Couple enjoys growing their own food, operates a bed and breakfast and rents land to neighbours to grow forage
By Brian Cross
It doesn’t take long to get a sense of what matters most to Gene and Glen Pavelich.
After approaching their farmyard along a quiet treed driveway, visitors enter a serene Saskatchewan rural oasis, complete with hand-made chicken coops, manicured lawns, beds of perennials, shrubs, brilliant flowers of every description, and carefully tended gardens overflowing with fresh vegetables.
The Paveliches place a great deal of value in their ability to grow and preserve their own food and live a lifestyle that they consider healthy, sustainable and personally fulfilling.
“We enjoy the property,” says Glen, who is originally from Nova Scotia but now happily rooted in the Prairies south of Kenaston.
“We love our lifestyle here, and Kenaston is a wonderful community that we really enjoy being a part of. We’d (rather) invest our time and money here than in cottage country.”
The farm consists of nine quarter sections and was once primarily dedicated to dry land crop production. Gene’s grandfather settled in the area in the 1940s and over the years, Gene’s father continued to accumulate land.
We like to be self-sufficient as possible so we produce a lot of our own food. – Glen Pavelich
As the oldest of nine kids, Gene continued to help his parents on the farm while working off farm.
He eventually took over from his father and later moved into the family home. He and Glen were married in 2001 and have lived there ever since.
At the time, Gene worked for Air Canada and Glen was an alternative health consultant.
They considered farming but decided that large dry land production was not a part of their future.
Today, more than half of the family’s land is planted to perennial forage crops for custom grazing and the rest is rented to neighbours who seed annual crops, including cereals, pulses and oilseeds.
Gene oversees the grazing and rental lands but he and Glen are mainly focused on maintaining and beautifying the yard site.
They spend the growing season producing vegetables, along with some fruit.
“We like to be self-sufficient as possible so we produce a lot of our own food,” says Glen. “We can and freeze and store our own root vegetables for the winter, and Gene keeps honeybees. We love eating our own organic food as opposed to buying what’s available in the stores because who knows what’s on it or how it was produced.”
The couple’s extensively renovated farmhouse provides further evidence of Gene’s and Glen’s dedication to self-sufficiency and locally produced food.
The quaint but spacious kitchen features unique country-style cabinets that were designed and constructed by Glen and Gene.
On the counter are jars of fresh garden preserves, while dried flowers and country-style antiques are found elsewhere.
The Paveliches’ unwavering conviction to living a healthy country lifestyle has shaped their careers.
In the early 2000s, Glen decided to give up her career as a holistic health consultant and focus instead on opening a rural bed and breakfast that offers weary travelers a tranquil spot to relax.
The bed and breakfast welcomed its first visitors in June of 2002 and has been open ever since.
It also offers stalls and corals for travellers with horses in tow and need a place to rest and exercise their animals.
Gene says the farm’s location along a major double lane highway halfway between Alberta and Manitoba makes it an ideal and easy-to-find spot .
The decision to run a bed and breakfast has been a rewarding one, adds Glen.
“When we first moved here, I commuted to Saskatoon every day and found I was loathe to leave the farm,” she says. “I just thought there had to be some way that we could make a living closer to home.”
In addition to the bed and breakfast, Gene also runs a photography business, Gene’s Photography, and Glen operates a home-based web-design business.
The decision to stay home and focus on lifestyle couldn’t have turned out better, adds Gene.
“We find that B and Bs attract a unique subset of travellers, people who appreciate a touch of home and an opportunity to meet new people and forge new relationships,” he said.
“We really enjoy our guests,” adds Glen. “We have great conversations and we’ve met lots of interesting people.”