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Host AC031

I am an organic farmer doing Permaculture, a registered artisan fiber artist, a trained massage therapist and a highly educated Jane-of-all-trades. I started a new sustainable living project and try to do things with a small carbon footprint. I have eleven years experience living off grid, doing an independent living project with my ex-husband. Now I am a single mother with two boys, ages six and four, Odin and Mitra. I need help in the gardens, feeding rabbits, caring for sheep, chickens, and caring for the children. Work exchange with me means that you will have a bedroom of your own, work about four days (total of 25-30 hours a week), have three days off, have all meals provided, all housing, and you will be integrated as a family member. You will be treated with respect and dignity and nothing will be asked of you that I myself cannot or will not do. You will be treated as a nephew or niece who travels to stay with an aunt who has two kids to play with. You will learn how to garden, how to cook, how to fish, how to slaughter animals, how to survive on a medium income, how to have fun and get many things accomplished in your day. You will learn what you choose and nothing will be obligated to you to learn. My plan for the future is to open a guest house, with farm to table bistro, and massage therapy. I love to cook, to entertain, to have fun, and to get to know people and share life stories. Essentially, I love to host! I live on a beautiful island, a photographer's delight, a nature reserve full of waterfalls, natural swimming pools both saltwater and freshwater, two beaches, nature parks, camping spots, epic hikes, whale watching, spear fishing, and snorkeling. Flores Island, Azores is a forager's paradise with the forests full of flowers and edibles, mushrooms in the right season, blackberries in the summer, saltwater fish in the ocean, trout in the fresh waters. The local people are kind, generous, and love to help foreigners. There are traditional folk festivals from May to October, blending traditional music and dances to rock concerts and a lot of socializing. There is large expatriate community of French, Spanish, German, Belgian, American, and Chinese. (I am from Laos and my boys have an American/British father.)

I am looking for mature and hardworking individuals, of average to high intelligence, kind and thoughtful, who can be self motivated, because I prefer not to micromanage. The main work I need is garden work, planting, weeding, tilling, hauling things like manure and compost. Experience is a plus, but I can teach the skills. I need some help doing general house maintenance, so a strong pair of hands that can do small repairs would be ideal. Also farm work requires some strength and stamina, so I need strong women and strong men, who like to work hard and play hard. At times of the year, I will need some help to build a greenhouse, so I need someone who knows how to generally put things together in a logical and sensible way, but often this is not necessary if you can take direction well. I will need some help preparing meals or setting table and washing dishes (normal stuff you do already for your parents!), and I need some help playing with the kids. Childcare will be ~1.5 hours of the day, ~4 to 6 hours of farmwork, ~1.5 hours preparing meals, clean up, general housework. Depending on the work load and my work week at the restaurant, I may need a little bit more help with my sons, playing legos with them, reading them a book, painting or drawing with them, or sitting with them during a movie. I try not to ask for more than two hours with my kids because I need to connect with them as the primary care provider.

I have a large house with a spare bedroom all your own. Closet space for your belongings. Ample room for anyone. If you want to bring a tent so you can do weekend camping, there is room for that. I have full plumbing, hot showers, kitchen. There is electricity. Internet access is a ten minute walk from the house for extended use. For textbased emails, you may use my phone a small a hotspot. I have a washing machine for your dirty clothes. Line drying in summertime, indoor drying for wintertime or spring or any rainy day!

All three meals is provided by me. I am a conscientious omnivore, but I also cook vegetarian, and pescatarian. I have spent many years catering food, so providing tasty and atttractive food is no problem for me. Breakfast is quick and simple, nutritious. Lunch is hearty and energy giving. Dinner is delicious and colorful. All food is seasonal. I do not provide a lot of imported exotic fruits, so you would have to buy that for yourself. Snacks and cookies are on your own, I do not provide them. There is fruit during their seasons, and plenty of it foraged. I do a pizza party every two weeks for my boys and invite friends. We go to friend's homes and do cookouts and there is plenty of food for everyone!

I do not provide alcohol and encourage moderation during the workweek. The weekends are yours and I am not your momma about it! However if your vices get out of hand, it will impair your ability to be an effective part of the team.

As a guest you would benefit from this exchange in multiple ways. And you will learn many things, if you apply yourself and pay attention. I speak both English and Portuguese, some French, and an exchange here means you can at least improve your English speaking skills. I am mediocre at Portuguese, and read French better than speak it. I come from an Asian background so you will learn about Asian foods, some philosophy, and just have someone who is easy to talk to and someone who treats you with respect. I am a trained massage therapist, so on hard farm work days, you may even get the benefit of a shoulder or back rub. You can learn farming techniques, plant biology, and organic farming. You will learn how to prepare soil for garden beds, how to amend soil, how to plan your gardening, how to compost, how to manage your farm animals, and how to manage yourself. You will learn how to clean and cut fish, how to slaughter chickens and rabbits and bigger animals, you will learn how to make cheese, yogurt, and fermented foods. You will learn health, wellness and nutrition (I was a personal fitness trainer in the US.) You will learn how to manage your time well so that work gets done, so we can go to festivals, cookouts, and get togethers at the end of our work week! And if you are interested, you can learn how to spin wool into yarn and how to knit, crochet, sew a button, sew anything and any number of things. The longer you stay, the more chances you have to learn things, because each month and each season is different.

Host availability

When can you visit this host?

Host information
Rabbits, sheep, cat, chickens, and occasionally a donkey or horse.
English, some Portuguese, tiny bit of French.
Conscientious omnivore
Preferred length of stay
2 weeks or more
We grow and collect seeds for our own use