A rich and varied experience here in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA


United States


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 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

  • Description


    Baby calves are here, help with halter training and learning basic , cattle care, chickens, bees, planting, transplanting, setting up perennial beds, some building and much more in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mts of Virginia. I do require an application to be filled out and returned before inviting Workawayers to be guests. We are ending our year and still have an opening in Novemeber for up to 3 people. You would be welcome to stay through the Thanksgiving Holidays if you like and join our harvest community celebrations.

    We are not your typical American family, farm stay or community. I garden extensively, have chickens, cattle. bees - somewhat like a homestead. We live in an intentional community of 60 adults and 12 or so kids and teens. We own about 500 acres of land together. Our community has been going strong for 45 years. We are based on co operative living and decision making, taking care of our beautiful land and promoting land stewardship and harmonious relationships. We live in owner built homes that range from cabins through more elaborate structures, we try to encourage energy efficiency and sustainability. Most members make a living out in the community, in town or telecommute. We tend to be left of center politically and progressive thinkers.

    We are open to singles or couples, straight, LBGT or however you identify yourself, as long as you are a good person.

    I always try to have two farm guests at a time, as I think it is more fun for you! If you have a friend or partner, they would be welcome. Looking for cheerful and honest workers. Please read through my info and if you are interested contact me. I prefer farm guests to spend three weeks here, and have a somewhat detailed schedule at the end of my profile. There is usually some flexibility around the dates given. Please check it out. I will send you an application and a bio of myself, family, farm and community if you are interested in a visit.

    We live in an intentional community of about 60 adults and many children aged baby to teens and some young adults. My community started out in the hippie movement of the late 60's. We own 520 acres (210 Hectares) of beautiful mountain and river bottom land. I am an avid gardener of both vegetables, fruit, and flowers. I have the goal of gardening year round. Presently I have low tunnels for winter salad and greens. Last year I built a small high tunnel, 12' by 20' to grow veggies. I also have about 20' of low tunnel for hardier greens. I have a small herd of grass-fed beef cattle and chickens. While we eat a variety of vegetarian meals, beef, chicken and pork are cooked in our home too. We can accommodate vegetarians easily as long as you are OK with us raising animals for slaughter and having meat cooked at some meals and served along with vegetarian options. If you are vegan, gluten free or have other special diets, we can consider having you here if you are able to supply specialty foods that we do not normally stock. We live with two indoor dogs and two indoor cats.

    There are several small building projects and other landscaping projects depending on your skills scheduled and what I am up to. We have a river, small lake, streams and many trails to explore. I am a mushroom forager, and knowledgeable about many wild plants. One day per week you would be helping our friend Dan Combs who recently had an accident and is now in a wheelchair. We all live in owner-built homes. We are not an income-sharing community, rather we pay pro-rated dues depending on our individual incomes. We try to be sustainable in our practices. We govern ourselves by consensus and expect a commitment to work out interpersonal conflicts in a peaceful way. We are progressive politically and socially involved in our wider community.

    Come and stay with me and my family. Two adults, myself, husband, my, daughter, her byoncee ( boyfriend/fiance) and his daughter - live in an attached duplex. The four oldest grandchildren are living in nearby, Richmond VA (about 1.5 hours away) and Staunton, VA - about 1/2 hour away. We are an irreverent and sometimes boisterous bunch. Colorful language abounds, silliness and good conversation are to be had. We are peaceful, pacifists, politically progressive, and nonreligious. Most of us read widely and love meeting new people.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house
    Animal care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Since we live within an intentional community, you will get a glimpse of alternative American lifestyles. I am a retired farmer, teacher, artist. I can most likely help you find out about most things growing and living, when home, my husband the geek, can fill you in on most other topics. All things gardening will be the major activity, bee hives to tend, 6 head of cattle to watch over, chickens and I am constantly trying out new things. This year we will be building a guest cabin and inoculating logs with mushroom spawn and setting up new bee hives. I will be getting two young claves some time this spring, which will be bottle babies, to be trained as oxen. We may be building a cob oven, a wood burning oven for bread and pizza! I have also done many crafts in my life and often have materials for you to try out. You will live in our home with us, sharing meals, facilities, conversations, chores and recreation. You also can have as much of your down time to yourself, if wanted. We will help you to visit areas of interest in our locality.

    There are many activities happening each day, what we do varies with the season, what needs most to be done, our time and energy and what is realistic. We will do lots of gardening, some animal care, cooking, helping others in my community, maybe visiting other farms for some work exchange, and of course lots of free time social activities you are welcome to join us for or just take your own time to relax.

    I think you will find a rich and varied experience here in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!

  • Help


    Help during the growing season would mostly be with me in my very large garden, vegetables, berries and flowers, some orchard help. Greenhouse, outdoor tasks when the weather is good, and general projects indoors. We have chickens, beef cattle, bees, foraging for mushroom and cultivating them too, always some kind of building project or repair. I am quite flexible and want to make sure time here is fun and full of opportunities to learn. I am the artist, educator farmer, my husband is an Agile-very experienced programmer/coach. If you have a particular interest, either I have the skills or know people who would be willing to be with you. We are a diverse group of individuals in my own community and in the larger rural community of Nelson County. We may visit other farms for help exchange or if your interests lie outside of what I do here. Guests are expected to help with general house chores, clean up after themselves, cook once per week and be fun.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    Sorry, English only

  • Accommodation


    We eat lots of vegetables, grains, and dairy as well as meat. We usually eat evening meals during the week together, breakfast will be on your own, lunches will happen during a mid-day break. On weekends, we usually forage in the fridge for meals. Our house will be open to you for bathing, laundry, relaxation and hanging out. We do not have TV but do have high-speed internet. We have a large flat screen for movies or other media. My husband is an avid music collector and loves his music. We have a good electronic piano and an acoustic guitar, that you are welcome to play. We have a library of books, you are welcome to borrow. Your time after chores are done is your own. I will often invite you to join an activity I might be doing, you are welcome to join us or not. We tend to like both alone time and social times. It varies with what is going on. We assume our guests would like both, too.

    Central Virginia is quite hot and humid in the summer. Bugs abound. Dust, mold, and pollen are ever present. Farm work can get pretty sweaty and dirty. We hope you can be comfortable in this environment. If you have strong allergies or are very squeamish about bugs, dirt, reptiles, and pets, this might not be the place for you. Please note that 2 dogs and 2 cats live in our house. You should bring season appropriate clothing, bug spray, sunblock, hat, sturdy shoes, and any medications you might need to combat our environment and for your comfort. If it is winter when you come, please be prepared to bring warm clothing as outside work abounds!

    My husband is a smoker, but he only smokes outside. No smoking in the house!

    For the 2019 season, I will be offering 3-week stays or longer. I find that two weeks is just not enough for you to get to know my farm routines and to see some of the spectacular hiking and fun stuff we have here. I will consider a two week stay if you can come in on a Saturday.

    I have written the highlights of each month below, depending on the season, you should be able to do some of the listed things, but many other things happen each month and some do not due to weather or time constraints - all is very fluid and unpredictable. I can assure you though, there will be stuff to do!

    Full for February - dates flexible - open to work with Dan Combs and I, very flexible, house, barn and garden projects, animal care, garden prep, low tunnel and greenhouse work, start seedlings, wood gathering and hauling, wood splitting, enjoying mild winter days and warn wood stove fires.

    Full for March - Greenhouse work, seedlings, peas go in the ground, garden preparation for the upcoming season, sometimes morel mushroom season, chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. Great excitement as the weather warms up and first signs of spring emerge, daffodils are blooming and the very first spring ephemerals bloom. Spring Equinox starts our weekly volleyball games at the farm.

    Full for April - Lots of planting, seedling care and weeding, depending on weather could also be morel season. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. Set out swarm traps for more bees. Forest ephemeral flowers blooming in profusion, redbuds bloom, and the weather is delightful. One of the most beautiful months in Virginia as is May.

    May 4th - May 25th - Planting in full swing, frost date gone, tomatoes go in and all warm sun loving things. Chicken, cattle care, bee care, and general farm maintenance. Forest, fields, shrubs, trees are all greening out and flowering like mad. Maybe warm enough to start swimming. Farmer's market opens and runs through October.

    Full for June - The garden comes into its own with lots of greens and lettuce to harvest. Weeding starts in earnest. I will be experimenting with landscape cloth, cardboard, and black plastic to help cut down on this onerous task. Sweet Potato slips go in the ground. If the weather co-operates could be the beginning of Chanterelle season. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. Daily swimming begins, but not yet brutally hot.

    Full for July - Definitely Chanterelle season unless we have a drought, first tomatoes (ensalada caprese time), daily swimming, lots of garden weeding, blueberries, blackberries, fireflies. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. We work in the sun early and then shift to woodland/shade later in the day.

    August - Full - Harvest tomatoes, salsa making, peaches, fencing, hunting chanterelles, swimming, lots of garden weeding, making yogurt and fresh cheeses, ferment pickles and kimchi, kombucha, afternoon siesta during the heat. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. We may start our days earlier to beat the heat! All this can be done in September too!

    September - Full  - Still some hot summer days and nights, but cooling off towards the end of the month, harvest galore, still swimming daily, beginning to think fall and garden clean up. Everything listed above in August except Chanterelles are gone and we start looking for fall mushrooms. Start fall greenhouse and low tunnel planting, planning for later planting of garlic crops and other winter vegetables. Apple and peach harvesting and processing. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance.

    October - Full - Salsa time, continued harvesting and cleaning up the garden. Planting garlic and perennial onions, sow seeds for greenhouse and in-house on light shelf. I hope to have lettuce for salad year round.  If it is wet, fall mushrooms!. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. Stacking wood, preparing for winter.

    November, some or all of the month - Putting the garden to bed - remove some fencing, take down trellises, mow, till and seed cover crops, caring for early fall planted greenhouse and row cover veggies. Chicken and cattle care and general farm maintenance. Stay and join us for Stone Soup Tradition and community Thanksgiving dinner.

    December - Closed
    Please contact me if you are interested in visiting in 2020.

    Happy volunteering to you and may your adventures be wonderful!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are looking for honest, easy going people with a good sense of humor. We like conversation and reading a wide variety of material. We expect guests to be good people. We hope that you will think that we are too. I have been a volunteer host for over four years and have greatly enjoyed visits from a wide range of individuals. Their reviews of our home have been consistently good. We try to make your visit an enjoyable and good time spent here. We do not smoke in our home. You can smoke responsibly outdoors. If you are over 21, moderate social drinking is OK, but you must provide your own. No drugs or illegal activities allowed. No fire arms or weapons allowed. We also expect you to be sociable and courteous to our community members and neighbors. We are not religious or follow any paths in that department.

    There are lots of wilderness places to visit and the small but historical and pretty hip city of Charlottesville, VA is interesting. Charlottesville is a university town about a half hour away by car. Lots of music, art, theater, shops and restaurants abound. We can either bring you into Charlottesville occasionally or help arrange rides. The Appalachian Trail and many day hikes are only a few miles away. Again, we can help with rides to specific places, as the USA does not have good public transportation out in rural areas. Having your own vehicle greatly expands your ability to visit the sights. Our area abounds in wineries, breweries and local farmers. We have a vibrant and very active farmer's market April through October. Our land also has quite a lot to offer in the way of out door activities, walking trails, a river and lake to swim in. We have two bikes that you can use. We also jave a guitar, electric piano, ukelele,
    Some penny whistles and a bodrum. Unfortuneatly we do not play any instruments, but love music and you are welcome to use our musical instruments.

    Our community often has pot luck dinners, other get-togethers, weekly volleyball games every Wednesday, local musicians, dances and parties happen, and other social events. As a guest in our community you will be welcome to join us if you like.

    We have an application for you to fill out and return. We ask for a photo ID and a reference. If you are traveling from abroad, please make sure to secure a guest visa for travel purposes. You will be a guest in our home, not a volunteer or worker. Please provide your direct email address after contacting me. I will send out the info and application to you directly. After we agree to host you, we will send you a final medical form to fill out. We do require that you have medical/traveler's insurance. We do not keep any medical information on you once you leave. The information is for us to have in the event of an emergency. Hopefully we will email each other with questions and eventually have a phone or skype conversation before finalizing our visit dates.

    Good luck in you Workaway plans, we wish you a wonderful experience!
    Virgina and Mike

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 115427742892

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