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PLEASE READ EVERYTHING. YOU WILL BE TESTED :-)
This is a small tranquil private Organic Olive Grove set in the heart of the stunning Tabernas Desert in the region of Almeria Spain.
IMPORTANT: ---- Please read the profile CAREFULLY and in FULL, so you know all about the help, our place, and surrounding area and also CHECK THE AVAILABILITY CALENDAR before sending a message.
CONFIRMATION: If you have not contacted me to CONFIRM your dates (no later than 1 week prior to your arrival) I will assume you will not be arriving and offer the space to someone else.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Anyone staying here will learn skills such as Olive Grove care including pruning, irrigation, land maintenance. Additionally, around our place there are always tasks to be done, whether building a stone wall, clearing some land, planting trees, general gardening, painting and decorating, building and repairs.
There is never a dull moment... BUT it is not all about the tasks, it is about the experience, and exchange... ideas, conversation, stories, and wisdom. Volunteers who have stayed here have had days out at the beach, nights out in the city... or just having a few beers and some tapas, breakfast, and lunches in Tabernas and some nice meals out at Chinese or Indian restaurants.
Then there is the desert - 28,000 square km of arid landscape to explore, and that is just my back garden :) And don't forget the weather... SUN, SUN and more SUN. But be warned... the summer can get up to 50°c!! So factor 50 sun cream and hat are both advised.
Hi, my name is Jules and along with my girlfriend Lorena, we care for this small rural private Olive grove. I am a veteran traveler myself and have lived in 9 different countries and visited about 47 of the world's countries so far... We live in a small apartment with our adorable rescue dog Esha and new recruit, Luna who I found wandering the Desert when she was about 4 weeks old, (she is still a bit of a baby - 3-years-old now). I also recently found 7 more puppies and found homes for them and the newest addition is a cat who Luna found. The owner of the Grove is called Terry, but he does not really get involved in the work. Terry has a rescue dog as well, a big fat black labrador called Sam.
A BIT ABOUT ME...
I am not your typical Englishman, as well as looking after this little grove, I am a Set Decorator for Film and TV and when there is no work in this field I am an English teacher. In the past, I have been a salsa teacher, sports & holistic massage therapist, personal fitness trainer, mountain leader, Reiki Master, and a DJ, a bit of an eclectic mix. I am vegan so there is normally only fruit and vegetables in the house, although I do not insist that you are also vegan.
I don't like to take the easy route...... I have completed the Camino de Santiago twice... once on horseback and once walking. Whilst living in the French/Italian Alps I hiked up Mont Blanc and skied down the other side and then continued on a 7-day backcountry ski expedition back to my apartment. I have also cycled from France to Southern Spain, done the 3 peaks of the UK and lived above the snowline in the Alps for 3 months in my tent. I adore the outdoors and spend a great deal of time hiking and camping wild in the mountains and desert near Tabernas.
I would love to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, from Canada to Mexico... only 2700 miles!!! Then continuing through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica... Does anyone want to come???
I have just started to teach myself Yoga and to play the guitar... although not at the same time.... but maybe that should be a future goal. Esha and Luna out on Daily walks and weekly hikes... and you are more than welcome to join us!!! or take them out on your own. I drive around in a 40-year-old, bright yellow, Toyota Landcruiser... so some people would call me a bit crazy!!!
LORENA is from Colombia and has only recently moved here, although we have been together a couple of years. She is trying to learn English at the moment. She does not have as much experience in traveling as me but is very open and honest and fun to be around. So for those of you who want to practice your Spanish... she is the ideal partner.
I have recently started an environmental charity and there is loads of help to be done for this, so my time is often taken up with this. Once a month I try to organize a clean-up day in the Tabernas Desert. Sadly, here in Spain, the majority of people take no interest in the environment and many of them just dump rubbish in the beautiful Spanish countryside. The Mayor of Tabernas is now providing some of the supplies required for the project, and I am in talks with the regional government to get them to help out. But for the moment the progress is slow, so I have taken it upon myself to try to make a difference.
As the Olive grove is established but young and does not generate any income, we only make oil for ourselves and maybe give some to friends. So I often have to do work elsewhere, because of this you may be left to get on with the tasks on your own from time to time, but Lorena and Terry are always available to give you some direction.
This is a fairly new project and 2015 was our first harvest. The Olive grove has 160 trees of varying ages, was neglected for many years and in 2015 I began working to bring it back to life. As 2015 was the first year that it was harvested, it is a learning curve for me as well. 2016 being our second harvest was very productive and we managed to double our Olive production. Last season, 2017, was not as good as 2016, but this is nature, sometimes it works in mysterious ways. Let us see what this year brings!!
The Olive Harvest is only a few weeks of the year (Nov/Dec) and Pruning Time is also only a few weeks of the year (Feb/Mar), the rest of the year will require lots of other tasks to be done.
Along with the Olive groves, a small Orchard is being planted, a new terrace with Mosaic is nearing completion. There are many projects on the drawing board. There is still areas of land to clear for future tree planting, maybe Olives or Almonds, so the work is seemingly endless. The tasks required are varied, depending on the time of the year. From tree pruning, irrigation, and care. Building and general gardening, harvesting, house chores, and other odd projects. The Grove itself needs constant maintenance and irrigation.
Additional tasks include the building of dry stone walls, creating an allotment and herb garden, building and decorating, clearing land, general gardening and decorating, walking and feeding the dogs and keeping the volunteer houses clean. Experience is not necessary but is advantageous. Tools, gloves, and training will be given. Good sturdy boots will be required. If you are not happy doing any of the tasks, just speak up and I can find something else for you to do... except house cleaning, there is no escape from this!!!
The days begin early In the summer (7 am) as the temperatures can reach 45 degrees by midday. In the winter the days start later as the sun rises later (10 am). Although this is a desert, in the winter the daytime temperatures are normally not lower than 10 degrees but the night time temperatures at the end of January/beginning of February can get down to - 5 degrees, so bring some warm clothes. Your volunteering day will end about 2 to 3 pm at the latest, giving you the afternoons and weekends free to do as you please. We do not tend to have much rain, although on rare occasions (as in December 2016) we have torrential rain and floods, which can mean the house is cut off for a few days. Even my mean machine struggles to get out.
You may be asked to use equipment such as Strimmers and Chainsaws, but you are not obliged to do so.
Help is needed here all year round, but the busiest times are November and December which is harvest time. And then the lead up to April, which is Pruning time.
English, French, Spanish
This is not a Hippy Commune, it is a normal private home with a small Olive grove. We aim to be environmentally friendly and this is something that is work in progress. The accommodation for the volunteers is in the wooden cabin (bedding will be provided, which you will need to wash as required, sorry no maid service!!). The Cabin does not yet have a bathroom, but it is on the list of things to do.
You will, of course, have use of a kitchen and a bathroom (and will be required to help keep them clean). Sunday is housework day and you will be asked to help out. Food/Meals are provided, although cooking will be shared.
As you will be sharing the facilities of my house, you will need to be respectful of personal space and also treat the house and contents with respect.
There is wifi available in both of the houses and also on the terrace with a BBQ.
The house is 30 minutes by car to Almeria Airport and beaches, 45 minutes to Mojacar beaches, 90 minutes to the Sierra Nevada mountains and 30 seconds from the desert.
The town of Tabernas is a short walk from the house and some local sights include desert landmarks where films such as Indiana Jones, Moses, Assassins Creed and Game of Thrones, to name a few, were filmed.
Although buses only run a few time a day in and out of Tabernas, if you ask nicely, we will give you a lift somewhere or for a 4x4 trip into the desert. Of course if we are going to the Almeria or Granada or somewhere ourselves, you will always be invited to come along.
Although the help can be, at times, demanding physically and a little laborious, no heavy lifting is involved, Volunteers will have plenty of time to relax, enjoy the sun, take hikes in the desert and nearby mountains, go to the beach, or just chill in the local town with a cold beer and a tapas and practice their Spanish.
The atmosphere here is relaxed and as long as the tasks get done, you will be able to kick back and enjoy your time.
To be sure you have read my profile to this point... please put the words... "Space, The Final Frontier" some where in your email, if you wish to contact me.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week