We are a family of 4 living and working on a smallholding in West Wales.
Our smallholding is owned by a Permaculture trust. It is 24 acres in total, including 6 acres of wildflower meadow, permanent pasture, allotments, woods and gardens, all farmed by hand using traditional tools such as the scythe.
We live in a wooden caravan that we built ourselves, with help from the Trust. We are off grid - electricity comes from solar panels (and hopefully a wind turbine by the autumn), water comes from a spring on the land. As we don't own a car, bikes are our principle method of transport (as well as feet, buses and a car-share).
We aim at self-reliance. We grow almost all the vegetables we eat, a good proportion of the fruit, all of the meat and most of the dairy products. We have a small flock of Shetland sheep for wool and meat, 2 goats for milk, a micro herd of Shetland Cattle for milk and meat and about a dozen Warre beehives for honey. The majority of the produce from our livestock is for our own use. The cow is not in milk at the moment.
Our main cash income comes from scythes - running courses and selling them direct to local people and through our website. Volunteers will not be asked to carry out any tasks towards any income generating parts of our lives. We're happy to teach volunteers to scythe if they come at a scything time of year!
Our two children are home schooled. They really enjoy visitors and I hope you will enjoy interacting with them!
Help with Eco project
We like to share skills and hope that as well as helping us with the work that needs doing, volunteers are able to take away new skills and experiences from the time they spend with us. Both Phil and I benefited immensely from the skills we learnt whilst volunteering before settling at the Trust.
Skills we can share include - scything, gardening, permaculture, some aspects of Biodynamic gardening, hand haymaking, animal care, low impact living, off grid electricity production, knitting, using natural dyes, sour dough bread making.
In general, all tasks are carried out using hand tools. Work on the farm is seasonal. In winter it is more likely to be activities such as hedge laying, clearing and small building projects. There are tasks the vegetable garden and edible perennial plantings all year, but it is especially busy in the spring / early summer. From June until late August / September we make hay by hand.
I have a daily routine of animal work and there is always the chance of an unexpected event such as a bee swarm to join in with!
We ask volunteers to help the equivalent of 5 days out of every 7 days that you are staying. Time off can be either several part days or whole days as required and can be discussed when you are here. We try to spend at least part of the time working with volunteers, but volunteers also need to be happy to do tasks on their own.
Phil and I tend to work all days equally, making no exceptions for weekends. Especially during the hay making season work can go on until late into the evening, but we will always try to ensure that there is adequate time to rest, explore the area etc.
Single volunteers or couples usually stay in a small touring caravan. This has solar electric light, a wood burner and a gas hob suitable for making cups of tea etc. There is a compost toilet near the caravan.
During the summer when we may have several volunteers at the same time, some volunteers may be asked to camp. We can provide a roomy tent, foam mattresses and bedding. Please let us know if you would rather not camp.
All volunteers have access to the Red Barn, which has a kitchen. It also has compost toilets and a solar shower.
We have a 12 volt off-grid electricity system. Electricity can be limited during the winter. Mobile phones etc can be charged using a usb charger. We have a phone line and can provide wifi access.
Generally, all meals are eaten with us in our house. We aim to eat mostly organic, locally produced, seasonal food. Most of the vegetables and fruit we eat are home grown. As a family we are not vegetarian but the only meat we eat is from our own farm. We eat less meat in the summer, therefore we are happy to cater vegetarian / vegan March - Oct if required. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements eg vegan, gluten free
In the summer we may ask volunteers to prepare the occasional meal for themselves with ingredients provided by us. This can be done in the fully equipped kitchen in the Trust's red barn. This space is also available for making cups of tea etc should it be required.
We are situated on the edge of a beautiful valley that was once the heart of the Welsh Woolen industry. The National Woolen Museum is located in the nearby village of Drefach Felindre.
There is a good network of footpaths in the local area to explore and we are about 15 miles away from the stunning Cardigan Bay coast.
There is a bus link roughly every hour from Drefach Felindre (1.5 miles from the farm) to Cardigan or Carmarthen.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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