We are Nathalie (French) and Sergio (British/Italian, mother tongue English) and we have just moved to a rural farmhouse with beautiful views in the South-West of France. We share our house with a young labrador and three cats.
We live on the edge of a small hamlet of about 10 houses, and it is incredibly peaceful here.
We are 7 minutes drive from the pretty village of Monesties, a member of "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France", 20 minutes drive from the medieval town of Cordes-Sur-Ciel, 25 minutes from Albi and 30 minutes from St Antonin-Noble-Val. Toulouse airport is about 1 hr 20 mins.
There is a lot to do around this area, especially in the spring and summer, where there are many village festivals and markets.
Surrounding us are fields left for pasture, and there are wonderful walks to enjoy, crossing valleys and streams, right from the doorstep. There is an abundance of wildlife around, including wild boar, deer, and a great variety of birds.
We have been renovating the farmhouse for a couple of years, but have finally taken the plunge and moved here permanently. We have two acres of land, currently with a few fruit trees, a couple of wells and some outbuildings. We are working towards the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency, by making the most of our land based on organic gardening and permaculture practices. We are just starting out however, and there is a lot to do before we get there.
Some of the projects that we intend to focus on this year are construction, continued renovation of the house, gardening, aquaponics, bee-keeping, breeding poultry and rabbits.
We are also quite crafty and have set up a little studio with Potter's wheel (we've just taken a couple of courses so far so are still just learning) and hand loom.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
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We are more than happy to practice English or French with you, and you are likely to meet other English / French speakers while you are here. While Sergio also speaks Italian, he is not fluent and would love a chance to practice it more.
We also like to go regularly to the beautiful medieval towns of Albi, Cordes, Najac and St Antonin, and visit the village markets and festivals, and would be happy to share our knowledge of the area. We would be happy to share with you what we have learned about pottery, weaving, macrame, bee keeping, geodesic dome creation and anything else that crops up, and hope that we can learn from you too.
We are mainly looking for people interested in building or gardening. We are learning on the go ourselves, but are happy to share the knowledge we've gathered so far and hope that we can learn from you.
Building: There are various, relatively simple building projects that need doing, as well as some more interesting ones. I will be sourcineg reclaimed wood or pallets for the work, where possible. In terms of renovation, though the house is already comfortable, we still have some areas we would like to improve with painting, plastering and roof insulation. We are therefore looking for someone who is a bit handy with a hammer, a table saw and everything between (or is at least interested in learning these skills).
Gardening: Apart from general garden maintenance, we are also preparing raised beds and creating an organic garden based on the principles of permaculture. If you are a keen gardener that would be a great help.
We will also intend to set up an aquaponics system. This will be our first, so if you have some knowledge of this and are willing to share, we would be very interested.
We would like to hear from you if you are capable or interested in any of the above work.
Our house is spacious, basic but clean. Our top floor has two nice bedrooms with a lot of light, or if you want more privacy, we have a cute little outbuilding, which is set up as a bedroom. You will be sharing a bathroom with an other workaway-er (if there is one at the time). There is also plenty of space to camp outside if you prefer that and can even lend you a tent.
We are not vegetarian, but would be happy to cater for vegetarians. We only use organic veg, which we either grow or buy from the local markets. We eat meat 3-4 times a week and source our meat responsibly and locally, either from a well reputed butcher, or from the farmer up the road.
We love to cook (though our meals are not extravagant) and are open to new experiences. We like to make our own pasta and ice-cream, amongst other things. We will be happy to cook, or we can share cooking duties, or if you prefer, we will let you do your own thing.
We live a simple life, though we are quite social. We like to go on long nature walks, do crafts, play board games, and enjoy movie nights. We don't have a TV.
We enjoy live music, and will go to local events when they are on. We love going to markets, and village festivals, which are abundant in the summer. Culturally, there are plenty of beautiful villages and towns within half an hour's drive.
We have a bike you can borrow and from time to time can give you lifts to places like Cordes, Albi or St Antonin (though if you intend on returning late from these places, you will need to find alternative transport).
If you are sporty, there is good fishing here in rivers and a nearby lake (you will need to get a temporary licence), where I believe you can also rent sail boats. From St Antonin you can kayak through the Gorge de l'Aveyron. We have a ping pong table (shared with a neighbour) and swimming pool. Sergio is also member of the tennis club in Carmaux and is always looking for a game!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week