** Currently booking helpers for December onwards! Especially interested in those that can settle in and commit to staying for a couple of months over the winter.
Beautiful area of Nova Scotia Canada, beaches and historic towns nearby. Beautiful heritage farm
Small goat farm and pending artisan goat cheese dairy has space year round for helpers who are responsible, cheerful and hard working who can pitch in and help. Farm experience not needed but a positive attitude and a team player attitude is - practical common sense and comfort with the outdoors and physical work is .. well, sort of important. I can accommodate up to 3-4 volunteers at one time, sometimes more. This allows for covering for off days for helpers and allows for overlap during the day, as well as some time working together on special projects.
This is a heritage farm dating from the 1780s. Ethical growing of meat (pastured pork) and humane treatment of all our animals are central to what I'm about. If you're not sure you like working and caring for animals, this might not be the place for you.
2016 was a busy year and 2017 is set to be too - we are just about to launch Nova Scotia's first micro-cheese dairy! So there is a lot to help with - from building related work (painting, cleaning, hammering, etc), as well as the typical farm jobs. Goats take a lot of care and that includes mucking out their bedding, learning to milk (and milking) and cleaning. Lots of cleaning involved in any aspect of dairying. I make cheese regularly so learning this skill might be possible while you're here. I offer classes and people come from all over for a day on the farm. Some stay over night in my eco-chalet or Mongolian yurt.
A typical day means 1-2 helpers will help with morning chores and others will start later and help with evening chores. There is usually overlap in the day to work on projects, which may range from mucking out the goat or poultry housing, to tending to fencing, painting and helping with other building work, to helping with a cheese class, or any other manner of things. The day starts by 8:30am with chores and projects going until lunchtime. We take an hour lunch break and then the team splits - with some working a couple hours in the afternoon and the others working a couple of hours later in the afternoon, to help put critters 'to bed'. Flexibility is important on a small livestock farm - we try to get things done as a team and this can mean pitching in when something comes up unexpected (like helping with frozen pipes, as just happened!). Couples in our experience often do really well here, though for sure most of our helpers (including great ones) mostly are singles.
On off days there are bikes (Mahone Bay is about 30 mins away on bike as is the market town of Bridgewater; Lunenburg is closer to an hour). With the cold weather bikes aren't a great idea though so I try to get longer stay folks out for visits to the beach and towns (Lunenburg is a beautiful town - a UNESCO world heritage town) or whatever else, as time permits. This is a fairly active community in the new farmer/sustainability sectors etc. too so there are interesting projects and folks doing stuff. The Lunenburg Farmers Market is possibly the most active farmers market in NS and we are just about to become a vendor there.
In terms of accommodation, folks normally stay in one of the spare bedrooms in the house (we have two full bathrooms) or there is cozy wood fire heated chalet. We usually eat an evening meal communally (I often cook but am happy to share this role with those staying and this is a part of hosting helpers that we all enjoy). We try to live as much as possible from our own produce and animal protein. This means we cannot cater to vegans and vegetarians may also struggle (though we do regularly cook vegetarian meals). Breakfasts and lunch are normally self-serve.
* Please note: Stays of at least 3 weeks are appreciated (shorter stays of 2 weeks are 'sometimes' OK). But PLEASE, if you commit to coming and we make plans for your stay, PLEASE don't cancel on short notice. Or come and decide 'oops, farming is hard work and I'm going to leave tomorrow'. Such decisions have impacts on others and sadly we have experienced too much of this (this is not to say we have only 'bad helpers' Most of our helpers are fantastic). A farm stay helping opportunity is a chance to learn lots, experience a different culture, work hard, learn - and it provides needed help and camaraderie and cultural exchange to a farmer - we and our animals can struggle if you decide to do the above. If you're not sure you are up for physical and outdoor work - that's OK, probably another placement is better suited to you. And while we have many gorgeous animals that will steal your heart (we love them all like family), this is a farm - not a petting zoo (sorry but I have to state the obvious as we not infrequently get helpers who would prefer to spend a few hours a day petting animals and leave the physical work of caring for them to others).
As noted - we cannot accommodate vegans. We mostly eat from what we produce - this means meat, eggs, (goat) dairy and seasonal veg. We eat well. We don't buy all that much from the shops. Those that enjoy cooking (with the ability to improvise for what this farm sustains) may enjoy cooking for the group sometimes. We cannot accommodate smokers (of any kind - I will re-state this as we just had two 'lovely' German boys who enjoyed their pot too much - 4 hour lunch breaks was not fun for us farmers; indeed if you're a pot smoker - please keep going). Pets are also not possible to bring with you.
We are approximately 1 hour from Halifax city. Unfortunately there is no public transport in NS in rural areas to speak of. BUT it is often possible for us to arrange transport from Halifax for helpers with neighbours who travel to the city weekdays for work (folks flying in normally get the airport shuttle into the city and hook up with a ride from there, weekdays). There is also a well used Facebook page organizing lift shares to the area, so generally to/fro Halifax isn't too difficult.
I hope my 'cautions' haven't put you off. If you think you'd enjoy living as a farmer for a spell and the joys and work that comes from animal husbandry and goat and pig cuddles, and eating goat dairy - and cheese! - and can commit and are responsible and respectful - do give us a shout! The farm is a beautiful place and we genuinely enjoy sharing it with others.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
I have a small goat dairy farm, where the animals spend their days outside on the pastures (in fine weather). There are often baby goats and help is needed with all their care. I also make cheese and offer cheese making classes, so help with both might be needed.
There's also big white furry dogs and pigs (often baby piglets), all living outside, and chickens too! And there's vegetable gardens - for us people and for the animals too!
There's building work happening as this is a really old property and I am restoring it back to its most beautiful. I am also renovating a building to be my future cheese dairy so that sort of work is helpful too.
There's often work to do with fencing, with food preservation and gardening, with insulating animal housing, with construction and small building projects, with moving firewood, and with animal care. Of course all this is seasonal. We will be doing a fair bit of cheese making and other indoor homestead oriented things over the winter - we butcher our own pork and make sausages and are exploring charcuterie, for example.
There is a small fruit orchard, hundreds of acres of woods, a woods cabin, a pond, and the ocean is only 10 mins drive away (there's nice beaches too). Volunteers are welcome year 'round.
Private room in home, shared bathroom (or sometimes all to oneself), or off-grid cabin accommodation beside a small pond for up to 4 (with propane lights/stove and woodstove). The yurt is sometimes available for helpers.
I have bikes and there are many scenic trails and roads in the area. The area is a popular tourist destination and known for its beaches, sailing, fishing, kayaking etc.
I can often arrange collection and return volunteers to Halifax, the city, which is an hour away (there is poor public transport in rural areas in Nova Scotia but hitch hiking is very common).
If time permits I normally work in some sight seeing with volunteers to the beaches, towns and coast or events, Please note though that I am not walking distance to nearby towns or to public transport.
I expect volunteers to be non smokers, respectful, clean and tidy, and have a positive attitude towards helping out. And helpers should like being around animals and be conscientious in their care. Oh, and mindful really helps - i.e. we abide by the typical farm golden rule of 'return tools and items where you found them'!
I have lived and traveled in many foreign countries (I spent 10 years living in England before moving here and I have visited over 50 countries). I professionally in the past was responsible for volunteer programmes in developing and Northern countries and worked in international and community development, as well as in environmental issues and the volunteer sector. My farm is normally a happy place.
Longer term apprenticeships are welcomed (so if you have an interest in a specific area we can work out a plan for your learning over time).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
I have visited more than 50 countries and have lived abroad (most recently for 10 years in England but also in Asia). My former professional work was supporting young people (and professionals of various stripes) to live abroad, often in Southern (developing) countries. Helpers will learn about farming (more so, and in a structured way, if they have specific interests and wish to learn).
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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