We are a small farm with a medium size organic vegetable garden, and we have about 20-30 bee colonies on site. Due to bees and foraging, we are always VERY careful about using safe and organic methods on our farm. We also have about 20 chickens, and 15 ducks, (and crowing roosters) for eggs to eat and as pets. We have three small noisy dogs and a squawky parrot.
We can host one volunteer for 1-2 weeks at a time who would live on site and help with day to day chores, gardening, tending to animals, yard work such as weeding, mowing, tree trimming, helping with cleaning and organizing, care of pets, If you are here for longer than a few days we can teach you some beekeeping skills (if you are interested), gardening, composting, and more. You do not have to help with bee-related activities, but if you are interested in learning, we will try to include you when we can. We are not commercial beekeepers, we don't move our bees to pollination fields, and honey extraction in the hill country is only once or twice a year, so if you are ONLY wanting to learn bee work, there is likely not enough of that here for you.
We tend to stay very informal, “mi casa es su casa” style here! Texas is VERY hot, though if you aren’t used to the heat, so keep that in mind, it’s even hotter in a bee suit! If you are working with the bees, there is lifting of boxes, and animal feed sacks can be 40-50 lbs. We aren’t a yoga retreat or all-inclusive resort, we really are a working farm, so expect to get your hands dirty and rough it a little. Chuck and I can get really busy and have a lot of commitments offsite on some days and be totally slow and lazy the next, life happens fast around here and we just go with the flow.
A typical work day for us begins with coffee and planning time between 6:30-7:30am, then breakfast and sometimes EASY stretching yoga around 7:30 or 8am. Chuck may leave to do bee work and I typically do most of the farm work in the morning until 12 or 1pm, then eat lunch. Maybe a break from 2-4, then Chuck and I may be on another project/chore till dinnertime. Popcorn and movie time after that and off to bed by 10pm or so.
We are a married couple in our mid-50s with no small children and prefer young adults with a good maturity level and a good sense of humor, people from other countries are very welcome here! Please don’t ask to bring your pets, it won’t work with us and we don’t want pets in the RVs or causing issues with our own dogs/chickens/ducks, which have free roam of the farm. Minimum preferred age is 21 years, but it could be negotiable for the right person with some life experience. 🙂 We hope to make new friendships, there is the potential for longer stays if the fit is right! In our free time we love to watch movies, have a game night, socialize, take trips and more! 😀
Help with Computers / internet
We love to travel and I can speak Spanish fluently, and can understand Portuguese, Italian, and French a little. I most recently traveled in China for 2 months and can speak a tiny bit of Mandarin. I have a degree in education and have lots of experience working with foreigners in case you are trying to improve your English language skills. Texas is an amazing state and Austin is the Capitol city, so we have so much to see and do here. Austin has lots of parks and greenspace for hiking, biking, and more. We are also a BIG music city and host lots of music events here such as SXSW and others.
Beekeeping work is weather dependent, it needs to be over 60 degrees and a fairly calm day. We have lots of other projects here going all the time. We are cleaning and organizing, trying to downsize our junk and possessions and simplify our lives. We have yard maintenance, our garden always has some vegetables growing and always takes a little weeding and watering to keep it up, etc. We love to tailor our jobs to fit the skills of the volunteer. We prefer it to be work you can enjoy and learn from, too.
English or Spanish
We have a smaller RV that we reserve for volunteers. It’s a slide in camper for our truck, but it’s out of the truck and stationary for now. It has a queen size comfortable bed, small kitchen with booth table, and a small bathroom. (we have another bathroom with a toilet and sink in the classroom available to use and you can take showers in our house guest bathroom.)
I’m also trying to learn about using aquaponics to raise some veggies, so we can learn together! We are meat eaters with no dietary restrictions, so if you are easily offended by that, this is not the place for you, sorry. 🙂 We eat the typical 3 meals a day and have fruit or bars for snacks in between meals. We are omnivores with no food allergies, so we eat pretty much everything. :)
The privilege of staying here is for active learning volunteers, you are an invited guest, not a tenant and have no tenant rights.
We do not live in the city and we really don’t like to go into the city. We love the country life and hate Austin traffic. If you drive when traffic is light, you can be from my house to the heart of downtown in 20 minutes. Although our farm is in Austin, it is the far SW edge, just outside the city limits, but we are within 5 miles of community college, grocery stores, movie theaters, good restaurants, etc. No buses run out here, but you can use rideshare companies if needed or catch a ride somewhere with us, if you don’t have your own transportation. We can not loan out our cars, sorry, too much liability and traffic is very heavy and aggressive here.
Expectations are that you will keep your personal use areas clean, wash your own sheets, towels, and clothes, (we have washer/dryer) and provide for your own transportation or catch rides with us on occasion. We love it when people enjoy the “bee world” we have here, too. We are very passionate about bees and have a nonprofit to help them. We teach classes, go to several monthly beekeeper association meetings, and other related events, in case you want to join us in those learning opportunities to improve your skills. (These sorts of things tend to be in the evening or on weekends.)
Must have a verifiable clear criminal background, and if you smoke cigarettes, it must be outside. No illegal drugs or other activities allowed on the property, please. (Pot is still illegal in Texas.) There won’t be a second chance and you will be asked to leave immediately.
Absolutely no pets, sorry. I have more than enough pets who want attention here if you get lonely! 🙂
Allergies/Asthma due to cigarette smoke and cats, sorry just can’t have it around my indoor spaces.
Minimum volunteer time of 20 hours per week. Typical is 4-6 hours per day with 1-2 full days off each week if you want. We are early risers, we work early in the morning when it’s cooler outside and do odd jobs in the afternoon when it’s too hot. We don’t have set hours, but typically want to be working by around 9 am at the latest. We will provide lodging and family meals, up to 3 per day per person and various snacks. We are omnivores with no food allergies, but can make or assist with other diets, such as vegetarian or vegan. We expect you to participate in the meal planning, preparation, and clean up. We all help together here. 🙂
We don’t sell our garden produce or eggs or animals, it’s all for eating and enjoying as long as we get help planting and weeding! 🙂 There is always LOTS to do around here! 🙂
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week