When Mallorie Fournier bought a nearly 200-year-old house and moved to St-Paul-de-Montminy with her husband and two daughters, she didn’t expect to have an online following of more than 10,000 people just four years later.
Fournier runs a full-time homestead in her old, shabby house in the Bellechasse area about 100 kilometers east of Quebec City and aims to be completely self-sufficient for the next few years.
Right now, she and her family grow most of the vegetables, harvest and preserve them year-round, in addition to raising animals and picking fruits from their orchard.
On her YouTube channel Quebec Homestead, Fournier also shares videos about the development of the farm as well as tips and tricks for running a homestead.
“We did all of this in four years so we’re pretty proud of it,” said Fournier.
She says when they first bought the 80 acre property it was all grass and no garden, so she put down a tarp and waited a full year before building her mound. Now she grows more than 40 types of vegetables in her large garden.
Mallorie Fournier and her family grow, harvest and conserve most of the vegetables they need all year round in the large garden that they have created from scratch. (Julia Page / CBC)
She also has an orchard, a maple sugar bush, birds for meat, four chickens for eggs, horses, and a large three year old dog named Darwin.
Fournier says her husband grew up about half an hour away, so he already knows the area and they aren’t picky; They just wanted to be on a large lot that didn’t cost too much.
“When we came across the listing for this place, it was winter. I think it was -30 ° C and it was so windy and cold,” she said.
“We didn’t even go inside, just look at the view from the roadside, we thought, ‘Oh no, what did we do? Why did we come here?’ and we already knew that no matter how much work was put into the house, we would buy it. “
Working towards self-sufficiency in a harsh climate
With a breathtaking view of the Appalachians on the horizon and even located on a mountain, Fournier and her family have the luxury of not having neighbors and plenty of space to learn and grow.
The homesteader said their farm is in a zone 3 for farming which means a very challenging climate where temperatures can drop to -39 ° C in winter and sometimes even lower with the wind on the mountain.
“It’s just a real challenge for us to grow tomatoes and peppers and vegetables in hot climates,” said Fournier.
Fournier and her husband – an Afghan war veteran suffering from PTSD who was released after being injured – built all of the pastures and fences on the farm, which had not been tended for decades.
“There is a lot to do and that keeps him active during his compulsory early retirement,” said Fournier. “He’s kept sane that way.”
When they arrived, the first thing they did was plant around 50 fruit trees because it took them so long to grow.
“To me, a homestead means reusing old methods,” Fournier said, explaining that most of the techniques are older than the mass production and monoculture that became the norm after World War II.
“We’re like the ultimate preppers, you might say,” she joked.
She said it was almost impossible to be completely self-sufficient for the first few years, but they get there.
She is currently growing broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, leeks, potatoes and carrots, and other products for a year to support her family of four.
“I grow more than 180 kilograms of potatoes every year,” she said.
The house was also equipped with a root cellar, as the residents would have lived in homesteads at the time of construction.
“They had to have all of the plumbing in the house, which is really cool. I really like it,” said Fournier.
Find online community
Fournier started sharing her homesteading tips and tricks on YouTube about two years ago and not only has nearly 11,000 followers since then, but is also part of the online homesteading community.
“It was a way for me to share with you [my friends and family]and then all of a sudden I run into this huge community of people who follow me and we mail each other things, “she said.” It’s really cool to have all these like-minded people in one community. “
She said the channel was especially helpful in feeling connected during the pandemic.
“It started like this, but in the end it was so much more,” she said.
CLOCK | Mallorie Fournier shows how to grow potatoes:
Fournier regularly hosts live streams, posts vlogs (video blog) and creates videos like Are They Rooting Yet? Update on my wild permaculture fruit cuttings, pruning and fertilizing onion starts, and just making dandelion wine while I sing and dance.
Her latest video shows how to keep meat for two years in hopes of taking a break from raising chickens for meat next year so she can focus on other projects.
“It’s just hard working on the farm, creating good content, and raising two kids,” she said. “I’m still trying to balance everything.”
Fournier says the next step is to build a large greenhouse extension next to the house next year.
Quebec AM14:20Gardener of Quebec – Running a full-time homestead in St-Paul-de-Montminy