Help with some gardening and petting baby donkeys in rural Tennessee, USA


United States

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  • Description


    HI. I'm Val. I invite you to join me if only briefly to my small oasis in rural Tennessee. I work from home on 17 acres and would love some assistance in the garden and around the property to alleviate me of some time as I try to start earning an income in my new journey. This is the first time I've ever lived in the rural countryside and in June 2020 it will be a year even though I found my property almost 6 years ago.

    After 2 decades of being a University graphic design professor, I walked away in 2018 to start a new life with a focus on finding joy and living a creative life closer to nature. It started in 2015 when I found this property in rural Tennessee about 90 miles drive to Nashville and started developing the space from interior to exterior on the down-low without my University knowing I was planning on leaving. I have been here full time since June 2019 and am getting a great routine as well as designing the space including the landscape grounds.

    The entire property is about 17 acres along the Buffalo River in farm country about 20 minutes drive to the closest town. I went all in and have donkeys (standards and minis), chickens, cats that help with rodents or to sit on laps, peacocks, a pet rabbit, and 2 dogs - one has 3 legs and one has 1 eye (she's 15).

    More about me: Over the last decade or so, I've had the ability to travel extensively and really want to meet other travelers in this new chapter of my life. During my travels, I often stay at hostels or guest houses and used that as inspiration for setting up my retreat. I've been to Japan 7 times now for work including a travel photo project. I've also been to Copenhagen, Dublin and a road trip in Ireland, whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, a conference in Sydney, a few visits to Barcelona and one to the south of Spain, London, a month in Egypt for a work Fulbright-Hayes group project (mostly Cairo and Alexandria during the summer of the Arab Spring), Italy, and a road trip in Europe with my mom a long time ago. I have been to many states either as road trips or attending conferences.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

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

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This part of Tennessee is really lovely. I am willing to offer an exchange of design lessons or pottery lessons or access to the pottery equipment with more contribution such as helping to organize and keep the space tidy.

    It's probably best if you have your own transportation. Due to some of the travel restrictions you should be prepared to be stuck in this lovely isolation during your stay. I could possibly pick up from an airport if there are actually flights.

    A bit about the property and cultural exchange. I am new to this area. The town I spend more time in is called Hohenwald which is German meaning High Forest. I'm in Lewis County in the foothills of Appalachia. It's truly a hidden gem of rolling hills with many trees. Timber and logging land is a large part of the immediate region.

    My property is on the Buffalo River where there is a swimming hole. A 10 minute drive to a drop in is a 4 hour ride on the river. (I still haven't had a chance to do this because of how busy I've been and the need for 2 cars.) There are nature parks including the historic Natchez Trace Parkway nearby. Nashville is just under 2 hours. Columbia TN and Florence AL are about an hour. Lots of little towns and even thrifting/antiquing in this area. With planning and the right people I can offer transport to/from the Nashville airport. I'm a part time lyft driver and could coordinate rides to grocery or into Nashville with discussion and planning. The closest groceries are 20 minutes drive.

  • Help


    I would love to get one or two workaway-ers for the summer starting in May. The primary task would be tending the garden daily, petting the baby donkeys ( 1 yr on March 30, 6 mo on April 1 and several due over the coming weeks or months), and a weekly mowing about 2 to 3 hours on a riding mower. Additional help could include: weeding, trimming, transporting Donkey manure to a compost pile, picking up sticks for kindling, identifying other planting projects.

    If you have a creative flair, know that I have an art studio with pottery equipment. If you would like to have a chance to express yourself in a creative way or learn clay, I'm interested in chatting more. Additional possibilities for the creatives that may read this -
    - paint a small mural?
    - help with developing art installations or small signs on the campground?
    - help keeping the pottery studio clean and organized in exchange for using the kilns (electricity)

    Longer term stays, as additional possibilities for the crafty handy-men/women
    - help build an outhouse (already dug a big hole)?
    - for fun, building a tree house?
    - build a walking bridge to an island for a large pond that is in process?

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English. I understand some Spanish. Very few words in French, Italian, and Japanese.

  • Accommodation


    For the summer, I am open to one or two people who know each other in one room and a 2nd or 3rd in a second room. Both rooms are included in my photos.

    The primary room is an ensuite so we have privacy. It has a queen and a bunk. Need to help keep the plants alive in there.

    The second room has a twin and daybed couch with a shared bath.

    You would share living space with me which is a home office environment. I do have a TV and internet. But I need to make sure that my internet lasts every 30 days so I ask that you limit your use or schedule time to go into town to download anything you need. No video streaming such as FaceTime. I have found newer Iphones have some settings that really drain data so we would need to be vigilant on making sure wifi is turned off during sleep or while being active outside.

    The cell phones don't work very well here so I have a landline. I've found spots that are stronger signal and text messages work. I get service in the mornings and at night.

    There are dogs and cats that also live in the house so you can't be allergic. The animals do not go in the guest rooms. Stay includes linens. There's a washer/dryer in the house. Stove is propane. Water is from a well that supplies all of the houses and the studio. There are several decks outside. I have a small library of design books and general reading.

    Due to lack of income that is exacerbated by COVID19, I can host but cannot provide food beyond what's happening in the garden and possibly basics like rice. I don't eat wheat, corn, and most processed foods. The town is 25 minutes drive so I don't go grocery shopping very often.

    You can go for walks on the property, swim in the river, or borrow the kayaks. Or we can kayak together because it means there is help in driving from the camp to the drop in spot.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    NO SMOKING including Vaping!! limited use of alcohol or none preferred. No drugs.

  • 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?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    1-2 hrs per day depending on length of stay.

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Cultural exchange: (4.3)

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Host ref number: 581129454588