2018 Workaway – Heather

September 22 to October 19, 2018

We had our last Workaway of the year come to housesit for us while we visited the kids/grandkids in British Columbia. Heather is a delightful young lady from the UK. She comes from Nottingham, home of Robin Hood (or more precisely, Derbyshire – but we Canadians pronounce this badly so Nottingham it is).

We spent a week with Heather showing her the ropes of off grid living. We showed her how to clear the solar panels from snow and use the generator, just in case. Who would have thought that she would need to do both in October!!! There was some snow before we left, but she had plenty more while we were gone. Early October turned out to be snowy, damp and cold.  She had plenty of opportunities to climb the scaffolding to clear the panels. Lucky for us she was a hearty soul and enjoyed the slower cold weather pace. She had previous experience working a wood stove so she managed to stay warm and toasty.

Heather enjoying our first snow

Before leaving, we introduced her to our small community by helping out at a perogy making fundraiser. She charmed the locals with her friendly manner and turned out to be an expert perogy maker.

Making the potato balls

Pinching perogies – her first one was perfect!

Part of housesitting at the Ponderosa is cooking for yourself. My pantries, fridge and freezers and full of great vegan staples, but there is not much around for convenience food. Liking to cook is essential, and Heather, a fellow vegan, enjoyed perusing my cookbook collection and trying out new recipes. She even made her own bread and vegan cheese. Making stuff from scratch is my passion and I was so happy to have someone else who shared that passion. And when we returned from holiday, she had  fresh apple muffins, a delicious curry and fresh bread for us. How sweet is that!!!

Delicious homemade bread

Her prime task was to keep Hanna and Sox happy, a job she managed with flying colors. Hanna loved her and was soon spending her nights happily curled up in her bed. She got plenty of walks and stick throwing in as well.

Hanna and her best friend Heather

She took full advantage of the freakishly early snow and made a SnowKen and Snow Darlene.  (Take a good look at the picture below. SnowDarlene is wearing my wooden shoes from Holland, wearing a pot on her head, is stirring a bowl full of goodies and has a jar of my English Baked Beans as well. SnowKen is playing Heather’s ukulele and carrying a hatchet. She captured us perfectly!)

SnowKen and SnowDarlene

Yes, Heather plays the ukulele and Ken was very impressed with her vocal talent as well. He was in heaven with someone to jam with in the evenings. My favorite was Jason Mraz’s song I’m Yours.

Ken and Heather Singsong

When we returned from out trip to BC, it was glorious to find a clean house (she was previously a professional house cleaner), and a happy dog and cat. The day after we returned I managed to dislocate my shoulder and was ever so happy to have her pitch in and help Ken harvest our sweet potatoes from the green house and plant the tulips and garlic.

Sweet Potato Harvest

Getting her Garlic Growers Certificate

Heather’s previous work experiences included 2 years working at Disney World Florida, and I was pretty worried that our home in the woods may be too much for her. Its a long way from Disney to  the Ponderosa. However, she seemed to thrive in this tranquil location.

We are delighted to have had Heather stay at our home for 4 weeks. Besides being a talented songstress and musician, she is sharp, witty and bright and has a deep compassion for every creature living on our planet. I enjoyed cooking together and our environmental and ‘vegan’ talks. Ken enjoyed your willingness to play Scrabble and sing all evening with him. We wish you well in the rest of your Canadian adventures. Come back to the Ponderosa to visit us.

About Darlene & Ken

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