Jorgen and Berit Christensen have lived in the Fort St. James area for 30 years

Jorgen and Berit Christensen have lived in the Fort St. James area for 30 years

Building a life and a home

So how does a couple from Denmark end up outside Fort St. James for 30 years?

So how does a couple from Denmark end up outside Fort St. James for 30 years?

By coincidence, of course.

Berit and Jorgen Christensen decided to move to Canada sight unseen based on stories told to them by friends.

It also probably helped with the decision the cost of packing up their things and shipping them to Canada was still cheaper than just moving across Denmark.

So after they packed up their things, the first place they settled was on Vancouver Island. But they heard there might be larger pieces of property further north to fulfill their dreams of living more from the land, so they began looking on the mainland and first were looking in Hazelton.

They said they were laughed at in Smithers by the real estate agent when they told him their budget, so they looked in Vanderhoof but did not find what they were looking for there either.

Then they heard there might be something outside Fort St. James, and so they came up to take a look.

While they could only look at part of the quarter section – there was no road and they did not have time to see the whole thing – they knew they liked it, and they bought the property and began making plans to sell the house they had bought in Cumberland on the island and move north.

While waiting for the house to sell, the couple had a road put into the property, and once the house in Cumberland sold, they moved onto the property, putting up a tent on a platform for shelter and began to build a shop with living quarters, the priority being to have a workshop for Jorgen, so he could work and begin earning a living doing his carpentry.

The couple moved into the unfinished suite above the workshop in October, and the openings which remained allowed bats to fly into the living room at first, which probably added some incentive to finish up some of the details.

Once the workshop was built and the living quarters were finished, the couple began working on the log home they live in now.

The logs for the home were delivered in 1989, the couple peeled and prepped them in 1990, and in 1991, they put the logs up and by 1993, they moved in and finished the details as they went – and they definitely paid attention to the finer details.

The house itself is a marvel of craftsmanship, with brilliantly done detail work, from a hollow log they found and integrated into a unique window, to a massive stone chimney made of rocks the pair had collected for years.

The chimney also hides pipes inside it, protecting the pipes from the excessive settling of the large log home. There is also a stone bench surrounding the entire chimney through which smoke recirculates, creating a warm surface to sit on and a heat sink for the entire home.

The trim ends of the logs were milled into lumber for the rest of the house, and it is impossible to look in any direction in the house without being impressed with yet another beautiful and ingenious detail.

But building a home was not all the pair and their two sons did on their property over the years, they had sheep, raised lambs for meat, had a large greenhouse where they still grow enough tomatoes to last through a large part of the winter, and a massive garden to supply them with many vegetables for the year.

“I don’t think we’re ever bored,” said Berit.

Over the years, the family had many different animals, including a milk cow for awhile. Now the pair have a horse, geese, sheep and pigs, as well as a cat and a dog of course.

This time of year, the couple is lambing, so there are adorable baby lambs in the pens with their mothers, a sure sign of spring.

Spring means an end to the cross-country skiing though, and on their property, Jorgen and Berit have 14 km of set trails, and their skis are neatly arranged on a rack by the back door for easy access.

It seems there is not much the two of them do not do to take advantage of the place they have made their amazing home, and enjoy the place they happened to end up, a long way from Denmark.