Xander & Meri (that's us!) are a 30-somethings couple with a pair of toddlers, a cat, and far too much to do!
We've recently bought a tiny smallholding with roughly 6 acres of mixed use land - mainly grazing, with some woodland. We're currently in the process of renovating the house and restoring the neglected land to it's former glory. We're not actively raising grazing stock just yet (only chickens & ducks) but want to get the land in shape first.
We live in a beautiful part of the world - high up in the Welsh Cambrian mountains, in a very rural location, with stunning views, glorious walks, and a very liberal, eco-conscious culture within our local towns. Our neighbours are all crafty, caring folk, and we'll make sure you sample some delicious local food and drink while you're with us.
We're 3 miles from the nearest town (Llanidloes) and public transport isn't always available, but there's always one of us kicking around at any one time to give a lift if needed, and for those that like a little exercise, we have a couple of bicycles.
We've got our work cut out with two small children - in addition to the house and the land, there's also a small straw bale bothy to renovate, decking to build, a yurt to renovate and a horse box to convert into a live-in wagon.
Babysitting / child care
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
It's a wonderfully diverse and alternative area of Rural Wales, with lots of our neighbours sharing similar ecological and environmental viewpoints.
To this end, there's some really interesting places nearby - the Centre for Alternative Technology is a short drive away, as well as the beautiful Elan Valley and Clywedog Reservoir. Hay-on-Wye, with it's philosophy and reading festivals, is worth a visit, as is Shrewsbury, Darwin's birthplace. You can visit the Red Kite feeding centre, or visit the local Wildlife reserve - although there's plenty of wildlife right here on our land, with kingfishers, polecats, buzzards, red kits and woodpeckers galore!
We can help with improving your English, and Xander has a wealth of self-taught building, gardening and renovation experience. There will also periodically be local craftsmen on site, helping with the renovations, so there's also a chance to learn from them.
The kinds of things we could do with some help with are:
• Painting walls, patching up old lime plaster
• Sanding back old oak floorboards
• Cleaning, dusting and tidying rooms
• Playing with the kids - lots of boisterous, adventurous play!
• Forestry - pruning/clearing trees and planting new ones!
• Willow fencing (we'll show you how!)
• Renovating our bothy - hempcrete, lime plaster, joinery etc
• Pruning fruit trees, clearing overgrown areas
• Restoring our cottage garden - digging raised beds, weeding, planting out etc
We'll be on hand to help out too - and we'll of course provide all the tools / safety equipment / guidance etc to help you.
English, Spanish (basic), Italian (basic)
You'll be staying in our spare room, within the farmhouse - it's quite a private room, with it's own set of stairs, and a double bed. The room doubles up as an office, but it will be entirely yours for the duration of your stay. We're currently setting up a Yurt for the summer, so you might be able to stay in that instead, if you prefer!
You'll be sharing the amenities with our family - lovely hot bath and a power shower (although the latter is semi-outside!) and we'll provide 3 meals a day cooked by ourselves. You'll have free use of the kitchen too, if you want to prepare something yourself.
We have super-fast internet connection, given our remote location, and you're welcome to make use of it - video calling over Skype is possible too, which is often a luxury when travelling abroad!
The house is centrally heated, and draws water (sterilised and filtered) from our own borehole.
We'll help out with local transport as much as possible - there's at least two daily trips into the nearest town for the school run, and we'll happily ferry you to the train station or bus stops if you'd prefer to take a trip further afield, or you can borrow a bicycle if the weather's fine and you're up for some hilly cycling!
We're more than happy to advise on local activities and excursions, and as Meri is a fulltime mum, she'll often be around to help arrange and with travel.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week