I can’t remember exactly when Ian began to seriously consider moving on. I was trying to keep up to the demands of my two full-time government jobs while he managed the day-to-day activities on the farm. I helped out with the animals as much as I could.
Originally he looked at campgrounds, particularly in the United States. He thought that the warmer climates would be a nice switch from Ontario’s cold winters. And as I was American-born, it would be easy to move down there.
We had seen some frigid winters on the farm, and nothing emphasized the cold as much as trying to save the life of a newborn kid or lamb in minus 30 degree (Celcius) temps. One busy post-Christmas period we saved 30 newborn kids. We used a combination of the living room and greenhouse to keep them warm enough during those first few vulnerable days to survive. It was a challenge keeping them all straight, helping them to bond with their mothers, attaching the rejected ones to new foster moms who had just given birth to an only kid, making sure the little ones all received enough colostrum. Sometimes the only hope was buying expensive kid or lamb milk-replacer and bottle-feeding. Our greenhouse was transformed into a second barn with corals for kids and nannies.
Working for extended periods with tits and bottles and stubborn nannies and kids at all hours of the night emphasized how truly cold Canadian winters can be, especially in Ontario.
I was reluctant to leave the farm that we had worked so hard to create, but I also had a weakness for looking at real estate that was on the market. So soon I began searching, too. We decided the States was too risky, mainly because of their health care system. And whenever we set our sights on a particular place in the States, it seemed to suffer from a major weather event (such as a tornado). It was almost as if the Lord was telling us something.
We began to look at Nova Scotia, because it is overall the warmest province in Canada. Not the warmest region (areas of B.C. such as Vancouver take that honor), but it is the warmest province on a yearly basis, mainly because it is almost entirely surrounded by ocean waters. According to the Nova Scotia Life website, average spring temps are 34-63 F, summer 57-77F, fall 41-68F, winter 12.2-41F. (In Celsius: 1-17, 14-25, 5-20, -11-5.)
We couldn’t believe the real estate prices. What would cost $150,000 easily in our part of Ontario might cost $70,000 in Nova Scotia.
We came across a convenience store and takeout in the small community of Hillsburn, Nova Scotia, called Dee Wee’s. It was operating, and the listing claimed it was generating an excellent income. And it had an ocean view. And it was listed for $50,000. We couldn’t believe it. We knew that any property in Ontario with a water view would be priced at least 30 percent higher than a comparable property with an ordinary “land” view.
The only thing we didn’t like about the property was the listing photo. Rather dreary.
We decided not to act on anything until we had an offer on our farm. But before we could sell the farm, we had a lot to do.