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Hello, we are Brian and Barbara.
UPDATE 3rd September 2021
HELP MAYBE NEEDED THIS MONTH, DEFINITELY IN OCTOBER.
in the next few weeks we will need to prepare the vegetable garden for autumn planting. This entails moving a net tunnel - our defence against caterpillars in the cabbages. Clearing the ground of dead weeds and plants and depending on whether there has been rain, planting baby plants.
An important job is to walk our overweight Spanish Mastin for an hour a day to try to get some weight off him.
There will be cleaning, tidying and painting and varnishing, maybe bits of weeding.
The pool toilet needs cleaning up and painting.
We also welcome help with carpentry! A new roof on a puppy kennel and a new saw bench to build.
Probably we will have puppies, mostly we do and help with them is good because it frees us up for other things. Help with puppies actually means cleaning up their run each morning which is mostly covered in a mix of pee and poo and not the best job in the world. Sometimes the puppies are covered in it too! But after you get to play with them for a bit and the sense that they are now all clean is very rewarding.
Mindful of Covid, we have things in place to keep the chances of contacting it to a minimum. If you would like to come here, we will ask that you keep your distance for a few days which will mean sleeping and spending some time separate from us.
***PLEASE read our profile carefully before you ask to come. We are English, we don't speak Spanish at home. Our culture is English. Although we try to avoid chemicals we do not follow permaculture, we do not eco build.
Spain is an enormous country and we are right down in the south of it.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️If we send an invitation we need at the point it is read that workaways reply yes, no or maybe! We often find ourselves waiting days for an answer meantime we are not asking anyone else and turning down others that ask to come here. If you ask to come and we say yes, then please don't leave us hanging about waiting for your confirmation. Same reason as above,
***Sorry, but we are not able to take workaways travelling with dogs. We foster puppies here that are vulnerable to infection.
We retired from our hectic life in the UK in 2003 and came to live on this dilapidated almond farm in a beautiful valley, 35 minutes from Malaga airport. We brought with us various animals, cats, dogs, a rabbit and our collection of ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys. Since then we have lost them all, but gained many more including 3 horses. Right now we have 8 dogs and 3 cats and 2 horses and some chickens. Please note, the horses are pets and not really rideable.
We made many improvements to the property when we first arrived including installing electricity, drains and water as well as turning what was a four roomed empty building into our now nice home. We did pretty well all of this ourselves.
We are getting on a bit now and thus not as able as we were and we seem to achieve much less than we did!
We continue to work on the place improving, maintaining and updating. We have, with the help of workaways created an area where we are able to foster abandoned dogs waiting for a home and our first arrived at the beginning of June 2015 and gave birth to 5 puppies 10 days later! Then we had 5 Spanish mastin pups abandoned at about 10 days old and needing bottle feeding. Thanks to the 3 or 4 workaways we had here at that time, all thrived. Since then there have been many more. Sad when they leave, but so rewarding to know we have played our part in sending them on to new loving homes mostly in northern Europe.
There is always a list of jobs big and small, inside and out, that need doing.
Painting, tree pruning, weeding, strimming. In winter bringing wood down from the hill for logs. Always checking and fixing fencing. Bits in the veg garden in winter. Weeding in winter.
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We are both very practical people and although we hope workawayers will have some skills when they come here, we hope that we can add to them. Brian is an engineer and can turn his hand to almost anything, machinery, cars, plumbing, electrics. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with willing people. Barbara is a homemaker. She cooks, sews, knits and is a true gardener (as well as mixing concrete, painting etc!) And again is happy to teach others.
We are great conversationalists and have had some very interesting talks with people from all over the world, exchanging views and information about our respective countries. It has been a joy for us meeting so many people some of whom we consider lifelong friends now.
Someone to help about the place when Barbara is not here because sometimes she goes away to work though that is rare now. Although Brian's cooking isn't too bad, it is rather basic and he will have been working too, so we would expect workawayers to share the cooking. Also he will need help keeping the place clean.
There are a lot of animals here which like attention. Some would like to go for a walk, some need grooming.
We try to grow vegetables if we can so the veg plot needs an eye keeping on it and there is always weeding needing doing. Regular watering in summer.
If is says on your profile that you do gardening you must be able to do gardening. You must be able to tell the difference between a weed and a plant or at the least be able to learn. You must also commit to doing gardening in the shape of weeding. Once the weather gets drier it becomes really hard to pull up weeds and once gone to seed will be next years weeds. It is really important that weeds are pulled before that happens. During the winter workaways should take advantage of the sunny days to do weeding while the ground is damp and they are easy to pull up. Also, it is less tedious to do an hour or so here and there than have to tackle it all at once when it takes several hours a day for many days.
Anyone good with a paintbrush would be welcome as there is always painting to do.
We have lots of ongoing maintenance, fencing, gutters, bits of concreting.
Outside work maybe quite strenuous but we do have a lot of machinery to help. We expect girls as well as boys to muck in with the manual work.
We are also self sufficient in logs for the fires in winter which means bringing them down from up the hill.
Thus we wouldn't expect more than 5 hours a day (because if nothing else, that's enough for Brian!). There are times though when it isn't easy to find 5 hours work to do.
We would also expect you to help with the domestic chores, such as helping tidying up after meal times, cleanliness of your room and bathroom, taking rubbish to the bins, the usual day to day chores. We don't expect to clean up after workaways. We expect workaways to launder their bedding and towels on the last day and at least hang it up to dry. Also to clean the bedroom and bathroom thoroughly. We are not running a hotel and it defeats the object if we have to do a chambermaid service after people have left.
It is important that workaways that come here have common sense and do not need telling over and over what and where things are and have to be told what needs doing on a day to day basis. To us it is obvious that terraces need sweeping, walls need wiping down, poo needs picking up. If something looks dirty we shouldn´t need to ask for it to be cleaned. We also do not want workaways that are not able to do a good days volunteering. Over the years there have been people here that when they are gone we can not see what they achieved and that makes us feel a bit used. In exchange, for those that do do a good days volunteering, there will be lunches out, trips around and nice food and wine or beer. We see workaways as a two way street, we will happily give to those that give in return. We have had lots of workaways here who have left us really sad when it is time to say goodbye, sadly though there have been some that we have been keen to see the back of!
We like to start by 9am and we finish around 2pm and have lunch. We usually stop for a break mid morning. Some days though, depending on what´s happening we may finish earlier or occasionally later. Sometimes we finish earlier and all go off out somewhere even if it is only to the vet or the shops!
We don´t get on well with the attitude that workaways are working "for free". We put a lot of effort into making workaways comfortable. A lot of time, thought and expense goes into providing food and arranging transport and trips.
Please note we only accept applicants who apply directly through Workaway.
PLEASE DO NOT ASK TO COME HERE IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING AND ABLE TO AGREE TO ALL OF THIS.
Accommodation is in a room in the house with a double bed, we can squeeze in to the room a narrow single bed. There is a shower room next to it. We used to put workawayers up in a self contained bungalow in the grounds but many workawayers have treated it very badly and it's main purpose is as a holiday let and thus regretfully we have decided to use it only if necessary.
We provide three meals a day. Breakfast is toast and jam and cereal, yogurt, fruit. Lunch is a sandwich, cheese or ham and salad, maybe soup or pizza. Dinner is usually meat or fish and two or three vegetables. We sometimes have vegetarian meals. We don't provide snacks etc. We don't provide fizzy drinks and beer or wine routinely. We are sorry, but we are not able to cater for vegans. Vegetarians must be willing to cook meat and fish for Brian. He becomes a grumpy bear if he doesn´t have meat!!
We live on a UK pension and cannot tolerate waste or extravagance in any form. Workaways must use electricity and water with care. Water is a particular problem here in Southern Spain where we go without rain for months.
At the moment we are not able to accommodate families with children. We have found that it is not always easy for workaways to concentrate on the job in hand and look after children and currently we have no suitable accommodation.
We can tolerate considerate smokers but that means they must dispose of cigarette ends properly, not throw them in the garden or empty ashtrays in the kitchen bin!
At the point that workawayers agree to come here we will ask for their telephone number, home address and emergency contact number and we will provide ours. When they arrive we will ask for proof of identity. This is for the security and peace of mind of us all
It may be possible for volunteers to have a use of a car now and again, if they are over 26 and have an EU driving permit.
We are situated about 5 kilometres from the village and there is no bus!
From the village though there are good trains to Malaga and from there, all over Spain.
We also have two bicycles, but the terrain is a bit challenging. We try to take our volunteers out to see some of the sights and they are always welcome to join us when we go off shopping or to the vet.
If workaways want to do something on a weekday we can be flexible.
A little about the area and things to do in the free time.
Pizarra is a small town in the Malaga province of Andalucia. Here you’ll be in a perfect spot to get an authentic taste of the region. There are beautiful hilly landscapes to explore close to the finca. The Sierra las Nieves is within a short drive, and is known for its geological features, with important caves and potholes. Of the latter, Sima Honda is more than 130 metres deep. Cave systems worth visiting in are Hoyos del Pilar and Cuevas del Moro.
Not to far away there is EL Chorro a quite famous rock climbing area made even more famous now after the re-opening of the Camito del Rey, King's walk.
Beyond the region’s natural splendour there are plenty of man-made attractions to discover minutes from Pizarra. Malaga city a short cheap train journey away. Malaga is an impressive and modern city with a fascinating history. It was the birthplace of the artist, Pablo Picasso, and you’ll be able to visit the excellent museum commemorating his work. There’s also a great deal of Roman heritage to discover, including a spectacular amphitheatre. We are little more than half an hour from the Costa del Sol. You’ll be able to choose from unspoiled natural beaches and bustling resorts. Among the closest are La Colina and Los Alamos, while the renowned fashionable destination, Marbella, is about 40 kilometres Southwest of the finca.
Pizarra is little more than half an hour from Malaga Airport (AGP), which is one of the largest in Spain and served by a range of budget airlines.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have wifi cover across the property which is generally good though as in all things Spanish there are blips. But the town of Pizarra 5kms away has free wifi coverage. Mobile phone signal here is not good at the house but OK just up the road.
There is an area just outside the front gates which is flat, there can be an electrical supply to it and the bathroom and toilet in the guest cottage a short distance away.
5 hours Monday to Friday. The weekends are free but if workawayers are here we expect them to help with domestic chores.
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