Due to someone cancelling, we now have availability 6 Jul - 16 Jul approx.
Our family home overlooks the Trossachs mountains in central Scotland. We have a wild garden, woodland and vegetable and fruit patch that we need help with. We've been trying to look after it ourselves, but we find it too much.
We're a family of four with two children aged 12 and 10, four hens, a cat and lots of wildlife (bats, buzzards and pine martens to name a few). Our 150 year-old home is on an old glacial mound at the edge of the Forth Valley, is set in woodland and has fabulous views. It is very peaceful here with lots of bird song and lots of space for nature.
Lily (aged 12) loves to dance and read. John (aged 10) plays lots of sports and has energy for life. Tim works in Edinburgh three days a week and Anne is a human ecologist and works freelance or unpaid mainly from home. We love being outdoors, biking, walking, canoeing, camping, skiing in winter and just being at home in the garden.
We would love to welcome you into our home and show you our local area.
Babysitting / child care
Help in the house
Being here, you would experience living in rural Scotland, learning to garden for wildlife and a no-dig approach, and for people who don't speak English as a first language it would be a chance to improve your English.
We have an extensive collection of books - on the local area, mountaineering, and environment. Anne has a masters in environmental management, a PhD in sustainable development. She is part of the Scottish and international u.lab network and is building co-operative adult education in Scotland. She is happy to share her knowledge and experience.
We grow a quarter of the fruit and vegetables we consume in our garden. We use an organic and no-dig approach and manage the rest of the garden for wildlife - no weedkillers means that we have to do all the weeding by hand. We're looking for help with:
- clearing invasive plants (like rhododendron)
- harvesting fruit and veg
- pruning and tidying
- maintenance and painting
- stacking wood for winter
- general jobs about the garden / outside the house
- help with cooking, cleaning and washing-up
- help with the children - school-work, cultural exchange
would be wonderful.
No experience is necessary, other than a willingness to help and learn and a reasonable level of fitness.
It might be helpful if you can cycle so you can get about more easily. Our bikes also might need a bit of maintenance.
We would love you to share your cultural experiences with the children.
You'll be living as part of our family in your own room (double bed) on the ground-floor, with access to a guest bathroom and a shared shower. We can accommodate a single person or couple. We would share evening meals. We're happy to do the bulk of cooking evening meals but we would expect you to cook on some days. Evening meals we'll either share together or eat separately, depending on everyone's commitments and activities. Breakfast and lunch food will be available to help yourself. We eat mainly organic food, with half being either vegetarian or vegan. Anne is dairy intolerant so we can accommodate dairy intolerance easily. Sometimes we would expect you to help with cooking and always with clearing and washing up shared meals, or meals that you prepare yourself.
We're a mile from the nearest village of Buchlyvie, which has a reasonable bus service to Stirling (40 minutes), and a connecting bus service to Glasgow. Close-by is access to miles of mountain-biking / cycling routes, via the Flanders Moss railway track to Aberfoyle. Walking opportunities are endless, but you may need to use a bike to access them. We have a bike you can borrow.
Scotland's weather is very changeable. Sometimes it is beautiful and like the south of France. Other times, even in mid-summer it can be very wet and cold (10 deg C) for days on end. Please bring suitable foot-wear for wet and muddy conditions and preferably clothes suitable for gardening in this type of weather. In damp weather in particular, we have biting insects (deer flies, ticks and midges). Fortunately, they're not all there all the time. On damp days when the midges are bad it might require you to be flexible with the activities you do. Some people use insect repellent - we don't and instead wear suitable footwear, long sleeve loose clothing and occasionally midge nets and herbal repellents. What you decide to do will be up to you.
We are very relaxed and would let you plan your time as you wish, so you can enjoy your stay as well as help us. Please expect to work independently most of the time. Practically that means that we prefer people aged 21 or over, or those who are able to demonstrate that you are capable of working independently during the day.
We require copies of photo I.D. (Passport, driving licence) prior to accepting guests. We will also check originals on arrival. We realise that not everyone might be comfortable with this, so please be aware before you apply. We would also like to get to know you on-line first.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week