My husband and I bought an 1850s farmhouse in Midcoast Maine. We both are artists in our own way and have great ambitions for our homestead. We are originally from Nebraska and settled in Maine winter of 2020. We have enjoyed working along others at various homesteads/farms and have found that to be our primary method of learning. While Daniel stays pretty occupied at his job at Windsor Chairmakers, I (Sara Beth) am lucky enough to begin making our house, inside and out, a functioning space. Daniel is extremely handy and does most building projects. Where I am more of the farmer.
For the fall/winter Daniel works 7ish-3ish Mon-Fri as a chairmaker. September I am able to work two days at Windsor Chairmakers (I am starting a garden there) and two days a week at our house in the yard. Then sometime in October I will milk cows at a small dairy most mornings and sew/knit it the afternoon, possibly even teach sewing lessons.
Daniel and I enjoy being thrifty, just about everything in our home we found on the side of the road or on craigslist, almost always for free. We are aware of our electricity consumption, try not to be wasteful with water, and understand that what we put in the trashcan doesn't just disappear. We don't buy much, and wait out on projects until we stumble upon the right material. We currently only have one car and one smartphone and have to be awfully intentional when we are coordinating our day.
I have done couchsurfing, woofing, hipcamp, warmshowers and have loved my experiences, so I am eager to give workaway a try. We would hope that whomever joins us will be as passionate and focused as we are when it comes to the projects that are going on. Although our energy is usually slim after a day's work, we try to have fun too.
If you would like to inquire about being a workawayer with us, please include these three things in your request:
- which project(s) from the list mentioned you are specifically interested in
- if you would like the 16 hours/week or the 25 hours/week option (or a third option you lay out)
- what form of transportation you have
We don't have any farm animals right now. But would like to build structures for chickens and potentially goats.
We do have two indoor cats in case you are allergic. For the winter we heat primarily with wood heat, and your car is going to have to be tough to handle the snow. Generators are necessary and power outages are expected.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
We hope that whomever joins us wants to take the skills they gain with them to whatever is next. Not all jobs will be technically complicated. But I believe the stamina or perseverance in seeing a job through is extremely valuable. We love to learn about other people's lives and share food/ways of living. Daniel loves taking about woodworking. A lot of the building projects will be new challenges for us and we would love for you to learn with us.
Our house is historical and certainly Maine has a culture we are adapting to that could be fun for you to learn too.
I think if you are on workaway, you probably know the powerful feeling of connecting with people that are different than you and working toward a common goal. And certainly living with someone you take in a lot of new information. I guess it is hard to explain for me, but the benefits seem to be clear. I could talk about the specific activities and skills that you would gain. It seems to be more interpersonally impactful than that.
Slow and steady we are establishing parts of our homestead. These are subject to change and certain projects may be prioritized before others.
Building a larger chicken coop
Reestablishing the gardens, we have 5+ areas planned
Pushing back the forest 20 feet around our yard
Fixing up our current shed to be a wood shed
Painting the upstairs interior of our house
Building a brick oven
Tackling the overgrown grapes
Making trails through our forest for driving and x country skiing
Collecting some of the down trees for building materials
Installing a shiplap ceiling in the kitchen
Installing a wood floor in the craft room
Reroute lighting in almost every room
Shingle our garden shed and wood shed
Finish out the kitchen cabinets and make the kitchen/pantry shelving
Build stairs for our basement
Use tile for oven backsplash and potentially bathroom floor
Build an outhouse near the camper
Making a small ceramic studio in the basement with the kick wheel we have
As of September 2021 we are considering taking down a three story barn down the road to salvage the materials to build the barn at our own house. We have a barn foundation that is original to the house. This is a big project and we may prioritize finishing other projects we started before starting this one. This would be a great long term project for the right person.
September 2021 we brought a small old camper on our property with the hopes to make it a temporary place for people to stay. It is already gutted but we want to take it all the way down to the metal and insulate it.
This host offers a language exchange
I have been a language partner for many years and more than happy to help with english or I would love to learn more spanish. I have had most practice helping people with who speak chinese or spanish learn to speak english.
We certainly want to accommodate your work. My husband and I budget out our expenses and food is always up there as one of the things we spend the most money on. It is mostly because we do not have an established garden yet. We eat mostly vegetarian and rarely eat cheese (we used to be dairy free). We usually eat an egg sandwich everyday for breakfast or lunch. Daniel makes homemade sourdough and it is incredible. We preserve a lot of food and limit ourselves to eating seasonally.
Here are two different options for how we can arrange the food component.
help 16 hours a week and we provide staple foods while you supplement everything else
- staples are sourdough bread, homemade granola, homemade yogurt, organic raw milk, dry beans, grains, spices, etc.
- you can help two 8 hour days or four 4 hour days, or arrange the work however you like depending on the project
help 25 hours a week and we provide three meals a day
- example breakfast would be egg sandwich, granola with fruit and milk/yogurt, pancakes, smoothie, oatmeal
- example lunch would be veggie or egg sandwich, rice and beans, leftovers from dinner previous, salad, soup, etc.
- we would try to make one meal together, which would most likely be dinner
- you can work five 5 hour days, or arrange the work however you like depending on the project
I want to be clear with the housing we have available as of now. It is a room downstairs that we call the music room. There will be a normal door to the stairwell, but then just an old school wood/fabric room divider to the living room. This is a make-shift bedroom not a completely private room. We sleep on the futon sometime, it is comfortable. We have it nestled in the corner so I feel that there is some privacy. There is a full bathroom downstairs. That is the only shower so we use the bathroom too. There is a nice bathtub set up upstairs.
We live in a rural, isolated area. Even the closest grocery store is 20 minues away. In order for you to be able to explore the area (hike, tourist sites, go out to eat) or get basic amentities (groceries, post office, get out of the house) you will need some form of transportation. Daniel and I use one car primarily and are very thoughtful in how we do errands outside the home. I am willing to let someone tag along with me occasionally. But I highly highly recommend having some way of transportation planned before you imagine staying here. I get seasonal depression even when I go out and about because the winters are long. I really think you will enjoy your time better if you have a form of transportation.
Searsmont is a vibrant rural town. Threshers is a great brewery with a lot of local bands just five minutes away, right in town. We are on a corner of a private road that leads to the forest that a lumber yard owns and magog road, a well loved dirt road by locals here. We have jam brook near our property, a very popular place for hiking and fishing. Camden is a picturesque ocean front town with lots of shops and restaurants. Lincolnville Beach is just that, has a great beach and is right next to where we work. Belfast is an artisan town with an awesome art and fabric supply, fiber arts college, and yarn store. Camden Hills is close by and the Snow Bowl (ski slopes). We always enjoy it nice and quiet in our home most evenings.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have eight acres and can try our best to accommodate any vehicle or non traditional living situation. Our terrain is uneven and has trees along the way. The max length is probably 20 feet and for the most comfortable stay your vehicle should be able to go off road.
either 16 hours/week or 25 hours/week