Come have some fun helping us with our projects in rural Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

  • Favourited 8 times
  • Last activity: 11 Nov 2023



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    Hi, we are starting new projects this year after a couple of years break. We are repairing or changing the things we built nearly 10 years ago. In no particular order; we are re-landscaping the vegetable garden into an all-year around garden and adding a irrigation system (hopefully), we are raising broiler chickens from eggs to the table and also rabbits and hoping to again have pigs this year. We're laying foundations for pathways & creating a new BBQ area, repairing and replacing roofs, building a new chicken house - so there's plenty going on!

    We ask for your help Mon-Thurs 9-5ish, easy-going days with lunch & evening meals included (have your breakfast before you arrive). Fri-Sun are your free days - we'll gladly drop you off at the train/bus & collect you if you want to explore the country/local area.

    We're very flexible and easy-going - everything is negotiable - we're here to help & want you to enjoy your time with us!

    In return for your help we offer a separate house with 1 double bedroom or a bed settee in lounge, 2 single fold up beds too are available, bathroom with shower, cooking/kitchen facilities & large garden/outside BBQ area & the all-important fast WiFi with unlimited download! This is just over the road from our house.

    We'd like help for up to 2 weeks at a time - however if you're available long-term we'd also be interested.

    More info below - drop us an email if you're interested, we look forward to hearing from you, enjoy your travels!

    A bit about us;

    We are an English couple who moved here in 2009 for a slower lifestyle.

    Darren was a landscape gardener in the UK & an avid martial arts fan who taught various styles of martial arts & also arranged competitions.
    Mel was a shopkeeper in the UK & operated a strict fitness programme of walking to the pub & back regularly with mates!
    It's so very different here, we were digging & creating veggie plots, coppicing our many fruit trees & trying our hand at building mudbrick walls, keeping many animals, preserving, being as self-sufficient as possible and having fun in the process.
    Life here goes at about 5 miles per hour, as opposed to 80 mph in the UK, everyone is so laid back and it feels very much 1970's England we think, and we love it.
    We are meat eaters but cater for everyone, any special diet requirements should be mentioned in advance please. And not forgetting the 2 dogs and 2 cats, so if any allergies let us know.
    Some of the work can be hard and some of the days long. We are not 9-5 people, there is always something to be done, if it be the animals, gardening or a building project.
    For us, the most important things are to have a positive attitude, not be frightened of a bit of hard work, know how to have fun, enjoy a few beers, vino, rakia (the local spirit) or water and a BBQ at the end of the day.

    Update April 2016
    Looking for people to help out now.
    Lots of projects on the go, building, digging, gardening, looking after animals, processing and many more. Were in a beautiful area surrounded by hills and mountains in central Bulgaria. AS long as your not afraid of a bit of hard work. We don't hold regular hours what has to be done gets done. The weather is great at the moment and will just get warmer, great for walking and fishing if your into that.

    Update June 2015
    Got lots to do.... Moving rubble, repairing a mud brick wall, taking down a mud brick wall, digging foundations, processing chickens, and that's just for starters (not necessarily in that order).
    So if your up for a bit of hard work and some beer in the evenings, get your self here. And its red hot at the moment :)

    Update April 2015
    Taking requests now, up until it gets to cold outside (About Sep- Oct).
    This year we hope to get our new BBQ area built, Darren took most of it down last year with some volunteers. So need to get rid of the waste (lots of shoveling and barrowing), Dig the foundations and lay lots of concrete before re-building it. There are other areas that need concrete floors that we will be doing (hopefully this year) aswell.
    Spring is a very busy time in the garden, getting all the veg for the year planted and maintaining it over the summer.
    We have many animals, Chickens for meat and eggs, rabbits for meat and turkeys.
    We butcher chickens and rabbits fairly regular, It is optional if you want to be a part of this or if you want to see the process from start to the table.
    We might be getting pigs again this year, but we haven't yet decided.

    Update: 2014
    WANTED: Volunteers mid June to help veggie planting or Butchering and plucking chickens, all welcome, please don't let butchering put you off!

    This year we're planing to be totally self sufficient for meat. We were pretty close last year, and butchered 2 pigs in Oct/Nov, so have a full freezer to start this year with.
    So...we're onto our second batch of 'meat' chickens (totally different to egg chickens if you didn't know that.) They'll be ready to butcher mid-late June (ish.) IS this something you'd like to learn? I started off by plucking, then gradually moved onto gutting etc...I certainly don't kill them though, that's firmly Darren's department. It's up to you if you would like to learn any or all of it. We'll also have some rabbits which should be due around that time too, if that's also something you'd like to learn. This year will be our first to learn to tan the hides...we're determined to use seems fairer to the animal in a way! At that time we'll also have baby chicks to tend which take up a lot of time... and we'll be planting veggies like crazy too.

    If this is something you'd like to learn, drop us a line. If it's NOT, and something you want to steer clear of...please drop us a line anyway, we need veggies planting & baby chicks/piglets looking after. We're happy for you to avoid any gory bits and have hosted (successfully I might add,) several veggies.


    We have baby bunnies to look after, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and a tiny puppy who's very demanding! The piglets enclosure needs splatting in mud...mud plastering, we have teeny tiny baby chicks & turkeys arriving soon.
    We're planting seedlings like crazy & trying to keep on top of everything, summer is most definitely on the way!!

    July; We're going to replace the main house roof & also the main house roof of Darren's brother's holiday home over the road...obviously this is an all hands on deck job, so if you have any experience, great, if not...still great, there's plenty else to do.
    After that, over the summer we intend to box in the staircase so that when it's -15 in winter I don't have to go outside to get to my bed!! It seemed quaint when we moved in, but having to put my wellys on after a bath to go to bed doesn't seem quaint anymore!

    So...if you fancy a laugh for a week (or 2 if you can manage the craziness) you're very welcome to come & join in. There's plenty space to pitch a tent weather permitting & there's an outdoor loo. We have a huge 2 bedroom tent if you're travelling without. We can BBQ, or cook something up between us. We're happy to feed you & provide our meager accommodation in return for a bit of help around the place. We certainly don't do 10 hour labour intensive days but it isn't a holiday camp either & you'll need to pull your weight.

    Sense of humour is a must & if you're at all interested in martial arts Darren would love to teach you self defense, kick boxing, MMA... or you can put your feet up & watch the sunset with a beer like Mel does! If you like to fish, we try to go regularly & take a BBQ along for grilled fish later. We often break open the home brew vino & play cards in the evenings. Wi-Fi is available in the house & in the garden for you to use as you please. We have 2 very friendly cats so any allergies would be difficult. We don't smoke but you're welcome to do so outside. We eat meat but can easily cater for vegetarians....PLEASE tell me in advance though so I can buy some supplies.

    If you know anything about solar power/wind turbines we'd love to hear from you & learn all about it before trying to get 'off the grid'.

    Happy Travelling...

    Update Spring 2013: We've rescued a gorgeous puppy that escaped from a neighbour's house, she was 6 kg when we found her hiding in our cabbage patch late on last year, now she's 17 kg! She's super friendly & we call her Molly. We've also taken in a 4 week old pup that a friend found on death's door, she's called Tinker & is a mini tornado now :)

    Update Summer 2012: We have a fully operational solar shower & are currently working on a solar dehydrator to do sun dried tomatoes etc. The mud-brick wall is progressing nicely as is the stash of home made vino!

    Update Spring 2012: We're gradually coming out of hibernation & have started planting like crazy. We now have a poly-tunnel that is amazing at growing weeds & not a lot else so far! Daz's brother, Martin bought a house over the road so we have an extra garden to tend...which we intend to keep pigs in! Our chooks are all doing well, the 2 teeny chicks grew up huge, much bigger than the others so we figure that the early months are vital to size & are encouraging our cockerel to get down to business, the incubator & nursery are built, ready!

    Update Summer 2011: We got another 9 chickens, quite young, & 2 teeny chicks :o)

    Update Spring 2011: We are now proud owners of 3 chickens and a cockerel!! Hoorah! They are laying eggs regularly which is really rather exciting :o) We are hoping to get more in the coming weeks now the weather is better....bring on the summer!!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You can learn gardening, looking after animals, landscaping, various building methods inc. mud-brick walling & stone walling, cooking, making preserves, butchering - depends what you'd particularly like to learn & what we're up to at the time when you come. If there's anything in particular you'd like to learn - please mention in your email & we'll do our best to squeeze that in!

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    Currently there's veggies to plant / water. We have chicks to tend, rabbits & occasionally pigs too.
    There's a steady stream of fruit from the gardens to make into pies, crumbles, chutneys etc etc later in the spring/summer.
    There's about a million tomato plants to plant in the garden, so we'll be making tomato sauces & jarring as we go hopefully!
    Mel works from home during the week.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Bulgarian: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    In return for your help we offer a separate house with 1 double bedroom, a bed settee in lounge, 2 single fold up beds too are available, bathroom with shower, cooking/kitchen facilities & large garden/outside BBQ area & the all-important fast WiFi with unlimited download! This is just over the road from our house.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Priority is having a giggle whilst getting some stuff done, we love to play board games/cards of an evening over a few beers, come along for a laugh.
    We have WiFi that works throughout the garden with unlimited downloading... so no probs to Skype home or whilst having a beer sitting by the BBQ! :)

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Very Varied, max 25 hours a week. Sometimes long days then a day off, sometimes just pottering.

Host ref number: 618329435799

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