I am looking for two extended-stay volunteers(3 month minimum) to help on a number of different sustainability-related projects at Maya Creek for 2014. Short-term volunteers(2 week minimum) will also be invited out when more labor is needed, but extended-stay volunteers will be able to take on more complicated tasks and projects with many more learning and hands-on experience opportunities.
The work season starts at the beginning of April and runs through the end of October. All volunteers will be provided room and board in exchange for 20 hours of work per week.
I am specifically looking for one volunteer to focus on the garden, food forest, medicinal and wild plants, and food preservation. The other volunteer will be focusing on natural building projects, specifically applying earthen plaster, helping construct the rainwater cistern, root cellar, and rocket stoves. They will both get plenty of opportunities to help out on the other types of projects. More detailed descriptions of each position to follow.
You will be expected to put in 20 hours per week, weather permitting. Cooking and doing dishes from communal meals count towards this. There is a work log where everyone enters a general description of what we did each day and roughly how long we spent on it. It will serve as a chronicle of Maya Creek and is useful for future planning, but it also lets you know if you need to find more to do or you can chill out and spend the day down at the lake or the river.
We will attempt to do most of our work during weekdays and keep the weekends free, but sometimes circumstances demand we work on the weekend, ie workshops, weather, etc.
One side of the strawbale duplex with loft or a small 80 square foot strawbale cabin. Both come furnished with full size beds, night stand, dresser, etc. Each place is livable, but not totally complete. If you would like to spend some of your work hours working on making your quarters nicer that would be more than acceptable. The first volunteer to arrive will get their choice unless you agree ahead of time.
The first construction project next Spring will be setting up the indoor solar shower system, but until it is working rainwater can be heated up on the stove and you simply pour it over yourself with a cup. There is a composting sawdust toilet outhouse in the campground.
We will rotate through cooking duties. After dinner each night we’ll discuss plans for the next day as well as who will be in charge of the various meals and dishes. Often breakfast and sometimes lunch may be on your own, but there will be plenty of food to choose from. Everyone is in charge of washing their own plate, glass, and utensils. Pots, pans, utensils and other equipment used for preparing common meals will be done after dinner by whoever’s turn it is that day and put away by whoever has the first meal shift of the next day. All reasonable grocery requests will be filled, don’t expect filet mignon or other junk food, at least on a regular basis.
I would like to find volunteers who have their own vehicle. There will certainly be local events and chores that we will carpool for, but you’ll inevitably want to take your own excursions, as will I. This is not an absolute requirement.
Ideally the garden manager would arrive before transplanting starts in early to mid-April and stay through mid-October to help finish preserving the harvest, clean up the garden, and spread compost. The ideal volunteer would have some experience or a strong desire to learn about permaculture design. They would also have some experience gardening, preserving food(ie canning, dehydrating, fermenting), and be good at self-directing themselves.
This coming year I would like to design and begin implementing the next phase of the permaculture food system and I would like the garden manager to work with me on the plan and initial stages of implementation. This will involve laying out the conversion of the currently fenced-in combination perennial food forest and vegetable bed area into a solely perennial/medicinal food forest with the idea that chickens or ducks will be housed there. We will begin some initial plantings once we have a design in place, but we will continue to use some of the vegetable beds as they are for the coming year.
The other part of the design will involve a design for a kitchen garden and herb spiral in between the common house and the current garden. The volunteer will be put in charge of building the herb spiral once the design is complete.
Apart from these projects the volunteer will spend much of their time weeding, watering, dealing with pests, harvesting, and preserving.
Natural Building Assistant
The natural building assistant has a more flexible long-term schedule compared to the garden manager, though I would like them to arrive by early May at the latest. They will assist me on finishing construction of a below ground rainwater cistern initially, but then move on to the more independent task of applying earthen plaster and earthen floor finish coats to the straw bale structures. Depending on the volunteer’s interests there are a number of other discretionary projects such as 2 small rocket stoves for the cabins and work to be done on the root cellar.
This volunteer should be in good physical condition and have an eye for detail as it is important that the finish coats be done well. The ideal candidate would also have some artistic ability and interest in sculpting and/or frescoes. There are a variety of techniques such as incorporating lime into the plaster to allow for fresco paintings or adding textures and small shelves, nooks, or other embedded mosaics and designs.
There will also be opportunities to help me with some of the more detailed work on the rainwater catchment/filtration system as well as the solar hot water system. They will leave having a good understanding of both load-bearing and timberframe straw bale construction, passive solar design, and various other aspects of natural building and off-grid infrastructure.
How to Apply
I will close the application process on January 15. I will contact references, make my decision, and notify all applicants by February 1. To apply please fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire and also provide 2 references either via e-mail to me or in one of the volunteer questionnaire fields.