"But where and how are you going to spend the winter in Canada with a trailer? "
This is THE question everyone asked us a few months ago when we talked about our delirium of not taking an apartment but of live in an Airstream during the harsh winter months in Caribou country!
This project had been trotting in our heads for a while.
Aware that this season was not the easiest to move, we understood that we had to find a place to stay ... And for us, it seemed obvious that we would find a campsite open winter with all necessary services, ie water, electricity and sewer.
What, you did not know yet that Eric and Joana lived in the world of Care Bears?
By dint of wandering and interested in the world of vanning, we had already seen on our way, "Trailers Parks", understand by that year-round campsites with year-round residents and / or proposing locations to rent more or less long term.
Knowing the attraction of the North American continent for outdoor life, we thought we would easily find our happiness in Quebec.
Yes but here, because there is always a BUT with us (you start to get used to it), do you figure that we quickly disillusioned.
Contrary to Airstream research which had started even before we came back to Quebec, we took a little longer before we began to look for where to put it and live these few months.
We did not have predefined areas but just a few conditions:
- Have access to water and electricity
- Being less than an hour from a big city to carry out our projects
You may already want to know where we are, but before telling you everything and showing you everything, here is a little review of our research:
Campsites: The first thing we looked at are so campsites.
Peeling web sites, messages, calls, we contacted almost all campsites in Quebec.
And the answers have been the same each time, namely "We are closed this season" or even more rare "We offer some sites but without services".
We have analyzed the site of the association of campsites in Quebec, contacted the tourist office of the province and did not have more information.
Groups and forums: A little desperate we left several messages on different groups to find out if some knew of places or even private land offering this kind of service.
And there we had several messages from good souls, advising us to call this or that Camping or Trailer Park. Which unfortunately were either closed or open to a few residents but only in mobile homes. We were even offered to rent apartments at lower cost if unfortunately we did not find our happiness ...
The kind of caring that is always warm to the heart.
The classifieds: We ended up on classifieds sites, Kijiji, LesPacs, Facebook Marketplace, looking for serviced land for rental, or even for sale.
Not to buy (although it is in our projects, but shh we did not tell you anything ...) but to eventually offer the seller to rent the property until it is sold in this winter season where few people buying.
We ended up realizing that winters are harsh in Quebec, and the demand for winter camping is really not enough for establishments to opt for adapted and expensive facilities. Temperatures can drop to -30°C, so water pipes easily tend to freeze if they are not sufficiently buried and/or very well insulated...
To believe that we had forgotten all the famous signs “closed for the season” that we had seen on our way in similar periods… Or was it a surplus of optimism perhaps?!
And, Karine and Olivier, who have been following our adventures for a while, have offered us a "small" place.
Olivier is French, he works at the René Caux garage. We met him for the first time in November 2017 before leaving on Route 66 and Central America. And when we came back to Quebec in September 2018, this guy with a big heart, we had helped on Popo and the Pick-up.
We then lived squarely in the garage, and by dint of seeing us every day and talking during the breaks, Olivier knew our situation very well and also our despair.
Karine, his wife, who is from Quebec and has a grooming salon, we then proposed to settle on one end of their land near their stable with access to water and electricity and even their washing machine, against a small conpensation to cover expenses! The best as we are 30 minutes from Quebec City!
The only other option was lost in the Laurentians more than 3 hours from Montreal. Normally we would have loved it, but with the professional projects ... And then we let you imagine the journey to go do our shopping "Oops, we forgot the butter ...".
So we present you the " Edward's Ranch ", who welcomes us this winter! You will see thatwe made some friends!
Karine and Olivier bought this land many years ago now becausea farmhouse was already built there. At the base, in addition to their animals, they were also refuge for injured and / or distressed animals. Unfortunately after a few years it was no longer possible. This type of establishment does not benefit from assistance in Quebec and it was difficult to manage both their respective work and also the refuge. For their good and especially that of the animals, they therefore stopped welcoming new arrivals but they kept the animals they had already collected.
The property is in the countryside, at Saint-Narcisse-de-Beaurivage exactly, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, in the middle of the fields. A big white horizon in winter that we enjoy watching through the windows.
Rather calm, alone the snowmobile trail just past intersperse these large expanses of snow and bring us a little animation when it is not the braying of the donkey or the breath of the snowplow. You would have understood it the daily is quite peaceful and we love it!
The light is magic here, we can not help going out in the mornings and evenings to capture the moment, moreover you have surely seen passing some images on our networks (yes we are addicts to sunrises and sunsets). On the other hand, when there are stormy days and where high winds, the landscape then seems more threatening and believe us that breath really very strong at times and opening the door becomes a real sport.
But whatever the weather, we are here and besides we are not so far from our dear Popo!
Dash: Olivier's Border Collie, a real electric battery, is always super happy to see people and is ready to play every time. In winter, his thing is to try to catch the snowballs. Not easy, so the game can last a long time. His odd eyes are captivating!
“Ewok”: Karine's dog. Fans of the Star Wars saga will have immediately seen the striking resemblance to the little beasts of the film. This retired star now has drooping ears, but shhh… it's to go incognito 😉 In winter he never goes out for long, not crazy the little one!
"D'ane": he is our darling… He does not let himself be easily approached, and for good reason, his previous owner beat him with a plank… And yes, a donkey is supposedly stupid… But in any case much less than his old one “ owner" !!! Since he has been here, Karine and Olivier have taken good care of him and he is doing much better. When you manage to pet him, it's a real victory as he is still fearful. Over time it passes little by little, but the trauma is there. Every time we enter the stable he says hello to us: "Hello Donkey! "HiHaaaan! ", it's funny !
"Theo" : He is the big friend of Eric, he has a big scoliosis like him, so they understand each other! It is a Bengal cat from a breeding. It is born with this deformation of the column, generally growing up the organs are compressed and the life expectancy is very short. The breeder can neither keep it nor sell it, Karine and Olivier proposed to collect it while he was still a baby rather than being euthanized. Finally growing up the organs seem to have placed themselves well and Theo is still there! He is very cuddly and very sweet! It is one of the two cats of the farm who watch over the other animals and prevent the vermin to settle. He also watches over us!
"Mitt": It is the second cat on the farm, if Théo is watching, Mitaine is a real sentinel! At the slightest noise, inside, outside, she takes her head out and comes to see what's going on! She's really funny and always puts herself in someone's paws looking for hugs. She made her little hole to go under the Airstream, as much to tell you that we will not have a mouse problem here (for Joana's greatest happiness!). She arrived last winter, very very thin and with a broken tail. Probably it stayed frozen for several days before getting rid of it. She is perfectly fine now despite having lost her tail end downright ... like that ... beanbag fallen ...
“Nelly”, “Jacob” and “Megane”: The mini horses! You knew, did you?! Not us, we thought it was ponies but not at all! They have the same proportions as the “big” horses but are very small. They don't have short legs like ponies. If you take a picture without a landmark, it's hard to know if it's a horse that's far away or if it's a mini one that's close… In any case, they're adorable and we love brushing them. Jacob is a bit like the head of the team, with his color and his spots, we like to imagine him in the American West in the middle of the desert!
“Kevin” and “Klein”: The two inseparable goats! Kevin is always looking to get the top of his head scratched and Klein usually checks to see if there's a peanut lying around in our hand, just in case… They play a lot of head-banging together, c it's in their gene! In winter they share their box with the two very soft rabbits: “Emile” and “Lola”
The chickens: Fresh organic eggs guaranteed ... And yes we are even entitled to it thanks to the 3 hens of the farm!
The three little pigs: They are Vietnamese pigs, so quite small. They are very intelligent, for example they are able to play skittles with a ball (we saw the video, it's excellent). They are also very clean and do their business in their litter. They are said to be able to learn as much, if not more, than a dog. Olivier prepares fresh vegetables for them every day and they sleep a lot in their cabin in winter (the house of the three little pigs), under the heat of their heating lamp. The good life what… Their cute sin?! Cheerios!
Of course in summer all this beautiful world enjoys the outdoors permanently, but with the harsh climate in winter they take refuge inside the stable and go out when temperatures and weather permit.
It's a hard job that Olivier and Karine do there, and a big sacrifice. Every morning and every night you have to feed the animals, clean the boxes and especially give them a good dose of love. The days are rhythmic by the work at the stables and their respective work, in addition to all that Karine also has a cat breeding Bengal (The kittens are too cute) Believe us it's a job, more than you can imagine ... Add to this the snow removal of the land that can be done several times a day on stormy days ... It's not easy! So certainly it's a choice, but respect!
A big thank you once again to Karine, Olivier and all the Animals of the Edward's Ranch to welcome us this winter! As often, the meetings draw our adventure, no doubt we are lucky to be here during these few months!
We experienced that, the hassle of finding a place to land, thinking that it was frankly “simpler”! 🙂 You've found a really nice place, the owners seem adorable, and the animals don't talk about it! I would so love to be surrounded by these big balls of fur every day! A nice winter you spend there, in your aluminum box <3