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Come to a cave house finca and help with land restoration and building project near Guadix, Andalucia, Spain

  • Spain
  • Favourited 1158 times
  • Last activity: 08/02/2023

Availability

  2023 

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

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Details

  • Description

    Description

    ******Thank you for reading our profile to the end before emailing!

    WE STILL LOOK FOR SOME HELP MARCH ONWARDS LONG TERM

    A selection of the next tasks...

    HELP A LITTLE WITH OUR EDLER, JUST COMPANY REALLY

    PLANT WINTER VEG

    PLANT VETIVER GRASS

    JAZZ UP A SAD WASH HOUSE AND LOO AREA

    EMPTY AND CLEAN THE OLD ALMAZARA READY FOR RENOVATION

    MAKE OR INSTALL WOODEN DOORS

    PAINT AND MAKE PATTERNS ON DOORS

    BIG PROJECT LOOMING:

    RENOVATE THE ALMAZARA

    Hello, we are a family of 4 generations, oldest 95, youngest a rapidly growing baby of nearly 2 years ... and we need some help! We are working to structurally reform this place in the sun and at the moment this is our prime concern. So much of the initial work is ground clearance, construction and refurbishment. We are considering some simple hemp insulation in the near future, hemp blocks and a plaster/ render, if that interests you?

    We do really look for long term stays, BUT... at the moment we can take some short term mainly for company for our old lady and some help with cooking. I am able to host singles or groups of friends, age no barrier btw, and soon we might be able to host families, especially those with a living vehicle. The idea is taking form that a situation might arise where a small earth bag or hemp house might get built to house families more privately too. Anyone interested? Then do get in touch.

    We like thoughtful, happy-minded, clean living people who are mature enough to live and work sensibly in a group. If you have experience and skills in any construction discipline, building, electric installation, plumbing, rendering or plastering or other useful skills, you will be particularly welcome!

    We are often super busy, looking after our workaway guests, making them welcome and valued, organising the finances to pay for life, materials, tools, project planning etc, so we don’t always have time to enter into long, complicated, email-based conversations, so a chat on WhatsApp is a good idea.

    Advice…. When contacting ANY host, and certainly us:

    • Prepare for YES as the answer, so think if you will really like it before you apply.
    • Make a long and revealing profile, it saves lots of questions.
    • Read the host profile, does it fit you? If you mainly hope to care for horses, be near a city, the ocean or work with kids, then we are not the right host for you! Use your intelligence!
    • Sending the same email to 100 hosts is very obvious and a bit rude, and is less productive than sending 5-10 individually-constructed messages.
    • Give all the important information to the host right from the start.
    • Don’t be desperate, if you claim to be something you are not, or have hang-ups, or something that you are running away from, its better to be honest, it’s not unusual for Workawayers to be on a path of self-discovery or escape, but it’s important to be honest. If you have missed telling us something, we will soon know and it would cast a big shadow over our relationship. Some of our best Workaway friends have been escaping from a past life that was destroying them. With truth we can grow.

    This is my advice, if you like it, take heed. You decide if I am right or not, and good luck!

    The vibe is quite robust, we are an extended family and as such will sometimes have grumpy days or be worn out, tired from a baby or the old lady. Or just annoyed with one another. We try not to catch you in the cross fire, if we do we say sorry, explain the glitch and assure you that family life is like that sometimes.

    There have been times when we have enjoyed yoga and a bit of not very serious meditation,
    less so recently as the projects seriousness has kicked in and our elder has become more demanding and tiring. However, if the right people are around us it might rekindle. But don't expect things to be too esoteric!!, and it's nice when people can make music and arty things, but this isn't the focus of the stay whatsoever. This situation is a new little community albeit the core members are family, we didn't always live together, so we are new to each other and are drawing on several streams of experience to learn to grow together. There have been adjustments to make in the early days! But by and large we love it

    Two years back, we managed to create a new food-growing area. We have connected with the bio-cyclic movement, which is about relying less on animal waste to grow crops and more on forms of hot composting of plant waste, which in our area is specifically the waste from olive trees and the pomace produced in the oil extraction process. We draw from lots of ideas to make our veggies grow in a desert! It's no good being rigid and inflexible following gurus. Best check out the few websites that show successful greening of deserts!

    Mostly at the moment it's not so much a project as a family home, and as such, outside your 4 or 5 hours "working" I expect you to share various household tasks without having to be asked, as you would if it's your home, like sweeping the floor, washing dishes, wiping surfaces, empty the coffee pot, empty compost bin, keep your own room tidy and clean....just be good house members

    I freely admit we have bitten off more than we can chew work wise, but it's such a special place! So...we welcome new and old friends if they want to help out, because one day this place has the potential to become a stop off bunkhouse for those interested in losing or finding themselves in the desert, to have an extensive food garden, offer extended hospitality to back packets and bikers and a teaching space for courses..… but that is firmly in the future and ideas can change and might have to if pandemic fear alters people's attitude to travelling and mixing. Indeed the need to limit air travel is real food for thought

    We have an extended family household, myself and partner,, son, daughter and her partner, and their little daughter and at present we also juggle the care of the eldest member, who was born in 1927… so a true elder! She comes from Southern Italy. She speaks English and Neapolitan Italian…. various other helpers, friends, relatives and community members join us at different times. Everyone does a lot to help la abuela, but mostly there is a lot of physical outside work, which we need to concentrate on.... More about that later.

    We live on the edge of the area known locally as "El Badlands" since so many Spaghetti Westerns and other genre of films have used this area for location shoots, another name is the Gorafe Desert, and part of the UNESCO Geoparque de Granada. The town of Guadix is 35 mins to the west, and Baza 20 mins to the east. Granada is just over an hour drive away. At the moment the airport most likely to connect to anywhere is Málaga, but Granada has an airport and also Almeria which is less than 2 hours away.

    We bought the property in June 2018, after searching for four years to find “the right place” this place is much more complex than we anticipated and needs a lot more work than we had planned, but if you come you will see why, when we found it, we made a very fast decision to buy it! It seems very special to us, and we love to share it’s strange, harsh magic. We partly moved there Oct 2018, and have completed the process in autumn. 2019.

    Nobody had lived there permanently for well over 10 years, but had occasionally used it for holidays... as the previous owners got older and they and their families came less, it became very untidy! There is a huge garden which at present has no obvious form or function, a neglected olive grove, a chopos plantation which now needs some attention, a disused but sound olive mill, a huge old swimming pool, oh... And 5 dogs,all of them are rehabilitated street dogs who were in a bad way when we found them, and still retain a vagabond instinct…

    There is limited public transport local to the house, one bus morning one bus evening, and we will always give a lift if we can.

    Although we usually host independent Workawayers, 2 friends would also be welcome - the rooms can accommodate a double bed, or 2 singles. AT THIS MOMENT WE DONT HAVE ANYWHERE SUFFICIENTLY PRIVATE FOR A COUPLE. We can accommodate 4 guests comfortably in 2 rooms if some sharing happens. A family would be possible in the near future..

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    Elderly Companionship
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Learn about cave dwelling, join in the village life, engagement is strongly recommended.

    You can learn English and Spanish of course, from various members of the household, and the neighbours and maybe a little (Neapolitan) Italian from Josie the grandma. Learn together with us…we are novices too…or share knowledge about simple building techniques including the use of yeso and the unique qualities of cave houses…

    The wider area, also known as the Altiplano de Granada has plenty of history, stronghold of the Moorish Kingdom of El Andaluz, and last part to fall to the Christian conquerors. There are widespread and very visible signs of the Mesolithic culture that flourished here, and remains from settlements of some of the earliest known hominids in Europe nearby at Orce too! Have a look on Wikipedia!

    There's the wonderful lake, Pantano de Negratín, hot springs, even a hot waterfall! Cool mountains, hot desert, and tapas free with every beer or wine in the little bars in the villages.

    However, beyond all that, there is the warm hospitality of everyone in the area. Of course, foreigners are to be observed and to be gossiped about, and present a curiosity. But mostly there is genuine happiness to meet you and you will quickly immerse into village life if you are accepting. A caution though, lately the pandemic has touched this village and people have died and left big sadness behind them. This has fed the fear of catching the virus from incomers so respect that this is an isolated and unsophisticated community and don't be physically too close unless invited to be.

    We have had the privilege to create life long friendships with many of our volunteers, and they have made great lasting friendships with each other too.

    While volunteering with us, you'll have the opportunity to see an amazing part of Spain. If this all sounds appealing then please send me a message.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

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

  • Help

    Help

    Main manual tasks:

    NOW

    1. Cultivation of land before winter planting time comes, creating compost and applying. Trim and feed olive trees

    2. Repairing a few cracks that appeared after the recent earthquake, it was apparently 5.5 and near la Hoya de Guadix. Really untimely but life's like that!

    3. Stabilise the steep banks that have suffered from the loss of the chumbo cactuses which have all been hit by the cochineal bug round here, so are no longer doing their job of holding the banks together.

    4. Applying yeso (a local plaster) in the old chapel, which is basically a curved tunnel

    5. Maintaining and lining the channels on the roof that directs heavy rain down the hill and into special sinks where it can't harm the fabric of the hill in which the caves are cut

    6.The olive mill needs a lot of clearing out of previous owners rubbish and old possessions and radical exterior and interior refurbishment. This may become a small multi-purpose space, including for performance, presentation/training and other communal activities, including the possibility of a small catering facility as it already has a very outdated kitchen.

    LATER

    6. Restructuring the retaining wall at the back of the main cave

    7. Refurbish the quirky old "anfiteatro"

    8. Eventually we aim to have solar panels and batteries, we need to plan infrastructure and installation and would welcome help with this.

    9. We have to maintain and harvest logs from our woods for winter, so cutting and carting wood, and general clearance and woodland care needed.

    10. Several areas of the olive mill courtyard wall is crumbling. Big job there! And needs an army!!

    POSSIBLY IF THE RIGHT PERSON COMES!

    Bicycle repair. I have acquired a medley of old bikes and need a handy help repairing them

    Household tasks also need to be shared - taking turns to wash dishes, prepare main meals and clean the living space is a shared task. Additionally, we will be grateful if you can show a bit of love and attention to Josie, the elder, help to walk with the dogs and show affection to the cat, Just become part of the group.

    And last but not least, Joining in and adding to village life.
    Make life joyful for all you meet.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    We have one fluent Spanish speaker, one competent Spanish second language speaker, 3 others with various levels of incompetence. We incompetent Spanish speakers want to learn more. The elder speaks Neopolitan Italian, and all of us speak English.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Quite a substantial part of both houses consists of cave, which is a very different way of living, but wonderfully cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There are some out-built parts, these are hot in summer and COLD in winter (unless heated). Let's decide which room suits you when you get here. Everything is rather basic - comfortable but not stylish!

    A thing you need to know about these old houses cut into the rock... The concept of privacy was somewhat less than in modern Europe, doors are incomplete, not reaching fully to the top or bottom or are only curtains, to aid air circulation, and one bedroom leads directly into another. Lots can be achieved with screens and curtains, but if you are worried about this think again about asking to be my guest. Couples take note especially.

    There are 2 houses, at present the young family lives in the smaller one and they don't accommodate workaways because they have a young baby who isn't quiet at night. They do sometimes have personal friends who stay and help however. The rest of us are in the big cave, we have a couple of interconnecting rooms for Workawayers and other passing guests. You need to know that the 6 dogs come and go in this house. But not to the bedrooms.

    You will eat with the family, and will also be helping to cook meals sometimes. We don't eat meat. The food is simple and cheap, and I have to confess I find it really difficult to deal with multiple dietary requirements, so if you are a picky eater maybe this place won't work for you. We live in a world where people starve regularly. It's hard to watch fussiness. For breakfast there is toast and porridge and an option of a piece of fruit. We provide plant-based milk, we use a lot of rice potatoes and maize flour to avoid too much gluten, (although we do have the occasional pasta meal) and eat pulses, beans and vegetables. Chilli (my daughter) and I ran a festival cafe so we are ok at cooking! If you have issues around food this place might not suit you, we have one main meal and all of us share and have a light evening supper ..... So if you require huge meals you might have to buy some extra

    (Please be clear about any special dietary, animal, plant or airborne allergies before you get here, not after!)

    There is free broadband internet, but the location is very rural and relies on a relay signal so it glitches sometimes and is only a low quality service, so don't be greedy! Streaming by agreement only... And it may not work too well!

    Please no tobacco smoking, no habitual drinking and no drug use. Seriously…. I have been disappointed that some of my guests have chosen to ignore this in the past. Drinking is for fiesta and in socially special times. Please respect this.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Come to the Altiplano de Granada!

    The 2 local towns in the area have theatres, cinemas, clubs, museums, shopping as well as the aforementioned history. Granada is the regional capital and is elegant and we are blessed with all amenities you would expect in such a place. There are direct buses from Baza, Guadix and Granada to all major cities’ airports in Spain. Granada has an airport, and Málaga has flights to all parts of Europe and some intercontinental flights too. Málaga is 2.5hrs drive away, or 4 to 5 hrs on the bus network.

    Enjoy the desert the Geoparque, Parque Megalithica, the Pantano Negratín, the hot springs in the woods, the mountains and the beautiful sky.

    Enjoy the tapas culture.

    Now they have started again, join in the many fiestas and ferias in the villages nearby...

    See cave houses, with the natural temperature control, warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer.. and ramble round the strange troglodyte villages which are all around.

    Public transport exists but better from the big towns I'm sure everyone will co operate with lifts to connect to public transport to go places on your days off.

    Bicycles are also available. But some need mending!

    If you read the feedbacks below, you might be confused, because in summer, until this year many of my WorkAway guests helped me run festivals. So will mention that.

    BIG WARNINGS!
    1. SMOKING, drugs, alcohol
    Please... I don't really welcome smokers.... I don't like smoking in the house and grounds my partner is in a fragile battle with nicotine, and having other smokers in the group is really bad for his rather feeble willpower! REMEMBER this is a dry area. Fires start easily.

    One strike and you are out with any illegal drugs. I have had enough of people using my place to get wasted, fraternising with all the semi criminal elements in the area and drawing the wrong attention to us.
    Drinking alcohol is only tolerated at evening meal and social occasions. No daytime drinking, and no habitual drinkers.

    2. FIRES
    No campfires or barbeques, if a fire started it would devastate the area and we would never be welcome back. This is no small matter. Don't leave bottles or drinks glasses abandoned that could focus the sun, the same warning for prescription spectacles. Fire is feared above all else

    3. WATER
    Water is scarce and expensive. Please be sensible about short showers, pausing the flow while you soap and shampoo. Washing machine only use when full, and on short cycle
    Flush the loo only when it's solids, not for pee, unless many have accumulated!
    Watch out for dripping taps, leaks and reuse as much as you can to water the garden.
    Water the geraniums, they repel mosquitos

    4. DRAINS
    don't put paper down the toilet anywhere in Spain. There is always a bin provided. There are times when it's nicer to flush the paper, and in these odd occasions, I'm sure it's fine.

    5. RUBBISH
    There is no house to house rubbish collection, so take your rubbish to the bin and recycle skip in the village. Avoid too much packaging.

    6. ELECTRICITY
    The tariff is CRAZY high and varies throughout the day. Please get familiar with the cheap times and use greedy appliances only then. We are on a very low feed of 3.3kw so go easy and be thoughtful I if the washing machine is on heat a kettle by gas!

    7. SMILE!

    To show you have read this, please mention "La Almazara del Olivar" in your reply, to show you have read to the end.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We are cautious about the really big motorhomes with a long chassis overhanging the back wheels as there is a steep dry riverbed to negotiate to get to out place. But small campers and van conversions will be fine.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    We can accept a dog only if it is sociable with other dogs, and if you are in a living vehicle not in the house I think our dogs might be too much for a visiting dog Not cats our dogs are hunters by nature and can kill cats

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    4 or 5 hours per day or 25 hours per week, 2 days off per week (usually weekends), must be flexible to fit in with other household needs

Host ref number: 647855692517

Feedback (42)



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Accuracy of profile: (4.9)

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