Looking for helping hands for brushcutting, woodcutting and gardening in exchange for outdoor and yoga activities in beautiful haute Ariège, France



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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    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.

    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.
    At the moment we are looking for strong people loving outdoor brush-cutting and wood-chopping work. We might also need someone with experience with computer work and photographing for the website.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Splendid location:
    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 ….
    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 considered the “art of playing with flavors, colors and ingredients in order to create healthy and appetizing dishes.
    -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.
    -All life (not by means of screens with apps on electronic devices), with amazing people!!!

  • Help


    Outside the house:
    Gardening: fencing, brush-cutting and cutting up fallen trees for the introduction of some sheep in the field behind the house. Of course you have to be physically fit for this work and willing to work in the rain too. The following interest, abilities & skills are welcomed:
    Planting, pruning, weeding, brush-cutting, cutting fallen trees, stacking wood for winter heating
    Cleaning the chicken coop and hen house
    Fencing and construction of a shelter for sheep
    Repairing collapsed dry stone walls and terraces on steep hill slope

    Inside the house: Computer help
    I’ve built up a website for my yoga studio but it needs a helping hand from someone with more experience than me in order to obtain better ranking in searches, good links to the social network, optimization for cellular phones .
    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 here too.

    Inside and outside the house: Photographing.
    I’ve built up a website for my yoga studio but it needs a helping hand from someone with a good camera and patience to make the inspiring photograph at the good moments during yoga workouts and classes.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    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, the toilet ...
    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.
    A typical day starts around 7 AM, taking care of the animals and some yoga with Gerd, a 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.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    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 and 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 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 8 days, 7 nights for work-awayers: a stay of a month or even more seems too long for us. (only in exceptional cases we might prolong the stay).

    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 not 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)

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 heures par jour max, 5 j/sem.

Host ref number: 198293539953