed for the upcoming winter. Emilie loved to operate the tractor, while Sandra and Maxime liked to work with their muscles.

Emilie, our expert tractor operator






loading the woodshed








Picking saskatoon berries

They also helped out in the kitchen and garden. With five hungry people to feed there is a lot of cooking and washing dishes to do. Emilie was a great help in the garden. The raspberries and saskatoon berries were plentiful this year. (I wonder if Emilie will have nightmares about the endless raspberry patch.) And my garden has never looked so neat and tidy thanks to Emilie and Sandra’s diligent weeding.

Besides working hard we also had a lot of fun – hiking at Riding Mountain National Park, helping out at a community perogie fundraiser, making pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), making bread, cooking, baking, playing board games, canoeing, kayaking, playing pickleball, and enjoying time with Hanna and Sox.

Touring local churches

Helping to make 480 dozen perogies









Making Pysanky

Enjoying the lake







Emilie’s chocolate cake. Yummy









Chef Maxime

Three French Wild Animals
















A Canadian Tradition – The Weiner Roast – Vegan Style









Bon Voyage Sandra, Maxime and Emilie. We enjoyed your company and hope that our paths will cross again in the future.


About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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