All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 7500
Persons: 2 - 4
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 54192
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Last Updated: September 3, 2018
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Location and about us:-
We are located on a Smallholding in beautiful rural South Eastern Bulgaria in a Village 20 minutes’ drive from the Municipal Town of Karnobat and 45 minutes’ drive from Burgas and the Black Sea.
We are located right out on the edge of our small village with views towards the Central Bulgarian Mountains. We have a large plot of land with a stream running through so plenty of opportunities for solitude or socialising during the evenings in our Gazebo. This is an ideal location for HELPX Volunteer travellers going to or from TURKEY where around trip from Karnobat to Istanbul and back via train/bus costs around Euro 45.
The Team is comprised of;
Robert is an Englishman although, he considers himself more European nowadays and former British Army; Robert likes Bushcraft & Survival Skills, making camp, open fires and clay oven cooking and foraging for foods together with learning about the natural things that grow around us and how to use them.
Sasha is Robert's young Russian Wife who graduated from Moscow State University where she studied History. Sasha is a teacher at a Russian school in Burgas for 4-5 days per week so outside of weekends and school holidays, it is mainly myself and Timo here at the Smallholding.
Timo came here as a Volunteer himself nearly two years ago and is our German Smallholding Manager who lives in his own accommodation, but is the builder, metal fabricator, welder and farmer of our objectives listed below. It is unlikely that any Volunteer will leave us not having learned something useful from Timo.
Therefore, we are a multi-language (English, Russian, Bulgarian and German languages), small but, growing community with our 5 Sheep, 7 dogs and 3 cats. We are fairly easy going sociable people, but we respect that sometimes other people just wish to be left to be quiet and we expect the same in return from our Volunteers as not every evening can be a party.
Our objectives are to become as self-sufficient as possible in foods for ourselves, and our animals, in fuels for our heating and move away from a reliance on grid services as much as possible, but this takes time, effort and funding albeit, this is our aim.
Any projects that we undertake and invite our Volunteers to assist with should always have our objectives in mind.
We have many varied projects on-going and new ones too; during 2018 we will require Volunteers that are prepared to continue to undertake varying projects as this year we intend to add Chickens and Pigs to the Smallholding
in addition to the basic self-sufficiency aims of growing our own foods and we always require Volunteers who like gardening, weeding and watering as we are planning on carrying out some field trials on 'No Dig Vegetable Raised Beds' in the 'Back to Eden' gardening style; erecting a large Greenhouse and making some garden pathways and steps using different materials to name but a few projects for 2018.
We always try to find work tasks that suit our volunteer Guests capabilities as we see no point in asking someone to do something they obviously do not want to do or cannot do as then, their heart will not be in the task at hand.
Some jobs require teamwork and others are best suited to someone who likes to carry out tasks on their own unsupervised once the task has been fully explained and demonstrated.
We expect 5 hours work per day minimum from our helping Guests. We expect our Volunteers to stay with us for a minimum of one week (7 days) and there is NO TIME LIMIT on the duration of your stay as long as we are all comfortable with each other's company.
We have a power tool for almost everything, we have a full range of agricultural machinery, for the fields of farming land we own and depending on the time of year, you might well be involved with a grain or Lucerne harvest albeit, there is always a task that needs doing whether small or large.
It is difficult to provide a list of tasks to a prospective Volunteer that they may be required to assist with before they arrive as plans change dependent on the weather and changing priorities, but I am confident that you will not be bored and your efforts will be a lasting contribution to our objectives.
We state from the outset that TWO of us are still SMOKERS and if you are offended by cigarette smoke then this Host location is probably not for you albeit, you do not need to be around smokers at all if that suits you better.
We can offer a caravan where a couple or two singles can use, but we do not accept families. The Caravan has basic amenities, but the flush toilet, shower and washing machine are located in another building nearby.
For those that wish to really get back to nature basics then, we can offer Hammock sleeping under canvas shelters, just please let us know in your initial inquiry as to which type of accommodation you require as I prefer not to mix strangers of the opposite sexes in the caravan unless by their prior agreement.
All Volunteers also have use of the summer kitchen for preparing food and/or BBQ facilities around the territory. We can also offer a pitch for campers whether a Tent, Camper or Caravan for those who prefer to sleep in their own facilities.
We offer unlimited Internet WiFi around the territory as best as we can.
We fully understand that FOOD is a huge motivating factor for our Volunteer Guests and we try our best to provide good wholesome meals supplemented with seasonal salads/vegetables, home-grown and wild fruits with snacks in between for those that burn off their calories through hard work, (see typical Menu Photograph in our Gallery).
Therefore, we offer three wholesome square meals per working day whether that be self-catering or a collective meal for everyone.
We offer refreshments and do not mind you drinking a couple of our beers with your evening meal, but within reason. We want our Volunteers to feel welcome and rewarded for their work, but this is not a holiday camp where one can laze around all day and eat and drink your fill.
We do not cater for Volunteers with special dietary requirements, but you are welcome to make your own food using the facilities provided albeit, we do not pay for what we consider, ‘fancy foods’ outside of what we normally provide.
In addition, we welcome Volunteers who like to prepare and cook food from their own cuisine for us all to share.
We have 7 mixed breed rescue dogs who will not harm you, but who seek attention, so, if you're terrified of dogs then, this place is probably not for you. However, if you are nervous of dogs and wish to build your confidence with canines then, this is the place for you.
We are not a Hotel, we do not have a Maid Service and your Mother's are not here either so, we expect our Volunteer Guests to clean up after themselves including the toilet they use; leave everything as you would expect to find it and we will all get on famously. We are not running a Military Boot Camp here, but neither are we providing a Nanny Service for people who think others should clean up the mess they make.
We do not believe that our location, tasks required, tools used and the number of dogs make our location suitable for CHILDREN of a lesser age than their early teens and as mentioned earlier, we do not accommodate families.
Free Time Travel:-
As mentioned earlier, this is an ideal location for Travellers going to or coming from Turkey or those that simply would like a weekend away in Istanbul. Also, there are opportunities to travel to the City of Burgas and other Black Sea Resorts as Bus and Train services in Bulgaria are safe, fairly reliable and cheap. The fare from Sofia to Karnobat works out at about 9 Euro.
However, Mini Bus services from our village to Karnobat are not that frequent, but one of us can drive you and collect you from there if you wish to go exploring by train or bus.
Volunteers wishing to stay with us are required to find their own way to the Town of Karnobat by train, bus, vehicle etc. from where you will be collected and brought to our Village location and returned to Karnobat at the end of your stay.
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities:
Bulgaria probably has the oldest history of civilisation in Europe if not the World and there are plenty of historical things to see.
Volunteers will achieve as much as they wish to achieve by visiting us and what they're prepared to contribute albeit, we would hope that any Volunteer will leave us having more self-confidence and having had their opinions heard and considered on projects we have to complete.
As a minimum you should achieve an exchange of cultures as we are an English, Russian German and Bulgarian nationality group.
If you are into Wildlife then Bulgaria has much to offer. We will have Swallows nesting, Storks in the village and rich variety of fauna and flora. You might be lucky and see on our Tortoises or Turtles around if you are quick. Make sure you have a camera with you.
The summer months of July and August can be extremely HOT in Bulgaria and too much exposure to the sun is dangerous and painful for one's health. During these months it is better to start work early, rest during the hottest part of the day indoors and come out again during the late afternoon.
Winter is a different climate all together where it can be wet, snowy, cold and miserable so think about it carefully before asking to visit us during those winter months and dress accordingly.
We strongly recommend good footwear whilst working on our building projects and not sandal type footwear.
Booking and No Shows:-
During 2017, all of our Volunteers came here with a good work ethic, ready to assist, learn and teach us something too. Therefore, we are looking forward to more great experiences during 2018.
However, what we hate the most are ''No Shows'' or those that inform us TWO days before their arrival that their plans have changed and they NOW have the chance to stay with their existing Host for another month or so especially, after we have prepared their accommodation and brought in food for their visit; we must have heard every excuse under the sun during our two years as hosts so, If you make an enquiry, confirm that you are coming and then, for whatever reason, change your mind then, please have the common decency to inform us of your decision at the earliest opportunity so that we may offer your place to someone else. There is little excuse in this modern day and age for not contacting us if your plans change and in a timely fashion too.
Thank you for reading the foregoing, we hope it will give you an insight into what we are about and we hope to see you soon. There are links provided to our FaceBook Page and our YouTube Channel which will give you a very good idea of what we are about.