We’re a small, 3 acre homestead in a cove of the southern Appalachian mountains. We are establishing subsistence farming systems for vegetable, meat, and fruit production with a hope of one day expanding to grains in a decade or so. We're not strictly permaculture in our practices, but we do utilize a lot of the principles such as organizational zones, hugelkultur and other waste reclamation techniques, and we want to start reforesting parts of our property since it was logged only about 30 years ago. If you are looking for experience in starting your own small-scale partially self-sufficient farm on a tight budget, this would be a great experience for you. Right now we are only offering stays of between one and three weeks, but you're welcome to return more than once a season if you want to spend more time here.
We’re bordered by the National Forest (right outside our living room window) and we’re just a few miles up the road from Springer Mountain/the beginning of the Appalachian Trail/the Benton MacKaye trail and about 15 miles from Amicalola Falls. We’re also a few miles away from Aska Road, a challenging bike riding attraction. There are rivers all around with countless tubing and kayaking rental companies, so you don’t have to pack your boat to enjoy the waters. This is also the Apple Capital, so you can tour the commercial orchards in your time off to get a different look at agriculture.
We’ve been on the property for almost a year now, but most of that time was spent stabilizing the damaged cabin. We're just now establishing gardens and hugelkultur growing areas, so there’s plenty of rustic fencing, soil turning/amending, and plant starting to do all season long, unlike at more established farms and homesteads. We’ve got plans for a chicken run expansion, a second coop and run for a meat flock, and many general landscaping/beautification projects like expanding our frog pond and clearing out the bog for growing cranberries and wild rice. We're also setting up a muscadine growing area and helping a friend gather and process hundreds of pounds of muscadines, apples, and pears each fall from her overgrown trees. Wasabi establishment may also begin this year with some guidance from our sister farm in NC, but that depends on the state of the bog. We’re also working to restore the forest by planting out our own healthy hemlock trees (to replace the ones being killed by invasive Woolly Adelgids) and a tiny Goldenseal operation. After that's all done and the cabin has a few more improvements, we'll be moving on to establishing a small fruit and nut orchard, reforesting the property, expanding into rabbits and goats for meat and milk, and who knows what else!
We’re happy to teach you about:
Brewing wine and mead, which usually takes place during the late summer and fall but we can show you the equipment and processes any time
Fishing and crawfish trapping
Baking with whole wheat without a lot of work or additives, making yogurt from scratch, canning, fermenting, and other fun food activities
Wild plant and tree identification
Rustic instrument making – we like to make percussion and stringed instruments out of recycled materials like cans and gourds
Building and construction techniques, both standard code (since we're in a strict county) and more imaginative natural techniques to utilize our own lumber
Animal care (for poultry at the moment)
Plant care from starting to harvesting and seed saving
Soil cultivation and fertilization without any purchased inputs
Right now we only have space outdoors for camping for a single individual or a couple/pair of friends. The bathroom is available at all times (keep in mind you’re sharing it with three cats and all that entails) and the kitchen is already mostly outdoors. We’re happy to share the meals we cook with our guests and provide some basic staples for preparing your own meals at other times. We eat omnivorous meals three times a day. Our work schedule is very flexible - we try to get up around 9 am and do some early work, then rest until the sun starts going down and do the hardest work in the evenings when the heat starts dissipating. In the summer we switch to the opposite working schedule. There’s two creeks right next to our cabin and a lake just down our road, so it’s a good place for swimming, hiking, fishing, and other fun. You can hike up the mountain we’re on for breathtaking views if you can handle the steep grade. We are located 20 miles/45 minutes away from town (Ellijay), so you will need your own transportation to get here. It’s simply too far and too remote for most people traveling by bikes or ride sharing, but we're happy to discuss your plans if you've committed to traveling that way. We are happy to set up a camp kitchen for vegans/vegetarians that want to prepare their own food. Our three cats and chicken flock make this place unsuitable for anyone with allergies to either of them.
There is a bear living up the hill from us and plenty of coyotes, raccoons, possums, and turkeys, so campers will need to keep their cleanliness up with regards to food and packaging. We cannot accept more than two people at a time, or anyone traveling with pets or children. We’re looking for people to help at least 4 hours a day, four or five days a week. We are LGBTQI/MOGAI friendly and accepting of alternative religions – as long as your meditation or bodywork doesn’t get in the way of you helping out around the place. You can check out our blog at http://glitterhill.tumblr.com for photos and more information about our place. If you're interested in discussing a potential visit, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a single indivifual, perfectly happy with camping, and I'm inclined to stay awhile (would love to learn anything you have to teach) until the project is done! You can reach me at email@example.com if you're interested. Also, what kind of time frame do you need the individual? (2 months... a few weeks... about a year, ect,)
We're booked through June and possibly July as well, but we've still got plenty of openings from early August until about the beginning of November. We may be able to accommodate individuals during July as well if they're willing to work alongside another volunteer.
We just finished up some creek improvements that left us with a few good dipping holes, so don't let the high temperatures keep you away! We're about to start fall crops for transplanting and prep on a completely new garden patch and orchard. Still plenty of openings for August, September, and October.
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Permaculture Voices 1, 2 and 3 - all 117 hours of video!