Mike & Mercedes-Josei

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Profile information

  • Our status

    At home

  • Description

    Hi, we’re Mike & Josei.

    We are currently in north Idaho having settled in the Couer d'Alene area for now.

    Mike is available to trade part-time skilled labor as a carpenter & arborist in exchange for a wooded spot for his small travel trailer. Please call or text 917-597-2778.

    As we are putting down some temporary roots in northern Idaho, we won't be available for full-time Workaways until 2022.

    We are an open minded, mature and love-centered couple with strong work ethics and a drive to learn. Our world is rapidly changing, and we are too. We are seeking a way of life that is outside the mainstream, on all planes: spiritually, physically, and socially.

    Over two years ago we left behind our professional careers and homes in pursuit of a more fulfilling life. We’re on an adventure for a simpler way of life, one that is more in touch with nature and shares intimacy in small community. So far we’ve found the homestead life deeply rewarding. Working with our hands to build structures, employing permaculture methods for land and water systems, caring for animals and plants, and living in direct response with nature's rhythms has brought us to life in a way our city jobs did not. It has opened a new world to us. We just plain want more of it!

    We are seeking residential opportunities at homesteads, farms, ranches, orchards, nature preserves, and/or intentional communities. Anywhere that gives us opportunity to work, learn, and deepen our skills and experience. We want to share our services to help sustain and enhance, in an equitable exchange for living arrangements. In such a challenging time, it is also important to us to live in a space where compassionate safe dialogues can occur - ones that allow exploration of differing perspectives and even the questioning of mainstream narratives, including covid. We want to respect, hear, and understand each other.

    Mike has a background in caretaking, carpentry, construction, tree work, animal care, and gardening at off-grid permaculture homesteads and ecovillage farms. He is a growing arborist and can safely and responsibly run a chainsaw, from falling trees to stacking cordwood.

    We are free from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

  • Skills and knowledge we'd like to share or learn

    Some knowledge of:  

    Babysitting and creative play
    Life at a Farmstay
    Eco Projects
    Animal Care
    Language practice
    Art Projects

    Able to teach about:  

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Helping around the house
    Helping with Computers/ Internet
  • More details about your skills

    We have experience as caretakers to an off-grid farm and eco-village community. There we grew food from seed, cooked for large groups, preserved food, cultivated a farm and orchards, and cared for chickens and goats, including milking the goats and making cheese. The ecovillage was also an Airbnb host to 5 cabins. Josei was the Airbnb manager and Mike managed the vegetable garden and orchards.

    We were also residents at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. In addition to the commitments of Zen practice and basic gardening expected of all community members, Mike’s primary role was in the maintenance department and Josei’s was in the guest program. We are both experienced with cooking and cleaning for large groups, as well as housekeeping and hosting for guests. We practiced at Shasta Abbey Monastery where we helped with kitchen, gardening, landscaping, maintenance and grounds-keeping, and tree-work duties.

    Mike is driven and has 12+ years experience in corporate finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, consulting & management. Mike is a hands-on problem solver and enjoys the creative exploration it provides. He is a consummate gardener and carpenter. Mike is handy with light electrical, plumbing, wood working, building & construction projects, general repairs & maintenance, landscaping, and tree work with a chainsaw which includes professional work as a groundsman. He can fall trees, limb branches, buck rounds and split and stack cord wood. He is also practiced at conducting safe and controlled fire burns. Most recently, Mike served as a resident caretaker at an off-grid permaculture homestead in Yukon, Canada where he practiced with sustainable building methods, e.g. passive solar, straw bale, earth bags, and cordwood masonry. Prior to that, Mike was a caretaker at an off-grid eco-village and farmstead. Mike has a bachelor's degree in Finance and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Rochester Institute of Technology.

    Josei has worked professionally in hospital food administration for 15+ years. She particularly enjoys hearing peoples stories and deepening her skills at listening and effective communication. She has hands-on experience teaching non-violent communication (NVC) classes, prenatal yoga classes, as well as leading summer camps for children and youth. Josei was recently a student midwife for four years where she learned how to make herbal medicine. This opened up a new love in gardening, plants, and their medicinal properties. She has some solid experience gardening, weeding, and painting. Josei has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Washington State University. She has also been practicing yoga and meditation for 20+ years. You may notice she has two names. Josei is her Buddhist name. Mercedes is her birth name. She happily responds to both.

    We both have project and personnel management skills. We are self motivated but also thrive when we get to collaborate as a team. We are effective, kind and compassionate communicators. We love animals of all kinds, and have a particular fondness for cats and dogs. We both have experience caretaking for goats, chickens, cats, dogs and rabbits. Additionally, we can both upkeep and tend land and properties. We are experienced in accommodations cleanup, gardening, indoor and outdoor painting, trail maintenance, timber management, mowing fields and lawns, construction and building projects, administrative and office tasks and projects, organization of supplies, including tools and tool sheds, etc. If you ask us to do something, you can be assured it will be done.

    All around, we are detail and people-oriented, dependable, resilient, responsible, safe and conscientious.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Russian: Fluent
    German: Beginner
    Spanish: Beginner

  • Age

    38 & 44

  • What else ...

    We are hoping to learn more about permaculture, small-scale farming, and aquaponics, as well as off-grid solar, building and living methods, in addition to plant medicine and martial arts.

    If given the opportunity and an interested audience, Josei likes to share yoga and kind, compassionate, non-violent communication (NVC) with others.

    Mike appreciates the opportunity to continue developing his skills in carpentry, construction and tree work with chainsaws. Mike has many of his own power tools.

    Neither one of us smokes, drinks or takes drugs, and we try our best to make healthy lifestyle decisions.

    Also, we have our own 4WD vehicle and welcome situations that afford us the opportunity to live in solitude in the woods as we have plenty of books and interests to keep ourselves engaged and fulfilled.

  • Some more information

    • Smoker

    • Driver's licence

    • Allergies
      No allergies.

    • Special dietary requirements
      Our preference is to eat vegetarian.