Weclome to Temenuga!
I'm Craig, a 34 year old, part-time beekeeper, goatherder, and volunteer at workaways across Bulgaria.
Working at my parents homestead for the past three years -in the mountain forests of Stara Planina - we've been experimenting with permacultures and other eco-projects, in the hopes of implementing successful ideas throughout the rest of our small village, 'Temenuga'; A calming and beautiful retreat into nature, with stunning hikes, a hidden waterfall, (buried treasure if local legend is to be believed), canyons, hills and mountains,
as well as a river close by, Temenuga is the perfect place to get away.
If you visit, you'll be volunteering for the whole village, not just one project or family, as well as
joining a burgeoning community of workaways, with room for up to six, but a village hall to rennovate and plans to build eco-cottages out of natural and reclaimed materials. You'll live and eat seasonally, foraging for food - walnuts and hazelnuts, mushrooms, berries, linden tea, mulberry, dandelion and nettle wine, medicinal herbs, apples, pears, plums and figs - then process some for storage (dried, smoked, or canned), make a mash for wine and spirits, or eat fresh from nature.
When we're not foraging we'll be working to improve the village for residents and visitors alike.
Helping with me you'll be planting food for future workaways, feeding the chickens, milking goats to make butter, yogurt, and cheese, or looking after the rabbits. We'll be building a new bus shelter from reclaimed wood and stone, clearing brush to improve forest health and creating a compost generator to provide hot water, methane, electricity and ten tons of compost for next year. We'll also be building our first cottage, ideas welcome, and a walipini and root cellar for extra food. I also plan on making a grasshopper farm - don't worry if you don't want to eat insects, I won't make you. I'll also be heading out to scythe hay for the animals, and will happily teach the technique.
Three new projects planned...
Project Hedge Mage - Planting drought resistant, low maintenance crops throughout the village verges and hedgerows to produce seeds, grain, fodder and flour.
Linden Mott - A hidden camp ground exclusively for volunteers to relax next to a waterfall. Including making furniture, firepit, a swing, etc.
Photographic foraging guide and local map.
Working with Ivan, the local vet, you'll learn about beekeeping, gardening, and making rakia - a traditional Bulgarian spirit.
With Hristo you'll either be helping to take care of his bees, or out with his wife Christina, and her mother, in the mountain forests, learning to forage.
Lubka and Jordan will feed you to bursting while you pick fruit, make jams and other traditional Bulgarian dishes like banitsa and parlenka.
Dodjka has a small flock of sheep that you can walk to a nearby field, dozing under a tree while they eat or looking out over the mountain valley.
After four to five hours of work in the morning (starting time depends on the season, early starts in summer to avoid the midday heat) you'll be free to relax.
I have a decent collection of boardgames to choose from, table tennis, badmiton, handball, english language library, movie and television library, beginners archery, knife and axe throwing, tightrope walking, bikes, darts, fishing, bushcraft or martial arts leasons, yoga, as well as fitness equiptment.
I work out everyday except Sunday, normally more than once a day, and you're welcome to join me. I also hike everyday and will gladly show you some nice trails; If you prefer to hike alone, we have long range walkie talkies with a max range of 15km (practically speaking about 4km). We're about 8km from the nearest village, so there are low light levels perfect for stargazing, and if you ask nicely we have a telescope.
On days off we'll be going swimming most weeks (when the pool opens), hiking and camping, visiting nearby cities - Veliko Tarnovo, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Shumen, Targovishte - going to museums, galleries, nature reserves, as well as (if anyone is interested and has the money) paintballing, go-karting, airsoft, beauty spas and salons, etc.
Once the work has been finished, some time around July / August, I'll be hiking part of the kom emine (over 600km across the Balkan mountains), then south towards the seven rila lakes, where I'll spend a week or two camping. You'd be welcome to join me. I even have some spare gear, should you be lacking something.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
The locals Temenugans have a rich knowledge of traditional living that has been passed down for generations. Learn about a more natural way to live, taste real Bulgarian food, visit the Ethnographic museum, and help me to build an ancient balkan burdei, deep in the forest. I'll happily help anyone intrested to learn beginners Bulgarian, and we can also venture out for the Rose festival, Kukeri ritual, and other such cultural events across Bulgaria.
You'll be welcome to meals, BBQ's and parties, or even just invited in for a morning coffee. The village is small but the sense of community we've found here is beautiful.
In June and July we'll be offering wood carving classes for 10 lv with a master wood carver and professional artist.
Also on offer will be Bulgarian cooking classes with one of the local Baba.
You schedule will often vary depending on the season and needs of the village. We'll be balancing construction projects with gardening, foraging, beekeeping and animal care. My own main goal this year will be the compost generator -if successful, then I'll be making them throughout the village- which will mean clearing brush with hand tools, then shredding it, soaking the woodchips, packing it down around coiled pipe, a water tank and a methane tank. This will be challenging work, but if you don't feel up to something so physical, just say so, and you can help with one of the other projects - there will always be something else to do. Even if you're just tired and sore, we can swap you out to an easier task. The whole point, for me, is to help build a community, not free labour. People who are staying for longer will get preference on which tasks they do, but this doesn't mean that if you only stay for a week you'll have all the worst chores- those will be my jobs.
If you're interested in a particular element of village life - gardening, beekeeping, foraging, etc, just let me know in your message. If you have any particular skills or experience you'd like to utilise, carpentry, bricklaying, etc, again, let me know. Even if you're not sure, we'll probably be able to utilise your skills somewhere - knitting and sewing for example can be used to make blankets and curtains for the volunteer dorm; cooks always welcome; interpretive dancers can teach us all how to bust a move.
This host offers a language exchange
Intermediate Bulgarian, happy to teach the basics.
Lots of beautiful places to camp for anyone who is interested, including glamping with a shower, sink, and toilet. I have spare tents.
There will eventually be three different places to sleep.
Currently there is Ivan's house, two rooms with three double beds, a large wardrobe, stove and outdoor toilet. Hot showers and running water available at my house, very short walk away. As the days heat up there are also solar showers available with privacy screens at Ivan's. We'll be making rocket stoves and solar ovens to use if you want to cook yourself a snack. Ivan only visits at the weekend and doesn't stay, so you'll have the place to yourself. Internet will be provided via biscuit, limited bandwidth (feel free to borrow any movies you might want to watch) Volunteers are welcome to come play a game, watch a movie, or just hang out at mine as well.
Then there is the Mayors house, with two rooms and three beds - similarly to Ivan, he doesn't live in this house, so you'll have it entirely to yourself.
And finally my house, with the room in the photos, potentially the dining room, and lots of space for camping. Also plans for the mini cottage I'll be building in my garden. Possibly an accompanying Ger, so that more people can stay on the grounds and build more community.
Meals will often be shared at my house, but just as likely to be with the family that you've been helping. Any dietary restrictions, let me know. We eat a lot of vegetarian food but we do eat meat, if you don't, that's not a problem.
Any needs that arise during your stay, please voice them.
We'll be going out of the village once a week, if you need picking up or dropping off then it will be on those particular days. Similarly, shopping, activities and days off will happen then. Likely Tusday-Wednesday, or Wednesday -Thursday. I'd like for people who come here to enjoy the experience, so if anyone has any problems, if there is any confusion about why something is done a particular way, if you have a better idea about how to do something and/or why- just speak up.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Good wifi connection, limited bandwidth.
Big as you like, there are a few fields around that you can use.
As long as it isn't a crocodile or tiger, we should be okay.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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