*** Update Spring 2017 - we had to spend some time away and now need lots of help! We want to build chicken coops and the rainwater collection system, as well as all the spring planting and pruning. ***
We recently moved to this very special part of the Haut Languedoc natural park. It's a beautiful, tranquil place surrounded by nature. We are beginning a new life here, and are working for now on setting up a small permaculture/organic smallholding to sustain ourselves, as well as building some of the infrastructure we need for the future (like rainwater collection). We live in an existing house that we partially rent out for holidays, and are developing plans to build a small eco-build home in the near future.
We are a small family - Joe, Polly and Finn (2 years old). Our daily life involves maintaining the 17th Century house that we live in and rent out, developing our food garden, setting up to get ready for the arrival of some animals and looking after the family. We bake a lot (sourdough bread and pizza in the outdoor oven), play a lot and try to get out into the countryside as much as we can. There is a big forest for walks, a village about 2km away for all basic needs and some beautiful villages, towns and cities nearby (like Lautrec, Albi, Toulouse, Carcassonne) as well as many places of natural beauty, like the waterfalls at Arifat and the strange rock formations of the Sidobre.
We need help with the general day to day maintenance of the house and gardens, and with some bigger projects. We have cold frames, compost bins, chicken coops, raised beds, gates and fences to build, and rainwater collection, solar and wind systems to design and construct, so there is plenty for you to get your teeth into. We want you to enjoy your time here and think it is fun to work on a complete project as much as possible.
We have volunteered with workaway before, as a family, and we really welcome family groups as well as couples and individuals. Although we've tried our hands at many things, we are definitely still learning and we hope to learn a lot from people who come to stay with us.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesGardeningDIY and building projectsGeneral MaintenanceFarmstay helpHelp with Eco ProjectsHelp around the houseAnimal Care
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
This is a very traditional part of France and great for experiencing French life and culture. You can explore the countryside and the cities nearby to get a real taste of Occitania.
We have been very lucky to spend the last year or so travelling and learning a lot from the countries we have stayed and people we have stayed with. We're an English family and speak English at home, but the life around us is a very traditional French rural life. We love to learn languages and new skills, and are excited to see what you bring with you. We love to cook food from all the countries we've stayed in, and we would love you to bring your own favourite recipes.
Projects involving children
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We need help with some particular projects - chicken coops, garden equipment/construction, rainwater collection and irrigation and power sources that we will ask you to help with. We also need general help around the garden and the house. Our young son is always around, and although we don't particularly need help with childcare, it's possible that being able to help out every now and again would be great.
We have rooms in the house with access to a shared bathroom and kitchen. If you prefer to bring a van or tent, we can talk about finding space for you (it depends on the time of year). We have a mainly vegetarian diet and will provide all meals as well (you can eat with us or separately, as you prefer - sometimes our meal schedule doesn't work for non-families). We make our own sourdough bread and pizzas in our cob oven and hopefully we will have vegetables, eggs and fruit from the land by springtime.
What else ...
This is a wonderful place to be if you like nature, with some great walks, wonderful wildlife (deer, falcons, boar, owls, bats...) and the most spectacular skies. There is a small village nearby that it is possible to walk to, and we often go to the nearby towns and cities (Castres, Albi, Realmont, Toulouse, Lautrec) for markets, shopping and cultural activities, so we can try to show you around if there are things you are interested in. With a bicycle or car you would have access to a lot more independently.
We are a small, young family so this isn't really a place for loud late nights. We live a quiet and calm sort of life, so our place will suit people who like that. We have been workawayers ourselves, and really value open communication about what you want to do, what's going well or is difficult so everyone can get the best out of the time together.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week