seeking opportunitygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We are searching for a unique opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of some rural seniors who are willing to offer room and board to a young couple in exchange for general help and care around their homestead or small farm.
My partner, Kurt de Vries, and I recently left our homes and jobs in downtown Toronto, Canada, in order to persue a long-term goal of becoming subsistance homesteaders. Having been raised in an urban environment, we are eager to learn the necessary skills needed to live off the land. During my university studies in Gerontology I became aware that there are many seniors who wish to continue to live independently but who need some assistance to stay at home. Having lived with my grandparents and worked with various volunteer organizations for seniors, I am well aware of how valuable cross-generational exchanges can be. Kurt and I are hoping to discover an opportunity to live with and learn from some people who have experience living in a rural setting.
Both Kurt and I were raised in southwestern Ontario and attended post-secondary school at MacMaster University. Kurt graduated at the top of his Mechanical Engineering class and I received my B.A. in Gerontology before completing a Master of Architecture degree at The University of Calgary. After school, we both spent some time working in Toronto. I started a small home business in Architecture and was a founding member of the Smart Community Technologies Consortium (a group doing design/build and management of large facilities for seniors). Kurt turned down a National Science and Engineering Research Council grant for examining alternate power sources in remote communities and instead took a position at Pratt and Whitney Canada where he performed structural analysis on gas turbine engines.
About a year ago, at 26 years of age, I realized that the lifestyle choices we had been making were cutting us off from the things Kurt and I value most: spending time outdoors, doing physical labour, appreciating the cycles of the days and the seasons, practicing sustainable living, and working with animals (which I have done since childhood since my father is a veterinarian).
We have spent the last 6 months camping and travelling around Canada, looking for opportunities to learn the skills we will need to have when we are ready to buy some land. We have particular interest in sustainable building materials and techniques, utilizing renewable energy sources, raising livestock, organic gardening, and enjoying all the simple pleasures life has to offer.
If we could find some people who would be willing to share their homes and knowledge with us, we can offer hard work, enthusiasm and companionship. Please contact me if you need any further information or can offer any advice. We are looking to move at any time. Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone who might be interested.
Cassandra Hurd and Kurt de Vries
11 Kellys Lane Englishtown, Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia Canada B0C 1H0 (902) 929 2629 firstname.lastname@example.org
-- cassandra hurd (email@example.com), September 29, 2000
What you are proposing sounds great....but....I believe it was JD in COUNTRYSIDE who a few months ago responded to a similar request by a single mother who wanted to work with some older folks. It seems there are all sorts of legalities involved. And I believe he said he had never seen such a situation that truly worked out the way the folks wanted it too. You might want to contact him direct at the magazine about that because I may have it all wrong....but it just appeared to me it would be hard to do. best wishes anyway
-- Suzy in 'Bama (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 01, 2000.
I agree that these arrangements often lend themselves to one side of the agreement feeling used.
Working on your own place is a great way to learn. Find an area you like and get to know the community. Volunteer to help the elderly neighbors with their gardens/canning. Exchange ideas, share meals, be generous. This really worked for us. The 'old-timers' gave us lots of valuable history of our property and helped us avoid a few mistakes. Even if you can't BUY a place, you can live very cheaply in that area and get to know about it.
We live in WV in the US and there are many organic gardening apprenticeships available each year. You most often get room/board, space for a garden plot and occ. a small stipend. Meantime you learn through practice. Check out your local organic groups, or those just on this side of the US border!
-- Anne (HT@HM.com), October 01, 2000.