Have you ever dreamed of living a simpler life, surrounded by nature and self-sufficient in your daily needs?
At Walkerland, we live that dream every day on our homestead in Canada’s Maritimes. Our home is powered by solar energy and heated with wood, and we have raised bed gardens, a greenhouse, and a large pasture with animals. We share our experiences, knowledge, and inspiration with others interested in living a healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle through our website.
But we weren’t always country dwellers. We raised our son in the suburbs and had successful careers, with my husband serving as the CEO of a company and me managing logistics and projects in a high-energy office. Yet as the years went on, our desire for a simpler life grew stronger, fueled by our concerns about food, the economy, and other societal issues. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave our treasured friendships and comfortable, familiar lives and relocate to a new province, but we knew it was something we needed to do for ourselves.
We ultimately chose to homestead in New Brunswick due to the affordable cost of land and homes. The warmer climate and four distinct seasons were a welcome change from our previous location in the Northwest Territories. While the job market in New Brunswick may be challenging and there are political issues to consider, the province is rich in natural resources and offers a great opportunity for those seeking a homesteading and self-sufficient lifestyle.
However, homesteading is not without its challenges. Isolation can be a struggle, as we are located in a rural area without much community nearby. Building a sense of community takes time, especially since we work from home. Additionally, homesteading requires a lot of teamwork and collaboration with your spouse, as you will be spending almost every moment together. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively and divide tasks efficiently.
Homesteading also requires a significant time commitment and physical labor. From caring for animals and tending to the garden to chopping firewood and foraging for wild plants, there is always work to be done. It can be overwhelming at times, but the satisfaction of living off the land and providing for ourselves is worth it.
If you’re dreaming of a self-sufficient life on a homestead, surrounded by nature and fulfilling work, it’s never too late to start your journey. Every skill you learn, from canning to woodworking, will help you make the mental and physical transition to self-reliance. Don’t let your current circumstances or the idea of an “ideal time” hold you back. No matter where you are in life, choose something that inspires you and give it a try.
As you begin your homesteading journey, remember that you don’t have to do it alone.
Find support, information, and inspiration from others who are also pursuing a closer connection to nature and self-sufficiency. Don’t let fear or uncertainty hold you back. Embrace your dreams and start your homesteading journey now.
36 thoughts on “Embracing a Homesteading Lifestyle: Our Journey to Self-Sufficiency in the Maritimes”
I was directed to your blog by my Chiropractor (Robert Labelle) whom over the years, became a friend. I divulged my frustration with our Calgary lifestyle and the more I spoke, the more he realized I am aligned with your views. We too went through the South American analysis and decided if we do it, Uruguay was the place (Colonia). We then came to the exact same conclusion as you did and recently purchased a home near Saint John (20 acres). We know the area well because that is where my wife grew up. When I read about Ryan’s likes and dislikes, it was as if I had written it myself. Uncanny similarities to your story. I actually became emotional reading it because people in Calgary do not understand my way of thinking.
On one of our trips to NB, I would love to visit your homestead and learn from your experience. Our financial projections show that I have to work 6 more years (currently age 50) before retirement. Your blog however, has inspired me to reevaluate and see if being more self-sufficient and living modestly could result in moving that date a lot closer.
I am extremely inspired by your story but please do not feel any obligation to respond. I am going to begin the research to see how we can make the transition to a more self sufficient lifestyle. If you are open to someone learning from your experience, I would certainly welcome the opportunity.
Congratulations on your success.
Hi Ron, Thanks for sharing your story with us and for your kind words. Ryan or myself will send you an email tonight or tomorrow with our contact information. We would be more than happy to share what we can with you and we would love to know more about your property and plans! It’s always nice to talk to like minded people. Oh, and be sure to claim your 10% discount code from Dr. Labelle the next time you are in, you can find the coupon code in this article 🙂 http://walkerland.ca/stop-slouching-stretch/
I am so glad to have found you. I would love to see and hear more about your pantry!
Thanks so much for the kind note Shellie. We certainly have a lot to say and share on matters of the pantry. Winter is just around the corner and we will finally have some spare time to polish up and publish some of the pantry articles we have prepared. All the best to you!
With winter upon us, what do you do over the winter months? (Besides dreaming of what you will plant in the spring of course!) Hugs, Diane, Whitehorse, Yukon
Great Question Diane. I must admit I have never had any trouble filling every minute of the day. I just finished canning and preserving for the year which does free up some time for recreation and indulgence. Baking bread and sweets for Ryan happens far more frequently now and he really appreciates that. Tending the animals and outdoor tasks all take longer during the winter. Digging everything out after a big snowfall can take all day! I am working on some special soap recipes that I hope to sell next year. We are researching beekeeping and coordinating supplies, bees and training so we can set up our own apiary. I also need to get a small business set up (and all the planning that goes with selling stuff) so that we can sell the cash crop of garlic that we planted in the fall. Then there is the garden. We need to evaluate the past seasons garden production and plan the next seasons garden (supplies, budget, space etc). We need to develop and design some irrigation systems, decide if we are getting goats or cows and coordinate all of the things related to that (shelters, food etc). Oh and I would like to finish knitting that pair of socks I started two years ago. Our homestead life is kind of like a business in a lot of ways with budgets, project planning, coordinating and hard work. We start a lot of our plants from seeds in the early spring and the greenhouse lets me get some things planted a little earlier as well. Although the winter season keeps us indoors more, in my experience there is always something that needs to be done!
I’m excited to find your blog. My husband and I are doing the same thing. We just bought our homestead 1 1/2 years ago. It is an old hunters cabin with 60 wooded acres. Very rustic, no electricity and one 2″ hand pump for a well. We are enjoying the process of fixing it up and getting our gardens in. You can find us here http://m.facebook.com/Our-Off-Grid-Life-at-Serendipity-331832597214046/. Just curious… have you always been Canadian, or did you relocate from another country? My husband and I thought about New Brunswick at one time. Happy Homesteading. Look forward to reading your blog. Gina
Hi Gina, really nice to hear from you. Your homestead sounds wonderful. Do you intend on putting in solar or some form of electricity? I am always so curious about other homesteads and how they run the day to day stuff! I checked out your page and love what you are doing.
I am British but consider Canada home. My husband is Canadian. We raised our family in the Northwest Territories and have always loved camping and spending time in the bush so New Brunswick provided both affordable land (which you can’t get in the Territories) and a lot of forest and wilderness to explore.
Hello, fellow Canadians! My husband and I are beginning our back-to-country-life in Saskatchewan (my home province)…a whole blog right there but I know others have similar tales.
Re: “married for 15…credit for 30”. Feeling nostalgic on our recent anniversary, I asked my sweetheart “Can you believe it’s been 30 years?” He smiled and took my hand. ” Yes, sometimes it feels like forever.”
Hello Ma Kettle, very nice to hear from you! We are very fond of the prairies and have spent many summers at Candle Lake just outside of Prince Albert. We wish you well on your adventures and hopefully we will be reading about them someday!
Congratulations on your 30 years of marriage as well! That is certainly a milestone to be celebrated. We’ve got husbands with a similar sense of humour it would seem 🙂
I stumbled on your site via the American Homestead blog. I am so impressed…your homestead is run just like a business!! My backgound is also small business ownership (owning my own marketing, public relations and adversting agency, Words & Pictures for 20+ years) and I find too that our tiny homestead is run similarily to a business and I am the CEO! I’m not sure I ever made that connection before but I cetainly did today while reading your blog. We have been here on our 5-acres for 15 years now (we came here at age 50 and 55) and our biggest challenge now is managing it all as we age and begin having health issues. We are currently ages 67 and 72 and are scaling back somewhat in order to manage. I recently wrote an article in Mother Earth News called “Aging Gracefully on the Homestead” to bring that issue of aging to the attention of the larger homesteading community. At some point many of us will be facing that. I am impressed with the abundance of your homestead and wonder what is your source of your water? We live and homestead is SW Michigan and while we are at this point blessed witth abundant water during our spring and fall seasons, however we are finding that global warming and summer drought is impacting our growing. For now, we have 4, 275 gallon food safe, plastic totes to water our garden in the dry months. We capture the water that rolls off of our pole barn metal roof and hold it in these tanks until needed. Water will soon be an issue for many homesteads in the states at least. Blessings to you! Donna at the Small House Homestead, SW Michigan. http://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.com
Hello Donna, I am so glad you found us. I will look up your article on Mother Earth News, I am very interested in learning more about ageing gracefully on the homestead. There are a lot of people coming into retirement who want to start a homestead but wonder if they can do it and for how long. They often ask, is it worth it? Although we are not yet retirement age, we certainly get asked this question.
We have a drilled well on this property and have plans for setting up some water catchment systems for help with watering the gardens. Last summer was terribly dry so we relied on heavy layers of mulch and was able to keep watering down to three times a week. I have been reading about dry farming, and other dry climate techniques and built some Hugelkultur raised beds (raised beds filled with rotting wood) that are supposed to retain moisture really well (should know this summer if they are working).
I’ve been reading your blog this morning and I am really enjoying it! Your gardens and photos are beautiful!
ha ha tell Ryan I totally agree with his dislike of NB Power and yes our job market SUCKS which is the nicest way I can put it without several swear words involved . I’m also in NB , near Grand Lake with our own small homestead , homeschooling my 4 kids , raising chickens , ducks and meat rabbits , gardening and enjoying not being in the city , my husband works in Alberta cause well our job market sucks…
Welcome to NB
Hello…..I just came across your homesteading blog; I’m not a homesteader and at 64 yrs old dont expect to be one. 🙂 but I love reading about homesteading which is how I came across your site; I grew up in the country but have lived in a city 40+ years now; we do have a small backyard garden and I preserve what I can. I was curious as to where you are in NB; I live in Fredericton. I am enjoying reading about your homesteading experience.
Just getting started on canning and preserving food.Was to young to remember and learn from my grandmother before she past away . Looking forward to reading more your articles. Thanks
I enjoyed reading all the comments and your answers. I was raised on a dairy farm, we had all the animals and were very self sufficient. That includes my Mom giving me home permanents and sewing me feed sack dresses that I wore to country school. I am so grateful how I was raised, being a country pumpkin is a privilege only blessed by a few of us. We butchered our own meat and canned all of our own vegetables, one day a year we made our soap in a big kettle in the smoke house. My aunt would come over and supervise (ha! she seemed to know it all). My Mom would grate the soap after it cured for washing, I think she invented soap flakes. I have always regretted that our treadle sewing machine got away from us (estate auction ?) that I just recently purchased a Singer treadle and had it restored. It is beautiful and is nestled in my living room. We also made our own cheese. I have stayed close to my roots. I love to sew …hand stitch embroidery and making quilt tops, I have them long arm quilted, small projects such as table runners and wall hangings I do quilt on my new fangled machine. I could not give an educated guess as to how many quarts of veggies and fruit I have canned in my life, I always much preferred canning to freezing. May I mention I am going on 78 years old ? I love life ! I was born and raised north of Highland, Illinois, home of Pet Milk and about 30 miles east of St. Louis, Mo. It’s where God put the axis of the earth. My ancestors homesteaded there coming from Switzerland. My Daddy played a fiddle, we had such a happy little family, there were four girls, one in now in heaven. Live-Love-Laugh, Miss Nuggy
Hello June, thank you so much for sharing your story, you transported me back in time. I sincerely enjoyed it and would love to hear more!! Charlotte
Miss Nuggy here. I hope you do or will consider growing gourds. I love them, so many shapes and forms. I paint on them, make all kinds of containers. A nice hobby to think about for those winter months. I also weave baskets. If it were not for my age and the condition of my joints I would be growing some of my own grasses, etc. This could go on forever. If you want to send me an email I will forward you a few pictures of things I have made.
Hello June! You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see your photos! I have grown gourds once but the frost came early and ruined them.I will try again this year. I have just been reading about making baskets with pine needles. I am going to give it a try this winter but I truly would love to learn how to weave baskets. Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Just discovered your blog. Love it! Welcome to New Brunswick 🙂
Hi! I am so excited to find your blog! Not only because it is very useful in so many ways, but when I found out you are living this beautiful life in NB it gave me hope. 🙂 We are a young couple who recently purchased a wooded piece of land in the little mountains of Elgin NB and starting at the bottom is difficult, but finding people living like you lifts my spirit knowing I can one day live the dream as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Hello Emilie, I am so pleased to hear from you. Congratulations on finding a place to build your homestead. It is difficult, especially if you are starting from scratch but you’ll find the homesteading community to be very open and supportive. Keep in touch, I would love to hear about your journey and plans.
I came across your blog while googling “seeds that are not GMO in Canada”. My husband and I recently sold our house in Vancouver and have now purchased a 160 acre farm in the Kootenays! Thank-you for all of your wonderful information. I think we might buy your book on chickens 🙂 I enjoyed the preview, and to be honest was sad when I got to the end of it, lol!
We almost moved to the Kootenays and we still wish that opportunity had worked out for us. We love it there. We used to camp and travel around the Kootenays every summer. Congratulations on your farm! It must be very refreshing to have all that space after living in Vancouver. I’m glad you enjoyed the book preview, thanks for the nice feedback!
Stumbled across this blog and am really enjoying reading it. I am a college student in NC (USA), so may not be able to relate with a lot of the things but it’s still really good information. Thanks for documenting you all’s story and sharing it.
Thanks Travis! I appreciate the feedback!
I’m so inspired by your story. This is exactly the life I dream of living one day! I’m looking further into making the transition from the “traditional” lifestyle to the homesteading life. My husband owns a business and is always gone and working and sadly we (me and our four children) don’t spend as much time with him as we’d like. I am already a stay at home mom, and we homeschool. I think the switch would be so beneficial to our family. I’m interested in hearing more about the financial aspect of things and how you keep the homestead going without working a full time job outside of the home. Thanks for being an inspiration!
Hi Tess, Thanks for getting in touch.Financial matters are such a complicated topic. Everyone is coming at it from different places: existing financial situations(debt versus none), Extremity of lifestyle changes (Tim Hortons and shopping trips versus buying used and cooking from scratch) …everyone is just so different in what they are willing to do (or need to do)to live this lifestyle.
One thing that a lot of homesteaders share is that they diversify in bringing in income streams. No one seems to do just one thing, This can be things like: selling seedlings, eggs, meat, crafts, teaching classes, writing, helping other farmers with work, bartering/trading, working at farmers markets and others work regular full/part time jobs from home as well.
Home-schooling is so wonderful! It’s so wonderful that you’ve able to make that work for your family! 🙂
My husband and I moved to NB from southern Ontario 3 years ago when we both retired at 65. We didn’t consider ourselves homesteaders but maybe we are. My husband built our house, workshop, tractor shed, cold storage and greenhouse, mostly by himself. I have raised gardens beds and 2 large garden plots for potatoes, paste tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. I can and pickle and like to cook. Next year we are getting chickens and the following year we hope to get goats. We are both so happy to be living this lifestyle in spite of our creaking joints some days.
The one thing I am having the most trouble with is adapting to the shorter growing season. We went from being in a 7a to a 5a. 2 nights ago we got frost and I didn’t cover my tomatoes and peppers because the other 3 frost warnings didn’t result in frost on our property. I may have to go to Scott’s to get some peppers and tomatoes to replace the ones I grew from seed. So disappointing.
I am going to be reading your blog from now on to see how you are doing and to get as many tips as possible.
Oh darn! I am so sorry about the tomatoes! 🙁 Weather seems to be exceedingly unpredictable all over the world. I think gardening methods will need to adapt to this in coming years. I’ve had to cover plants quite a few times this year myself, and all you can do is hope they make it through the night. We would love to have some grow tunnels and other systems in place to insulate us from the unexpected.
It’s nice to hear from someone else that has chosen NB to live our their homestead dreams. Please keep in touch.
We are about to move to our new (old) home on Nova Scotia’s South Shore with 100 acres of woods and 14 acres cleared land on the water. I find your journey very inspiring. My head is spinning with all the ideas I have for our home and land. One question I cannot find an answer to, how on earth to you keep wildlife out of your gardens? I’m dreaming of a small vegetable garden and lots of fruit trees and blueberry bushes, and I don’t mind sharing, the problem is that I have tried my not very green thumbs on a garden before and at the end I was able to safe about 10% of my harvest. I’m looking forward to reading more from your blog.
Congratulations on your big move! You’ll find that a lot of people end up building fencing around their garden to keep the critters out. It makes life a LOT easier when the garden is protected with a fence. Our second garden is not yet protected but we haven’t had any issues this year. The dogs have been doing an excellent job of keeping the critters in the woods where they belong. Hope that helps.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, it really hit home with me, so much so that I was almost in tears. My family is currently thinking about making the almost exact same life choices you two have made and it is a bit scary for me. My husband, three kids and I have lived just outside of Toronto our whole lives and the lifestyle and busyness is really starting to get to us. I have always had an interest in the homesteading lifestyle. We have been talking for a couple of years now about moving to the Maritimes, more specifically New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, finding a bit of land and living more off grid. We are to the point where we are going out in September for a week to really look around and see if this is really where we want to be. It is a big and scary choice to leave our friends, family and the comforts of knowing our area so well to go to an unknown place. It lifted a big weight from my heart, reading your story and knowing that you have done something that we want to do and you are being successful with it. It is really nice finding others who are doing the same thing that we would like to do, thank you!
It really is nice to find connections with people who are looking for the same things. It has certainly helped me along the way too! Thank you for sharing your story. Life is such an interesting journey! Exploring and being sure of where you set down roots is such an important choice. I think you’ve got the perfect plan.
Hey. Just read your comment, my wife and I live just outside of Toronto also and are thinking of doing the same thing. It’s so hard to find like minded people around here who value this kind of thing. Most people only care about more and more and faster and faster. I actually stumbled across this blog as I was searching for some type of community in or around where we live where we could connect with people who are interested in this type of thing but I wasn’t having much luck. Anyways I wish you guys all the best!
It really can be tricky to find a good like minded community. We certainly struggled for a while. I’ve had a lot of luck on steemit.com. It’s not quite the same as having local connections but I am really enjoying the people. There is a phenomenal homestead community: considerate, supportive, intelligent people and a rich wealth of knowledge. You might want to check it out.