Help out at our off-grid local homestead in Osikovo, Bulgaria




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Welcome to Lisa, Tuncher & Reuben's profile,

    We wish you all well & peace of heart & mind in these strange times.

    We are extremely appreciative of our past volunteers, many of which have made return stays here, you enrich our lives & help us to create our dreams💖

    Please keep informed of the ever changing rules n regs of entering into Bulgaria during Covid-19.

    We will evaluate each request😊

    We are looking for volunteers to stay ideally for 2-3 weeks in 2021.
    We would consider longer term stays.
    However, we will accept volunteers for shorter stays, with a 10 day minimum requirement.

    We have the finishing of the Rocket stove for heating the bathroom, some anti-muddyness projects, a small pond area to finish, various gardening and woodland management projects are always ongoing.

    Volunteers having cooking abilities is always useful but not essential.

    We have limited internet at home, on a phone, the reception is not always great due to our location, I can usually reply within a day or 2.
    I always reply to requests!

    *️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️The creation of a roof for the outside eating area and a swing sofa is another interesting project that is happening. This was started in late last Autumn & consists of Stonewall building & using our own timber to create the roof. The back wall of this construction will partly be a Bottle Wall.

    This has so far involved, putting in posts, digging trenches and moving stone to the site & most of the stone walls built, there is left to do, finishing small stone walls, building the roof structure, tiling the roof, taking a metal framed sofa and turning it into a swinging one!!
    And moving the table & chairs in, then eating!

    We are at present reconstructing the Hen/Rabbit housing.

    We are off grid.
    We have at present 450W of solar panels feeding an invertor for 240V sockets and 2 large leisure batteries for 12V lights & sockets, as well as storing electrickery.

    Our water is collected from the roofs and drinking water is collected, from a spring about 3km from home, with a horse & cart. We then filter the drinking water.

    We have an 11yr horse, a 1+yr old Aberdeen Angus heifer, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 10 chickens, a rooster & 6 chicks, meat rabbits & their offspring. We had 1 hive of bees that was destroyed by wasps last Autumn, we are practicing "natural beekeeping". I follow The BareFoot BeeKeeper, Philip Chandler.
    I will be looking for more Bees this year.

    12 years ago we (being Lisa myself, Reuben my 28yr son & Zoé my 24yr daughter, she is only here occasionally now) took on this beautiful & wild wooded land which had not been lived on for maybe 30 years. We wish to finish renovating the cob-brick & oak frame 3 room cottage, clear fallen & dead trees, which we use for our cooking and heating. Grow, harvest & preserve vegetables & fruit, maintain animal housing, have more bees, make fences, sit & enjoy, share the space, learn & teach and that will do to start as the list is endless. The 3 of us have been volunteers & have done lots of hosting of various sorts.

    I have recently started making sheep or buffalo (sheep in May/June) yoghurt from local milk & cheeses from local cow milk. Volunteers have enjoyed being a part of these processes. This is usually happening weekly.

    Staying here will be primitivish, comfortable, well fed & hopefully interesting & fun!

    The WE now is myself, Lisa & Tuncher, who speaks Bulgarian & Turkish. I speak English & Bulgarian.
    Reuben, my son, is also here at present, for the foreseeable future (although wishes to be somewhere else during hottest 2 months😆), he has English and is picking up basic Bulgarian.

    Tuncher also has a house in the village (see accommodation) where we sometimes work with volunteers, generally keeping the plant growth in check. Here there is about 1 acre. This year we are going to repair the roof over the hay barn/stable, finish fixing the yard gateway/roof and put up a post & rail fence on one boundary. The house roof & chimneys also need an overhaul this year, as soon as the weather permits.

    Lisa, Tuncher & Reuben

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We are very much involved with the village folk, often helping neighbors. This creates opportunities for volunteers to work in a really local setting, communicating without language, seeing how local people live, work and eat!
    Seeing how simply people can live, our home is off grid and without running water, so you become more aware of water consumption for example.
    We always try to work along side our volunteers and so the learning is while we are working either through what we are doing or through conversation which is a 2 way street.

  • Help


    Smokers are welcome, however smoking is outside please.

    When answering please detail any skills in the gardening/natural building/cooking & preserving areas you have, also what things you are interested in doing while here.

    At certain times of the year there are workshares with friends.

    Throughout the year there will be:-
    Collecting bales, hay & grain, milling of grain.
    Creating new electrickery fenced areas for the horse & cow.
    If you wish to get to know the horse, please say!
    Sowing, weeding, harvesting & preserving vegetables/fruit.
    Natural building: mud work/plastering, timber building.
    Clearing land, preparing for winter.
    Sourcing timber on our land for winter.

    Most volunteers have learnt basic bareback horse riding while here as part of the daily routine.

    And more, you could also learn how to drive a horse cart!! We do most our work in the village by cart.

    Things to do on days off:-
    Walking, hiking, if proficient enough take a horse ride, fishing, catch a bus somewhere else to explore for a couple of days. I have quite an extensive fiction & non-fiction library, from which volunteers are welcome to borrow books

    There is Internet at the nearest library, Voditsa 8km.

    Fishing in the local lake, carp and sheatfish.

    We can cater for all kinds of food requirements, Vegetarian, Vegan, allergies and Gluten Free, please let us know beforehand which category you fall into!

    We do not have a car, so travel is by feet, bus on Fridays, hitching or horse n cart/ horse.

    For further communications I use Signal, gmail or through this website.

    Many Blessings,
    Lisa, Tuncher & Reuben

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    Bulgarian: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Turkish: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    I would like to learn Basic Spanish

  • Accommodation


    Volunteer accommodation is in Tuncher's house in the same village about 10 minutes walk away.
    There is a separate self contained room with 2 bunk beds (these can be pushed together to make a double), a sink, a wood-fired stove and long drop loo. There is also a single room with woodstove.
    There will be 1 more double room being added to the accommodation here later this year.
    (see photo below with sink in yellow & brown room)
    This house does have electrikery and running water!
    The kitchen area is a shared space.

    In your request please put in the following phrase, (so we know you have read all the way to here,) "Swimming with horses"

    After that it is a very large summer tent. This would also be at Tuncher's house so you would have use of the same amenities. Accommodation is on a first booked, first served basis (unless you really wish to camp).
    Of course you can bring your own tent and I have plenty of bedding.

    NO smoking in the rooms please!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    My children & I had a 2 acre small holding in Ireland up until 2004. There we had goats, chickens, vegetables & fruit. I made yoghurt & cheese, baked and preserved. We had often lived without transport, using feet, bicycles & hitching. Since leaving there we have worked and looked after other peoples farms/smallholdings, a couple of times in exchange for accommodation. In 2008 a friend shared their vegetable garden with me so we could increase production, more for everyone by sharing the work. I grew up in a rural area & although my parents did not farm they did grow vegetables and fruit, baked & preserved. I started working on the local farms at age 11 in the summer holidays. Organic living is natural to me, it what I have always done even when doing other things I have always grown something no matter how small an area. I have always lived in rural areas. I have moved to Bulgaria as I wish to put everything I know together & explore living a very low key life, what is wonderful for me is that most people in the village are living that way & so I enjoy learning more from them. From experience I feel it will be easier to live in a basic way when those around you are also doing so. I find the villagers are proud of what they do & are.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    There are a couple of flat areas where folk have parked up before.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    So far dogs are the only pets brought by volunteers, an elephant would be interesting!

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 9177822224b6