We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our area. Everyone's health and safety is very important to us, and so we continue to be overly cautious when it comes to hosting volunteers/guests on our property. As such, we have limited the number of volunteers we will accept this season, and are spacing each volunteer's stay at least two weeks apart to ensure a healthy amount of time between volunteers. Of course we are also proactively sanitizing and observing healthy hygiene practices, and would very much expect the same from you :)
We are an outdoorsy gay couple in our 30s from Brooklyn, NY, now living on a 24-acre homestead up in the Blue Ridge Mountains as our primary residence. It's about 1-hour west of Asheville, and so we’re still connected to a busy city, but far enough to live the green life.
The property is mainly forested, although there are ~3 acres of tillable land, and we have some serious vegetable, herb, wildflower, mushroom and honey bee plans. There is also a pond, year-round creek, two barns, a greenhouse, chicken coop and tons of potential!
The main home is from the 70’s (which we’re also renovating), and there is a detached “mother-in-law” studio, which in the long-term we’re hoping to renovate into a meditative/yoga space. For now, it's where our Workaway guests reside :)
At the end of the day though, our goal is to rehab this old homestead, create a relaxing/immersive outdoor experience, and to have fun all the while experimenting with all sorts of produce, flowers, herbs, mushrooms; really anything homestead related.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
After living the greater majority of our lives in metropolitan cities across North and South America (Will is from the northeast and Sebastian grew up in Chile), we essentially decided to exit the modern workforce and pursue our dream of building a homestead. We've even volunteered on a Workaway farm to test out the homestead life, and so we’ve been in your shoes!
We have knowledge in gardening, landscape design, herbs, beekeeping, composting, breadmaking, fermenting, business, languages and much more. We have a lot to share and equally want to learn as much as possible from you. We have been planning this homestead for quite a long time now and so we have a clear vision for what we hope to achieve, but now it’s about putting things into practice and learning from those who have skills that we do not yet have.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
THE WORK EXCHANGE
--> We generally plan for you to be with us for two full weeks. That's about the sweet spot, although if we're able to, we would be open to shorter/longer-term stays if it suited everyone's needs.
--> We ask for 5 of the 7 days in a week to be "work days." We are flexible which days of the week are deemed "work days," but it's helpful to establish which days you'll be "on" versus "off" for meal-planning purposes etc. But we very much encourage "off" days as well to explore the area and totally unplug!
--> On each work day, we plan for ~5 hours of work spread throughout the day (i.e., in the summer, afternoons can be hot and a good time to break). If you needed an extra day off one week, we are completely open to you balancing work hours on another day to make up for the extra time "off." We are entirely flexible.
OUR TO-DO LIST
We have many years of work ahead of us and so there is quite a bit of flexibility in what you could contribute or help with. The ideal volunteer though would have some relevant experience, ideally a previous Workaway or farming experience, although that's definitely not mandatory. If you're proactive, independent and willing to sweat, you'd do great!
Here is a list, in no particular order, of some tasks on our to do list for 2021. If you’re interested in helping us. Please send an intro outlining any relevant experience, what you’d hope to learn/gain from helping us, as well as anything that interests you from the list below.
Maintaining healthy gardens, greenhouse and compost (e.g., watering, planting, turning/sifting compost)
General landscaping (e.g., mowing, wood chipping, weeding, planting perennials, building raised/garden beds)
General construction and maintenance (e.g., fence repair, fence installation, basic carpentry)
General chicken and dog care (e.g., feed, open/close/clean coop, walk dogs)
General help around the house (e.g., meal-prep, assisting renovation work, help moving furniture/heavy items)
This host offers a language exchange
We're both interested in practicing our Italian. Sebastian is a native Spanish-speaker and tutor, and would be happy to practice with those looking to learn Spanish.
Our volunteers stay in a detached studio just a few feet from the main home. At any given time, we can host a solo volunteer, or one couple. A bed with linens and basic toiletries will all be provided but you will need to bring your own must-have essentials. Note, you will have access to your own bathroom, but it is inside the main home.
Included in your stay is access to the common areas in the home, as well as the kitchen, which you're welcome to use. Although, please note that we will only provide the following basic pantry essentials (tea, eggs, bread, popcorn, fruit and nuts) as well as lunch and dinner, only on workdays. Our volunteers are on their own for breakfast and all meals on days "off." The nearest grocery is ~30 minutes away, and so we would highly encourage our volunteers to come prepared to make breakfast and a few of meals of their own, especially on days "off" or if you have any particular dietary/condiment/beverage preferences etc. We eat a mixed diet, including some meat and fish, although we most often make veggie-forward meals and could certainly accommodate any dietary needs.
Currently, we only have satellite internet, which essentially means that our internet is EXTREMELY limited. We have a laptop in the main home for our volunteers to check email, manage day-to-day needs, google the odd question etc., although unfortunately, we are not in a position to extend an unlimited, all-access wifi password for use on personal devices. Trust us, we wish it wasn't like this, but currently it's our only option :( It's not that bad though. Besides, you're likely staying with us to escape a bit of that modern chaos!
Phone service is extremely unreliable in the area. We have a Verizon booster in the house, so if your service provider is Verizon, you should have full service, although phone calls can still be spotty. Otherwise, it’s best to expect ZERO cell service on property. We of course have a landline though with free calls in the US, Canada and Mexico that you’re more than welcome to use.
There is no public transportation to/from Asheville or any other nearby city. You will need your own transportation.
THINGS TO DO
There are hundreds of beautiful sights in the area (the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, Biltmore Estate, etc.) plus everything you’d expect in a big city can be found in Asheville, which is a beautiful, relaxed, progressive city.
The weather is also perfect -- true four seasons. Not oppressively hot, but certainly warm in the summer, and not brutally cold/snowy in the winter, but chilly enough for a fire. Evenings can be a little chilly, so pack layers. It can also get wet, so pack boots.
We have two Great Pyrenees/Swiss Shepherd dogs, about 1.5 years old now, so still big puppies. They're lovable but curious dogs, so you must be comfortable having pups around. We also have 25 chickens. For the safety of our animals (and yours), and to give you the best, most focused, work-exchange experience, we do not allow our volunteers to bring their own pets. Sorry!
Equally, we are very much in the wild, so please EXPECT to encounter bugs, bees, birds, frogs, spiders, snakes, raccoons, opossums, deer and more. The wildlife is not a nuisance, but know that we do live among it.
We have bee hives on property. It's probably the safest path to pass on us if you have a bee allergy.
Please reach out with any questions. We’d be happy to hear from you!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Must be a smaller, sprinter-van sized vehicle. We cannot accommodate anything larger than this.
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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