The Manitou

Much of the practical experience that we at Sunshine Saved have acquired about sustainable living has been through our actions and experiences at our farm in the Gatineau Hills just north of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Land Management

Other Topics

Our farm is 230 acres, and found along the shores of a reservoir of the Gatineau River. It is hilly and mostly forested, but it also has about 20 acres of pastures and a few acres of wetlands. We designed and built a highly efficient off grid house near the water, which was completed in 2014. Farming and land management plans are now being implemented.

Our farm is much like the others in our area of the Gatineau hills north of the city of Ottawa. This area was settled by farmers in the late 1800’s, following the loggers who cut their way up each of the major rivers of the region. These farms initially provided subsistence for the families living on them as well as selling some production on to the logging camps or down towards the city. As the economics of the area shifted, our farm, along with many of the others, moved to become largely pasture and hayfields for beef cattle. On our property only a modest amount of the land was ever fully cleared, those areas that were the flattest and with the best soil. The rest has stayed in forest continuously, though with extensive logging throughout the last 150 years.

We have been on the property since 2012, spending the first few years getting to know it and planning for production and management. We are now sustainably harvesting wood from our forest, have planted out an orchard, and raise grass-fed beef – most of our farming work has moved over to the main farm, Ferme L’eau du ruisseau. We have also been busy with some foraging, hunting, and fishing for wild species. The future steps in our land management and farming activities will be discussed on this site, and we will always try to tie our modest-scale activities back to larger sustainability issues.