It all started when they said “I do.”
Mitch Minchau and Janette Armstrong drove all over Alberta and British Columbia to find a place to start their lives.
In 1981, they fell in love with the Cariboo and moved from Edmonton, Alta. to a small acreage on the Likely Road and have been there ever since.
Mitch was a Fisheries technician but a carpenter by heart and decided to build a log home.
Back in the ‘80s, one was able to get enough logs for a home from a cash sale for $25. In the winter of ‘82 the logs were cut down and hauled to the acreage and in the spring construction began.
For two city slickers, they really had many challenges.
In two years, the house was completed and they started their family. Three children, Jessie, Matthew, and Kallie, whom kept them busy with 4-H and all sorts of projects.
They had rabbits, chickens, lambs, pigs, steers, and horses, which provided wonderful fertilization for the garden.
Gardening was a challenge as well, with the frost occurring every month in the summer, but they managed to grow everything from asparagus to zucchini.
Mitch loved to fish so he decided to build a boat, not a canoe or row boat, but a 27-foot cabin cruiser. Special lumber known as vertical grain fir was cut from logs from the Caribou Lake area, and a band saw was used from Big Lake.
It has taken more than 10 years for the boat to be completed with more than 3,000 hours of craftsmanship involved.
The hull was built upside down and the wood frames were covered with plywood.
The lumber had to be steamed and bent to obtain the streamline curves the boat required.
The hull was turned over and the wood was fiber-glassed and the inside was treated with epoxy to pressure the wood.
The cabin was constructed to provide beds, bathroom, kitchen, and a lounge area.
The neighbours would joke when it rained for a couple days that “the Ark” must almost be done.
This August will be the maiden voyage of the “Makai,” Hawaiian for Towards the Sea.
They intend to have some great adventures on her out on the B.C. Coast and Quesnel Lake with family and friends.
When they retire, they don’t have to move anywhere, as they have a little piece of Heaven on Earth they call home right here in the Cariboo.