So, finally we are online with the website. It will grow. New information on what we are up to, as well as what we are planning will be posted here and on our facebook group. We are trying to get this page up to date and as such, we will begin posting several galleries of our last summers work.
We are: Oliver and Meike Glaser and our two beautiful kids Emil and Eva.
So here is what we have been up to in the last year.
We bought the property a year ago in November of 2011 after an exhaustive search through all of southern BC for the perfect piece of land, big enough to do what we wanted on it… well we found it… beyond all expectations we found it and pounced on the opportunity to make our dreams come true. A multifaceted property with year round running water, via Jewel Creek as well as two seasonal runoff creeks and several artesian springs! Water rights on the creek and lake up the road. A property with diverse geology, everything from river valley and stone cliffs, to open plateaus, woodland areas and fertile fields! a truly amazing piece of land that we are lucky enough to call our own. truly our own.
We recently received confirmation that we are getting farm status for the majority of the property which means some relief in taxes while we develop our farm and agricultural endeavors.
We moved from Commercial Drive in East Vancouver to the property on May 28th of 2012. … We hit the ground running! blessed as we were to not have to start building home from scratch, it was a rainy and cold spring, and the winter would quickly approach! The house although standing and structurally sound was lacking water, power, light, heat… everything… We had a scant 100 days, maybe, to get everything to the point of at least allowing us to survive a winter here, and with a limited budget this meant doing everything ourselves with the invaluable help of volunteers via WWOOFing and Work Away’ers that kindly offered to help in exchange for a place to sleep and food to eat. I can say in hindsight that there would have been absolutely NO way that we could have attempted, started or completed even a fraction of the projects that were undertaken in the summer of 2012. With volunteers from eastern Canada, Scotland, England, Germany, Switzerland and our friends from Vancouver we began to transform the house into a home, and the property into a future! We built bridges (litterally), cleared fields, plumbed and wired the house, installed a kitchen, built a cob oven, fashioned stairs and railings, established gardens, helped neighbours… we cut down trees and planted others. We ate well and worked hard.
Once the summer really arrived (better late than never) in July we spent every minute not working, eating or sleeping at Jewel lake just up the road swimming in the warm waters and basking in the glorious sunshine. There we met and made friends with the locals living and working around the lake. We so quickly were excepted and made friend with our neighbours around the lake. The first was Jim and Caroline who own the Jewel Lake Resort. We all hit it off immediately and them and we were often overwhelmed by their help and generousity. Jim and Oliver hit it off right away, and seem to be two peas in a pod! Next we met Rick and Janet, Sharon and Joe, Darlene and Malcolm, Bev and Dave and the Jacobs. Rick, a former firefighter and electrician, was quick to offer his help on various projects on the property and proved a great asset and friend. Oliver and Rick’s passions for hunting helped to firm their friendship. Bev was quick to pick the wild berries on the property with which she made wonderful jam, some of which she gave us. Joe and Sharon, have been huge positive influences and supporters of ours and are constantly on the lookout for things that they think we could use. Joe had an old snowmobile that needed some work and just gave it to us! The story is the same with John Jacob and Malcolm. Everyone here has been so wonderful and welcoming to us, that it made us feel like we were home immediately. This Christmas we hosted a Swiss/German Forest Christmas for the neighbours who all came out and shared in the fellowship and community. It was so great to be a part of and in a small way and certainly not equal to what we have been given, our thank you back to the community around the lake which we have felt so welcomed into.
Not only did we make new friends but we also were blessed with the company of so many of our friends from Vancouver that made the trip east to the farm. There as Cabot Lyford, our friend and former neighbor (and hopefully future resident of the farm) who spent several weekends up here cutting trees and helping in the garden. Duncan Vogel who came up here between shoots to help and hang out even though he had a broken foot. Sean Lane, Oliver’s good friend from his Rugby team the Scribes who came up to install the granite countertops and then made two more subsequent trips with more scribes for Oliver’s birthday party and with Dave VanDyke in the fall. Cody Chaban came up a couple of time in the summer, helping to install the downstairs bathroom and showing our mostly uninitiated wwoofers the way around some firearms… Our good friend Craig Hantke, who we don’t see enough of, made the trip via a tortuously long bus ride that arrived at 2am for a couple of days of fun in the sun and working on the excavator. Kevin Perissinotti and Mildred came up for a short trip, and Mil showed us what she could do behind the controls of the excavator. Kevin had been here the previous winter in minus 27 degrees (unusually cold weather for even here) and loved it. Even Oliver’s oldest friend David Ryley took a valuable week away from his family on his short trip back home from living in Australia (at the time) to come up and see what we had bought and to help out. Dave’s parents Linda and Nick came to visit in the late summer for a little fishing (Nick had installed the cabinets in the kitchen in the spring). Dave’s sister and our wonderful friend Jen came for a visit after a wine tour of the Okanagan. Mark and Hilary Bergshoef, friends from the Scribes came up for a few days to chillax and help where they could. Oliver and Mark bushwacked through the creek bed for hours on end…Tom (Oliver’s sailing buddy and proud owner of his last sailboat) and Loni Marchand, spent a few days with us exploring Roderick Dhu. Several of the Scribes (who shall remain nameless) made the trip for Oliver’s birthday in July. Steve Lerch came out early in the summer and helped out and explored the property with us. Oliver’s sister Sabrina and her husband Drew with their son Devon spent a few days here. Our good friends Rob and Henriette Grassa, also took a full week out of their return home visit to come and hang out with us. Rob Emmons who came up on the trip where we took possession of the property and did so much to lay the groundwork (and steps into the house) to make the place livable and last but certainly not least Gordon Field. Gordon came up countless times over the year to help out, hang out, party, work his ass off, and help out our neighbours. Gord may as well be a local at this point! All these people, plus all the new friends that we made in the area and the volunteers which we couldn’t have done it without, made this a very busy place. We never got lonely or bored. People have warned us about cabin fever but even in the quietest times this winter, we have not felt alone or bored in the least!
Just some of our volunteers like Jordy Pordy and Josh, Mattias, Finn, Oliver, and Tommy “the Machine” Stanglemair… who came back for a visit as a friend (and because he missed Meike’s cooking)… these people made such a difference… THE difference between getting projects done and not. Between us being able to live here comfortably and not… And for setting the bar high for those that followed as well as helping to lay the groundwork for our future community… THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!
Now the spring is fast approaching and our ambitious plans for the summer are taking shape. This summer we are focusing on food security, gardens, greenhouses, fences, the hops yard, the workshop, outbuildings and most importantly getting to know and work with some prospective future members of our village. SO EXCITING! SO MUCH TO DO! As fast as the spring and summer approaches, the fall and winter will come equally quick.