2 free range kids (both homeschooled, 8 and 4), one English macro brewer, a French mum, 3 geese, 10 chickens and one (outdoorsy) cat family in the Northern part of the South of France.
We have an off grid small holding with chestnut trees and hops (my husband is an artisan brewer) and I am a stay at home mum and then in summer I become a kind of Mary Poppins... I look after guests of a big house and mainly cook for them.
Our main house is completely off-grid, it is a life time project and is therefore ongoing. We also have a place in the village with all mod cons (electrics, main water, internet etc) next to a river and a brook (literally, you just open the gates at the end of the garden!).
Our life evolves between those two places, quite opposite to each other, we are trying to make it work . We are ecologically minded (we are farmers and try to be responsible citizens) and homeschool our kids. Though not vegetarians, we eat very little meat and it tends to be produced by us or organic.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We are easy going, hard workers and highly creative.
We evolve between two languages, our skills and interests go from cooking, brewing, logging, wood cutting, carpentry, photographing, designing, sewing, crocheting, gardening, chestnuting, mushrooming, cycling , canning and preserving, hicking, drawing, building toys or creating costumes, reading, eating, we are experts picnickers (the kids are completely nuts about it) ... And a lot of dreaming! We dream of a time when we will be older and completely self sustainable...
On days away from the village we enjoy going to antique and flea markets, museums and sightseeing. We have a big van, where everyone can fit, bicycles for everyone and friends! Including a vintage tandem and a small trailer. We are vintage cars lovers (one is a beer mobile, with 4 taps).
Mention homeschooling in your message, then I know you have paid attention!
Our kids are kind and generous, they are teaching us a lot...
There is a train station in the village, 15min walk, with daily trains to bigger places such as Nîmes (1h30 away) Montpellier is a little bit further. Etc. Our village is small (600 inhabitants) and remote, however there are 3 cafés, 3 restaurants, 3 village shops, two bakeries, two doctors (including a homeopathic one) , two physiotherapists, one veterinary practice , many b&bs, one village hall, one town hall, two bakeries, many pétanque play areas, one playground, a school, a football pitch, a tennis court etc. And all within walking distance.
Our area is not well-known, though worth a look, stunning valleys, great forest hikes, breath taking rivers, forgotten medieval ruins. Read : Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, by Robert Louis Stevenson,
Well, first of all we are looking for kind people, with big hearts, open minds and super powers such as adaptability and common sense.
Spring and winter: DIY jobs, garden preparations, general help with keeping the house away from sinking under zillions of small jobs, etc.
Summertime (may/June till August/September) more help with the children in the afternoons when I am working otherwise normal jobs found on a small holding.
On specific jobs:
Dry stone walling
Harvesting chestnuts (october/November)
Transforming and canning food
Cutting and tidying wood
We both do not have office hours and it can be last minute jobs for me. I sometimes work evenings but my husband is then home, and however both our work places are within a few minutes (on foot) from the house. My husband's being the farthest, at least 5min ! And me, well you can see it from our terrace! So if I am cooking in the afternoon, we need someone to spend quality time with the kiddies. Teach them things, read stories on the hammocks hanging in the trees, go exploring the vast gardens, draw, paint, play board games (screen time is only for the weekend or personal studies...) Our eldest plays the piano, dabs a bit the violin and is learning music reading. If I am not working I look after the kids, educate them, tend to the vegetable gardens, transform the food for us, look after house, go food shopping for my work, do small renovation projects on the small holding, etc. Therefore a companion / companions would be great to either give me a hand with those chores or stay with the kids for a short while I get on with something specific. My husband has just launched his new macro brewery, he also runs workshops. His job is a bit more away from the house, though he tends to be home for meals. We do a lot of cooking and eating !
From experience, we prefer having full days all together however in the evening more quiet times, then everyone retreats to their own spaces and own time.
French and English, our eldest has requested to learn Italian this year
Spring and winter : in the big house or in our off grid tiny house (in the middle of nowhere, if that is your kind of things, with wood fired stove and one tap with spring water!)
Summer time: Suzanne the Caravane, a lovely and small vintage caravan by the end of the vegetable gardens. With a folding double bed, a sitting area (which can become another double bed) kitchenette and wash small space. In summer the weather tend to be really hot, therefore a shower can be installed out doors, otherwise in our house. There are strong WiFi access. Suzanne is fully fitted with a terrace and a pergola and next to it In a shaded area hammocks are hanging, you can here the water from the brook at the bottom of the garden. We also have a three people tent which can be pitched next to it.
Strong and unlimited WiFi access.
We had a lovely au pair from Ireland last year, though we thought someone with a child or two about the same age would be great. However a couple or a single person would work to! As long as you are happy and kind! We can adapt! We would like to make the most of this experience for both parties.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Mornings or afternoons, 4/5 hours or whole days, and many days off, can be discussed to suit mutual