I live with my family of a Great Dane, a mongrel and an Anatolian sheep dog plus one cat, gardening & landscaping 7/24. If ever have some spare time, I swim, read, write, cook and enjoy the company of some visiting friends and family.
Me & my pets, we live around the sun: get up before it and go to bed soon as it sets, in a unique, remote/isolated setting on the slopes of the Bay of Gokova, at the tip of the Aegean, in Mazi village, near Bodrum town in Mugla province.
The property is 7 thousand square metres, mostly olive trees; no neighbours in sight, surrounded by (on two sides) pine forest with plenty of wild life and exquisite view of the Bay of Gokova.
I do not eat and for that matter cook red meat; occasionally enjoy locally caught fresh fish (if!) or cook chicken.
I do love to propagate plants, especially agaves hence constantly busy mixing soil, potting, re-potting'; when in season harvest olives and have it pressed; yummy extra extra virgin olive oil!
I love reading, especially history & philosophy of gardening and gardens; as a matter of fact I have written a book on the history of this particular garden in Turkish: Binbir Bahce Masallari, is its title.
Before I chose to settled down in this remote place 13 years ago, I have travelled widely and lived in Canada as an infant, studied & lived in the UK & USA and lived in Argentina.
Help in the house
Apart from experiencing local Turkish culture, I can try & help them learn basic Turkish; teach some Turkish cooking; gardening: pet care: how to prick and treat olives, experience of olive oil pressing at a local press when & if the season/year.
Volunteer/s can learn how to maintain draught tolerant plants, pruning, preparing types of soil for different needs; potting & re-potting, propagating plants, tending a green house; how to handle compost.
For ecology & environmental & horticultural enthusiast both the region and the property is a heaven: There are mountains, beaches, forests with wild animals of boar, hedgehog, porcupine, owl, hawk, partridge, quail, . . . wet lands where even flamingos stop over during migration period; from flora point of view it is also an experience with many native varieties of carob, sage, lavender, oregano, thyme, arbutus, chaste tree, agaves galore, . . an endless choice to explore for enthusiasts.
Local fresh product markets are a feast to visit and shop, especially for vegetarians!
Volunteers can explore the many historical sites starting from the nearest & famous town of Bodrum (ancient site of Halicarnassos). The province of Mugla has many ancient sites from Neolithic to Ottoman, with ancient Greek, Roman, Lycian and more, in between.
Or the volunteer can simply enjoy the isolated setting to research online, read, write, swim and sun bath (depending on the season) or simply take some time off meditating, enjoy doing nothing in her/his spare time.
Compost sorting, hoeing, manuring the trees, pruning, dead-heading, sweeping leaves; preparing beds and soil; in short, preparing the garden for the winter or summer.
I should let the potential volunteer/s know that life starts by sun rise.
Pet sitting and grooming will be part of the help expected from the volunteers.
Help with routine house cleaning.
Transportation is provided upon arrival and departure from Mazi village centre; the volunteer/s has to use the local "mini-bus" service which has a scheduled service to & from Bodrum town.
There is a one room independent cottage with a shower & WC and a kitchenette.
I have given most of the information on what volunteers can do in their free time above. So here I add a few more lines on our life here and what a volunteer can expect:
To give more on our life style over here I can say that we live a very spartan and environmentally conscious life: save water & electricity is one of our major criteria. Living extremely organised due to distances; can't afford to say "oops I forgot to buy wine or toilet paper": the next/nearest shopping is half an hour away.
Another important criteria is alertness, along with attention, detail consciousness.
A volunteer should be reliable, practical, organised, should have a creative mind to solve problems when & if they occur with whatever available at hand.
We live by checking the weather report couple of times a day between October-April, to make sure that we put the cushions in before a midnight rain -not that it rains often but one has to be cautious; or to be able to un-plug computers, wi-fi, hi-fi before a thunderstorm and lightnings arrive.
Since this is a remote place it is ideal for someone who will be content with not having a night life or missing going out to have a drink or two while chatting with other people: social life does not exist in the vicinity!
It is an ideal setting for a single person who is content with by her/himself into reading, writing, researching/studying online or looking for inspiration in nature which might (for some at least) require rather solitary life.
Also, volunteer/s should be aware that there is no central heating nor air-conditioner in the accommodation provided.
By experience I have learned that some volunteers have a tendency to think or behave as if they are in a hotel or hostel, this is neither: Guests, volunteers are requested to respect house rules, keep their premises clean and help & share with domestic house work such as cooking, washing up, cleaning.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week