House sitting and Help us build the dream small holding permaculture community project in the Central Balkans, Bulgaria



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  • Description


    Dear workawayers,

    Set amongst a forested and mountainous back drop with glorious summers and frozen powdery winters, in a land where the horse and cart are still common place and the lands in many places have been left to grow wild for 30 years.

    Your goals and your life are just as important as our goals so come and help and we will be very grateful. In exchange for your help we will accommodate you well and ensure you have an exciting new experience.

    A regularly changing community of short term and long term folk have lived at this new small holding for just 2 year in the foothills of the Central Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe. We need to share the abundance and a little work!

    Long term team members and short term volunteers wanted!

    Only 4 years ago Dan was a workaway volunteer trying to learn the skills to live sustainably with nature. Now having saved up he has bought a bit of land in a secluded valley with a forested mountain back drop. There is extensive shrub, old growth forest and meadow and also streams and springs and lots of wildlife. There are no walls or fences in this countryside you can walk straight into the wilderness to find bears and wolves.

    There are three separate dwellings at the small holding, with land on either side of a little gurgling stream /( torrenting river in the spring). The houses are accessible only by 4x4 for the last 1km. The patch of land is only 3.5 acres but it is set in a 200 acre valley largely abandoned and wild. There is great potential to be wonderfully productive. In the near future we hope to be harvesting our own food, keeping livestock and engaging in all manner of fun sustainable homesteading activities, living life to the max whilst saving the earth.

    Its early days but in the dream of the future we will have a busy community of permanent residents, and a steady flow of volunteers. Starting soon hopefully there will be many animals, chickens, pigs, geese and bees.
    The permaculture gardens will be thick with fruiting trees and shrubs and the workshop will be full of creativity.

    If you want a long term home to keep your own horses or run a blacksmithing forge or to study herbs and mushrooms or train your rock climbing, whilst maintaining a communal food garden. If you want to live off grid sustainably in an exciting and wild environment look no further.

    Sounds great but what can you expect in general?...

    It's still early days, so all ideas and experiments are welcome. Dan doesn't have years of homestead experience but hopes to share what he knows and to provide space for everyone to develop skills of all aspects. We like to build things with natural materials, built to last and with thorough research and planning. There will be plenty of idleness but only once the days work is done!

    Food gardens are just for fun for now and keeping animals may not happen until next year. So there is time now to plan ideas, prepare for next winter, they need help managing food gardens, preserving summer fruits and nuts, harvesting fire wood, cleaning and manual labour, building various projects and clearing paths through the shrubs.

    Current priorities include preparing the area for the green house, tiling and plumbing, building shelves in the workshop and digging a pond for the geese and amphibians!

    Finishing off the shower room and creating paths through the meadows and shrub land.

    If you think you can help with any of those things, they want you. Food and accomodation provided. 2 days off minimum. Enjoy trips out together.
    Get a flight to Sofia then take the bus to Yablanitsa and Dan will collect you.

    For fun we will hike through the ancient beech and oak forests to the monastery with breathtaking views, or visit the many limestone caverns and gorges. Or join the experienced and competent Dan rock climbing, caving, river swimming, fishing and back country skiing/ snow shoeing.

    All the food and water will come from the valley eventually but on birthdays and special occasions a team trip out to the simple but incredibly affordable restaurants will be enjoyed.

    So please come and help make the dream reality.

    Perhaps in reality hard work and frustration will teach us to savour the good bits. Health and money may one day be difficult but together we will share in and enjoy lifes richness.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

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

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Having only been here a year to date Dan hasn't travelled much of Bulgaria yet.
    In brief Bulgaria has a rich history which shows through as soon as you step out from the airport. This is an ex soviet union communist country, the old women still use pitchforks in the heat of the day to load hay onto horse drawn wagons. Bulgaria was occupied by the Ottoman empire, the Turkish influence and the Roma communities will surprise you the first time. We try to learn from the old ways, and the old ways can still be seen. As a community we try to live self sufficiently and sustainably
    and want to give you the opportunity to learn this ethos.
    We speak English. We are all fairly new to Bulgaria but we can explore the country together.

  • Help


    We need help with foraging and preserving food. Physical jobs will be plentiful. We will teach you what we know relevant to this lifestyle.

    In the summer we start our work day at around 7am and stop for breakfast at 10 am. We will do research in the heat of the day or during evenings. If you don't know already you will learn here to use an axe. Trees will be needed to be chopped and split for firewood and building. Trenches need to be dug for irrigation systems. Large projects currently under way include water piping and the dirt track needs to be maintained. A pond for future geese and ducks must be dug. Natural soap needs to be made and lots of preserving must be done. Pine resin collected, mushrooms, berries and herbs foraged , grass and meadow scythed. Gardens weeded, green houses built. Roofs repaired, gate posts dug in, pots and dishes cleaned.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    German: Fluent
    English: Intermediate
    Southern Ndebele: Intermediate

    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.

  • Accommodation


    We have an entire guest house. At the entrance to the property. A spare bedroom in the main house. The water needs to be plumbed in to the guest accommodations at present. There is also lights and power throughout the guest buildings.

    There are brick walls and heavy doors to seperate all rooms.

    The guest house is a pretty building but the interior needs redesigning. The beds are all comfy but basic and rustic as with all the furniture at present.

    You can eat with us or cook for yourself with ingredients from the market, since there is a fridge a freezer a gas hob and a sink. We will also share meals cooked in the main house on the wood stove, we make some great vegan and veggie dishes! And we serve alcohol on the days off if you like!

    There is delightful garden solar shower and there is a sawdust toilet indoors and in an outbuilding, it's pretty rough and ready still. But there is an indoor bathroom being built in the main house.

    Two wheel drives can make it to meadow on the other side of the stream but may need 4x4 towing in wet conditions.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In this valley below the mountain it's hard to get bored. The landscape and wilderness is diverse if you know what to look for. If you wish to join us on adventure Wednesdays we may visit the limestone caverns and gorges for rock climbing or the rivers for swimming and fishing or the forest and highlands for hiking and camping. We have a 4x4 and in Bulgaria you can go really really off road.

    Or if you want to see the city of Sofia it's only an hour away and there are regular buses.
    Bring your own vehicle and you will be greatly appreciated.

    In the winter we will be skiing and mountaineering.

    I think our ethos is pretty easy going let's have fun mostly and keep things fair. We aren't making any money here so what we provide will mostly come from savings. We are at the beginning so we have boundless enthusiasm and a little bit of money left. So come now!

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    There is 4g but you will need to connect yourself for heavy use. We only have a limited connection.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 991538658362