THE PROJECT: Help us re-design and maintain our urban permaculture forest-garden and vegetable/herb gardens right here in downtown historic Charlottesville VA. This urban permaculture project is not just about gardening! It includes developing a community and neighborhood network which we have been doing for close to twenty years now. Previously, two of us have lived in intentional, income-sharing communities, where we began learning the skills of permaculture networking and building self-sustaining systems to conserve energy and support ourselves and others living in our local communities.
THE TASKS: Bed preparation and maintenance, planting, weeding, mulching, harvesting, pruning, designing/building spiral herb garden, creating swales and paths, making trellises & garden structures, food processing.
OTHER HELP: Depending on your skills, we also need help with basic house maintenance, and will welcome help with cooking, cleaning, pet-care, and other ongoing household chores. In addition, we often have other projects in mind such as building a tent platform, outdoor solar shower, wooden walkways/decks, and other fantasies!
LENGTH OF STAY: We prefer that people stay no longer than a couple weeks, although that time could be extended if the arrangement is working out for all concerned. There is no minimum length of stay. We really do enjoy meeting lots of different people and the cultural exchange encouraged by WorkAway!
WHO WE ARE: We are three women and 2 dogs living within walking distance of Charlottesville's historic downtown pedestrian mall. We're on the city bus line and are close to Greyhound & Amtrak stations. We are non-smokers & live simply. We have solar panels which provide about 80% of our electricity needs, and solar-boosted hot water. We dry clothes on lines & racks, use energy-efficient cooking techniques, recycle, compost, and practice water-conservation measures.
MEALS: We tend to eat most anything, but concentrate on fresh, wholesome, homemade food. We have homemade yogurt and granola, fruit, farm-fresh eggs, veggies and grains, coffee and teas available for breakfasts which you can prepare for yourself. DIY (unless you want what I'm having) lunch is usually leftovers, wraps, salad or soup. Dinners include lots of veggies, protein (meat, fish, eggs, cheese, tofu, tempeh, legumes), salads, grains. We don't eat desserts much, but usually have digestive biscuits around. Sometimes we'll go out for pizza!
HOUSEHOLD ROUTINES: We usually go to bed early (by 9:30 or 10:00 pm) and get up early in the mornings (6:00 - 9:00 am). You're not expected to keep those same hours! Work hours are flexible but somewhat determined by my schedule and your preferences. We usually have dinner around 6:00 or 6:30. EVENINGS: We sometimes watch BritBox or Netflix, but also do a lot of reading, planning, taking walks, gardening, hanging out with friends, and other social activities that come up. Sometimes we just meander downtown to people-watch or get an ice-cream. You're welcome to join us in any of our leisure-time activities! Oh, our grown children and 3 local grandchildren (3, 7, & 10) often pop over for a meal or hang-out.
ABOUT ME SPECIFICALLY:
Originally from Buffalo, New York, I moved to VA in 1983 to live in an intentional community ("hippie commune") called Twin Oaks. I lived there for 16 years, doing economic planning, hammock-weaving, forestry, cooking, child-care, and many other activities to fulfill my work quota. Since moving to Charlottesville in 1999, my primary money-making occupation has been nonprofit accounting for a few great local organizations, the most recent being Local Food Hub and the Tai Chi dojo. I am heading towards my second attempt at retiring this coming fall.
PHILOSOPHY: Live simply and fully, be kind to all (including myself!)
INTERESTS: People, community, permaculture, Alexander Technique, reading, growing our own food, food processing (yogurt, butter, cheese, jams, dehydrating ...), Buddhism, meditation, learning new things, spending time with friends & family, Hospice volunteer work, strategies for simple living.
One Amazing Thing I've Done: "Caught" my own granddaughter when she first came into this world!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Opportunities to learn about permaculture, gardening, food processing, energy-efficient cooking, community-building, intentional communities (20 years experience living in an income-sharing community), Alexander Technique, the Transition Movement, non-profit accounting, Tai Chi, meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, the Hospice movement.
You will also be welcome to join us in family activities which can include most anything! Games, hanging out with the grandchildren (5, 10, & 13), visiting with family, walking downtown, watching Brit Box or Netflix, planning various projects, visits to vineyards, dog-walking, hanging out with friends, going to free concerts and local events.
We live in an area rich in history, culture (music, art, theatre), educational opportunities, and social activities! Since we are right in town, you will have access to all this within walking distance or by public transportation.
May through August in the garden usually involves a lot of weeding, planting, mulching, watering, and harvesting. We definitely could use some help with pruning small orchard trees.
Anyone with carpentry skills will be welcome to help us with small garden projects (gate for fenced in garden, trellis's, cold frames for the winter...). Or, if you're into a bigger project and know how to do some basic carpentry, we would love a walkway/narrow deck built from our front door to our screened-in porch.
Other house maintenance projects are also available such as interior painting, small repairs, building shelves in our guest bathroom, possibly some small tiling projects. I'm also toying with the idea of building a solar dryer (for food) and an outdoor solar shower for cleaning up after gardening.
And I always need help around the house: cooking, cleaning, pet care
If you want to spend some time with young people, I have 3 grandchildren living in town; ages 5, 10, and 13!! The 10 yr old boy would love to have someone to play chess with him, and all of them enjoy outdoor activities like splashing in the river, tossing a ball around, or going on exploratory hikes and art projects. Maybe Geo-caching for the 2 older children?
Private room with Queen-size bed, dresser, closet, desk, chairs, and it's own heating/cooling unit (mini-split). Bathroom is shared with one other person who is here about 50% of the time. Access to the more "public" rooms in the house including living room, kitchen, and a wonderful screened-in porch.
Or, if you have a tent and would like to camp in our back yard, we could welcome you most anytime!
We live in one of the historical neighborhoods in Charlottesville. We are a short walk from the historic downtown area and the Downtown Pedestrian Mall, "A dynamic place where history is intertwined with a thriving city center, this vibrant historic district is full of live theater, music and cinema. Enjoy the limitless dining choices and shops, all located along seven blocks of brick- and tree-lined streets once strolled by Jefferson, Madison and Monroe." The oldest house in Charlottesville is right around the corner and the land on which our house is situated used to be part of "The Farm".
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
3-5 hours/day, 5 days/week maximum
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