We are a couple of ex IT professionals, now living on a small farm in the Tarn. We are experimenting and learning as we go.
This is our fifth year as workaway hosts. We love hosting people, welcoming them and getting to know them and trully appreciate their company as well as their help on our various projets. Hence, before this year's activities, we want to thank all those people who have come and shared the workaway experience with us: a big Thank You to all. We hope you are all happy and having fun - drop us a line sometime so we know how you are doing.
But then, this year's activities...
For this year, we have planned lots of maintenance, clearning and cleaning and garden work. Maintenance will mostly apply to the grounds - cutting things, strimming them, pulling them up, keeping them in shape.
There may be some changeover and cleaning work for our gite later one in the year.
We will need to weed our raspberry and strawberry patch and apply some mulch. In August September there will be replanting of strawberries, creating beds for them and similar.
In June, July, September and October there will be fruit picking and packing for the markets. Also maybe jam making, drying fruit, juice making.
All along there will be some wild plant picking and drying and making some infused oils using them.
WePIcking and packing (or maybe slicing for drying) of the shiitake mushrooms from our mushroom logs - when they are ready for picking.
Later in the year (September or so) there may be some need for stacking the wood for winter.
New things for this year: building a wooden hut for storage of various things... The wood is ready, sawn up, we are awaiting the building permit and we hope that time will allow for us to make a good start with that project. It is a simple hut, no great finesse to it, any help with that is more than welcome. This work is likely to start in July or thereabouts. If you do come at that time hoping to do some woodwork, and we happen to be doing something else instead... that is how it is - we all need to adapt as we go along. Things over here are not preplanned in every single detail all of the time, so plans can change.
Another new project for this year would be creating a big hugelculture bed... (google for it, if needed). We have a lot of rotten wood lying around, tree roots that we pulled up, branches, windfall, you name it... We would use a digger to dig the bed first, then it would be filled with wood by hand, and probably re-covered with soil again using a digger.
We discovered that there are people producing compost in large quantities no too far from us, so we'll go and visit them to see what they are up to and how much they charge for their compost. If no too expensive, we will create raised beds using it... that remains to be seen.
We will need to do some woodchipping - although that is work with serious machinery, so probably not for everybody. If anybody is trained in using tractor powered woodchipper - they would be more than welcome.
For native French speakers, if you are interested in this kind of thing - we may ask you to help translate our webpage?
We would consider hosting a small family, a couple, or a couple of friends coming together, as well as individuals. In case you want to bring your child, this may be a possibility, but we would ask that they be pretty well behaved, as we have tools and building materials on site, as well as lake, streams etc so they would need to know how to be careful. If you feel you will be able to contribute and at the same look after your child - then we are open to it - let's talk.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
How each person benefits depends on the needs of that person at the given time. We have hosted people from different cultures, at different points in their life, whose needs were varied: maybe an inexpensive holiday for students, or a stopover on the way to Spain, or learning from our experiences (good and bad) by people who planned to do similar things, or people in need of a break from their routine, people looking for new direction after a breakup... We hope we were able to give to each of them at least some of what they were looking for and what they needed at the time.
Regardless of any personal stories, we believe that all who have visited us have benefited from a pleasant environment, quiet and alive with nature, streams, forests, lakes, insects, birds... clean air, rich in oxygen, spring water, and we hope that they enjoyed our company as much as we did theirs.
Depending on interests and abilities of Workawayers, as well as on our priorities - we have many different things to do: weeding and mulching, strimming the green manure plants, pulling up the ferns from areas where they are taking over, chopping and stacking wood, chipping wood using a wood chipper, landscaping, clearing windfall branches, picking fruit and medicinal plants, etc.
English, French (not completely fluent, but we manage), Spanish, Polish, Serbian, and various levels of the following: Italian, Greek, Catalan, Turkish
A double bed in a small room, single bed in another small room (all our bedrooms are on the small side, which we hope to change one day, but didn't get around to it yet). Shared living room, limited internet access as we have a satellite connection that gives us limited amount of data to download per month. No TV. Some books available in English - albeit not too many novels and light stuff ... we left that behind in the old life - so please bring your own. Bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. Bedding and towels provided (unless you prefer to bring your own).
Shared food. We eat everything, but are able to cater for vegetarians and have catered in the past for vegans as well.
We don't particularly mind smokers - but ask for smoking to be done outside.
The property where we live is in the nature, surrounded by forests and meadows. There are walks starting right from our gate, we have a small boat that we use for boating on our own lake.
If you have your own transport - there are many other activities in the area, but you would need to have your own transport to get to them. Availability depends on the time of the year, but there are walks with a donkey, horse riding, kayaking, cycling, swimming, water sports, nordic skiing when there is enough snow, etc...
Mediterranean sea is 1 hour 40 minutes away by car. If you have your own car, there are many things to see and do within a couple of hours' drive: Carcassonne, Toulouse, Montpellier, Millau,etc, charming villages of Minerve, Olargue, Lagrasse etc, famous wine growing areas (Galliac, Minervois, Corbieres), many lakes, rivers, mountains... In the summer there are fetes, concerts, festivals.
If you don't have your own transport then you are more limited in the choice of activities for your time off: walks, cycle rides, boating, swimming, fishing but also quiet things like sunbathing, reading, sleeping, writing, painting...
The airports that best serve the area: Carcassonne, Toulouse, Perpignan, Beziers, Montpellier - they are all a couple of hours' drive away. Nearest train station is Castres, or alternatively Beziers. From Beziers there is a bus to St Pons de Thomieres where we can come to collect you. If you have your own transport we will send you directions, We have a normal car so can accommodate a max of 3 people at a time - which is the same number we can accommodate in the house as well if there are two people sharing a double bed. If no sharing beds, then two people is the max.
Minimum stay - a week. Maximum stay two-three weeks for the first stay - it give us all an opportunity to get to know each other. Once we do know each other, sky is the limit.
We enjoy the beauty of the spot in which we live, and hope that you will too. We think that it would be especially of interest for people who live and work in cities under pressure, rush, noise and stress, as this is an ideal place to unwind. There is no traffic, only the sound of birds, insects and water flowing. As we are surrounded by forests, the air quality is exceptional. House is supplied with spring water of superb quality.
The work is mostly physical, so a reasonable level of fitness, handiness and interest in such things is desirable.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers