We are a fairly active senior citizen couple (retired Western MIchigan University professor of Environmental Science and a retired nursing administrator). We live on the edge of Kalamazoo, Michigan, a city of about 80,000 people. Our home is in a small wooded area where we see deer, wild turkey, raccoons, an occasional fox and other critters along with a large variety of song birds. It's an unusual area because we are only a block from the city bus route and about 2 miles from downtown but is a location where you feel you are in the country but are really in the city. There are woodland paths outside our door for walking.
We are only a 2.5 hour train/bus ride to Chicago. We are 35 miles from Lake Michigan and 45 minutes from Grand Rapids. Both Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids have a variety of museums and other interesting activities. Kalamazoo has a lot of live theater which is more prominent between September and May. Southwestern Michigan was listed as the top place to visit in the USA in 2012 by Lonely Planet. One of the things that put it on the map was being a huge center for brewing craft beer. If you enjoy flavorful beers, you'll find them here. Kalamazoo is the home of Bells, one of the leading craft breweries in the country.
We enjoy hosting guests from around the world and learning about their cultures as members of Friendship Force International. We have also hosted professionals from Latin America, Sri Lanka, Russia, Germany as well as other places. We still enjoy traveling to meet others in their homes.
I would consider us pretty typical Americans who would include a guest in visiting many of the places mentioned above. I believe we always gain from others by eating together and sharing conversation. We have a variety of interests: sea shell collections abound in about every room of our home along with photographs that we have taken and family art.
We area also active members in Friendship Force International hosting folks from around the world and would provide similar experiences for our workawayer(s).
There are no skills for what we desire... Primarily we would like help for two - three weeks in the fall with the leaf and yard clean up. This entails use of a rake or leaf blower and carrying same to an area in the surrounding woods. In 2018 we may also have need to transplant some ground cover to a new area. Occasional house sitting during our travels would be beneficial.
The time when we need help is a quiet time in this part of the country. The weather will be getting cooler and the leaves will be falling (thus why we are hoping for someone who would enjoy working out doors). Yet the snow will not be falling (generally speaking.) I can't say that you would be working 4-5 hours every day, because if it is raining it would be a total day off, but if clear the next day then it could be a longer day. However if you plan to do something special we would not ask you to change your plans. In general we would consider you one of the family and fluid with all activities.
You would stay in our home, in a fairly large private room and private bath/toilet. There are two single beds in the bedroom as well as a desk, reclining chair and a small TV. There is WiFi available for your use. Plenty of drawer and closet space is available. As indicated above I would anticipate sharing meals, though we are not vegetarians. Cooking together would be possible if interested. I could use some good vegetarian recipes, so if someone was inclined to pitch in with cooking that would be fun, but not required.
As mentioned above there are interesting activities and sites in Southwestern Michigan. We would be glad to drive and share with you these nearby attractions. The city bus can get you around town during the day, though those with admission costs would be at your expense. There is also a bicycle and bike trails not far from our home. Traveling to Chicago can be done via train. Using other volunteer sites to spend a couple of nights there would make this a fairly inexpensive weekend trip.
We spend a fair amount of time at our computers. My husband working on Genealogy and me working with various organizations. We both read considerably and Dave enjoys spectator sports primarily on TV: hockey in the winter, baseball in the summer.
This could be an ideal time for anyone who works independently and wants a quiet place to concentrate on that work.
We have not hosted "volunteers" in the past, but as mentioned above have hosted folks from many places who are here in Kalamazoo for professional internships.. The young professionals who come and are working in various city agencies during the day. I would anticipate that any guest when not working would take the bicycle or bus and explore on their own, or entertain themselves with reading or doing what is interesting to them.
We are non smokers and would only accept non-smokers.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum of 20-25 hours per week, depending on weather.