640 acres (256 hectares) – one perfect square mile
in the heart of the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada
In the thirty plus years that we have owned this tract of semi-wilderness (we are the original owners of this property that in the nineteenth century was ceded to the national railway company, but remained unsold, and eventually reverted to the government), we have endeavoured to preserve the land’s distinctive characteristics and diverse eco-systems. We have cut trails, often following time-honored deer trails, that help the wildlife circulate and create edges for certain plant and bird species as well as offering recreation possibilities, such as dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing in winter, and hiking, horse riding or bicycling in summer.
The property has potential for environmental awareness and ecology education.
Mindful to touch the land lightly, we built a cottage (much of it with natural wood from the estate’s trees) on an open floor-plan concept. As you arrive, you will not see the traditional mowed edges at the entrance. On one side grows big bluestem grass, the original grass that has virtually disappeared from the prairies and on which bison fed when they roamed the plains. On the other side, in season, grow wildflowers, including yellow lady slipper orchid and tiger lily. Why mow them down?
Enter the half-mile (800-meter) gravel driveway – drive slowly as wildlife can dart across at any moment. You will see subtle changes in the landscape until you arrive at the house site.
The comfortable but unpretentious 1,100 square-foot cottage is equipped with a 200 amp service, satellite internet and two fiber-optic phone lines. The dwelling is heated in winter by a woodstove – fallen and dead trees furnish a limitless fuel supply.
Nowadays, the size of one’s carbon footprint is or should be a major priority for everyone. Burning trees as firewood releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yet, if those same trees are left to rot and decompose on the forest floor, they release CO2. Either way, the surrounding living trees re-absorb that CO2, as they have done for millions of years. In the middle of a whole forest, the balance remains neutral.
There are also electric baseboard heaters in the cottage, just in case. The flooring is hardwood throughout and many windows create a light interior. The bathroom/utility room houses the washer, electric water heater, pressure tank, jet pump (for the 107-foot well providing a reliable supply of some of the best water on the prairies), shower and washbasin. Gray-water is led hundred feet (33 meters) from the house. The compost toilet uses the Jenkin’s humanure system.
The outbuildings comprise four solid sheds, a wood storage building close to the house, and shelters for machinery. A small greenhouse (built with recycled materials) sits alongside a container garden enclosed in a chain link fence. Two apple trees produce semi-sweet apples. There are also two large fenced pens which have a movable panel to make one larger enclosure.
The closest settlement is five miles (8km) away, with a K-12 school, service station with licensed mechanics, post-office, grocery store, cafe-convenience store, several other businesses and recreation facilities.
From the yard site, follow the trails and enjoy the natural surroundings.
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Current status: Open/apply now. Date posted: Jul 8 2019 ID: 54106