The Suburban Homestead is now accepting applications for volunteers for 2018. I host from late February or March to mid-November and prefer to host two volunteers at a time who are willing to share a room with one bed. Single volunteers are also welcome.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Typically I host volunteers from late February through mid-November, for stays of 10 to 14 days at a time. Volunteers are expected to contribute about 5 hours per day, 5 days per week, mainly outdoors in the garden, on a DIY project, or household maintenance work. Additionally, help preparing meals and/or kitchen cleanup after meals taken in common is expected.
I have a wide variety of small to medium-sized DIY and home maintenance projects that I expect to work on in 2018. The more typical homesteading projects of gardening, food preservation and poultry keeping will also continue. The homestead/garden work at any given time is determined by season and/or the weather. During summer, the garden work begins in early morning to avoid the hot hours of the day. This work will start before breakfast on the hottest days.
Necessary traits in a volunteer include: self-motivation, physically fit for outdoor work, able to lift at least 40 pounds, and being comfortable asking questions if you need clarification.
I cannot accept volunteers who are less than 18 years of age, nor families traveling with minor children.
English, some Russian, limited Spanish and French
Volunteers are offered a small but private bedroom, and shared use of bathroom, kitchen and living room. Cooking is usually done daily from scratch, using garden produce throughout the year, and meals are taken together. If you like to cook you'd be welcome to prepare a favored meal. You are welcome to use the washing machine and a laundry line for drying while you are here. I have a wifi and plenty of books free to peruse.
My home is non-smoking and drug-free. Cigarette smoking by volunteers is acceptable away from the house. I respectfully ask that you not bring any illegal or recreational drugs to my home.
I have a pet cat with free access to the house. If you are allergic to cats this may be problematic, although he seems to be very low on the allergen production. I do my best to keep him out of the volunteer bedroom.
While I prepare many vegetarian meals, I also consume small amounts of meat and fish. Dairy and especially eggs from the laying hens make a small but significant contribution to meals on a daily basis, and I have only limited amounts of fresh produce from late fall to late spring. I can most easily accommodate vegetarians during July, August and September. If your dietary restrictions or preferences differ, especially if you are strictly vegan or looking to volunteer outside of the summer months, I respectfully suggest you look for another host.
I am close to a bus station of a bus line (Bieber Tourways) with service to/from New York City and Philadelphia several times each day. I can pick up from and drop off at Lehigh Valley airport (ABE) or the Allentown Greyhound bus stop as well.
I can loan you a bicycle or suggest nearby walking/running routes. I also am happy to bring volunteers along to social events. I enjoy modern boardgames and will be happy to teach you some. There are movie theaters, small parks, and a large amusement park within biking distance.
I have a collection of modern boardgames that I am happy to teach to volunteers in the evenings. Usually at least once each week I attend a free social boardgaming event. Volunteers are welcome to join me for this and many of my volunteers have enjoyed this very much. I also often attend a weekly social knitting/fiber arts evening. So if you knit or crochet, you would be welcome to join me. I keep an eye out for cheap or free cultural events in my area, and generally let my volunteers know of any that seem promising.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
I have lived abroad and studied several foreign languages. So I am adept at communicating with people whose first language is not English. What I have to offer in a cultural exchange is my way of life - stewarding and producing food on a small piece of land, cooking very culturally diverse dishes based on the foods I grow, living frugally but with plenty of socializing, good conversation, and giving back to my community through volunteering and activism.
In my home I may be able to offer you a view of America that is different from what you've seen on TV or in the movies. Also, I live close to Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities. These people represent a truly different American culture. If you are interested, I can take you along on my monthly visit to this area.
I especially welcome those who consider themselves independent, outgoing, and curious about the world. I am always happy to teach what I know, but I leave it up to you to express your interests and ask questions.
5 hours per day/ 5 days