Help us with natural building and a few other projects at our home in Pennsylvania, USA


United States

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  • Description


    *To be clear, we are not looking for help with our farming business, but rather are hoping for folks who are interested in taking on one of our homesteading projects, as listed below. We are very happy to share our knowledge of gardening and demonstrate techniques, etc., but again, are not looking for help with our business*
    (September & October are listed as maybe because the help needed will vary fairly heavily depending on a few factors, if you're considering us please reach out and we'll chat about timing)

    We are a working farm, with its occupants living as gently and sustainably as they can. We have a small organic farm and are partnered with a friend's 35-year-old organic farm; so during the growing season we spend time at both locations. We sell our pesticide, herbicide, fungicide- free veggies at a local farmer's market (on Thursdays May-Oct, with our harvest day being Wednesday), to CSA members (Monday & Friday harvest and deliveries), and several local restaurants (multiple mornings every week). While Nick & Steph both have "side hustles" farming makes up the bulk of our income- i.e. this is our livelihood and we work long hours from early thaw until late frost.

    Nick is a farmer, professional musician, high school soccer coach. He offers musical instruction and is experienced with natural building and permaculture principles. Nick is also a world traveler, volunteer, and potter; and he offers instruction in all of his fields.

    Steph doesn't fancy speaking about herself in the third person. I'm a farmer, substitute teacher, and I do on-call work with a few local finance offices. I make feather jewlrey, play the viola (though not well these days), enjoy yoga, weight lifting, jogging, hiking, and finger painting. I adores cooking and baking and enjoy teaching both. I have traveled a bit, with the most transformational journey being one to India with Nick. Seeing the world from a different perspective caused a lot of self reflection that made changing from a suburban DC lifestyle to a rural PA one seem a very natural and important choice. My BS is in psychology and I love getting into deep discussions about the nature of human behavior. I want to know "how come and why about everything". Come for a visit and let's be curious about the world together!

    Our tribe also consists of 4 outdoor/indoor kitties, Jango the dog, and a motley crew of chickens and roosters that give us eggs, bug control, and hilarity.

    A few things about us:

    1) We are mostly vegan but do eat eggs that our chickens produce. We advocate a plant-based diet, and eat as much raw produce as possible. We do love cooking, though, as it grounds us--especially in the winter. We are extremely open-minded, easygoing people, but we are strict about one thing, and that is: we don't eat meat and won't allow the cooking of flesh in our house.

    2) We don't smoke here, but you are welcome to do so outside.

    3) Don't worry, we really aren't that judgmental about your lifestyle :)

    4) Yes, it's Central PA (red country) but our little town has a liberal college population and our friends are open-minded, caring, lovely individuals who will be thrilled to meet you!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Nick is a world traveler who has done loads of volunteering in other countries, so he truly understands the importance of cultural exchange. He likes to employ ideas he's picked up from his travels and is keen on sharing things he's learned. He also enjoys learning from volunteers as well; volunteers from different parts of the world always have something to bring to the experience, whether it be different ways of doing things, different ways of thinking, or their own wealth of experience. There is always so much to learn from each other!

  • Help


    In general, the more garden/farm experience you have the more you'll be able to integrate into our day to day. We're willing to teach, though, so don't let a lack of experience be a deterrent. Likewise, the longer the stay, the more you'll get into the rhythm of our schedules. Please do understand that because this is how we sustain ourselves there will be jobs that those without experience will not be invited to help with, and there may be times you feel you're not being of much help if you don't pick a project to keep yourself busy.

    Projects we will be getting on with this year:

    1) Cleaning and updating the front porch

    2) Building a cob wood-fired hot tub*

    3) Building cob/wood huts in the forest*

    4) Expanding the terraced gardens

    5) Building a cob beer stove*

    6) Various painting projects inside & outside the house

    6.5) Cleaning & organizing the pottery studio

    6.5.5) Cleaning & organizing the garage

    7) Any projects that you dream up!

    *please note that cob building projects are best suited for those with at least some general building experience if visiting during the peak of our season (June-September) as Nick has limited time to devote to instruction and oversight.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, some Spanish, teeny bit of French

  • Accommodation


    What we offer:

    1) A place to stay and play in exchange for various help which may include gardening, building, harvesting wood, working with wood, playing with the animals (none of these things are really work if this sounds good to you...), helping at the farmers' market, and general maintenance of the property.

    2) Accommodation in a loft, room, or campsite in the woods. Shared shower and toilet, washer for laundry and clothes line to dry.

    3) Free food fresh from the garden! We'll happily provide staple items like milk (we don't drink it but it's fine if you do), bread, rice, etc. but you'll be responsible for extras like chips/candy and alcohol.

    4) A small pottery studio and space to create things.

    5) A 72-acre forest to play in.

    6) An outdoor wood stove for brewing beer, etc. (this is currently in a bit of a state, so you're welcome to brew but you'll need to clean it up first!)

    7) Garden space for long-term volunteers.

    8) Freedom to come up with your own projects and implement them.

    9) A bike to get in to town (about 2 miles) if you don't have a car.

    10) Experienced instruction, but we are always learning and trying new things!

    We try not to expect anything of others, but if you would like to volunteer here we are only accepting passionate learners and workers.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We welcome families with kids, individuals, couples--really anyone who wants to live and learn how to maintain a happy, self-sufficient lifestyle in this increasingly fast-paced and technological world we live in.

    Drop us a line if you are interested via email, or give us a shout using the number listed. Cheers!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours or less, depending on the day

Steph & Nick

Host ref number: 372775142132