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We are a small, young family of three, Jack (27), Paula (29) and Malia (7months) who have just recently taken over a very old farm on the Austrian country side in the beautiful area of Wachau. Jack originally comes from northern England but moved to Vienna after meeting Paula, originally Austrian, in a workaway project in Morocco in 2017. 4 years later and we still live here together and now even have a little daughter. Jack works as a carpenter in an Austrian "Tischlerei" (furniture maker company) and is originally a trained builder, specialzed in heritage carpentry. He has been working with wood and construction for the past ten years. Paula on the other hand decided to ditch her academic career after finishing University and discovered Yoga and Ayurveda as her path. She runs her own Ayurveda Studio in Vienna. Malia is an exceptionally joyful easy going baby, she is very happy, laughs a lot, is super curious and just started to crawl. We all share a passion for good food and exploring new places, whether its a new neighborhood of Vienna, a sicilian mountain village or just a beautiful spot in nature anywhere on this planet.
We currently still live in Vienna but have been dreaming about moving to the country side to renovate an old farm house and live a calm, independent. somwhat self sufficiant life for the past few years. Last fall we were able to take the first step towards realising this dream by finding and buying our farm. The building itself is about 500 years old, it has lots of character and charm. It comes together with about 15 fruit trees, Apricot, Apple, Cherries, Peaches, Pear, Walnut, etc., quite a nit of forrest and a small little pond. Everything is in a very overgrown, rundwon condition and will need a lot of work, love and patience over the next few years. Our vision is to turn this piece of land into a little enchanted permaculture garden, filled with an abundance of fruit and vegetables, beautiful naturla structures like drystonewalls, herbs spirals, hillbeds, two sheperds huts for guests, some roaming chickens and a larger pond to swim in. The house we envision having two appartments for guests on the top floor and our private family apartment in the ground floor. When looking at the farm today we can envision it all, it definitely has potential, but it will be a long way to go. Since taking over the farm in March 2021 we have mainly focussed on the garden and allowed ourselves to get a feeling for the land and the house. As much as we want to move to the countryside as fast as possible, we also really want to take our time and think things through. Together with out architects we started to plan out a concept for the renovations are now ready to start taking action. Our approach to the whole project and restoring the house is doing it as naturally as possible, we srongly focus on sustainability and natural resources.Our preferred materials will always be wood, straw and clay as alternative building materials as well as sourcing used materials and goods through willhaben (the austrian version of ebay). As the project is very diverse, so are the jobs and skills needed. We will need your help in all of the following areas: Construction, Gardening, Harvesting, Child Care, Household. Due to the sleeping arrangements we are specifically looking for traveling couples.
At the moment we have no regular frequency yet regarding how much time we spend at the farm each week. Throughout the summermonths are spending every weekend, Friday to Sunday there and in addition to that sometimes full weeks. Our work and freetime schedules together with the volunteers will therefore vary accordingly and will be decided each week on the spot. Either way we will provide you with accomodation and food for a full week, and expect you to help out 20h in return. Working more than 20h is welcome but not a must, here we expect clear communications. Wether these 20h will be during the weekends together with us or during the week while we might sometimes be gone will depend on the type of work that needs doing and stays flexible.
One of the first steps will be: to take down a big barn which has become too old and instable ; to create a more cozy volunteers space upstairs which can be used for you; start renovations on the ground floor: underfloor heating, tearing out walls, new windows, doors, wall insulations, plastering, painting, cleaning. Besides the renovation work on the house there will always belatschre of jobs in the garden as well as looking after our daughter and helping out in the household.
Jack is a very skilled carpenter who can teach you just about anything building related, depending what we will be working on at that moment. He makes beautiful furniture, is skilled at joinery, window and door fitting, floor laying, plastering, tiling and even knows the basics of electrics, plumbing and mechanics. Besides that he is an excellent chef and bakes delicious bread. A true handy man and foodie.
Paula on the other hand is more the "all over the place" type of person. She is very social, always up for a new project and will happily share her passion for alternative healing and Ayurveda with you. She pulls the strings behind the scenes, organizes family life and makes things happen.
A tipical day could start for all of us at 9.00 with breakfast which we prepare for all of us, followed by a few hours of work and lunch which you prepare for us. Afternoons and dinner are free to be spend individually. In weeks during which we only spend the weekends with you we will ask you to help out 3 days with longer hours in order to make it up to the 20 hours. "Overhours" - helping out more than 20 hours is warmly appreaciated but not required at all.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Both of us have volunteered in various workaway projects around the globe including Sweden, Myanmar, China, Japan, Costa Rica, Whales, France and Morocco, which allowed us to exerience not only lots of different projects but also lots of different types of volunteers. This allows us to have a very concrete idea of what kind of project we would like to be as well as which kind of people we would like to host. On our farm you will be able to experiment and pick up a lot of new skills in the areas gardening, renovating and leading a household. You will also get to experience austrian country side life style, learn a new language and explore the beautiful region of Wachau.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Being trained or skilled in any of these fields is an advantage but not a requirement:
For renovating the house and structuring the garding we are specifically looking for volunteers who have experience with alternative building such as woodwork, joinery, carpentry, clay plastering but also electronics, plumbing and any other kind of building.
For the garden we are specidically looking for people who can help with harvesting, lawn mowing, drystone wall making, digging, tree cutting, weeding, etc. (pretty much the regular garden stuff). If you have any experince with permaculture that would be fantastic, we are absolutely newbies to this chapter and would love to learn.
We also need a lot of help cleaning in the household and constructionsite, looking after our daughter and making food.
If you dont have any previous experience please dont pretend you do and only contacts us if you are actually keen on learning and being helpful.
This host offers a language exchange
Amongst the three of us we speak english with each other, Jack speaks basic german and Paula speaks mothertongue german as well as some spanish and swedish. We are open to teach and learn other languages from and to you.
When WE stay at the farm, WE are staying in our newly renovated sheperds hut which is located in our garden, next to the house.
For our volunteers, YOU, we prepared a nice white room inside the house which includes a double bed and dresser. However: The house is a complete mess, it is a big, dusty construction site which on top of that is still really dirty from the previous owners. They had many pets and the smell of animal urine still „Hangs“ in nearly every room. This gives the whole house a very unclean vibe and unfortunately we have not yet managed to get rid of the smell. Incense are a good temporary fix but don’t fully do the job.
You will get fresh bedding from us, there is a bathroom next to you room and inside your room we really made an effort. Still, all in all you have to be a bit robust when it comes to the housing situation.
You are very very welcome to help us improve this by any way we can. During the renovations of the house we will literally tear out all the ceilings, floors and walls of pretty much the entire house and by that clean the house real thoroughly inside out which is why we don’t want to invest much into temporary new floors, wall paint and other.
We also provide bycicles which allow yo to take trips into the nearby villages or connect to bigger bus and train lines.
If you have a tent, you are most welcome to tent in the garden.
If any of this makes you unsure or if you have any questions, please get in touch.
Our farm is located in the incredibly picturesque area of Wachau which is famous for its apricots and white wines and therefore reffered to as the austrian tuscany. There are many incredibly beautiful villages to visit in this area, each of them making you feel like you are inside a Postcard. Scenic Long distance cycling routes along the danube, heritage hiking trails through the vine yards or a refreshing dip in the danube are just a few opportunites to spend your freetime. With the bikes we provide, you wil be able to get anywhere to explore. Vienna and Linz are just over and hour by car away and Krems about 30min. Some more options to spend your free time.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Since the property is very big, I am sure we will be able to find a suitable spot for you. You will have to use the kitchen and bathroom inside the house.
WELLBEHAVED dogs are welcome. Please ALWAYS first inquire wether you can bring your pet.
More than two
20 hours per week- sometimes weekends will be off after the work was done during the week ; sometimes while weeks will be off and work will be done on the weekends