I am Belgian, a biologist and certified yoga teacher. Together with my Chilean husband we have been working and living in different foreign countries in search for cultural exchanges, mountains and wild nature. We are a couple in our late 40's and 50's and we love hiking and climbing. In 2010 we bought an old and disregarded house in the Ariège Pyrenees. Nothing special surrounded by a neglected garden invaded with brambles, ivy and nettles… Nevertheless the location convinced us to buy: the house is being overlooked by a south facing impressive rock wall. All around you can marvel mountainsides covered with lush forest and meadows. In wintertime there is generally a soft climate however you can spot the snow covered peaks from the house. In January and February there might be some snow in the village but it won’t be longer than a week.
Since 2015 we have been settling here in “Les Cabannes”, at the base of “Plateau De Beille” between Ax-Les-Thermes and Tarascon-Sur-Ariège. Our once old and disregarded house is now quaintly renovated by our own hands and the neglected garden transformed in a beautiful wildflower heaven. By time, our family has increased with some hens and a rooster, 4 sheep and a ram and of course our cute shepard dog, Luna.
We aim for a sustainable lifestyle: the gardening is done on the principles of permaculture, restoration and maintenance of the house by recycling as much as possible, heating by a woodstove which is also the cooker during wintertime, water and electricity consumption are kept as low as possible. We maintain spirits high by boosting positive energy with yoga practice, breathing and relaxation techniques. We are conscious about keeping our good health and vitality through healthy cooking and eating by which we mean tuned in with the season and one’s physical activity. We love vegetarian meals but we might occasionally include fish or meat coming from friends who are local producers and who respect the animal and the environment. Regularly, we prepare homemade breads in our woodstove , vegetable spreads and fermented vegetables like in grandmother’s time. We are very hardworking, however we never forget to just enjoy this beautiful area. So during free time and weekends we go hiking, climbing, swimming in the natural waters, mountain biking.... In the snow season we go snowshoeing and even climbing is still very nice on the south facing walls on sunny winter days. Everywhere we go, our shepherd dog is part of the fun.
We are especially looking for strong people, able to work with brush-cutter and pruner. We have lots of weeding, pruning and wood-chopping work.
We might also need someone with experience with computer work and video editing, preferable in wintertime when the gardeni is dormant. We encourage beginners yoga teacher, naturophathy and/or ayurveda to stay with us and exchange experiences. Sorry if I respond late, that's because I'm not just sitting in front of screens....
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
On the border of a small village with basic services and a market on Sundays; you can do everything on foot.
In the vicinity of a huge rock-climbing-wall, tracks, trails and dirt-roads giving access to amazingly beautiful, peaceful, wild areas for birdwatching, photographing, walking, swimming, climbing ….
Possible access to nearby villages on foot by means of ancient dirt roads and trails, by public transport (train station, bus) and this for a relaxing treat in a spa with thermal waters or the discovery of Cathar culture, fortresses, Romanesque chapels, caves with prehistoric paintings and more.
Amazingly interesting activities:
-Practicing 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Dutch
-Climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking with experienced and active hosts (more than 30 years in different areas in the world, 15 years in Haute Ariège). We know and frequent the interesting trails, climbing routes, mountain bike descends. Besides internet we also offer the excellent old fashioned consulting way by means of paper books, maps and guides for insight in our library. By the way, reading in bed is a much more relaxing way to finish your day than fixing your gaze on a screen.
-Practicing yoga, breathing and relaxation techniques with a professional yoga teacher.
-Discovering & learning new skills or sharing your skills related to the before mentioned outdoor and indoor aids needed.
-Getting acquainted with our way of cooking which we consider the “art of playing with flavors, colors and ingredients" in order to create a meal which is harmonieux at all levels. This means balanced and healthy for the taster and respectful for the farmer and the environment.
-Exchanging and socializing around a table (inside or outside depending on the weather) sharing a delicious dinner prepared from homemade mostly vegetarian and seasonal ingredients sourced from local artisans or from the bio-organic garden.
-Everything real and life with an amazing couple and their animals.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The following interest, abilities & skills are welcomed:
Outside the house:
Gardening: fencing, brush-cutting and cutting up fallen trees in the field for the sheep.
Planting, pruning, weeding, stacking wood for winter heating
Cleaning the chicken coop and hen house
Maintenance and oiling of fence gates.
Repairing collapsed dry stone walls and terraces on steep hill slope
Shearing of the sheep
Cleaning and drying of medicinal plants or herbs.
For most of these tasks you have to be physically fit and sometimes also willing to work in the dirt, rain or cold.
Inside the house:
Heip might be needed for special cleaning tasks like washing the windows.
Computer help during winter and early spring
I would like to make a private YouTube channel with yoga videos but video editing is completely new for me.
The work with Photoshop for the design of flyers and business cards is also very hard for me and a helping hand is very welcome too.
Inside and outside the house:
We welcome also a helping hand from a good cameraman/woman with patience and know how to make the inspiring photograph at the good moments during yoga workouts, classes and in the mountains.l
We only receive people up to 7 nights, 8 days not more!
On arrival you are expected after 4:0 PM. The day of leaving you are expected to leave around midday after having cleaned completely your staircase, bedroom and bathroom until the spider cobs in the hidden corners: this includes also scrubbing the shower, washbasin, mirror and the toilet .
We can accomodate 3 people. You will be hosted on the first floor where a nice bedroom is available with 3 comfortable real single beds and a wardrobe. You might be sharing this room with another workawayer, we will inform about that if it's the case. There is the bathroom with toilet, shower and washbasin on the same floor. There is also the relaxing space with library and inter-netting desk. This is also the place where the morning and/or evening yoga sessions take place. Food and drinks are not allowed in the upper floor areas. Please, bring some slippers for inside use only (if not we’ll borrow you a pair). Since the upper floor is covered with cork, it is not allowed to go up with any footwear being used outside. If you like walking barefeet, thanks for washing your feet before going up and/or using the yogamats.
A typical day starts around 7 AM, taking care of the animals, then some yoga with Gerd, certified yoga teacher: you are more than welcome to join her. So, if you have never practiced yoga but you would love to try it out with a professional teacher, it's the moment to take your chance. Around 8h30 AM we usually prepare and have breakfast in order to be able to start work at 9:30 AM. When it's getting very hot we might start earlier.
1) In order to avoid misunderstanding, and thus disappointment from both sides, we would like you to explicitly read our complete profile including the following:
- confirm your agreement to the underneath mentioned house rules and information.
- mention what skills you can offer or would like to learn in relation to the aids needed and whether you are fit enough for this.
- mention what activities you would like to get involved in during free time.
2) We do NOT live on a FARM! But we have a shepherd dog, some hens, a rooster and sheep,
Since we make some extra income from offering B&B we need the only 2 extra rooms available. Therefore, we offer a stay of about a week. In exceptional cases we might prolong the stay to 15 days, 14 nights: a stay of a month or more seems too long for us.
3) The house-rules to respect:
-No smoking all over the place
-No shoes, no drinking nor eating in sleeping areas, yoga room and library.
-Taking part or turns in preparing food and doing domestic chores are not considered as work-away tasks. They are considered as normal daily occupations which are shared because you are living with us. you are not staying in a hotel.
-It’s considered as obvious that you join us for breakfast and dinner for socializing (please warn in advance when you can’t be present for a dinner when for example taking your free time/day)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
More than two
5 heures par jour max, 5 j/sem.