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Our Ranch is a ten acre paradise located in Catawba, VA. Our specific location is Craig Valley in the Washington and Jefferson National Forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are new to the property 3/2021 and wish to build and grow a sustainable lifestyle here with expansive fully organic gardening, self sustained water supply and electricity. Currently we grow hay for our neighbor's 80+ cattle and they maintain the field. Soon, we will begin designing and installing a solar array in 2022 and exploring the possibility of adding a small hydropower in which runs through the property (as does the much larger Craig's Creek). Craig's Creek is stocked with trout as well and has many other small fish in it. We have a lot of deer and turkey and coyote and black bears in the area. The famous Appalachian Trail (AT) is 1 mile behind our home, on Brush Mountain. The most photographed site on the AT (McAfee Knob) is also close by and also Dragons Tooth trailhead. If you like hiking and great weather and the outdoors, and creating and living a sustainable lifestyle, consider our location a perfect spot for you! If you are creative and artistic and want to paint some murals on our barn, we'd love that! Note: we are a private homestead and are only producing for our own consumption and yours.
About us: Steve is the Campus Energy Manager at Virginia Tech (University) located 25 minutes away. There, he directs activities that lead to 2030 carbon neutrality for the university's Climate Action Commitment. Christen is a homemaker and essentially sustains the property and would be grateful for your help becoming more sustainable. Our two sons, Andrew (4th year bachelors in communications major) and Daniel (2nd year bachelors of Nursing -RN) are away at college and have intermittent involvement with the property. We are a close knit, loving family with full respect for life, inclusiveness and difference and can foresee a great relationship in the making here!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Coming from outside of the United States, you would absolutely become very accustomed to the American way of life experienced through seasons, holidays, etcetera and also the local culture of southwest Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's a farming culture here so you'd see how locals manage that lifestyle. If you are religious, you likely could share that with others in the region, our family included. Virginia Tech and the Blacksburg Community is an excellent local resource for everyone especially young Workawayers! We would provide you access to those attractive resources as well (Steve works there). You'd have the opportunity to learn about clean, renewable electricity and much more.
If you've got some gardening experience and most importantly, you enjoy gardening, then this could be good for you. If you want to learn how to operate the farm tractor, we have that. If you want to learn how to design and actually install a solar array, we need you! If you have previous experience with solar, even better, but not required. Currently we do not compost very well and we need your knowledge and help creating that, if possible. We have a barn that we are considering doing some updates to, especially if you are creative and want to paint some murals onto it, that would be very cool, we'll supply you the materials. For the right person, we are flexible and if there are other ideas or initiatives while here that you'd like to pursue, we can certainly consider those.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
You would have your own bedroom, fully furnished, heated and airconditioned. You would have your own bathroom. We have laundry here for you to use. We live in a very nice 2300 square foot brick ranch house. There's always plenty of food and snacks and ice cream, things like that in the house. We keep a lot of fruit around and we grill a lot of vegetables on the grill. We do eat meat but not lots of it. We'll feed you well, as if you were part of our family. Also, we have the most loving and fun pets, a rescue dog, three cats and a crested gecko (hopefully that okay with you).
Again, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg is a big draw for some people, the AT is a big draw for hiking, there are lots of hiking and fishing opportunities (we have the fishing gear), there are state parks nearby, the bus station in Blacksburg will take you to Washington D.C. so you could travel there for the weekend, for example, or maybe we will show you around there. We have bikes that you can use. We go into Blacksburg almost daily and even Roanoke, so we can transport you as needed.
the right person for us is someone who is humble, who is kind and loving, who is eager to learn and create and manage a sustainable lifestyle. Ideally, you would be interested in learning about our culture (and us learning yours!). We expect you to be open and honest and communicate very well. We like to stay fairly well organized and clean up after ourselves. When and what we work on each week can be flexible. Some weeks there won't be as much to do so you'll have more free time (no pressure from us).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, maximum 5 days a week. We are flexible.