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–“You teach me, I forget. You show me, I remember. You involve me, I understand.” – E.O. Wilson
My wife, Maria, and I are rejuvenating our farm/homestead in the eastern Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We live off a quiet rural road in Marcellus, on 23 acres with ponds, meadows, forest and a well-stocked trout stream. We are working with a state forester to reduce invasive species and diversify native vegetation to enrich the environment and offset climate change factors. It's an experiment of sorts: What kind of difference can be made by a 23-acre habitat oasis, a rich, diverse island surrounded by an ocean of invasives? It's also a task bigger than us in every way, and we've had volunteers from Japan, Hungary, Chile, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Germany and the U.S. helping us.
Over the last three years we've planted 1,420 tree and shrub seedlings, each protected from deer browse with a tree tube or small wire fence. We'll be planting 500/year in 2023 & 2024.
We are both Covid vaccinated and boosted. Vegan and LGBTQ friendly, open to all races and cultures.
Through the fall and winter months our outdoor activity shifts to invasive cutting and stump spraying with herbicide, cutting and splitting firewood, repairing utility roads.
We have a fenced organic raised-bed garden and a cat. Our cabin by the trout stream is being renovated, basic carpentry work that we get to from time to time.
I am an artist, yoga teacher, journalist and an author of two biographies. Before journalism work I owned an organic produce farm that sold to restaurants and a local farmer’s market. Maria is a massage therapist and actress when her hands are not in the dirt. I am a good cook, Maria is an exceptional one. We are both experienced travelers and have been hosts for decades. We work hard and like to relax at day's end. We know the area well and like to take day trips to area waterfalls, lakes, theaters and museums. We're not welcoming pets or children at this time.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesArt ProjectsHelp with Eco ProjectsGardeningDIY and building projectsHelp around the houseGeneral Maintenance
UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
Maria and I have been hosting travelers and international guests for years. We are kind, sensitive and curious, and well-traveled ourselves. We care deeply about the environment. We appreciate and are grateful for the beauty and preciousness of this life and where we are. The experience with our guest workers will evolve as we share our experiences and values with each other.
Forest rejuvenation is our biggest ongoing project, especially the invasive reduction, which involves cutting certain small trees and shrubs and spraying their stumps with herbicide. Tree planting is a short, intense period in early May that involves wedging open the soil with a tree spade to plant seedlings, putting weedbarrier fabric around each seedling along with a tree tube or small fence. The planting maintenance includes watering, scything, uprighting tree tubes that have begun to lean, removing weeds from near the sapling trunk.
We're cutting and splitting firewood, improving trails with stone and gravel. We work garden beds with broad forks, add manure and mulch, plant successively in raised beds.
Our cabin project involves assisting with carpentry and painting.
Workaway guests will stay in a well-appointed room with internet. Our house has one main bathroom upstairs with a tub and shower that we all share, and a smaller half-bathroom downstairs. Workaway guests are expected to keep themselves and their quarters clean and in order.
We have a big, covered porch outside that overlooks our pond, which is a beautiful place to spend time in the warm months.
Workaway guests will share meals prepared or provided by us. Dinner is the meal we most often share together as our schedules allow, but we occasionally indulge ourselves and guests with a nice breakfast or lunch.
What else ...
We can pick guests up in Syracuse at the bus or train station - a 35 minute drive from our house. We have bicycles to use on the beautiful and hilly country roads around us. There is lots of water around here—several Finger Lakes, waterfalls and rivers. We like to swim, sail and canoe on off-days.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Can host digital nomads
Internet is solid.
Space for parking camper vans
Plenty of room to park, an outdoor shower with hot and cold water.
How many Workawayers can stay?
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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People like Peter are why we do Workaway.