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help exchange   Host 11822
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Help Exchange

Cote d'Armor, Brittany
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: Up to 4
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 11822
Country: France

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Last Updated: June 23, 2018

We are Ron and Judi and we have lived in France for over 12 years and shared the last 11 of these with our alpacas! We have been joined from time to time by fantastic helpers, who have helped us make life at La Grand-Mere even more wonderful!

Due to health issues, it has been a while since we last hosted helpers but we area both fit and well so we are now looking for helpers again for the following 2 week period, although a week is also ok:

16th-29th July and
October onwards

We have lots of outdoor work at the moment, mainly repairs and extensions to our alpaca paddock fencing, building a new field shelter, helping us to clear fallen trees and branches and helping construct a small log shed.

We will also be looking for help later in the year from early October onwards when we have more flexibility with dates and length of stay.

Our work can be quite physical so we need strong, energetic, enthusiastic helpers!! The tasks we need help with include Autumn leaf clearing, ongoing paddock fencing replacement and there is always lots of clearing and weeding when we have time! We need to remodel our composting system and one day we will renovate our beautiful old bread oven which, whilst complete, is rather weedy and hidden at the moment! We need helpers who can use their initiative and if you are mature and have some relevant experience all the better! Energy, enthusiasm, a sense of fun and definitely a love of animals are our main requirements!

The focus of our life here is our animals, a small breeding herd of alpacas, a pair of peacocks, chickens, cats and a large flock of doves! For us, the highlight of each day involves doing our alpaca jobs, ranging from feeding and clearing poo to trimming toenails, plus the lovely hands-on stuff like halter training our crias! We leave helpers to decide how involved they want to get with the animals...some prefer a lie-in and that's fine with us! In the scale of things, our animal "chores" do not take us very long each day as we are very organised in our routine and there really is too much else to do around the place!
We have 2 alpaca crias due early in September so Autumn will bring weighings and halter training which helpers always love!

Accommodation is in one of our 2 very comfortable en-suite guest rooms and meals will be provided with us. We have broadband and wi-fi. Whilst we are flexible about working days/half days, we generally prefer to work full days and then have full days off and this seems to suit our helpers too. We will usually work on projects together but not always, so you do need to be comfortable working alone sometimes as well.

Away from work... we are out in the beautiful Brittany countryside with small villages at 3 and 4 km away. During Summer and Autumn we go to the regular evening music events which are great fun and often involve a bit of Breton dancing and always food and wine!

We are about half an hour from the pretty North Brittany coast with great walking, 20 minutes from Dinan and 45 minutes from the port at St Malo. Rennes is an hour away if a days shopping is your thing! The nearest train station, allowing access further afield, is a 20 minute drive away or maybe you'd like to explore using the fantastic covoiturage system which can take you almost anywhere cheaply!

We have bikes which helpers can borrow as unfortunately there is no public transport locally. On days off we are often able to drop helpers off for days out or you can join us on trips, visits and coastal walks as we quite like a day off as well now and again!!

We love it when you book in early as it gives us all a chance to get to know each other a little before you arrive! This helps us make your stay even better, as well as giving you a better chance of us having space to take you! We can take couples, 2 friends or single helpers as we have 2 en-suite rooms and double and single beds.

If you want to know more about life at La Grand-Mere, you can follow Judi's blog on the link at the top of the page, although, unfortunately, she has been too busy to post very often since 2017!

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