We are a Scottish-English couple with two children (ages 8 and 10). We have self built our house in the Sobrarbe region of Aragon- it is off-grid and was built with sustainable criteria. I work as a practising architect, specializing in energy efficient, eco building, and Tim is an English teacher. We also manage a small vegetable garden, have some chickens and olive groves. We need help with running and maintaining the house and land, and also with childcare at times. Our house is outside a small village and about 15 minutes from the nearest town with amenities- shops, bars, library, etc... So its very rural and connected with nature. Despite that, we manage to have a good social life and there are always cultural and social events going on in our community, in the villages and towns in the area.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We'd like you to help for 4 hours a day for 5 days in the house or around the garden.
We also expect you to participate around meal times, with preparing meals and clearing up.
We spent four years building our house and now that its finished, we have lots of smaller ongoing projects to develop. We like the idea that our volunteers have all got something to offer and can do some work which they like and find fulfilling in some way, relating to their interests, as well as the necessary stuff like cleaning and tidying.
WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR HELP IN THE AUTUMN WITH WOOD CUTTING, SPLITTING AND STACKING; PRUNING TREES, ETC. IT WILL BE ESPECIALLY HELPFUL IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH CHAINSAW WORK.
Some of our ongoing activities are:
Childcare: we have two very active and inquisitive boys, who adapt very well to new people. We are always interested in people who have experience with children, as this is a central part of our lives, however, its not always a requirement, as during termtime they're at school most of the time.
Gardening: the vegetable garden is small, but always needs working on, and there is scope for enlarging it. We are not experts on gardening, but have learnt lot from other people over the years and would love for somebody who has some knowledge to come and hopefully teach us a bit more.
Firewood: in the winter, our house and hotwater are heated purely from a wood stove in the house. We always need to collect wood, chop branches, prune trees. We have 3 hectares of land with trees to manage, so this is a great way of doing it. This can only really be done in the autumn, winter and spring, and its a fantastic way to spend the many bright sunny days we have here in the winter during the day, before it gets cold again at night.
Olive trees: there are about 100 olive trees on our land. They have been abandoned for many years and need to be pruned, looked after, with the ultimate aim of being brought back to producing olives.
Gathering and foraging: at certain times of the year nature provides us with wild seasonal produce. We love to gather and then make homemade products for the store cupboard. In September, there are tomatoes and veg from the garden to conserve, apples, blackberries, figs. In autumn mushrooms, in the spring asparagus.
Building: we have many building materials left over from the house-building time and mean to use them to improve and upgrade the house and installations. Small building projects include a woodstore, extending the chicken run, shade for cars in summer, converting old truck into accomodation, upgrading outbuildings. There are also sometime maintenance jobs to do on the house.
I think if you live with us for a little while you will learn about what its really like living in a rural place and in a self sufficient house. Its a lifestyle we love and find very rewarding, althought it is hard work sometimes.
We speak English when at home, but most of our friends are Spanish and we are all fluent in both languages.
English, Spanish, French
We have a spare room in the house with a double bed. In the warmer months (May-October) we can accomodate people in a bell tent in the garden, so we would consider families at those times of the year.
The house is just outside a small rural village and is quite isolated. During the week, we make almost daily visits to the local town of Aínsa- a 15 minute drive- where the kids go to school. So if your time off co-incides with our movements, you can come along. There are a very few buses also which you can take to the bigger nearby towns and cities if you wan ted to do a bit of exploring. Ainsa has shops, bars, restaurants, banks, library, sports centre, park, health centre, schools, etc.
The surrounding area is mountainous with lakes and rivers nearby and there are many outdoor sports which are popular; mountain biking, hiking, climbing, canyoning, kayaking. We can lend you our mountains bikes.
Despite being very rural there is a wide variety of social and cultural life, and you are welcome to come along when we go to social events or to see friends.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
4 hours a day, 5 days a week