Life in Canada–Living in the Sticks!


I explained in some of my previous posts that we weren’t coming back to Canada to live “traditionally”. Our plan was to come back and live in our RV on a very remote piece of land that my father owns. The piece of land is actually our families original homestead and was farmed by my grandfather when he was in his 20s! My father grew up on the property! It has absolutely zero services. No water, sewer or power!


Of course the lack of services meant that we had some problems to solve. Problem number 1 was sewer. As you can imagine a family of 5 is going to need to take care of “business”. After 2 years on a boat dealing with a marine head I was prepared. Initially I was going to build a tank that we could haul sewer with, but a quick search on Amazon turned up a better option. For $150 I could order a tank with wheels made for this exact purpose. Done and ordered.


Problem #2 was water. Again our time on the boat had prepared us and our water needs are pretty light compared to regular life. My brother offered me 2 options he had kicking around we could haul water with. First was a couple of clean 200 liter drums. Second was a 1000 liter plastic tank originally used to carry a chemical (years ago) that he was now using to haul pond water. In the end we choose the 1000L tank as we could haul more water and it would be easier to strap down on the utility trailer. Of course I spent a day cleaning it before using. We first pressure washed the inside until it was squeaky clean. We then ran 3 bleach water shock treatments in it. All that even though we don’t drink from the tank (only showers and clothes washing). This turned out to be a great decision as we can buy 950L and it lasts our family 7 days. (about 27L/person/day, I shower everyday and the kids every second day).


The final problem was power. The environmentalist in me struggled with this one a little bit. Originally I was going to put a couple of solar panels on the roof of the RV. However after pricing a system out I just couldn’t justify the cost for 4 months (even using borrowed controllers from the boat). Canada has high tax on imported solar panels and locally made ones are just as expensive. Since I had access to a gasoline generator for free, we decided to go that route.  We burn about 25L/week in gasoline to keep everything charged up, do our laundry and heat water (no we can’t shower in cold water up here… talk about shrinkage!).


So with all the problems solved, we settled into a routine. I work 4 ten hour days per week (Mon-Thurs) and Rhonda stays at the RV homeshcooling the kids and doing chores. For Rhonda and the kids, its not all that different from boat life except for the dirt and the fact that I’m not there during the day. For me, it was initially a struggle to 10 hour work days but I adjusted. The other day my mom asked us how we liked it living out there. We both responded that it felt “Opulent”. We can go for a walk anytime we want. We have way more power than we had on the boat (albeit at the cost of burning gasoline). We can take long showers if we feel like it (water only costs $3 for 950L). Finally we can be in a city (Cold Lake) with all amenities in just a 50 minute drive.


Stay tuned for my next post about work (many people have been asking what the hell I have been doing)!



An overview of our little slice of Canadian life. (the screen tent was recently destroyed in a flash thunderstorm that dumped Caribbean amounts of water on us). We originally used the 2 blue cans to carry water from the utility trailer to the RV. We recently got a pump as it was a back killer to lift those jugs to neck height.1


Our little washing machine. Very similar to the one we have on the boat except this one is fancier and has a spinner. The spinner is fantastic and really speeds up the drying process.



Speaking of the drying process! Old School!




Yup, the kids enjoy school as much here as they do on the boat!




One thing we do love is the almost daily camp fires. I really missed fires during our time on the boat.



The kids are enjoying the quad rides!



Yes even Daph is driving the quad!



Its farming time here in Alberta. Here is my dad taking the tractor and bailer to bail some hay. Our family doesn’t really farm anymore, just cut and sell the excess hay they get off the field.



We tackled some projects of our own. My mom wanted a table near the fire pit so we obliged. The only power tool we used was a battery operated drill.



The finished product. Turned out pretty good. Some of the cuts aren’t perfect, but good enough for me. (the trailer in the background is my brothers)



When I said our property was remote, I wasn’t kidding. This is the road I drive every morning to get in and out of our property.



However, once on the hi-way I have some nice views. (the crop below is Canola for those wondering). The picture does not do it justice.. The color is “Highlighter” yellow!



Endless farming fields.



A random corner with a seed cleaning plant.



We are not completely removed from the water. Moose lake is a 20-25 minute drive from our homestead. Its not the ocean, but better than nothing! Notice the cut hay in the field.



I recently got to run a company errand to Edmonton. On the way back I stopped by my parents house just outside the city. This is the house I grew up in. Those trees were shorter than me when I lived there. (If a Hunka is reading this, the tree on the far right of the picture is Tracy’s from Kindergarten. My parents moved it from Raven Dr. to here)



I thought I would include a few maps to give better perspective of where we actually are in Canada!



A zoomed in view of the Province! For those wondering, Edmonton is the “big” city with around 1.1 million people.



An aerial view of the property we are living on. The land was originally all forest and my grandfather cleared the areas for farming! Its really in the middle of no where.


  12 comments for “Life in Canada–Living in the Sticks!

  1. Aunty Georgette
    August 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    TJ, your dad was probably 2 years old when we moved from the Gifford farm to the other farm where Ryan is, because I was 5 years old when we moved. We actually were raiused on the other farm.

    • travis
      August 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Hhmm are you sure… Dad has a bunch of stories from his childhood here.. Including one where he went fishing in the creek and skipped school. Pretty sure he was older than 2 when that happened.. I will confirm with him.

      On another note.. Do you have any information on when Gido acquired this land. Dad doesn’t seem to know. He thinks they acquired it shortly after marrying.

  2. Mike McFarlane
    August 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Nice report Travis. You have definitely changed your way of life! Last Tango is now back in Grenada, just in time for Carnivale. I miss you guys and look forward to seeing you again soon.

    • travis
      August 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      We miss you guys too.. We enjoyed you recent pictures in Prickly…. We are living vicariously through you guys for a while!

  3. August 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Canola as in oil? Love both of your recent posts. You two are amazing. Hugs.

    • travis
      August 3, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks Barb.. I hope you and Stew are doing amazing!

      and yes Canola as in oil.. I think Alberta is the number one producer of Canola seeds in North America. Its the “money crop” up here (although there really isn’t any money in farming).

  4. Sandy Hunka
    August 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Yes, a Hunka is reading this! OMG TJ that is amazing – what a beautiful big tree! I’ll be sure to pass this on to Tracy. PS: I so enjoy following your family’s adventures on your blog! ❤️Sandy Hunka

  5. Tracy Laramee
    August 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    …And another Hunka is reading this too! I’ve just been pouring through tons of your posts, and was thrilled when my Mom texted me to take a look at the latest! I had no idea you guys had brought ‘my’ tree from Raven Drive!!?! If it was my kindergarten tree, then that would make it even older than you!! Your adventures are truly inspiring – what an incredible thing you both are doing for your family! xo Tracy

    • travis
      September 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Been lazy lately.. Just read this.. Thanks.. (and yes that damn tree is older than me)

  6. August 4, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Seems that you “Live the dream” in Alberta too!

    Joel from sv/Live the Dream, we were at Jolly Harbour, Antigua but actually in Mont-Tremblant, Qc.

  7. Judy Wizniuk
    August 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Love the table…it is perfect! Thanks Guys!
    Love Mom

  8. Judy Wizniuk
    August 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Dad didn’t grow up at the Gifford property….Aunty Geo is correct. He lived there till about 2 years. The stories you remember of him telling you about going there fishing was after school…or maybe even skipped school occasionally to go fishing there…lol.

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