updated   Last minute

Rustic mountain living and the homestead experience. Northern California, USA

Availability

  2024 

 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

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Details

  • Description

    Description

    Now open for the warm season.

    Immediate opening available
     
    Month long stay preferred.

    PS. Baby goats are here!! A magical time.


    *********


    My name is Kelly. This is the short story of my homestead, and I invite you to join me if this resonates for you.

    This homestead is my home, my passion, and the action I take in my belief that small family farms are a key to saving our species. This is also an extension of the lifestyle choice I had to make to heal from chronic and debilitating pain that consumed my 20’s and 30’s.

    Located on 22 acres of second growth forest in the Mendocino Mountains in Northern California, this is an off-grid agroforestry and permaculture-inspired project. On the property since 2015, I’m in the beginning stages of manifesting my goal of creating an example of the power of intentional small communities to nurture and rebuild the Earth’s ecosystem through direct action. (I wrote this phrase in 2020, and am delighted when rereading this to feel like I am now transitioning past the beginning stages. 🥰)


    The Help I Need Most

    Here are some of the specific things we are working on/need help with this upcoming spring/summer.

    Help with daily chores and maintaining cleanliness. Having this support is vital. This is the grease on the wheels, without this things don’t run smoothly.

    General physical labor farm projects. Cleaning out the coop and barn, mulching the garden, moving firewood, gathering kindling, hauling branches out of the woods to feed the goats, moving woodchips…

    Bucking down logs into firewood. With 4 wood stoves on the property this is never ending. Please let me know if you have sawyer skills and are interested in offering them for our exchange.

    Carpenter type projects. Maintaining buildings and fences in the woods means something is always needing a repair. In particular I would like to build another fence from the woods. We have done this before and can share with you the document on how to do this. There are plenty of logs and branches for supplies.

    Keep reading for more details.


    You will Thrive here if:

    - Your radically self reliant and fully capable of taking care of your own needs and behaving like an adult. (This is not an ideal position for people who have never lived or traveled on their own.)
    - You’re an internally motivated person able to get work done without micromanagement.
    - You are coachable and eager to learn and follow the specific ways we do things here at this homestead. (Which may be different than other homesteads)
    - You work well with a group, able to show up to morning meetings and work together as a group to make plans for the day. You are willing to take turns with the “fun” and “less fun” chores.
    - You like to Workaway in a way that contributes to this project’s big picture and long-term vision.
    - You learn by doing and observing, and don’t expect to be taught by someone else.
    - You like the challenge of helping to build a project - it is in the beginning stages, we’ve got a lot of room to grow, everything is a work in progress, and there’s a lot of hard work yet to be done.
    - You’re okay with the reality that we eat meat (even though we happily accommodate all diets), we still rely on outside food sources, and have to rely on gas-powered generators when our solar reserve runs out.
    - You enjoy living in service.
    - You recognize that off-grid life is challenging and are willing to roll with the challenges that come up.
    - You can make a one month commitment. This is the ideal length of time for optimum flow.

    ***If all of this sounds like it could be a good fit, please read through this whole listing before you apply, as I’ve included everything I think is helpful for you to know.***

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The 20 Year Plan
    I spent the first year at the homestead observing the land, and created a 20-year permaculture-inspired design plan for the homestead that is constantly evolving. I’m happy to walk you through the property to share the design and the future plans for the project.

    Hands-On Learning
    The homestead is ripe for hands-on learning. Every day can be an opportunity to learn, observe, ask questions, and cultivate knowledge and skills from the projects you’ve signed up to do, and from other projects happening as well.

    Library of Books
    I believe that reading a book is one of the best ways to learn because it introduces you to the full journey of someone dedicated enough to learning that they’ve committed to writing an entire book. I’ve cultivated a library of books that have had a deep impact on my homesteading journey, and that I feel share wonderful information. With gentle use and care, you’re welcome to read them during your time off. (Please don’t “accidentally walk off” with these. I’ve had a few too many books vanish the past couple years)

    Preserving Food
    Depending on the season, we dehydrate, can, and preserve food here, and you can definitely participate when this happens.

    Animal Care and Butchering
    I have goats that we milk, that I sell, and that we slaughter for meat. I also have chickens on the farm for eggs and meat. Although you absolutely do not have to participate in the slaughter of animals, those interested are welcome to learn how to butcher, pluck, and use the full chicken for eating and art (I use the feathers for jewelry).

    Medicinal Plants and Herbs
    The garden has a good amount of medicinal plants, and I create tinctures and other natural products. You can help harvest the plants, and observe how I process what I’ve been growing in the garden.

    The Flow and Festival Community
    I am actively involved in the flow arts and festival community. I spin hula hoop, poi and fans, and also dance with fire. I host a Free Hula Hoop Camp here at the Homestead in September as well as other smaller parties and events. There are often opportunities to come to events when I perform. These can be a lot of fun. I am also part of a local fire spinning troop and we meet regularly to practice.

    Rustic Living
    The peace and quiet up here is remarkable. It’s a great place to escape the grid, live symbiotically with nature, and with amenities like compost toilets and outdoor showers, you get to really immerse yourself in minimal living.

  • Help

    Help

    These are some of the opportunities for workawayers to learn in a hands on way as they help us stay sustainable.

    Housekeeper/daily chores/garden help:
    - I can accommodate multiple people for this role.
    - Part of your work will be filling the daily chore/housekeeper role.
    - Daily chores are the heartbeat of this homestead, and are perfect for those who like routine in their day. Chore help is deeply helpful to me as well. When you complete chores, it frees up my attention for decision-making and the oversight needed to keep the homestead moving forward. Or maybe just to get some income generating online work done. The ideal workawayer for chores likes consistent routine, will be able to follow well-developed, tried and true instructions, show up on time for certain tasks, and is capable of clear and open interpersonal communication.
    - The daily tasks are morning chicken care, sweeping and vacuuming the main house, washing dishes, as well as brushing the dogs and playing with/exercising them. The timing on this shifts with the seasons, but currently we start the day with a team meeting at 9:00 and then this person does these chores as their first task of the day. I find it vital to have this role filled by someone who enjoys these tasks and can do a meticulous job. The right fit here is essential.
    - This role also includes house cleaning. (Assuming that’s your jam.)

    - The second part of your work can be helping out in the garden. Tasks include building and turning compost piles, pulling weeds/harvesting greens for the chickens, harvesting herbs and flowers, hauling and spreading mulch, hauling and spreading wood chips for garden paths, hauling logs and branches to build the hugleculture bed, etc.
    - Also could use your help with hauling branches around. We thin the forest for general forest health and to harvest goat food. Help carrying these branches to the goats is appreciated. Then after the goats are done with them the remaining sticks are sorted for various uses, and we could use help with this as well.


    Carpenter/builder/mechanic/handy person:
    -There is always something needing repair, this help is so deeply appreciated. All skill sets welcome. We can discuss your experience and skills and match them up with the right task for you.
    -Fencing is my focus for 2024. The existing fencing is due up for maintenance and repairs, and we're going to build a new fence with natural materials (logs and branches) this year as well. We have done this before, and a previous helper who worked on the project made a beautiful document on how they did it. We have made piles of logs and branches in preparation of this project.

    Sawyer skills are also appreciated (but not mandatory). Your help bucking down firewood enables me to be able to offer workawayers warm spaces in the winter. Many sawyers have expressed appreciation for this opportunity to practice and maintain their skills, so if this is you, please let me know. I have a well maintained Sthil chainsaw and safety equipment. (Please be able to keep the tools well maintained.)


    Barn Cleanouts, Compost, and Soil Building
    - Goats and chickens are an essential part of our sustainable and regenerative ecosystem. I use a deep litter system for our goat barn and chicken coop, and when we clean them out, we use the material to develop compost piles. You can participate in building and turning a developing compost pile, and cleaning out usable materials from the barn and chicken coop. These materials transform the compact clay soil into healthy soil that grows abundant food in our no-till garden.


    Pulling Weeds, Harvesting Herbs and Flowers
    - Pulling weeds can be a fascinating way to observe and manage nature as a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. As you weed you’ll learn the names of plants that we’re trying to keep, and the plants we’re trying to remove.
    - In each season there are different herbs/flowers that are ready for harvest.


    Composting Toilets, Humanure, and Hugelkultur
    Everybody shits, including humans, and human shit can be just as useful to the ecosystem as goat and chicken shit. If you volunteer here you can learn how we use human poop to the greatest effect (it’s not as gross as you might think). The barrels of poop from the composting toilet sit and age to eliminate any pathogens before it becomes one part of a layered hugelkultur style bed. While pouring the humanure is one part of a hugelkultur bed, most of the labor for this task is gathering the other layers (logs, sticks and dirt). I am using this system to build soil, creating flat spots out of slopes or building up berms.

    Content Creation
    I’m in the process of setting up a platform for educational purposes, and I currently use social media as a tool for this. I’m looking for people who want to use skills they’ve cultivated in videography, photography, and/or writing to help me create a range of content.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Glamping Tents
    -These spaces are large and comfortable, tall enough to stand up in and furnished with proper beds. You have the option of your own space, or they are large enough to share with a friend. There is a double bed option available for couples.

    Lower Cabin
    This rustic one-room cabin is about a half mile walk down the hill from the main house. It is heated with a wood stove in winter. There is a composting toilet a short walk away. This space is currently occupied with a long term helper.

    Upper Cabin
    A single-room cabin with a kitchenette, wood stove and solar power. This space is habitable, but also a work in progress. The composting toilet is a little bit of a walk fyi. Repairs and upgrades in this space are an available project. I will be setting up a glamping tent next to this space during the repairs and upgrades so you aren't working and sleeping in the same space.


    Information About Bedding
    I believe that people working hard should have a really comfortable place to sleep, so I offer proper mattresses. I also have pillows, sheets, and an abundance of blankets. All bedding is washed between workawayers.

    If you travel in your van or small camper, I have a flat and shady place for you to park. (If you need sun for your solar panels, there is a spot by the road that has great sun)


    Food/Meals:

    Helper Food
    We always have available an abundance of dry goods and canned food. Things like rice, tomato sauce, pasta, canned veggies and fruit. Much of this food is sourced from the (pretty incredible) local food bank, which can be visited weekly and includes an ever shifting amount of fresh veggies, bread, eggs, grains, legumes, pasta, meat, canned goods, peanut butter, and fruit. There are sometimes other fun surprises like candy or fizzy drinks. Sometimes the food is organic and locally grown, sometimes it is not. People can participate in food bank runs as they wish. Participation is appreciated but not required. There is always plenty to share whether you participate or not.

    When the farm produces surplus, I happily share the abundance with helpers. Right now, there are plenty of eggs and goat milk is just starting to flow. Greens are popping in the garden, but not much else right now. (As the season progresses, there is an abundance of goat milk, I regularly make goat milk ice cream, and the garden will be flush with vegetables. We may have opportunities to process chickens, and I'm happy to share some of that meat.)


    If you want food outside of what is available and provided, you are encouraged to purchase what you need. However, if desired (and you aren’t too particular) you can stay here and be nourished without having to buy food.


    Dietary Preferences:
    We do eat meat here, and raise animals lovingly for this purpose, but I support all dietary preferences. My dogs are on a raw meat diet, so please be prepared to see them eating meat/animal parts as well.

    I rarely do communal meals these days. Often the workawayers do communal meals in the outdoor kitchen, feel free to coordinate that amongst yourselves should you desire.

    Helper Facilities:

    Outdoor Camp Kitchen
    There is a covered outdoor kitchen where the helpers cook their meals. You will have access to lots of counter space, a communal propane-powered camp stove, pots, pans, and dishware. There is a deep sink with running water, gravity fed from the rainwater tanks. Greywater-safe soap and propane is provided.


    Food Storage
    To prevent problems with attracting predators to the homestead, it is vital that all food and trash is securely stored, and scraps and dishes are cleaned up immediately. There is a fridge in the main house that you are welcome to store a small amount of perishables in. Freezer space is also available. IT IS VITAL THAT YOU FULLY CLEAN UP IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU COOK TO PREVENT ANIMAL PROBLEMS. Clean all dishes, counters and put away ALL food immediately after eating.


    Trash
    We do not have trash service, so your help with waste management is necessary. There are recycling bins at the main house for communal use. All recycling must be cleaned completely before being placed in the bins. I ask that you take all non-recyclable trash to town yourself, and I can recommend places to throw this stuff away. Limiting your trash creation is important. YOU ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN TRASH. Please also store trash and compost bin securely. Empty out your compost bin to the chickens with the morning feeding.


    Showers
    There is a pretty sweet outdoor shower available, with hot water.


    Biodegradable and Greywater Safe Products
    The shower water goes down to Bloody Run (the creek at the bottom of the property) and then into the Eel River Watershed. Please be sure ALL your personal care products are biodegradable. This includes shampoo and conditioner, bug spray, lotion, makeup, etc. Greywater safe soap is provided, but please provide your own towels.


    Toilets
    There are 2 sets of compost toilets on the logging road. Every toilet is a bit different, so please follow the instructions in each specific toilet. Peeing in the woods is encouraged, but please poop only in provided toilets. (My dog likes to roll in human poop. Please don’t do that to me.)

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Getting to the Homestead:

    Driving
    The property is a 30 minute drive from the closest town of Willits. The last 4 miles is a steep dirt road that can be challenging for people new to mountain driving. Totally doable, just steep, and definitely easier during daylight.

    Public Transport
    There is no public transportation to my house.

    For the Carless
    A car is not required to come, but please inform me if you do not have your own vehicle. We make trips to town 1-2 times a week, you can catch a ride with me to get supplies as needed. While I don’t make special trips to town normally, I am happy to make a special trip to pick you up and drop you off at the end of your stay. When I pick you up, I can take you to get supplies like tobacco, food, etc. for yourself before returning to the homestead.

    In this area, hitchhiking is a form of transportation people use, and volunteers have used it to get here.

    Cycle Tourers
    If you are a tourer that has experience on dirt riding up steep grades, getting up to us is possible. There is a one mile steep gravel/dirt section that, even for the strongest tourers, will require pushing the bike. From Willits, the ride will take anywhere from 1.5 - 2.5 hours, depending on how strong a rider you are, and how much gear you have.


    The Property:

    Feel Free to Explore, But Stay on Our Homestead
    I have 22 acres of woods, mostly steep hillsides, but there are some established paths and roads to take for walks. Try to keep to a Leave No Trace attitude when hiking in the woods. Google that if you don't know what Leave No Trace means. Please do your best to stay on the property or on the dirt road, the neighbors DO NOT appreciate visitors.


    Pets
    It generally does not work out when people bring their pets. Even well behaved pets can upset the balance here, as both Zoey and Ari are very territorial in their job as farm protectors. If you think your pet might be the rare exception, feel free to convince me to change my mind, it can happen. Tell me your pet’s favorite game so I know you read this far and acknowledge you are asking to discuss a rare exception.


    Internet
    There is not wifi up here. Seriously, NO WIFI. Cell service is spotty at the property with the exceptions of US Cellular and Verizon. You can walk up the road a short bit to overflow parking where reception is better. (A short walk further down the road is a stunning spot to view the sunset.) I can briefly hotspot from my phone if needed, but only for quick messages, my data does have a limit. There is free wifi in town at the Library and at McDonalds.

    What else ...

    Be Serious In Your Communications With Me
    It’s often the case that I have more people interested in coming than we can accommodate, so what you write when you get in touch matters. Please be serious when contacting me and be as clear as you can about your needs, expectations and plans (or lack of plans😉). Long and thoughtful emails with proper sentences and punctuation are a great way to catch my attention. If your initial message to me is less than 6 sentences I will probably choose someone else.

    Please Read This Whole Thing Before Asking Questions
    Reading this whole thing before asking questions is also appreciated. I’m currently working multiple jobs (cause farm life doesn’t pay the bills...) in addition to running the homestead and I’m grateful when applicants respect my time by not asking questions already answered here. If the answers to your questions aren’t here, I’m really happy to answer them.

    Clearly Communicate Changes in Your Plans
    If your plans change or you choose a different host please let me know as soon as you can. If I say yes to you, and then you change your mind, please just get in touch. No judgment. If you can’t come, I still need help, and would like the chance to invite others up here as soon as I can. Your clear communication makes this flow smoothly for everyone. Ghosting is difficult for me as it drains time and energy, and is unfair to potential workawayers who I reject after saying “yes” to you.

    Social Media for More Information
    If you aren’t ready to commit yet, and want more information, shoot me an email asking for more info. I can link you to all my social media sites so you can learn more about us that way.

    Show Up With Integrity
    I am not your parent, and I also don’t want to be a controlling boss. I expect you to arrive for the daily meeting on time, to do daily chores (If this is your roll) on time, and to do the work requested of you without having to nag or remind. I expect that you will follow the homestead’s rules, and ask questions when you don’t understand. I expect that you will take good care of the land and the tools, and you will clean up your work site when you’re finished working each day. I expect that you will act like a mature adult, clean up after yourself, and respect the other members of this community.

    My Alone Time
    While the main house has an open-door policy throughout the day so that you can charge devices and help with daily tasks, I thrive on alone time, and I appreciate a few quiet hours alone in the morning, and in the evening.

    My Work
    Much of my income earning work is online. I spend a great deal of time on my phone and am often distracted by messages I need to answer or work deadlines. I know this can be frustrating when working with me, so I want to be open and clear about it. I am so very grateful that I can both pay the bills and be involved in my homestead life in this way. I also work away from home and will be gone for a long weekend here and there. There are long term helpers around in these times to supervise and support.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read all of this. I greatly enjoy the workaway experience!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    I do not have Wi-Fi. I work from my phone and use my cellular data to do this work. My cell phone carrier is US Cellular, I find Verizon has good service as well. Other carriers are manageable but not great. The service can be spotty and weird, but good enough in the right locations. Most people can send and receive text messages.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Best for campervans or small trailers. Large flat spots are limited, but available. Mostly shaded, but you can move out to the mail road for abundant sunshine if you need to charge your solar panels. The road up here is challenging for those unused to mountain dirt roads, tho fully possible for anyone with confidence.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week maximum

Host ref number: 796734824835

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