Experience a geodesic dome surrounded by nature, help an Earth-friendly family in North Florida, USA


United States


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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    We are looking for volunteers for Autumn 2020! It is already too hot and too many mosquitoes to host this Summer. This September we will need experienced help with a shed to Tiny House conversion for Mimi.

    During winter we’ll need help with planting (yes Winter is a growing season in Florida!), firewood gathering, forestry work, pond maintenance, carpentry, childcare, and cooking! Even if you can only do one of these things, it would be so helpful!!

    We are a multi-generational family of 4 living in a geodesic dome located on 5.2 acres (2.023 hectares) north of Gainesville, Florida. Our goal is creating a homestead to pair self-sufficiency with our creative talents. Music, fine art, alternative architecture, koi pond maintenance, forest husbandry, dog training, library sciences, meditation, alternative medicine...

    We're interested in hosting open-minded and kind volunteers to lend a hand. Our home and land is not a working farm; it is an oasis of creativity and compassion. This rural location is about 20 minutes from world renowned University of Florida. We are a half mile down a dirt road. Nearest store is 2.5 miles away. The city is a scenic 20 minute drive away with plenty of restaurants, museums, etc. We go to town a couple of times a week, so don't worry about being stuck in the woods the whole time you're here! That said, we are "stay-at-home" types and if you like to be on-the-go, you may prefer your own transportation while you're here.

    Jim (50) and Darla (41) have been married 10 years and have a 10 year old daughter. Jim is an electronic & post-punk musician (Ableton, Maschine, vintage synths), loves chess, politics, and philosophy. His longterm goal is to have a music studio at home. Darla is a visual artist (henna/mehandi, crochet), teacher, and homemaker. She also enjoys cooking and being in nature. Mimi (grandmother) is a political scientist with Chopra Center University certifications to teach Primordial Sound Meditation and Perfect Health, an Ayurdevedic lifestyle course.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Elderly Companionship
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Animal Care
    Art Projects

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Our goal is a mutually beneficial, communal environment. Get chores done together, have more time to use your creative talents! If you love the outdoors and having a hip, intellectual environment at your fingertips, you will love the Gainesville area! Our supper-time conversations range from cryptozoology to genealogy, any and everything in between! You will experience native Florida culture and environmental appreciation. If you don't already know how to start a fire, you'll know by the time you leave!!

    Also of note, one of the largest Hare Krishna temples in the country is about 8 miles away from our property. If it is of interest to you, we can make an evening of going and enjoying kirtan and the communal vegetarian meal.

  • Help


    We need help with daily operations:
    1) Household chores (assisting in meal prep, kitchen cleanup, grocery shopping, laundry, bed-making, sweeping, light cleaning, taking trash and recycling out, tidying and organizing ... any help you would feel comfortable providing). If you are interested in learning how to meal plan and cook from scratch, this would be a golden opportunity!
    2) Gardening (raised bed vegetable garden, permaculture, or biodynamic farming experience is a big Plus) and yard maintenance (raking, collecting firewood, we have 5.2 acres/2.023 hectares, there is always something that needs doing)! In exchange you will have the opportunity to learn about native Florida plants and wildlife from Native Floridians. If you are considering volunteering with us, please have at least some basic knowledge of how to use a shovel, rake etc. and feel comfortable doing this sort of work.
    3) Helping grandmother 'Mimi' with her various eclectic projects including training diabetic alert dogs, PTSD alert dogs & dog sitting; hosting her meditation students & Perfect Health students. Mimi is a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic.
    4) Engaging with our 10 year old via play outside or music or crafts inside. (If you can help with actual play and not computer games you might be a saint!)
    5) And working with 3 Poodles (1 standard... 65 pound poodle!, 1 miniature, 1 toy). Chores may include feeding and playing with them. These are very intelligent, friendly dogs who obey obedience commands and are trained service dogs.

    Long term goals are getting a permaculture area started, planting seasonal edibles, starting a water catchment system, barn renovation including solar, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, aquaponics, etc etc. We welcome fresh ideas and your suggestions!

    When you message us, please include what skills you can offer to our homestead. We really need volunteers who are self-motivated to complete chores. We need you to integrate quickly to our daily rhythm. Jim and Darla work outside the home several days a week, and we won’t be available to hand-hold on super basic tasks.

    We homeschool/unschool our daughter. Throughout the day you may hear her singing, writing stories, playing games, and sometimes fussing! If the presence of a child gives you anxiety, our home might not be a good fit for you! :)

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    We have a tiny guest nook inside the dome home with a small bed. This is only large enough for a single female. Couples, friends, and single guys can use our huge tent out of doors. This is a "Hippie Hilton," and is large enough to stand up inside. Cot with foam mattress, pillows, sleeping bags, lamp, all setup in a shaded location within range of WiFi and a fire pit! Also provided is an extension cord to power your devices. There is room to park a small RV or van if that's how you travel. All volunteers have free access to bathrooms and shower. Towels are provided. Please bring your own toiletries.

    Meals usually include a fend-for-self breakfast and lunch. Kitchen is stocked with eggs, bread, sandwich meats, fruit, salad, etc. Volunteers may help themselves as they see fit. Evenings include a big homemade supper. We've hosted vegetarians and vegans. We cook everything from scratch so it's not hard to be accomodating. Mimi is a Type 1 Diabetic and our meal plans reflect limited sweets and few refined carbohydrates.

    We have WiFi, but no television. We have a library of books and music you are welcome to enjoy during your stay.

    Families are welcome. We have a swing set and a high chair you may use.

    Laundry available on-site.

    Well socialized dogs always welcome. (Sorry I cannot accommodate cats.)

    We typically enjoy cocktails or wine in the evening. Feel free to BYOB. If you smoke or vape there's several places to sit and do that outside comfortably.

    The dome home has central heat/air conditioning and a wood stove for supplementary heating when it's really cold, which is rare in sunny Florida.

    In Florida in the Summer, there are mosquitoes! Not swarms, but the occasional bite if you're outside long enough in these seasons. A little spray with some OFF usually does the trick, or wear long sleeves. If you are terribly afraid of snakes, spiders, or palmetto bugs... be aware we occasionally see these creatures outside in nature. We regularly see deer, turkeys, hawks, gopher tortoises, armadillos, and hear the occasional hoot owl or coyote in the distance. Also, we live in a very rural environment... it is common to hear gunshots in the distance from hunters or local homesteaders practicing marksmanship. If this is offensive to you then our location might not be a good fit as this is beyond our control.

    What to bring: clothes you will feel comfortable working in. Jeans or leggings and tennis shoes are best for outside. Definitely bring a pair of flip-flops, sandals, or house slippers. Swim suit in the spring, summer and fall so you can enjoy the local springs! If you already have work/muck boots and work gloves, please bring them. If you have certain dietary requirements you may prefer to bring your own food items to supplement what we have to offer (if you prefer soy milk, for example). Also please bring something to do that you enjoy... whether it’s crafts or photography, journaling, reading etc.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In your time off, there is plenty of space to meditate and work on your creative outlet on our property. This is very much encouraged! The pergola at the koi pond is perfect for yoga, sketching, or writing. Unfortunately we do not live near public transportation since our location is so rural. However, there are a ton of biking opportunities around, including many new paved trails. If you enjoy freshwater swimming there are numerous clear, cold springs in North Florida. If you're interested in concerts and going out, Gainesville always has nightlife going on. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music park, a world renowned festival venue, is about a 45 minute drive away. The Gainesville airport (GNV) is 20 minutes away. Gainesville is serviced by both Greyhound and Megabus. We can arrange to pick you up/drop you off if you need a ride anywhere within a reasonable distance of our home. Another airport is Jacksonville (JAX).

    Please note our home is our sanctuary and we are a politically progressive, easy-going, and tolerant family. Extremism of any sort (left, right, up, or down!) won't be acceptable within our household. We treat our Workaway volunteers like extended family. We have found it makes good sense to get to know potential volunteers via phone, FaceTime, or Skype before coming to stay here. So if you message us, please be aware that we need to voice chat before either of us commit! Thank you for understanding.

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Hart Springs, our favorite swimming hole!
Cousins and Bobby Lee feeding fish.
Jim and the wood stove on a cold morning!
A beautiful blue-eyed anole lizard!
Jim, Darla, and Bobby Lee :)
Pergola / Sanctuary space.
Fifi the koi fish.
Dome Sweet Dome

Host ref number: 797588136166