Indoor and outdoor projects, living totally off-grid in the low hills of Central New York, USA


United States

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  • Description


    I am needing some help this winter as Prisca is in France with her family for the winter with some family issues to deal with. I need someone as an elderly companion for the winter (they tell me I'm getting old) for safety and a little help with winter chores like getting in firewood for our heat and clearing snow. Other than that it will be working on creating some wonderful food, siting by the cozy wood stove and watching the snow and the deer outside. Come for a few weeks or come for the winter. I look forward to good conversation and enjoyment of the winter in upstate NY.

    Our homestead is a 10 acres totally off-grid place situated in the low hills of Central New-York. Our home is powered with solar panels that are more than sufficient to produce electricity for all the comforts we need, including the use of power tools when necessary. In the depth of winter, when the sun is low, the sky overcast and everything covered in snow, we sometimes use our backup generator to fill our batteries. Our water is supplied by a well and a spring. Approximately 4 acres are open, the rest is wooded.

    The two of us, Jim, late seventies, and Prisca, early forties, are a loving couple who envision the creation of a homestead based on the principles of permaculture. It has the possibility of evolving into a place of showing and learning, through exchanges, how to tread lightly on this Earth, and respect all beings that populate it.

    We bought this place and moved here with our two cats in January of 2017: we are at the beginning stages of bringing this vision to fruition, and have a never ending list of projects that we want to see accomplished. They range from very straightforward necessary everyday things to very experimental co-creations. We always welcome new ways of looking at things and new ideas and visions.

    This is a remote location: our closest neighbor is 3/4 mile away, the nearest small town 7 miles from us, and the closest big town/ small city is 45 minutes away.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Elderly Companionship
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Jim has many years of experience in construction and mechanics, and a wealth of knowledge to share, and extensive experience in corporate management. He has also done extensive travel and has worked with people recovering from alcohol and drug abuse as well as issues dealing with family history Prisca has experience in management, studied ecology and completed her Permaculture Design Course. She's also done some translation work between English and French. Both of us are avid readers and enjoy playing games (although we don't have many).

    We met at the Findhorn Foundation where we both lived and worked for several years. It's an intentional community, eco-village and learning center in Scotland. They believe in inner listening, co-creation with nature, and alternative energy and sustainability. A lot of what we do here is inspired from what we learned there.

    On occasion we'll be happy to take you to State Parks in the area, or to the city for a day out.

  • Help


    Our list of projects include some remodeling of the house (changing the bathroom-bedroom layout, modifying the shape of the loft...), some light outdoor building projects (cold frames, maybe a greenhouse...), landscaping, gardening projects, firewood gathering, splitting and stacking and other tasks related to the upkeep and well-functioning of the homestead.

    We also wish to experiment with different types of energy or resource harvesting (creating a solar water-heater system, a solar dehydrator, rainwater harvesting, etc.), with different styles of gardening (raised beds, swells, food forest etc.).

    Depending on the completion of projects, or if some get discarded, or if we get new ideas (maybe from you!) this list will evolve. Depending on your skill level, the difficulty of the task and other criteria, you will help alongside us or work on your own.

    Jim had significant back surgery and can only do limited amounts of heavy work. Prisca has chronic pain and fatigue.

    We are night owls and don't get up early, so you would have the mornings off and start helping around mid-day on week days.

    We will eat the evening meal together (we are not vegetarians nor do we have any specific dietary requirements - if you do please let us know in advance so we can plan accordingly), and you will be provided with food to make your own breakfast and lunch. We usually have breakfast after we get up, and sometimes a sandwich in the afternoon.

    There is the possibility of flexibility in that schedule.

    We envision this arrangement as being an exchange of skills and wisdom, welcoming your input and ideas on how to make our place as wonderful and welcoming as it can be, while you learn about off-grid living and homesteading in a beautiful area.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    You will have a choice between a bedroom on the second floor of the house, or our travel trailer. Both have a double bed and can accommodate a couple. If you are two friends traveling together, you can each have one. You can also pitch your tent somewhere on the land.
    If you choose the travel trailer, you will have your own kitchen in it. There is a possibility that you can also use the toilet and shower in there too (but it would need to be connected to the septic tank - another one of our projects), or you can use the one in the house.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Our land is bordered by a State Forest, deep in the country side. Cortland is about 40 minutes away and Syracuse about 50 minutes. There are many beautiful State Parks with lots of waterfalls and canyon walks that are less than an hour of driving away. The Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Thousand Islands or even Canada are easily reachable for a week-end trip (or for some, a long day trip). Prisca is with her family in France dealing with family issues so Jim needs help over the winter this year.

  • 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

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Cultural exchange: (4.5)

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Host ref number: 495862793165