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Homesteading in Gatineau, QC

Gary Stuart


Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
This seems like the right place for a first post 

To cut a long story short, I discovered peak oil and permaculture around the same time, woke up, and once I was awake I couldn't go back to sleep. My wife, 2 kids and I moved to a 150 acre homestead this June and we're gearing up for our first winter with Plymouth Barred Rock chickens, Cali/NZ cross rabbits and Nigerian Dwarf goats as we attempt to become as self-sufficient as possible.

I'm interested in everything, processing our own livestock, making soap, woodland care, carving furniture... it's a little overwhelming.

We're snowed under (figuratively for now, literally pretty soon) with work, most of the current buildings have been neglected for years and I'm thinking that I would prefer to build some new cob/log/bermed structures instead of patching up the current set-up.

We're about 45 minutes north of Ottawa and if anyone is in the area and would like to head on up to visit, chat, buy produce, help out, buy the 35acre plot across the street from us or whatever, you're more than welcome! 

Cheers


http://pineandbirch.wordpress.com/

Our blog/site about day to day life as onsite caretakers of a ranch & retreat, and our journey to become more self-sufficient
                          


Joined: May 28, 2010
Posts: 24
Location: Zone 5a (Canada)
Looks lovely.

We only have land so far, 50 acres half way between Toronto and Ottawa, and haven't moved out of the city yet. We managed to spend a week up there this fall, starting to get to know the land, which is nowhere near enough time for anything except to enjoy. The plan was to get some idea of where to build, but that's a separate topic...

The first time we went up it was overwhelming. The idea of exploring everything soon went by the wayside as we just explored the couple of acres around where we were camping.

What's your season like up there? It must get colder than us (-29C Jan low). We have a natural mix of pine, poplar, oak, maple, birch - with bits and pieces of other stuff, roughly in that order. I look forward to hearing what works and not.




Zone 5a (Canada)
Gary Stuart


Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
Sounds like you could be our neighbor already! 

Our temps sound about the same, though this will be our first winter here, which should be interesting, to say the least. We're in a valley and we get a brutal north wind that will probably put us at least 5c below what the thermometer says. We have a LOT of pine and white birch, not nearly enough oaks for me and a few maples, but no sugar maple sadly.

If you're interested in livestock you're in a great location, almost everything we looked for was located between Ottawa and Toronto and it was a struggle to find anything locally, we ended up picking our goats up near Perth.

When do you intend to move to your land fulltime? Are you building your own home and what type of home will it be? So many questions... 
                          


Joined: May 28, 2010
Posts: 24
Location: Zone 5a (Canada)
It seems we're in a bit of a local frost spot. The neighbour has told us that one year he lost crops on June 10th due to a late frost.

I have read that all maples, except Norway, can be used for syrup. Sugar Maple just have the highest sugar levels, so you need less sap. I have a few maples above 12" diameter, but still not sure what is what yet.

The plan is
- animals after moving permanently
- move permanently after a figuring out a financially viable lifestyle
- figure out a financially viable lifestyle after a house.
- a house after planting crop trees (nut, apple, plum, cherry)
- planting crop trees next spring.

It will be a few years yet before I can start thinking of livestock.

The building regs seem clear - I can do very little until I have built a residence with a valid permit, then I'm allowed to add lots of things. Barn shed, greenhouse. But for the time being the only option is to camp, which is a lot of effort for a short weekend.

I am currently thinking of trying to get approval for a pre-built, smallest permitted, building, with a view to being able to physically move or sell it later if required. There's currently only one obvious location to build, and even that would need tree removal for get a pre-built house.

I've been reading the Tiny House Movement thread with interest (http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/1856_0/alternative-building/the-tiny-house-movement), but they're too small to comply with the definition of a "welling" - A Single Detached Dwelling is "Gross Floor Area (Minimum) 89 sq. metres (958 sq ft)", so I'd have to build 2 maximum sized "tiny houses" to qualify...

For a building permit I need water / sewerage / residence. I will have to re-read the regs, but I seem to recall that they *required* a well, but the locals talked about using rainwater, and I'd be fine with rain. But what the locals say and what the people issuing the building permits say may not line up.
Lisa Paulson


Joined: Apr 17, 2010
Posts: 252
Hi Nottingham , good to see you here.  I was going to pipe in that my farm was homesteaded by one family and there are at least two  buildings  over 70 years old that are  under 400 sq feet that were family homes at one time,  now converted to being a garage  and a workshop , so in my opinion small buildings are pretty functional long after their original housing function and I have considered turning one back into a garden suite for my parents .  Its like a little village of old buildings but 15 years ago I started landscaping around them and now it is a quaint little place nestled in a garden and I am continuing that out into the fields with the hedgerow ideas and hopefully one day ponds for water containment.  I have sort of been bent on keeping every inch of land functioning as we have only 4 acres.
cheers, Lisa in BC
                                


Joined: Oct 15, 2010
Posts: 3
Hello Canuck Permies.

I like seeing some Can-con on this site.  I'm a Montreal based Permie and a chef.  I got my PDC certificate this year from Southern Vermont Permaculture, and have been loosely involved with the montreal Permaculture scene/guild.  I run a small catering company and may also be taking over the kitchen for a popular montreal gastro-pub, and i am in the process of trying to integrate these endeavors into a sustainable farm-to-table operation run using permie principles and techniques.  This is all in very early stages, at the moment I have only about an acre or two of land leased on a friends farm in eastern ontario (just over the border) to bang around on.  we are just starting to sheet mulch out beds now.... 

I love the gatineau area, I once worked in wakefield and my girlfriend and I usually visit in the fall time (mmmm Chez Eric!).  I met some nice french canadian homesteaders who are working in the area at a forest gardening course this last year.  although you are both a bit far from MTL to have much practical access to this as a market, I think direct marketing to restaurants in the city is the way to go, and can make selling your surplus a totally viable financial proposition.

Anyhow I for one would love to come up and check out what you are doing.  Good luck with your homesteading.
Gary Stuart


Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
Hi Jerbull and Synergy,

Feel free to message me for directions any time, visitors are always welcome here! We're also trying to set up a campsite on the land for next year if anyone fancies some wild camping!

We put the nesting boxes in the coop last night as the eggs should start any day now, the rabbits are due to kindle in 15 days and the goats are due to kid mid-Feb, so it's all systems go up here as we prep for winter too!

Next year we're hoping to grow and scythe our own hay, meaning the livestock will be fed from within our land, closing the circuit.
Lisa Paulson


Joined: Apr 17, 2010
Posts: 252
Very good news , you are getting there, but it seems no end of things to do, improve, add, fix, fix again  .   Still you're getting there and how you do it with young twins ?  I salute you !

No frost here yet but I went out in one layer of pants and polar fleece and it is flipping cold out this morning , the west coast is suppose to be getting a real winter this year  , and I am so not good at winter ...  I got 10 tonne of hay in and an oldfashioned hip roof with a loft made for loose hay so if I get down to small animals I could concievably harvest hay for them off my little place  and make money storing other peoples baled hay . 

I have a little money saved, trying to get a good day to get out and buy discounted fruit trees but have constant chores and buzzing on the internet sucks up spare time !
Cheers from the west coast
Cory Arsenault


Joined: Mar 03, 2011
Posts: 55
Location: Ottawa, Canada
    
  10
I'm just outside of Ottawa myself.

Are there any PDCs offered in the Montreal area?  There doesn't seem to be much permaculture stuff in Ottawa or eastern Ontario...
Nathalie Poulin


Joined: Feb 07, 2011
Posts: 60
I live in Ottawa and would love to come out and visit with children!

Also, here is some permaculture stuff that's going on in Ottawa!
http://eonpermaculture.ca/content/ecological-design-gardening-intro-permaculture
Cory Arsenault


Joined: Mar 03, 2011
Posts: 55
Location: Ottawa, Canada
    
  10
That's great thanks!

I see that they're having a "convergence" in June, will you be going?

I'd like to take that course in the fall but I'll be starting university full time and I don't think I'll be able to do the extra work...
                                  


Joined: Sep 17, 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Gatineau, QC
Hello there! I live near downtown Ottawa and have been reading about homesteading for the past year with hopes of moving out near smiths falls and setting up a little farm. I am also interested in learning EVERYTHING!! lol. But after all that research I am getting anxious to get started 

I am very happy to see that there are some like minded people in my area! I would definitely like to come over sometime to see how you have worked things out... hopefully someday soon you will be able to do the same 
Pea Murphy


Joined: May 29, 2012
Posts: 1
We just purchased a very small (6.5 acre) hobby farm in the Gatineau Hills (10 minutes outside aylmer). so far we have a large veggie garden in place, chickens and turkey. Long term plan is to have goats and grow organic garlic for sale at local farmers markets. We make our own soap and will be canning and preserving much of our harvest. Would love to hear from locals and swap stories regarding the climate, challenges for growing, animal care, etc. We are hoping to build community in our new home. We welcome anyone to come visit us as well! Happy farming to you all.
 
 
subject: Homesteading in Gatineau, QC
 
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