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help exchange   Host 3294
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Help Exchange

Cadalso de los Vidrios
All Year: No. Depends.
Area (ha): 3
Persons: 1-2
Category: Other
Host ID: 3294
Country: Spain

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Last Updated: February 27, 2017

*** After a few years of not taking on helpers, I am considering possibly taking on helpers again this year. Not sure yet of dates. When I have a clearer idea, I will update.***

Beautiful 3 hectare finca in central Spain 75km SW of Madrid city in the foothills and forests of the Sierra de Gredos and Sierra de Guadarama junction. Area dominated by pinus pinea pine and Mediterranean oak trees and small grape vine and almond, fig and olive tree fields. Finca is isolated and off-grid. The 110m2 house is ecological and self-sufficient.

We are a married couple in our early 40s; I am half-Spanish, half-American, and my wife is Finnish. We have two dogs (which are never let inside the house). We eat mostly vegetarian food and don't smoke or drink; we try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are very open-minded, tolerant and respectful of people of different races, religions, cultures, sexual orientation, etc. I can speak to helpers in either English or Spanish - it is up to them.

There are three 13m2 bedrooms (two are reserved for helpers) and two 6.5m2 bathrooms (one is reserved for helpers), so helpers will have their own bedrooms and bathroom. Warm showers in bathroom, and towels, soap, shampoo, etc. available for use by helpers. We have a ton of old clothes - all kinds of clothes - that helpers can use to work and use around the finca and in the house. There is a wifi 3G Internet connection (a bit slow) at home, so helpers can check their email. I also allow helpers to make free calls to Spanish fixed line phones in order to inquire about transportation issues, hostels or hotels, restaurants, museums, etc. We do not watch television, so there is no TV; however, we do have a large collection of books and a regular supply of magazines (in English, Spanish and Finnish).

We would require a minimum stay of one week, and we expect 30 hours work per week. Currently in the process of setting up an organic vegetable garden, fruit orchard, and small vineyard. Soon will be adding chickens. We have many things that need to be done in the garden, orchard, vineyard, pine forest, house, workshop, etc. There is no lack of work nor of variety of work, from the simple to the complicated and from the brawny to the brainy. We are very flexible with work schedules and work chores to be done.

There is an hourly bus that goes to and from the nearby town to Madrid city; it takes between 1 and 1 1/2 hours and costs 5.65 euros one way. The bus line is called El Gato, and they have all their schedule info. on their website, The bus station in Madrid is at the Principe Pio metro stop. The nearest bus stop from my finca is a 30 minute walk. We will pick up by car in town on first arrival. The two nearest towns are each about a 30 minute bicycle ride away; we have two mountain bikes that helpers can use to bike through the countryside.

Based on some previous helper experiences, we should let you know that it is wise for you to have our telephone number on you at all times in case there is any unexpected need to call. Also, if you happen to break something of value, we expect that you will pay for it. Lastly, for individuals who enjoy actively discussing issues such as politics, economics, history, and religion, it would be best for you to know beforehand that I am a very strong believer in and defender of liberal democracy, regulated free markets, and centrist politics, and I only put my trust in science, facts, and logic, which means that I am not religious, nor spiritual, nor a believer in conspiracy theories. But of course, as already mentioned, I do not mind in the least if you are any of those things that I am not.

Thanks in advance for getting in touch to show any possible interest. Also, if you would like to come to help out here but the timing does not work out, I recommend two other HelpX hosts. One is a close neighbor and friend (HelpX host 3344), a very nice Dutch woman living in the countryside a 30 min. walk away from my place. I am always willing to have any of Marjolein's helpers over to show them anything on my finca that they might be interested in. The other HelpX host is 4057; Michael and Paul are great guys, very smart and welcoming, with a huge, amazing property which they are renovating. Lots of neat projects going on there too.

A little about the house and finca:
The house is passive solar and passive cooling designed and made of AAC. Backup winter heating is from a wood-burning Tulikivi masonry stove - primary heat source is the sun. Electricity comes from a 1kW wind generator and a 700W PV system mounted on a passive solar tracker. We use only high-efficiency lighting and electrical appliances or manual appliances. House water is supplied from a well by a PV-direct pump system. We minimize water use with water-saving and low-flow faucets and showerheads, water efficient appliances, and drip irrigation systems. Greywater is recycled through a septic-sand filter-constructed wetland system. There is no blackwater as we have a dry batch compost toilet system; the toilet has a urine separator to collect urine for tree fertilization. The humus that comes out of the compost unit is also used for tree fertilization. A worm composter is used for recycling food waste and the worm castings and tea used in the garden. We try to reuse and recycle as much waste as possible onsite; the rest is put in recycling containers in town.

Projects I hope to work on during the coming year:
-Begin building rainwater catchment system
-Finish rainwater retention pond to be used in aquapolyculture
-Finish solar thermal water heating system
-Continue building stone raised beds in vegetable garden
-Expand electrical production by adding more PV
-Electrify well-housing tower and storage building
-Finish some interior and exterior construction work in storage building and well-housing tower
-Extend and improve drip irrigation systems
-Make a wooden chicken tractor and rabbit tractor
-Make wooden bird and bat houses and bird baths and feeders
-Finish brick dog houses
-Make portable wooden outhouse
-Make a wooden solar dehydrator
-Make (and restore) some interior house furniture
-Make a herb garden
-Begin preliminary work on cooling tower-evaportive cooler-earth tubes combo system for supplemental summer house cooling
-Begin preliminary work on large aquaponic greenhouse
-And many other projects

I have extensive knowledge and experience in the design and contruction of 'green' houses and buildings, renewable energy systems and electricity, traditional and 'green' water and wastewater systems and plumbing, 'green' landscaping and gardening, permaculture, and sustainable, self-sufficient 'green' living and related issues. I personally designed and built absolutely everything (house, buildings, electrical and water systems, etc.) on my finca with my own hands from top to bottom (often with some manual help and advice from family and friends - and HelpXrs). And I am more than willing to provide any knowledge or advice that I have on any of these subjects to any helper that might be interested.

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