Derick and I have been together for 5 1/2 years now – over 3 of those years were spent living on wheels. So our experience has definitely leveled up. Before we through ourselves at it, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing.
Here’s 5 tips on how we succeed at being traveling carpenters.
Down size – a lot
That’s the first step. Get rid basically all your furniture, some decorations, dishes, clothes, down size basically everything. You won’t believe how much stuff you don’t actually need. Now don’t overwhelm yourself, it can take a while before you get rid of EVERYTHING you don’t need. As you settle into your space you’ll figure out what can stay and what needs to go. As time goes by, you’ll be a pro minimalist if you aren’t already.
* You’ll want/need to maximize your storage and think outside the box when it comes to storing tools *
Master the art of Boon-docking
If you’re going to live on the road and/or move around, you’ll want to know how to find spots to crash over night. Now you can always do the classic Walmart parking but then there’s often truck and rest stops that are usually much more accommodating. Some with access to water and sanitation stations. I’ve found IOverlander app to be quite helpful when crossing Canada also, just driving around or looking at google maps and/or earth, you can find some empty/quiet roads where you often won’t be bothered.
Make yourself at home
Living in a small space can get uncomfortable real quick if you let it. After getting moody and going on the verge of becoming insane I decided to start changing things that made our motorhome feel like -home-. Replace things you don’t like, move things around until it feels right. Add shelves, change/add/remove lights. Get organization baskets. Get some art. Change the curtains. Add ferry lights. What ever makes you feel nice. Feeling good in your home can be a huge game changer on your mood and your make or break on wether tiny home living is for you.
Pro tip – thrift stores have everything to make tiny homes adorable and authentic.
Blogs, vlogs, Facebook pages. Read, watch, learns. About your black,grey and fresh water tanks. Do’s and do nots. What products you need, which ones you can no longer use. Learn to be septic safe. Learn to shower with less then 10 gallons of hot water – be water smart. Be propane smart. Always check your batteries. When sh** hits the fan, google. I swear you’ll find your answer somewhere.
It’s a a lot to process but you’ll eventually thank yourself for being prepared.
Last but not least- finding work
This is a frequent question I get. How do I find work and move around so much – super easy. There’s actually a few ways and it all depends on what you prefer.
Online resources – research job agencies and websites in the area you’d like to move in. Here in Canada; Craigslist, indeed and Kijiji. Facebook pages can be good way a well.
Get specific – look up companies in the area you’d like to live in. From there you can pick those that seem like the best fit for you, call or send an email saying you’re looking for a job. And yes -this actually works really well.
Drive around – especially when working in construction, you just need to find new job sites, drive around on them and stop where there’s work and or find trucks/signs that have company info on them.
Needless to say, this life style can be challenging, like many things, not for anyone. But when it is for you, it’s fun, exciting, educating, life changing. It’s an endless adventure that I highly recommend to anyone who thought of it – to give it a shot.
I recently received a heated vest made by Venustas Heated Apparel. I must say it’s a darn blessing.
The vest comes with a small battery that fits in my palm that you plug into a usb port in one of the interior pockets. The usb plug also has a cap, that prevents any debris from getting in when the battery isn’t being used.
The battery last 8-10 hours on medium heat, which is more then enough to keep you warm at work or during any outdoor activity.
I myself, live on a small island meaning I must take a long ferry ride to go do groceries. During the winter, those rides get very cold, so this vest has been a game changer for multiple reasons.
The sizing is very accurate and the pricing is some one the best on the market. What I also love is that they have women, mens and unisex styles which makes it perfect for anyone to make a choice.
The only negative thing I can say is that the battery takes a few hours to charge. However as long as you get the chance to charge it over night, you will never have any issues.
Click the link below and use : Sasha15 at checkout and take advantage of a 15% off on your purchase.
Summer is over.
Like really over. Grey skies and cold winds have become dominante through out the days.
When lucky, the sun comes and says hi for a few minutes. Sometimes seconds. As if, it is a casual reminder that it is strong enough to peak through anything, but just resting for the season.
The rain isn’t all bad. The second the first drops start to fall. Everything changes. The smell of the damp ground takes over the air. All sounds and silence are broken by the meditative white noise of Mother Nature. The wind blows in the ocean breeze along with a salty mist, making even the air, wet to the touch. All the things that the hot summer made this beautiful terrine miss so dearly.
So maybe we shouldn’t complain about this seasonal change but appreciate the effects of it around us.
“Each year, an estimated two million women
and men die as a result of occupational accidents and work-related diseases. Across the globe, there are some 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million work-related diseases each year.” https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_067574.pdf
When sitting inside your home, have these question ever come to mind.
Who built this?
Was it easy?
Was it dangerous?
Was someone hurt?
Did someone die?
Probably not, because unfortunately, people in the trades aren’t often recognized as anything more then some dirty blue collar folk.
But here’s the reality, the person who built your house is someone’s son/daughter, someone’s mom/dad or even someone’s grandparents.
Chances are, it wasn’t easy, building a house involves lots a thought, concentration and extremely hard work. It might of been built in the middle of a snow or rain storm or even during a heat wave.
Reality is, everyday that a tradesmen/women goes to work, they are putting their life in danger to build YOUR futur home, to put a roof over YOUR head and to make sure that there will be enough housing for the generations to come.
It is heartbreaking to think that no one acknowledges the ones who’ve fallen from the second floor while installing a roof. No one acknowledges the ones who’ve lost limbs using dangerous tools while building their luxurious home. Broken bones, severe cuts, lost of hearing and/or sight ,career ending injuries.
All for that when you move in, you will never even know about it.
So please, tonight when you rest in your bed, take a moment to think about and be grateful for those who built those four walls surrounding you.
When you see people building yours or someone’s futur home, road or business, show them some respect or even thank them.
Because everyday, they are taking a chance of not being able to go back home.
My sympathies go out to all the families who’ve lost a loved one to the trades.
My toxic trait is that when things aren’t going well, I put up all my walls,
I shut all the doors and windows and disappear.
I become less responsive to text messages and phone calls.
I become very distant with those that I love.
Worst of all, I tend to try and shut off all my emotions and do my best to not show them.
Try and pretend that they do not exist.
Making them stick around for longer then they need to.
Then they sneak up on me like a shadow.
Hitting me unexpectedly like a wave.
Then drowning me in a ocean of anxiety and breakdowns.
Making me into a person that I do not want to be, a person who I no longer am.
This is when I need to remind myself, it’s okay…
It’s okay to be mad,
it’s okay to be sad,
it’s okay to cry, scream
and just let everything out.
Just do it.
But this is when they say “ it’s hard to practice what you preach.”
And oh man is it ever.
But that’s also the part of growing.
Until one day you are so strong,
that not even that harshest storm will phase you.
The bright sun heats the sand and rocks of the coast, bringing in warm waves and creating the most spectacular contrast with the freezing cold water for those who swim in the reviving,Pacific Ocean.
The rivers and creeks are being filled by the melting snow from the tall Rockie mountains and glaciers, bringing everything in their path, back to life.
Peoples foreheads,noses and cheeks are covered with tans, burns and freckles. Heads are full of sand and salt deposits along with knots that are unbrushable.
The low tides are revealing Tidepools, exposing hundreds of different sea creators. Star fish, hermits, tube worms, sea urchins and anemones, oyster, mussels, all together creating the most mind blowing colorful puddle you’ll ever look into.
Everyone around you is smiling and laughing. Fisherman/women, surfers, hikers and travelers are overwhelming the roads, on their way to make their most memorable memories.
All the whales, orcas and dolphins are jumping with joy, seals are sunbathing and birds are singing to the sun rising at 4 am until it completely disappears from horizon of the ocean at 11.
I would almost suggest for you not to ever come and visit. You might never leave.
After a long summer day, a nice hot meal isn’t exactly what your looking forward to making nor eating. Guess what, you don’t have to.
Salads are definitely the best go-to alternative when it comes to making a quick, fresh dinner. This recipe takes about 20 minutes to make and is exploding with hydrating and nourishing ingredients. Basically that perfect recipe to be able to enjoy your night and make your taste buds dance.
-slowly roast 1/2 a cup of chopped walnuts with a dash of avocado oil, once dark remove from heat and add a tbsp of honey to coat, stir a few times while cooling. Disregard the excess honey before adding to the salad, *derick loves to eat it as a candy ;)*
-your choice of greens ,quinoa is also great
-1/2 red onion or shallots
-1 chopped apple, 1 pomegranate
-as much feta as you like
– 1 sliced avocado
-1/2 chopped cucumber
Toss everything together and enjoy with your choice of dressing. I personally love a raspberry-balsamic which tends to hold much less fat. (Keep an eye out for something local.)
*scroll to bottom if you’re motivated enough to cook chicken*
For those who looking for some extra protein, I personally love this salad as a side with some balsamic chicken that I quickly put together with,
-2 boneless/skinless chicken breast
-1 tbsp of ancient grain mustard
– 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
-3 chopped garlic cloves
-dash is olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 tsp of basil and parley
*Recipe generally serves 2-3 people*
Through out the years of my family and I living on the road, I was positive that I’d be so much more grateful to live in a house, but instead it’s taught me to appreciate the Rv life even more. During my experience I’ve developed quite a few habits and got used to such a simple and free lifestyle that it has opened my eyes to all the waste of time and useless consumption that the average person does, and 4 years ago, I was one of them.
I don’t need nor want more stuff.
Once we moved into a house, I realized how empty it was due to the fact that we had “nothing”. It’s been four months since we’ve moved in and it’s still the same. A big open space with a minimal amount of things. But I have zero interest on changing that. I have no interest in purchasing any “decorative” furniture nor useless materialistic objects that have no value to me. The longer we lived in a rv for, the more we started getting rid of things that we realized that there was no point of having. The decorations we own are mostly all animal bones and skulls that we have found in the wild, sea shells and rocks by the ocean and rivers, along with a few other odd treasures that are either gifts or lost gems off a dusty shelf from the thrift store.
Water is gold
You don’t realize how much the average human uses water until you have lived in a Motorhome. Derick and I have spent over three years of turning off the water between rinses in the shower, using a fraction of water for dishes, limiting the amount of times we wash our clothes and so on. Then, you go back into a house and it ends up being hard to go back to normal. Although, other then turning the water off in the shower (that last roughly 5-10 minutes ), we haven’t changed much of our habits that we’ve picked up in the last few years.
*The average person uses from 80-100 gallons of water per day. Derick and I would often make that much last 2-3 days for both of us.
Time is precious
Since I can I remember, on top of some some everyday chores, I’ve always done a solid house cleaning once a week. When I lived in a two story home, it sometimes took almost a whole day. In a Rv, hell I had my floors, walls and windows cleaned in 2-3 hours.
Now I know some of you probably don’t see this as a big deal and even see it as “part of life”.Well guess what, for me, it shouldn’t be. If I do a quick average of how much hours I spend on house chores ba year, it comes out to roughly 468. Now some do more or less, but if that number doesn’t make you realize how many things you could be doing with your time then I don’t know what will.
There is so much to see
I’ve realized that there is a endless amount of things to discover and see, and living in one spot puts a restraint to all of it. However, I feel like I must live in places for at least few months to truly discover it’s full beauty. To get to the know the community, discoverer the fauna, see the seasonal changes and analyze every aspect of what makes that area unique. But then, move on. Because there is so much to do and see and no time to waste.
My advice to you, my little vagabond
Simplify your life, use less water, consume less electricity, get rid of your cluster of things and stop buying useless new stuff that you’ll need to dust off every other week.
Every hour, day, week, month and year is so, so precious. There is only so much time to explore, to spend with your friends and family, and to spend taking care and loving yourself so you can truly enjoy your time on this round thing we call planet earth.
Look at her smile, doesn’t she look happy. Look at her life, isn’t she lucky ?
Today, I am happy as fuck and I feel completely blessed for the life I’m living. Although, about 6 years ago and as far back as I can remember, I thought I would forever be surround by violence, addiction and trauma.
My pass has become a dark book, in which I used to do my best to keep closed, yet I remember every word.
Every word of hatred and threats, every scene of violence and destruction and all the signs that addiction was the root of everything. Drugs and alcohol, the reason for the holes in the walls, the reason for the fights and screaming, the reason for the long nights that seemed like they would never end, nights that turned into endless years.
My surroundings had become so toxic that, while growing up, my mental health had taken complet control of a my life. Anxiety attacks were coming in weekly. Long nights of sickness, cold sweats and shakes. Even once I moved out.
Everything I did, everywhere I went, I was followed by a heavy shadow of bad memories. At work, at parties, at home, the beach,shower, dinner, bed. You name it.
I had to go further, so I moved.
I moved across the country.
I did everything I could to be as far away as possible. I even went tree planting, canceled my phone and disappeared for a few months without giving any signs of life.
I needed to forget.
Since then I’ve lived in over 15 beautiful towns and cities, I’ve met the most inspiring and magical people. I’ve realized that it is okay to cry and how important it is to laugh. I’ve learned to enjoy being alone and to appreciate the presence of those who are good to me. I’ve learned to love, to be loved and to love myself.
But most importantly, I’ve learned to not forget my pass, but instead, embrace it. To take the challenges life has thrown at me and turn them into lessons.
I know nothing can knock me down. I’m a mountain standing strong. I know nothing will stop me from growing, I’m a fucking dandelion growing on the sidewalk.
I know that I’ve made it. I survived and i didn’t let any of it reflect on who I am today.
At least once a day, reflect on where you are, what you are doing and who are you with. Is it where you want to be? Is it something that is good for you and your health? Is that person good for you and your health? If any of these answers are no, make a change, run away.
For weeks now I find myself typing then erasing, over and over again.
When I get an idea, my fingers start putting it down then my mind drifts off into a million different things that barely even seem important. I eventually realize that I’ve lost my train of thought. I then read what I wrote down and it suddenly seems like scrambled words.
Now all of this has me wondering, is it the sunshine that has been stealing my time and thoughts or is it the ocean waves that are washing away my words or maybe there’s something that is trapping my imagination.
But what could that something be other then – myself.
I tend to forget to express the blissful feeling I get as I stuff my face with delicious, colorful fruits on the beach with my other half. Or the feeling of my mind clearing itself and all weight lifting off my shoulders as I place my bare feet into the warm sand then the drastic change of the cold ocean water that cleanses my body and soul in a split second.
Expressing how grateful I am for the life I’m living might be a good start to find back my flow of words.
My family and I live a beautiful, happy and healthy life doing things I would of never dreamed of doing. I eat pure and healthy foods, visit magical places, do sports and activities and spend about 85% of my time outside.
So many things I could list that make me smile the way I do and that make me feel alive.
My wish is for you to do the same.
Today is your birthday.
I don’t know why I always remember.
I seem to always think of it days before, as if I had something to plan for it.
But there’s nothing.
You’re not there.
When I was young, I would count the months between the times I would see you.
Often, the years.
Now that I’m older, I count the months between the times I speak to you.
Again, months that become years.
When I look in the mirror, I see nothing but you.
Your eyes, nose and smile.
Yet when I look in my memories, you are nowhere to be seen.
I no longer wait on a call.
Nor on a visit.
I no longer wish on the first star of the night for you to come back.
I’m no longer the little girl you once knew.
Today we are strangers to each other.
That will probably never change.
However today is your birthday, and I will probably think of nothing but you.
Some of you might know, I became a carpenter without going to school for it. 4 years in now and I am still a long ways from becoming a master carpenter. Although, through out those years, I am confident that these quick 3 tips are hands down the best advice I could give for any one wanting to try to trade and give themselves a chance.
As a labor, your job is basically to make whom ever your working with’s job easier . This means making sure they have all that is necessary to get the job done nice and quick. This involves, setting up their tools, gathering their lumber, making sure they NEVER run out of nails, and yes, picking up after them. On top of all this, you must make sure that, that person isn’t always waiting on you. I know that sounds unfair to some, but know that the people your working you a** off for, are going to teach you all the best knowledge you won’t ever learn at school. Also, unless it’s break, keep your pouch on.
Watch and listen
When I say listen, yes I obviously mean when people are speaking to you, but also when other experienced workers are speaking amongst one another about something work related. By doing so, you’ll often figure out why you’re doing something which eventually leads to you understanding how to do it. Also, when you have the time, get the habit of watching others work, how they use tools, what they are doing, how they are doing it and use different techniques to make their job easier. From worker to worker, it will often be different. Remember that every piece you add in to framing a house, usually has a purpose that you must know.
Clean, clean and clean
Sounds awful right ? Every piece of lumber over 2ft, remove the nails, stack it up nicely somewhere that is easily accessible and not in the way. Same thing for plywood. Air hose and extensions getting tangled, take care of it. Scrap at the cutting station, clear it up quick. Trailer out of hand, hurry up and place it.
Oh and don’t forget, always be ready for measurements to be called out.
Keeping your site tidy, avoids you and others from wasting time looking for things and prevents an unspeakable amount of injuries and frustration.
The last thing people who have been in the trade for a long time need, is the new guy/girl complaining about everything. If you stay happy yet focused, energetic and motivated that will reflect on others. They will put more time in to teaching you if they see it’s worth it. Know that every great carpenter will be proud to see you grow.
Remember, stay happy, stay safe and get it done !!!
Summer is officially just around the corner.
Everywhere I look has turned green, Mother Nature has laid her blanket of wild flowers over our yard and the bumble bees and butterflies are over joyed.
As I’m writing this, I am laying on our back deck alloying the sun to caress my skin as Derick is fixing up our new summer toy. (He bought a boat.)
In the pass weeks, we’ve been blessed with days of heat and sunshine, coloring our skins and taking away the west coast winter blues. We’ve had such hot days at the beach to the point where we’d soak our feet in to the ocean water to cool down while our dog tank would go in for a full on swim.
Days at work are much more pleasant, this beautiful warm weather reminds me why I put up with being a carpenter during the cold, wet winter months. Wearing three layers less to work, enjoying the outdoors and going home with a great tan.
Okay obviously not the only reasons why I love my job but they are 3 perks that are definitely a bonus to work in construction during the hot summer months.
As for living on Saturna, it’s a lifestyle I never thought I’d live. We have been gifted fresh crab, fresh herbs, flower bulbs, jelly and so much more. In our yard we have an abundance of stinging nettle that I have harvested and dried to enjoy as tea and our vegetable garden is growing along with some herbs and spices.
With warmer weather in the forecast, take time to chase the sunset. Step outside at night to enjoy the cool air and listen to the crickets and the frogs sing a night time lullaby.
Open your windows in the morning and listen to the birds sing a morning melody and even if you don’t feel like doing anything on a Sunday afternoon, finding a spot to lay in the grass while soaking in some vitamin D is much better then staying inside on your couch.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea,drink the wild air.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s Sunday morning and it’s your turn to make breakfast. Don’t leave everyone disappointed with dull breakfast potatoes that are overly mushy and only taste good with ketchup. I put together this flavorful healthy recipe that will make your taste buds go crazy and start making Sunday mornings a bit more exciting.
-3 potatoes sliced at about 1/4” thick ( feel free to cut them in small cubes)
-2 sliced shallots
-4 finely chopped garlic cloves
-1 tbsp of Oregano
-A few leaves of lovage – remove before serving
-1 tbsp of Rosemary
-1 tsp of Sage
– A dash of chili powder
-1 Tsp of Ground cumin
-Pinch of paprika
-Salt and pepper to taste
-2 tbsp of avocado oil
-Chopped green onions to sprinkle on before serving
Prep the potatoes before anything else, it’s what takes the longest to cook.
Start your stove top on medium-high and toss everything in, cook until your potatoes get a crunchy outer layer on both sides, this prevents them from turning into mush, also avoid tossing your potatoes to often, this could also lead to a huge pile of disappointment.
Now let simmer on medium low while you cook the rest of your breakfast and until the slices are soft all the way through ( do a taste test ).
Have a beautiful morning and a wonderful meal !
With summer being around the corner, quick, healthy and refreshing recipes are what you need.
After a long, hot day a work, some of us will be motivated to eat take-out or might even buy a pre-made salad at the grocery store. You really shouldn’t. Pre-made salads from the grocery store come in useless packaging that are awfully for the environment , the dressings are filled with nasty stuff that basically turns your salad into a Big Mac and they really aren’t that good.
So here’s a good one for you. This salad took me about 5 minutes to make and it was absolutely delicious. The fun part is that you can also add a bunch of other veggies like cucumbers, peppers, radishes chickpeas and beans, or you can just put simply peas and feta.
Here’s what I used
-snap peas cut in halves
-cherry tomatoes cut in halves
-1/2 a red onion
-1 tsp of avocado oil
-1/2 lemon juiced
– salt and pepper to taste
This salad was a perfect side for just about any basic meal or even alone as a snack. Derick and I packed ours up last night and had a picnic by the sea for the last warm day of the week.
Summer isn’t just here yet but who says we can’t pretend ?
When it’s 8 o’clock on Saturna island, there is no way you can get dessert unless it’s already at your house. So there I was with this massive craving for sweets, searching the kitchen for ingredients and the web for recipes and I landed on this gem. 💛
**Homemade maple pudding**
As long as you have
-something to use a sweetener ( sugar, chocolate, syrup, honey)
-milk and cream or substitute ( oat, almond, coconut)
Dessert can happen
I loved the dairy free version.
Once cold and the pudding is nice and thick, I topped mine with chopped almonds, pecans along with some coconut flakes and sprinkled cinnamon,
Feel free to change things up by replacing the maple syrup with 1 cup of melted dark chocolate or make a berry vanilla pudding by replacing the maple syrup with 1 cup of cane sugar and adding some berries once cooled.
Pudding is one of those things that you should let your imagination run wild when it comes to choosing flavors and toppings, have fun and enjoy !
Every morning at the crack of dawn, I hear the eagles scream as they fly over our house. It has become my new alarm, the one on my phone is now just a back up.
When I get the coffee ready, I always look outside my kitchen window trying to find the deers that tend to do weekly visits, at the same time making sure they aren’t chewing on our new garden.
The swallows and robins cover the lawn while they hunt for breakfast and the hummingbirds have started to make appearances thanks to our new feeder.
When the mornings are extra quiet, I can hear the waves hit against the rocks from across the street and the echo of the sea lions barking. Living by the sea is definitely a special treat.
Star fish of all sorts of colors are starting to cover the beaches and the orcas are making more frequent appearances to the point where we got to see them while working. Daffodils have decorated the whole island and the sun has started it’s seasonal magic.
As the months go by on Saturna island, we are starting to know more faces and places and I can’t decide on which I enjoy most. The small community has been more then welcoming and every bit of scenery here seems to be a photoshopped picture.
When you visit here, keep an eye out for the otters at the pub as they snack on crab, the seals as they fool around at winter cove and the goats as you walk the scenic trail of Mount waburton pike.
And please, smile and wave.
I think many of us probably spent a few dollars to much on Pho nights. I mean, it’s definitely one of those things you can’t say no to and for some, it doesn’t seem like it would be easy to make. Good news, it is.
So I decided to quickly put this recipe together for you so you can enjoy Pho without spending a fortune and to enjoy it whenever you want !
⁃ 1 large onion sliced in 3
⁃ 3 inch piece ginger root sliced in half.
Cook with 1 tbsp of sesame oil on high until you have a dark golden color on both sides of ginger and onions.
Bring large pot of water to a boil with
⁃ a few cloves
-2 tbsp of fish sauce
⁃ 3 full branches of cilantro
⁃ 5 star anise
⁃ 3 cinnamon sticks
⁃ 4 tbsp of organic powder broth (beef, chicken or vegetable, your choice.)
⁃ Pinch of salt
⁃ Pepper to taste
⁃ 4 full garlic cloves
⁃ Add in garlic and ginger
Bring all these ingredients to a boil then keep broth on medium-low until dinner is ready. Strain all ingredients out before serving to disregard the cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise stars, onions, garlic and cilantro branches.
*Bring back to a boil right before serving.*
Now slice up 2 chicken breast, cook with sesame oil,
⁃ 1 tsp of ground ginger
⁃ 1 tsp of garlic powder
⁃ Pinch of salt and pepper
Boil 2 large eggs for 10 minutes
Now for all the fun refreshing stuff
⁃ 1 thinly sliced carrot
⁃ Baby bok Choy slice in half
⁃ A bunch of sprouts
⁃ Chopped greens onions
⁃ Fresh mint
⁃ Fresh cilantro
⁃ Sliced lime
⁃ 1 thinly sliced celery
⁃ Go nuts !!!!
Now boil some rice noodles for about 5 minutes ( see introduction ).
First add noodle to bowl, then broth, then fresh veggies, herbs and protein.
Here’s a quick easy recipe to some bomb homemade salsa. I’ve made this recipe at a few staff BBQs and let’s just say there was never any left overs. (x2)
You will simply need
4 large diced tomatoes
1/2 thinly diced red onion
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 finely chopped jalapeño
2 limes for zest and juice
A bunch of cilantro 🌿 ( do not over chop)
Salt and pepper to taste
Now just chop everything up and mix. Let it sit for about 30 min before serving to enhance flavoring.
This recipe is amazing for tacos, burritos, nachos and even just as a snack with some tortilla chips ! If you are feeling extra fancy throw in a pinch of chili and cumin powder and you got yourself a package free and low sodium salsa that I swear you will go crazy for.
*Eat within 3-4 days.*
Walk a day in her shoes,
You might feel it to.
The feeling of be small,
Or even nothing at all.
Walk a day in her shoes,
You might feel out of place.
Always working so hard,
But never win the race.
Can you imagine,
Being seen as nothing but your gender.
Can you imagine,
Being told you’ll never do better.
Could have been your mother,
Or even you wife,
What about your daughter,
would it then matter ?
If you haven’t done it yourself, you’ve more then likely seen a coworker survive off energy drinks and gas station snacks. You might even know that feeling of wanting to puke a bit after lunch, as your bent over framing a wall. I know I have, and my gawd it’s awful, all of it. My body hated me for it. Without even realizing it, my day time diet was leaving bloated all the time and ended up making me to tired to even cook dinner after work. Between work and my terrible diet loaded with all the wrong kinds of fats and salt, my body was just slowly shutting down.
While working in more secluded areas and not having any access to fast food, I got more in to the habit of making breakfast and lunch, brewing my own coffee and whipping up smoothies. Lunch meat is now always cooked at home, never packaged and I load my sandwiches/wraps with sprouts, bell peppers, red onions, leafy greens and cheese which never leaves me hungry and gives me all the good stuff my body needs. Add in a few healthy snack it there and boom ! Your wallet and stomach suddenly love you. Stop eating food that makes you feel bloated, it’s just going to slow you down.
I will soon share with you a fun recipe for some extra nutrient yummy chia/granola balls and maybe share a few easy lunch/snack ideas to help you start some healthier habits.
Things to make sandwiches fun
-bell peppers ( different colors, different taste !)
-sprouts (try different kinds)
-Havarty , aged cheddar or maybe even some feta
-boiled shredded chicken breast
-sliced grilled chicken breast
-red onions ( my favorite when raw)
-kale, spinach, arugula or any leafy green
-tomatoes, apples or even dried/fresh cranberries
-ALMOST ANYTHING CAN GO IN A SANDWICH
-just keep it healthy 😉
As carpenters, we work hard, lift heavy things, use heavy tools and we are hard on our bodies. Feeding it the right things might add a few year on the field rather then waking up every morning having a hard time getting your boots on. Eat properly and stretch often, you’ve chosen a physical career, it’s the least you can do for yourself.
Note- these are recommandations for highly active people whom need a lot of protein and healthy fats for proper muscle health.
Celebrate your hard work, your efforts, your freedom.
Celebrate your health, your power and your worth.
Celebrate your ethnicity, your religion and sexuality
Celebrate your body, your curves and all that makes you beautiful.
Celebrate your perfect flaws, your wrinkles and grey hair and all the signs of graceful wisdom.
Celebrate the strong women from the pass, the present and the futur.
Celebrate women who have children and those who don’t.
Most importantly celebrate yourself. Not just today but everyday. Because you are gorgeous, you are strong, and my god you are worth more then gold.
Why be a morning person, would it be to listen to the early birds sing as they fetch themselves food before daylight has had the chance to takes it’s place in the sky or maybe it could be to take full advantage of the bright new day that awaits you.
Could it be that awful ?
To watch the horizon slowly yet so quickly transition from night to day, to see the color palet that Mother Nature paints with. To meditate with the silence of the world around you who is still sound asleep or to simply have that bit of extra time just for you. Sing, dance, smile. Create your own sun when there is nothing but clouds.
Sit down, relax, drink a coffee/tea eat breakfast, make this a new habit. Think about things you need to get done, nothing ? Perfect, think about things you want to try, you finally got time darling.
So why be a morning person ?
1 cup of flour
1 1/2 milk or almond milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Crepes are my excuse to eat dessert for breakfast and this recipe kinda makes it easy (dangerously delicious). I personally love to eat them topped with berries , bananas and maple syrup and when I’m feeling extra adventurous, I add some bacon to that for the perfect touch of sweet and salty.
To make these you simple need to mix the dry ingredients first and then quickly whisk in the wet ingredients until you have nice, thin, chunk free mixture.
Cook on medium with a small amount of butter, put just enough crepe mix to cover the bottom of your pan, let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until small holes have formed all around the top. Flip delicately and cook for about the same amount of time on the other side or until both sides have a nice golden color.
From sweet to savory, this is the perfect recipe to have a bit of fun while cooking and eating breakfast… or dinner ? Enjoy. 😉
For this sauce you will need,
-1 tsp of basil
-1 Tbsp of oregano
-fresh parsley by taste
-lots of pepper
-a dash of salt
-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Here’s a extra easy recipe for an amazing pasta night that you will not leave you disappointed.
You will start with heating up the cream cheese on medium heat, add in the garlic and begin to add milk. Stir until the cream cheese is fully melted and add milk until you got a creamy, lump free sauce sauce. Then thrown in all the spices along with the Parmesan and leave it simmer on low to allow the garlic to work it’s magic.
For the chicken, dice up 2 boneless/ skinless chicken breast and cook it with all the same spices used for the sauce and add a splash fresh lemon. Now by choice I added vegetables which I cooked separately, I chopped up 1/2 of a green and 1/2 of a red bell pepper, along with some broccoli, cherry tomatoes and half an onion.
For extra yumminess, I tossed a few shrimps in some butter along with 3 garlic cloves cut in halves and fresh parsley.
Add pasta, chicken, veggies then top with sauce and shrimp. So consider skipping the jarred sauce, your tastebuds will thank you
I wake this morning, the weather is gloomy yet I feel brighter then ever.
I press start on the coffee machine, the sound of the steaming water along with the birds chirping makes up that perfect morning melody.
Derick is sound asleep, catching up on some well deserved rest and the cats are running 100km/h, up and down the hall way.
That word “home” is definitely starting to have better ring to it.
Along with this new dwelling, spring is just around the corner here on Saturna island. Our new yard is blossoming with raspberry and blackberry bushes and the salal berries are already starting to ripen. Seems to be a gift of sweetness from Mother Nature. Now as I sit at my kitchen table and sip on my fresh cup coffee, I relax with ease and lose myself in a daydream of what this adobe has waiting for us .
We are almost settled in. Our small amount of furniture is all in place and our belongings along with our little treasures/decorations have found their spots in the house.
There is still this feeling of being lost in this larger place that I am no longer used to living in. My dresser and closet is empty and so are the cupboards in the kitchen. For almost three years I have adapted to being in this tiny space that, without realizing it, has became something of comfort for me.
However, as I sit on the couch writing my blog with my legs over Derick, the fire crackling next to us keeping us warm, I get that same feeling of comfort and realize that I am still just as content.
Adapting does not always happen in a blink of an eye, rushing it does not always help neither. It is better to take small steps with things and let yourself adjust. It is also important that you learn to be happy with simply who you are rather then let things or places be your source of happiness. This is when you will have reached peace with yourself.
After almost 3 years of living on the road, moving from town to town, we’ve finally decided to settle down for a year or so in a adorable little trailer home, here on Saturna Island.
We are heavy hearted to be getting out of our tiny home on wheels, but considering the fact that there is no rv parks or any convenient spots to settle, this is our best option.
To tell you the truth, there will be a lot to take advantage of. For starters, there will be no neighbors, other then the deer and birds that roam the forest. I now have a huge amount of space to do some gardening and have house plants, tank will have a large yard to call his own, Derick and I will have a small enclosed work area for any futur projects but most importantly, I will have a washer and dryer !
Yes, those things might just be what I missed the most from living in a house. Everything else, I feel like Derick, the animals and I, have very well adapted to. Although I’m sure there’s a few things Derick will appreciate a break from also, such as dealing with the black/grey water tanks, batteries and general motorhome maintenance that aren’t necessarily the most … therapeutic activities.
I am very excited on what sort of things this new home will bring us and I hope you are just as excited to read about it.
Here’s a quick, little recipe I put together last night that is officially one of my favorites. It’s filling and refreshing without leaving you feeling bloated. Here’s what your are going to need.
For veggies you will need the following
⁃ 1 Red and green bell peppers
⁃ 1 small sized red onion
⁃ Cherry tomatoes
⁃ Cauliflower⁃ 100g of Sliced black olives
⁃ 2 tsp of Avocado oil
For the rice you will need,
⁃ 1 cup of rinsed Basmati rice
⁃ 1 Tbsp of butter
⁃ 1 tsp of salt
For the chicken , to start, preheat air fryer or oven at 375 F – cook for about 25 minutes. Then, you will need,
⁃ 3 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
⁃ 1 Lemon
⁃ 1 tsp of oregano
⁃ 1 tsp of garlic powder
⁃ 1 tsp of basil
⁃ 1 tsp of pepper
⁃ 1/2 tsp of salt
⁃ 1 tsp of olive oil
⁃ A few cherry tomatoes
⁃ 4 Fresh garlic cloves
Sprinkle all the spices on the chicken, drizzle the oil on, slice the garlic cloves in halves and toss them in along with the cherry tomatoes into the air fryer.
Put your rice on the stove top on high with butter and salt without cover until in comes to a boil then cover with lid, reduce heat to low for about 10 more minutes or until water has evaporated.
For the vegetables, turn on stove top to high, let avocado oil heat up, then toss all the veggies in. Cook on high without over mixing,until veggies have a nice golden color but are still crunchy.
Then toss the rice in with the vegetables, mixing everything carefully. Serve on plate then slice the chicken into thin slices, garnish with feta, sliced black olives and lemon juice and voilà !
Living on a small island means eating fresh pizza isn’t something you have access to on a Monday night. Unless you make it yourself.
We might not have a pizza shop but the general store definitely has everything you need to make an awesome pizza night with your family.
I was able to find a dough recipe online that is overly easy to make ,even for those who suck at baking. Ready in 30 minutes. The number one rule in not messing it up, is to mix your dry ingredients first, then add the wet.
For the dough you will need
-active dry yeast
Remember that when shopping for your ingredients, try to buy as much local and natural as possible. Pizza doesn’t have to be completely bad for your health and morals.
For the sauce, it’s obviously always better to make it yourself, but when trying to make things quick you can always go with a can of low in sodium organic pizza sauce and add whatever spices you enjoy, to make it extra tasty.
To make things fun, prepare a bunch of ingredients so everyone in the family can make their own personal pizza, making everyone happy. Remember to multiple your recipe when making more then one. To give you an idea, the one above results to one medium sized pizza
Derick and I have a very “healthy” appetite so we went with this long list of ingredients. Note that we had left over for breakfast.
⁃ bell peppers
⁃ Red onions
⁃ Green olives
⁃ Black olives
⁃ Cherry tomatoes
⁃ Dried salami
30 minutes to rise dough, roughly 15 minutes to make pizza then 15 minutes to cook. Results; an immense amount of cheese satisfaction.
*** Note *** For the crust I switched the recipe for 1/4 cup of sugar and also added flax seeds as well as black sesame seeds that gave a wonderful taste and texture and some extra nutrients to make pizza night “healthy”.
Let me tell you a few reasons on why I decided to completely stop buying household cleaning products just over a year ago.
It started when I decided to read up on the side effects it can have on you and your family ( yes, your fur babies especially.) From nasal problems, throat irritation, skin rashes, allergy developments, asthma ,cancer and more.
If that doesn’t make you rethink about what your using to clean your house. How about the fact that most products only temporarily hide odors rather then destroy them and how your kids and pets end up licking almost every surface you put that product on.
Solution – organic Vinegar
I know, the smell is awful. But when using the right recipe, vinegar is actually a natural deodorizer that dries out scentless and you can actually add a few things that will make your house smell dreamy, while leaving it sparkly clean.
Heavy duty- great for bathrooms, windows, counters and floors.
3 parts vinegar – 1 part water.
For more delicate surfaces – 1:1
Orange peels and a few cinnamon sticks.
Let it sit in a dark, cool space for 2 weeks, giving it a good shake every couple of days. A good tip, make 2 at a time, like that you never run out. When ready, poor into a spray bottle and voila !
You may use oils but know that many essential oils can be dangerous for your fur babies even if they are organic, so do your research or ask your vet about what is safe for your pet before experimenting.
A few that can be safe and leave your home smelling like a dream are
You can also use fresh herbs such as Rosemary and thyme or even pine tips and cedar leafs with lemon ,which is much safer and easier on the wallet.
When cleaning your home, you must think that the products you use have just as much impact on your life then the food you eat. So make sure it is as pure and natural as possible to give your family and yourself the healthiest and safest life possible.
Its just before 7 on a Saturday morning, the sun is peaking through your curtains telling you to wake up. Even if you have nothing to do, listen to it. Stop sleeping in.
Brew a fresh pot of coffee, cook yourself some pancakes and eat some fruit. Feed your body the nutrients that is it craving so much.
Take time to do all the things you are usually to busy for. Clean the house, do a skin treatment, bake some muffins, sing, and dance while doing so. Listen to happy music, listen to sad music. Let yourself feel the emotions you that you do not even know are in you. Do a workout, try doing yoga, stretch, breath, meditate.
Go for a walk, hit up your local market. Buy some colourful veggies and things you would not usually dare to try. Whip yourself up an exotic recipe you found online that you have no idea if you are even going to like.
Take care of your body and soul. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Let go of your negative emotions and learn to be happy in the beautiful skin that you are in.
I remember like it was yesterday, I was sitting at my desk in Gatineau, Quebec, wearing a suits, wondering what the heck I was doing with my life.
I had dropped out of college, landed on a “great opportunity” job as an admin, and thought that was what I had to settle for.
I would stare outside on a nice sunny day from my big office window and feel trapped like an animal in cage.
I remember like it was yesterday, that I handed over my letter saying that I was quitting to move 3000km away. I did not know then what I was going to do with my life, but I sure knew that I was never going to work in front of a computer or be obligated to wear a suit again.
Today, I find myself wearing 3-4 layers to stay warm and dry of clothing that have a permanent smell of wet wood and stains of multiple kinds of industrial of adhesives. My hair has a great amount of damage and I have the oddest tan line during the summer months. My nails are usually broken off, my hands are thickand callused, and my toes are slowly starting to take form of a construction boot.
Today I find myself wearing whatever the hell I want. Working physically, doing something I love in places I never thought id be with the person I love the most. I get to build homes for families and get to leave a piece of me in every town I work in.
I get to enjoy the sunshine all summer and learn to appreciate the others seasons for what they are, wet and cold.
I love my job. I love the conditions; love the challenges and I love the results. The results on my health, happiness, and the results of who it is making me as a person.
“Making a big life change is scary, but you know what’s scarier. Regret.”- Unknown
It’s now the middle of winter, the ground is covered with a mix of mud, fresh grass and blossoming flowers. Roses bushes are beginning to bloom and the locals are getting their gardens beds ready for this spring.
The west coast has been treating us well with perfect days of warming sun and cool ocean breeze ,giving me goose bumps just thinking about it.
All of it making the rainy days more forgiving. I slowly learn to appreciate the beautiful dark clouds that hurry across the sea, curving around the mountains, soaking the earth. I learn to appreciate our days in our turtle shell, soaking up the warmth by the fire and drinking an unreasonable amount of coffee while listening to the hard drops of rain falling on the roof.
Saturna Island seems to have a piece of magic just about everywhere you go. Between hidden trails and secret coves, there is still many places I have yet to explore. I don’t know what gets me the most, the goats that roam the trails followed by their heart melting babies or the packs of seals that seem to spy on you on every shore line you visit. Every night the local owls sing a lullaby to sleep to followed by the silence of this secluded island.
The locals and Mother Nature have found their way of making Saturna hard to leave. The Haggis bakery has got me hooked the best Nanaimo bars and the Saturna Cafe has brought cooking to a whole new level. The friendly faces at the pub and general store always giving a warm welcome and making you feel right at home.
If you ever visit this secluded island, be kind and respectful to the land and people because it is a mix of both that will make your stay enjoyable.
As I was growing up, l had the stereotypical idea that by the age of 25 I would be married, working in an office, have a house, kids and in general be settled down near my family.
I am now 25, move about twice a year, sometimes more, work in construction, building houses and live in a motorhome with my boyfriend and 3 pets.
I love everything about it. I have now built houses and worked on construction sites in over 14 towns/cities and 3 provinces.
For me, the beauty of it, is that while living and exploring all these gorgeous places, I get to build something that becomes part of that place, I get to meet kindest, most beautiful souls who teach me so much about life and I get to see and live things that remind me why I am doing all of this.
For those who are wondering I still do and have everything I enjoy in my Rv. I have creams and oils, make-up, and clothes.
I have a coffee machine, blender, food processor and toaster. I have spices, all sizes of pots and pans, I cook big healthy meals, bake bread, roast turkeys you name it.
I can manage to do yoga, basic work outs, play with the cats and dog. We have skate, snow, surfboards, fishing roads, crab cages and tools. So yes, I still get to live a normal life, just differently.
Even when I paint my nails, my hands are full of calluses, cuts, and slivers. Even when I shave my legs, they are full of bruises and scrapes and when I get dolled up, I usually have some sawdust stuck in curls.
I can use a skill and chainsaw, build a house, split lumber, skateboard, and surf. I fish, explore and travel.
I might not match the standards to some people of what a women should be like or how she should live but I sure am happy of the women I am and more then in love with the lifestyle I live.
Personally, I am someone who loves to cook big meals and living in a motor, has not always made that easy.
It took me a while to adapt to not having any counter space. I would usually just put my large cutting board over the sink and made that work, and when needed, I would take over the kitchen table. Derick and I often discussed making a pop up counter and now the time have finally come. ( Drumroll) Ladies and gentlemen, after 2 years of spilling, breaking and dropping things, I finally have a counter top !!
Now I know it seems like I’m making a big deal on nothing but if any of you have any experience in cooking in a older motorhome, you will understand my joy and excitement.
While making the counter we had in mind that we didn’t want it to interfere with the rest of our living space so making it a pop up was a must. We went with a 3/4”x16x24 pine board, sanded and coated it with a clear finishing spray. We used a 24” hinge to screw it to the side of our counter next to the sink. To keep it up and solid, we went with chains, going from the counter up to the ceiling ,making it easy to unhook and pop down.
I remember when we first bought our current motorhome, I thought the mirror as a backslash in the kitchen was absolutely gorgeous. After one year of having to clean it each time I cooked a meal, it was just on the verge of driving me nuts. Until one magical night, I was making dinner and my pan went just a tad to close. The mirror broke and I finally was able to convince Derick to rip it out and change it.
We took the ferry over to the main island and headed over to Home Depot. Purchased two boxes of 3×6 white ceramic tiles, a few tools, tile glue and grout. The next day, we got to work.
Now I remind you all that I have zero experience in working with tiles so this was all very new to me. Luckily, Derick watches a lot of Youtube videos and was able help me and give me some pointers along the way.
Finishing the Fire place
This summer Derick put in a fireplace in the Rv. When he installed it, we concentrated on installing it properly but never came around to making it look it’s best. I always wanted to try to do a mosaic project and this just happen to be my chance. Since we had so much left over ceramic cut offs and broken glass we decided to recycle it and use it for this project.
At first I broke everything in to small pieces using a manual tile cutter and painted some of the tile pieces black to make the outline of the design I wanted ( mountains in this case). Now this was a mistake considering I didn’t get the proper paint and it all came off during the process. We used the broken pieces of mirror to create the illusion of snow on the mountains and smaller pieces for stars in the sky. Waited 48 hours to grout and another 24hrs to repaint the mountain outlines.
Once the tiles were cleaned, contour had been caulked and mountains have been painted, the last step was to poor the epoxy for a long term protection. This step might have been my least favorite considering our Rv is slightly out of level and that we have 3 furry friends roaming around the house.
In the end, the renovations turned out satisfying. The fire place now keeps us warm and looks great, our kitchen is now more pleasant to cook in and our Rv is just that much more like home.
As we loaded the car with our wetsuits and boards, cats ,dog and other essentials, we looked at each other with excitement even though we both questioned our decision of making this trip during such eventful times. ( See last post for details.)
We booked a room with an balcony tub and harbor view for a few nights in Ukee hoping to getaway and catch a few waves. Now, we made our reservations just before getting some bad news, however, we decided that there was no chance that we were going to cancel this trip.
So in the Suzuki and off to Ucluelet we went.
Slowly, as we made our way across the Island, Mother Nature did what she does best here on the west coast during the winter months. About 75mm fell from the dark cloudy sky, making the drive not as relaxing as expected. After 6 long hours of Takow and Tank cuddling and Pocha getting sick a couple of times, we finally arrive to our beautiful destination.
We threw our things in the room, filled up the jacuzzi and soaked in it for hours. By this time, most of the clouds had cleared off, filling the night sky with stars and creating a silence that was only broken by the sea lions arguing across the Harbor and the waves breaking on the shore.
As I woke up the next day after a long ,much needed sleep in our king size bed, I slipped in to my bathrobe and decided to go outside to get a breath of the beautiful ocean breeze. The shy sun peaked out to say hello over the morning mist, creating two amazing rainbows which for some odd reason just happened to make all those unnecessary, negative emotions, go away.
After Derick and I enjoyed our morning coffee while again, listening to the latest seal gossip, we placed a take out order from our go-to breakfast place in Ukee, The Blueroom, then headed over to Relic Surf shop. There, we geared up for winter surfing. Thanks to them we already owned most of all our personal surf gear but during the colder seasons, a hoodie and gloves are a must.
Now before you all get over excited, we didn’t get much surfing done. To start, we aren’t the most experienced surfers and well then, there was a storm bringing in 14-16ft waves. When we arrived, it was high tide, leaving barely any beach access. Waves were coming in and breaking from all directions and the rip current was stronger then I’ve ever experienced.
However, we were keen on trying our new gear and weren’t leaving until we dipped our bodies in that gorgeous, cold ocean water. In some ways , Mother Nature was on our side, she shinned her warm light on us as went in to the water and brought out some blue skies for a short period of time. Just enough for us to enjoy it, ride a few of small waves close to shore and head right back to our hot-tub where we were safe and warm.
We spent the rest of our stay walking trails, storm watching and enjoying all the things we’ve missed so much. Our stay at the Water Edge Shoreside Suites was perfect,gorgeous room,pet friendly and a view you can not get sick of. The getaway was everything we needed to start off the new year, relieve some stress and set our minds straight for what was coming.
As we left Ukee to return to Saturna, the clouds filled the sky and a storm came in. High winds took over and the ferries to get home got canceled. I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog, till then, that’s a taste of the beginning of 2021 for us. Have a great year everyone.
It’s been a while since I took the time write about what’s going on work wise for us, so let me get you in the loop.
Before the holidays, we finished the footing on the ocean front here on Saturna Island. Now I won’t get in to details but we will not be the ones who will be finishing the project. Due to that, our stay here on Saturna Island was supposed to be cut short and we were supposed to follow the rest of the crew over to Victoria. Unfortunately, this time of year campsites are full and finding a spot to live in a motorhome is close to impossible, so for the moment, we have to part ways with Vineuve.
It was about the last thing we wanted to do considering how much with actually enjoyed working for them, however, we are grateful that we get to temporarily leave on good terms and know we will be able to be part of the next “out of town” job.
Now to talk about our work and living situation, we luckily came in to contact with a very kind, local man who has some cool projects to keep us busy for the time being, meaning we get to extent our stay here and enjoy the Island a bit more.
I will say, although my heart is heavy to be temporarily be leaving Vineuve, I feel blessed to have found a job as a carpenter on this beautiful secluded island during these times.
Living in a older motorhome has been sometimes stressful when it come to trying to find a spot to live. Most campgrounds won’t accept anything under 20 years old anymore and those who do are usually always fully booked. We’ve considered buying a newer one for that reason but … we like this one. We’ve renovated inside, it runs great, low mileage and well, it’s our home.
So regardless of the challenges, we always find a way to make it work.
Hit the follow button and stay tuned to see my new kitchen upgrades ,how we did a beautiful mosaic tile job under our fireplace and find out how we started the new year, swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
Let’s take a minute to thank the dads, husbands, boyfriends and brothers. Take a minute to thank your bosses, foremen,supervisors and co-workers.
Some of us are lucky to have certain men by our side to teach us ,defend us and support us. I’ve had my brothers and now have my boyfriend who I am so grateful to have learned from. I am part of a crew that get’s along, has fun and respects each other, which makes days at work go by so much quicker.
I remember when I was little and always wanted to play with my older brothers. It wasn’t always easy but I definitely had more fun then playing with the dolls.
We are in this industry because we enjoy working hard, we enjoy being outside and we enjoy getting dirty. We don’t mind the cuts and bruises and we can deal with the rain and snow. No it isn’t for everyone but neither is working at a desk.
We must to be grateful for the men who let us be one of “them”, because it’s not realistic to think that we are going to make a change without them. It isn’t easy for them trying to get through to people for us, neither. So when you see a man standing up for you, thank them because he is also making a difference.
You had an interview with her and wondered why she was so anxious.
You might not know that she has been turned down from every other application.
You wondered why she took things so seriously.
You might not know how many people took her as a joke.
You asked her to go get nails from the other crew and she almost seemed scared.
You might not of heard the nasty comments they’ve said.
You asked yourself why she got so mad when those guys stared at her. You might not know how many times she had been sexual harassed.
Some days she seemed slow and emotional.
You might not know she had been bleeding for 4 days while building your house.
She over dressed on the hottest days of summer, you might not know about the looks she would of gotten.
She quite the industry.
You might not of asked about what she was going through.
Ask questions. Take action. Make a change.
“By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.”- Desiderious Erasmus
From me to him.
You had no right.
You had no right to say those things.
You had no right to make me feel like I was less.
You had no right to touch me.
You had no right to make me feel so small.
Today I will prove everything you ever thought about me was wrong.
I have the right to be there.
I have the right to be respected
I can be on a job site.
I can build a house.
I can grow.
To all those who thought that I wouldn’t make it. Watch me succeed.
“A successful women is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at them.”-unknown
It’s been just over a month now that we are living on a beautiful Vineyard on Saturna Island. The sunrises along with the sunsets behind the ocean and mountain view’s have not been disappointing.
Our days at work have been a beautiful balance of the west coast rains and the wonderful sunshine and warmth of this magical rain shadow area. This town has not ceased to amaze me with it’s kind people and countless beach accesses. Exploring has been made easy here.
We watch and listen to the sea lions “bark” when visiting Winter Cove and the light house, get spied on by the seals when fishing and run in to feral goats when roaming in the trails. To top it off we get the occasional orcas and dolphins that will pass by on casual day at work.
Our dog Tank has happier then ever having so much room to play and making friends at the beach. It’s relieving to say that our family is more then well adapting to the area.
The community has been one of the sweetest I’ve seen in so long. Everyone knowing and respecting each other. Local farms providing meat,eggs and baked goods. Multiple programs for the elderly, less fortune and the community, that just melt my heart reading about them. All of this done The Lions Club which has the most charming volunteers.
All to say say that Saturna Island is a magical place. If you decide to visite, you will not be disappointed by it’s breath taking views and warm welcoming from the locals. But as I’ve said before, when you visit these communities, be respectful and kind to everything and everyone that is around you because they are sharing a little piece of paradise.
Check mine and Derick’s new YouTube Channel and subscribe to see beautiful videos captured here on Saturna 🌊🐚
Here’s a short video for you all of what a day of pouring concrete footings look like on Saturna Island. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get updates on the amazing custom house we are getting ready to build here on Saturna Island
Let me justify why I’m doing all of this. Why am I writing these blogs, why I work my a** off and what I’m hoping for the futur of the industry.
I grew up in a world where there was jobs “for women” and jobs “for men”. Slowly, through out the years I saw more and more women/men mixing in to the industries and doing it so casually and well, but not in construction. In some ways and for some people, this industry hasn’t changed at all.
You can be on a construction site with over 200 people and you will be lucky to see a handful of women. We take up 1% of the industry. Why? Why is it so hard to get a job as a women in the industry, why is it so hard to find women work gear, so many “whys”. I honestly can not wrap my head around it. I will tell you though, that I believe that one day, all of it will be different. A women will easily get in to the industry, will walk on to a job site and people won’t see her any differently then other worker.
I push myself more and more everyday to show the pass, the present and the futur generation that a women belong on a job site and can damn well build a house just as well as anyone else. I want to show people that we can have an important role in the industry and prove that we deserve to be respected. “Blood,sweat and tears”, gets put in to reality when it comes to all of this but it’s so worth it.
I’m hoping to see more women come into the industry and stay because they feel comfortable and know that they will have the opportunity to grow knowing that no man will try to get in their way.
If someone disrespects you, do something about it, take actions. Letting it go won’t help anything but make you angry. Do what ever you have to do for people to know that they can’t mess with you. Discrimination is illegal in 2020 and to be honest just darn pathetic, so report it and help the next generation getting into the industry knowing success is ahead of them.
“Dreams are lovely but they are dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral,pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” -Shonda Rhimes
So a few weeks ago Derick and I had booked a room at the Water Edge resort in Uclulet, Bc, with a balcony hot-tub with a harbor view with a plan to get some good surfing done. Last week I got a call saying that it was shutting down due to COVID protocols.
So…. we decided to stay here on Saturna Island and play it safe. Had a beautiful walk up to the light house at east point, saw many sea lions and seals, did some crab fishing, had some drinks and enjoyed a beautiful evening with the one I love most.
The longer we stay here and the more people we meet, the more we love this place .
Check out this video that I put together for you, please leave a comment, let me know what you think and what you would like to see, like and subscribe.
Let’s talk about the 3 biggest challenges I’ve had to face to become a carpenter so far. Not saying they are the only ones, but definitely the ones that took the longest for me to get through.
So I’m about 5’6” and weight about 120 lbs. I got into the industry thinking my wrist were going to break and that my legs were going to collapse. I’d put lumber on my shoulder and think it was going to pop out. To top it up, I thought my tool belt was going to dislocate my hips. How did I deal with it ? I shut up and kept doing it. Okay I’m just kidding… ish. I started doing yoga at home for joint and back pains and started doing core strength workouts. With time, I asked and observed how those who were closer to my size did things. From holding up nail guns to lifting lumber, I found ways to make everything easier. Sometimes I had to figure out my own tricks. I never gained weight but gained muscle and can now lift more then enough to get the job done.
To be taken seriously
This might be the hardest. I got into the industry at 20 years old with no apprenticeship or experience. I usually didn’t even get a reply on job applications. To top it off, I got convinced that men only hired women because they could easily pay them less. I was sure I was sure going never be more then a labor doing cuts and picking up scraps. I never thought back then that I’d be where I am today considering all the times I thought about quitting. When I started working with my boyfriend Derick, things changed. He got me going and never let anyone look down on me. He proved myself and others wrong. He got me framing/inserting walls , building/sheeting floors and made sure I grew.
My last resumes I’ve sent out, I received multiple replies and I don’t get questioned on the salary I ask for. To be honest, I definitely still put on a tough girl act when I get on to a new job site or meet knew people but once I know I have their respect, I become my good old smiley self (usually) 😉.
Like a lot of women, I struggled with self-esteem. This making my life so much harder then it should of been. I used to be so darn shy to talk to my boss, site supervisor or other trades. Always stuck with the idea of again, not being taken seriously, getting weird looks and comments. I use to walk around on a job site with my head down and always keep to myself. Once I decided that I wanted to continue in the industry, I got sick of it. All of it. Slowly, as I became more confident and not letting other people make me feel that way, I started walking with my head high. I started getting less looks, the comments don’t usually happen anymore and my anxiety level has just dropped. Once you put in to your own head that you are one of “them”, that you are no different then anyone else on that job site, you will feel a huge weight off your shoulders. I won’t lie to you and say it was easy for me, it took time but every minute was worth it.
Now listen when I say that in every industry, there will be someone who will be there, waiting for the best moments to try and knock you down, but you have to remember why you’re there in the first place, because you want to be, you can and there for, you should. Dont act or treat yourself different and others will start to do the same.
“As soon as you begging to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has a meaning”-Barbara Sher
Since we finalized our big project in Ukee, we’ve been filling in the work time gap by preparing a lot and forms for a pre-fab home on Salt spring Island. Our home crew will be building it and the idea is for it to come in panels, that would have the wall and roof system tied in together and basically only needing the flooring system to be added in for the second floor. It’s going to be one a kind ! (Click the follow button to get updates.)
Now my short time on Salt Spring was nice but can’t say I would live there for long. It’s a very small Island with a lot of it being owned and most of land being private so there’s not much to explore. I mean of course there’s Mount Maxwell look out, Ruckle farm park and a few other parks to go check out which are gorgeous. Also on Tuesday night there’s a great Farmers market selling a bunch of great local produce followed by a even bigger one on Saturday’s with all your local artisanal artists. Being said, it’s a wonderful touristic place to spend a weekend and have more then enough time to see everything you want.
Work wise, it was a cool opportunity to learn about felling trees, getting extra comfortable with the chainsaw and having massive slash pile fires. Getting the chance to start things right from the beginning and seeing them go all the way to the end is an awesome experience. Also I haven’t had much hands on experience with foundations ( this one only being my 3rd) so this one really gave me the chance to wrap my head around it all. The site is on top of a mountain making it a pretty remote location which, you will start to notice, that’s how we like it. So next up …. Saturna Island.
Saturna Island is the most southern gulf Island and also being the most remote one with 75% of being ecological reserve. There is one pub and one coffee shop that close in November and one general store where you can get some necessities. As I said, very remote and very isolated. We will be spending the winter there getting a foundation up then building a beautiful home right on the side of the Pacific Ocean.
Now I’ve worked on many job sites in many beautiful places from Alberta all the way to the mainlands and the Island but this one will be by far the most exciting/interesting experience yet.
After living in a motorhome for 2 years, it’s good to remember to treat yourself.
Don’t give me wrong, I love the Rv life, but a big cozy bed and unlimited hot water is definitely nice once in while. So on Thursday night, we booked a hotel room in Squamish and Friday morning we hit the road.
As soon as we arrived, we head out to visit our good old friend Paul. He brought us down by the river on Squamish nation land, where he usually fishes for salmon and hangs out with family and friends. Within the hour we were there, we saw a few eagles, a seal and a black bear. It was absolutely amazing.
On Saturday, we went for a long drive, exploring the backroads of Squamish. Took the day to get away from the world and get lost.
By going so far in to the forest and so high up in the mountains, we ended up finding ourselves a little winter wonderland. The views were breathtaking but so was the cold weather.
Sunday before heading back home, we drove up to whistler, went for a little walk and had a wonderful breakfast at the Stone Edge Kitchen. It was the cherry on top of the Sunday. The sky was clear making the scenery flawless and the little bit of snow with the frosty air coming down the mountains was nostalgic. Winter is just around the corner and I can’t wait ❄️
Now trust me when I say, I know this job isn’t always easy as a women. When we wake up, we don’t get to put on our new favorite outfit, doing our hair is useless, we don’t get home smelling like flowers, our nails usually stay short and dirty with nail polish lasting about 15 minutes in to the day and we’re usually cooking dinner in our dirty work clothes. The list goes on.
But please believe me when I say, the longer your in the industry for, the more you will get comfortable with all of it. I promise
More comfortable with tools, more comfortable on the job sites, with others, yourself and generally everything.
When I started, I felt uncomfortable asking for a raise or a salary I thought I was worth. I would of never dared to complain about anything, from outhouses that we’re just to nasty to even open the door , to sexual harassment, to unfair pay.
I was questioned on why I made a big deal at the Christmas staff party, when my butt got grabbed twice. I was questioned on why I was angry when I was rushed to the hospital with a kidney infection during the Covid 19 outbreak in March due to not having access at I all to a bathroom. I honestly often felt like my job was always at risk because I was a minority.
But every time something out of the sort would happen, I had Derick by my side, reminding what I was worth and reminding that I have every right to demand to be treated like any other worker, with respect and dignity.
Today, I feel comfortable using/trying any tool handed to me. I feel comfortable being smelly and dirty and I feel comfortable not being dolled up.
I feel comfortable looking at a man dead in the eyes and telling him what salary I want and what I need to make my job possible. I feel more than comfortable telling someone off for staring for to long or saying/doing something inappropriate about me or any other women. Today I know that I have a place in the industry
I know that I’m just as important as any other carpenter, I know that I have a voice, I have the right to speak up, to learn and to grow in the industry just like anyone else does .
Today I know that when I walk on to the job site, I’m gonna rock any task that’s given to me.
This pass summer, Derick and I had the opportunity to live in Uclulet, Bc. It was honestly a dream come true to have found this job in may, when everything was shutting down on Vancouver Island because of COVID 19. As soon as we arrived, we were lucky enough that Relic Surf shop was selling retail by appointment and the owner was kind enough to let us in and hook us up with some sweet surf gear. This made our summer much more exciting.
I won’t lie, to have had the opportunity to live in Uclulet while traveling was not aloud and everything was shut down was amazing. The deer wondered all over town, the beaches were empty with plenty of space to surf and everywhere was peaceful and quiet.
Now I’m gonna tell you about of a specific night when we decided to host a 90s bbq at our Rv with the people we work with. Everyone had amazing costumes, I had track pants, a turtle neck, a fanny pack with bright pink lipstick and the side ponytail. Once the sun went down and everyone had enough drinks in them, we decided it wouldn’t be a true 90s night if we didn’t all go skateboarding in the empty streets. Sure enough we grab our skate boards, grab a Bluetooth speaker, pop on the best old school hip-hop playlist we could find and hit the road.
Now i will tell you right now, I can get places on my board and hit small hills, but I am very far from being a pro. Buuutt…. I thought I was the next tony hawk that night. Derick and the others being much more experienced then me decided to bomb this hill, at the moment I thought it was one I had previously done. So I decided to bomb it to. After getting through two speed wabbles, I thought I was good, then a third one hit me along with a few rocks.
I flew off my board and slid far enough to melt the top of my shoes and skin my palm.Turns out, I have never bombed that hill before. Turns out it I shouldn’t of skateboarded back home.
Yes. After waiting three weeks to see a doctor, i found out I fractured my kneecap in two different places. That made the next 6 weeks of my life a living hell. You don’t realize how important you knee is until you can’t use it. But honestly, I don’t regret it, it was a great night and I had an amazing time. As soon as I hit my 6 week mark, derick and I got back in the water and started surfing again. I won’t lie I almost cried I few times when Id fall knees on the board or when the rip was to strong but it would pass we made the best of time we had there.
I won’t tell you the names of the places we went and explored but will share a few photos. I strongly believe that you should go out and explore and try to keep places as secluded as possible to keep in clean and peaceful. Unfortunately there is a big problem in Tofino and Uclulet with littering. There is a place called Rainbow beach that has become absolutely disgusting. We have picked up 6 bags of trash in one day and the next weekend it was like it had never been cleaned.
So please for those who decide to visit these beautiful town, be respectful. Be respectful to the locals, the the town, the wildlife and the forest.
“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps.”
So I finally decided that I would take the time to go in to detail on what exactly do I do for a living. In this blog ill write about how and why I became a carpenter and a bit about what it’s like to be a female in the industry.
Now I won’t say it that it wasn’t a little bit of a chock when I decided to go from working in a cozy office in Gatineau, Quebec to working in the blistering cold of Edmonton, Alberta 5 years ago. I was just about to turn 20 years old when I decided to join my older brother out west, he was kind enough to give me a job doing roof trusses. I won’t lie, back then I didn’t think I would be where I am today.
I won’t sugar coat it. My days on a construction site have often been hard. Between the amount of sexist people who still exist in the industry and just the basic conditions of a construction worker, I’ve thought of leaving the industry so many times. I’ve been under paid, gotten my butt grabbed, I’ve been harassed, yelled at, I’ve hurt my self, gotten heatstrokes, been flooded to my underwear and cold to the point where I thought my fingers we’re breaking ,the list goes on. It would be a lie to say this career hasn’t made me cry. But I love it.
Yes I know, that sounds insane, but I really do I love my job.
I love working outdoors. I love building houses. I love working with my hands and learning everyday. As much as I hate it, I love the rain falling on my face on a hot summer day , or the beautiful snowflakes, insulting the sound on a job site during a snowstorm when most have stayed home. I love that I can work with Derick and have him by my side through all of my challenges.I started off as a labour who barely knew how to hammer in a nail to becoming part of the 1% of female carpenters in Canada.
Today I work for Vineuve construction, a wonderful company that makes me feel safe and respected as women and gives Derick and I the opportunity to work in different towns and Islands. I can’t express how important yet hard that is to find.
My word to you, if you want to enter the industry, do it. Keep you head high and don’t let anyone talk you down. It might be the best decision you’ve ever made.
A lot has changed since I last wrote anything on here . To start off, the bus project has been put on pause. We decided this when last spring when we had moved to Squamish and unfortunately faced some major financial issues due to work.
I won’t get into those details but I will say that I’ve never learned so much about life more then I did then. With the least money in our pockets, Derick and I had the most fun we’ve ever had in our lives.
While we were living in Squamish valley, we met this beautiful aboriginal couple named Paul and Judy. They gave us so much knowledge about forestry and ancient cedars and helped us every way they could to get us out of the hole. They gave us the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate Squamish and Elaho valley and made our time there much more enjoyable.
From Squamish we made our way to Vancouver Island. At first, the move was not the easiest, we faced challenges that got us thinking of just letting the whole mobile life go. To top it off, our previous motorhome basically died on us during the worst time but instead, it pushed us to upgrade to something better.
We now live in a 31ft RV and it makes the nomad life SO MUCH easier. Maybe we don’t have our dream Skoolie at the moment but for now we are just focusing on our happiness. Stay posted as I get more into detail on what we’ve been up to Islands of Canadian west coast !
I must say, the more I take advantage of the whole mobile home thing, the more I enjoy and appreciate the beauty of it.
This pass month has been dedicated to adapting and settling with our new lifestyle . We decided to go from a large two floor home to a 24ft long Ford Citation. We love it.
I know you might be confused on why we bought this. But we decided that to be able to put the most time and money into the bus, small simple living is our best option. Vancouver and it’s mainlands have the highest cost of living in Canada so what better way of saving then to just skip rent completely.
Now before you think that we’re basically homeless, our motor home has a complete water system with a flush toilet, shower and hot water tank.Has a great battery system that can keep us going for about 3 days off grid with fridge/freezer and oven. It’s a great setup to live in and to go for road trips in. Luckily we don’t have to live on a campsite, our friends have a big backyard where we can also have our bus stored for us to work on.
What was the hardest part ? Finding ways to organize/place our things. Putting them away wasn’t hard. It’s finding things after. Our storage areas our small and dark so we got small baskets from the dollar store and LED lights to avoid throwing everything around to find something. Our next step is to add shelves and hooks to take more advantage of our wall and closet space.
What’s the best part ? I will be more than ready to move into the bus once it’s done. I am learning to live my everyday life in such a tiny space and I’m finding easier and easier by the day. I am able to have all my plants lights and decorations giving the most relaxed vibes I can ask for. I am able to cook any meal I want without a single issues. And last but not least, leaving for a road trip and not having to pack anything up.
Alright, ready to hear what we got done ? Once we had the bus down to bare metal, we started working on what is priority to us, keeping the bus dry and warm. To do so first we decided to scrape all the old gunk off the windows and window frames and reseal them with fresh seam seal. Be prepared for the task because i can’t say it’s quick and easy. This option was best at our opinion for the reason that it doesn’t dry and end up cracking causing your windows to leak. If you have been on the west coast during winter time you will understand the importance on making your bus as waterproof as possible.
For the insulation, we decided to completely insulate and seal everywhere. Starting with the floors, we insulated with 1” 1/2 tongue and grove foam from front to back and taped all the joints tight with Tuck tape. We then sheeted the floor with 5/8 plywood and then sealed all the remaining cracks in with Great Stuff. To glue the foam to the metal and the sheets to the foam we used PL premium. We went with this to avoid the chance of using a glue that will melt the foam.
For the walls below the windows, we basically used the the same technic. Except this time, we used 1” foam. Also we temporarily screwed a few wood strapping to make sure the foam sticks well with no air gaps. The main reason we used foam is because it also works as a vapor barrier. This is super important when you guys are insulating you bus,camper or van to prevent condensation that would lead to rotting and mold. You can also use polyethylene as a vapor barrier if you chose to go with other methods.
Now since we got so excited on all the work we got done, we decided to start building the first section of our futur home, the room! We decided the make a bed frame at 2’ high and 64” wide which makes a perfect fit for a queen size bed. Also we are keeping all our windows so we calculated it to put in a wooden varnished contour to prevent the mattress from getting any condensation. Underneath, we will have two large drawers for some of ourclothes and the rest will be for our electrical system and storage that will be accessible from the outside.
Oh and through the process of working with glue, chalk line, sealant and dirt… wear gloves . 🧤
So obviously before starting to build our dream home, we had to rip everything out, and I mean EVERYTHING. The flooring, the ceiling and the windows. Considering the fact that winters will get cold , which means lots of condensation, we wanted to insulate everywhere and remove all old insulation that could possibly be molded.
I started with the floors and Derick worked his way over removing all the ceiling.Take note, after trying a few different ways, we figured out punching in the middle of the rivets was the quickest way of removing the metal sheets on the ceiling. As for the flooring, it was screwed, gulued and nailed. Our bus is a 1992, the screws and nails were completely rusted solid to the bus. So, a hammer, nail puller and crowbar were my best friends. Within 2 days, we had the whole bus stripped.
In the end, the feeling of looking at the bus once it was completely stripped down was actually exiting. I know some of you might think I’m insane but knowing it’s ready to be built and that from that moment on, your really only going forward with things is a huge weight lifted. That’s when things really start.
Stay posted !!
Next time I’m going to let you guys know how I scraped all the old window gunk off and how we got the floors completely insulated and sheeted within 2 days.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" -Henry David Thoreau
Because working my way there is less delicious