Workaway 2018 – Vanessa

September 1 to 23, 2018

Vanessa and her bear friends. Wishing Well, Clear Lake


We just finished another fabulous Workaway experience. For three weeks we hosted a delightful young lady, and fellow vegan from Germany, Vanessa. She helped me get the garden off, helped Ken to split wood and we had a blast cooking together.

Making grape juice

In three weeks, we managed to pack in a lot of cooking, a lot of fun and a lot of work, too. Our grapes were very productive this year. We picked off around 40 litres of grapes and what we didn’t eat, Vanessa made into juice and canned for the winter. And even though she was not a fan of ‘spicy’, she learned to make and can salsa as well.

The Perogy Queen rocking the perogy making headgear.

She learned a bit about our Ukrainian culture. She helped out at the town perogie bee and learned to make borsch as well. She was a pro at making perogies and we even made 10 dozen vegan perogies at home.

Threshing Exhibition






She learned about farming and got to witness how crops were harvested over 50 years ago at the Strathclair Old Iron Club threshing demonstration.

We enjoyed a hike at Riding Mountain National Park and introduced her to the mandatory Canadian experience – a hot dog roast.










She was very interested in the Canadian wildlife. We managed to see buffalo, deer, beavers and a fox. She really, really wanted to see a bear, but we had no luck.




German Seed Bread

What I enjoyed the most, was making bread with her. She really missed her good German bread. Canadian bread is too sweet and too soft. Over her three week stay we tried to perfect a great German Seed Bread, with some success. We made bread 6 times. Although most of our tries did not result in the best bread, every single loaf was absolutely delicious, and we ate every morsel. Loaf number 3 was our best.

Loaves number 1, 2 and 3

Vanessa has headed further east to continue her exploration of Canada. I will miss our discussions, her helping hand and her willingness to try anything. Amazing that in three short weeks she became like a daughter to me.




About Darlene & Ken

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