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Mad River
All Year: No
Area (ha): 101
Persons: 1-3
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 61216
Region: West

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Last Updated: November 28, 2017

I’m going to preface this introduction by making sure you realize that our homestead is located in NORTHERN CA, Trinity County….a place that boast of not having a single traffic light in the entire county that is bigger than the state of Deleware….and we live in the most remote part of it). We are completely off grid and roughly 2+ hours from the nearest town. If you need to be close to a town/city then this isn't for you. We get snowed in during the winter and hence can't accept any helpers from the months of November to April. The month of May can be iffy depending on how much snow we received over the winter.
Without further adieu:
Who we are:
My husband and I are both native born Californians. He grew up spending the major portion of his childhood in San Diego while spending a few years here and there in South Dakota. He grew up hiking, exploring and doing just about every outdoor activity he could possibly do. He helped to create and build a success business in S. CA which he later left to pursue his dream of living out in the mountains. He has gotten to know this area (and the cities surrounding it) very well and enjoyed teaching a wilderness survival course at Humboldt State.
I grew up in Silicon Valley and left college to go work and live in Yosemite National park (which I did for a little over 4 years). During my stay there I also took several Park Management courses where I learned everything from how to properly back a backpack for extended trips to reading a compass. I also became a certified Wilderness First Responder. I returned to the Bay Area to work/manage animal shelters until I met/married my husband.
Together we’re a hard working, fair and far-too-sarcastic (in a fun loving way) couple who joke about being snowed in together for 5-6 months outta the year and come out still loving each other. We don’t expect any helpers to do anything that we ourselves haven’t done. We take a lot of pride in our homestead and what we’ve built. At the end of the day when the work has stopped (temporarily) we enjoy watching Comedy Central, hanging around a bon fire, catching up with friends/family-often times all of the above.
Our son was born August 2013 and I'm due to give birth to our second son any day now (official due date is August 28th 2017). Thus, most of my day is taking care of the little guy and doing chores to help out my husband and any helpers we have (like laundry, which I'm happy to do for you). You’ll be working along side my husband most of the time, if not all of the time. He literally is a walking encyclopedia on living off grid. From regulations and government requirements that homesteaders must deal with in the state of California to how much off grid supplies cost and where to get the best deals to how to do just about everything 'off grid': gardening, caning, butchering, smoking meats, metal forging, cooking out on a campfire, you name it, the guy knows it.
Our set up:
We live in an extremely remote part of northern California. I can’t stress this enough. If you pay attention to any of this, this is the part that has to sink through: we are very very remote. It takes a little over two hours just to get to the nearest town. The only thing between us and that town is a tiny general store with an even smaller gas station. That. Is. It. It is extremely rough and rugged terrain out here. A friend of ours half jokingly said “I was going to go see the movie The Revenant but I’ve visited your place so I feel I already lived it.” There are wild animals and the ever present dangers that the forest always likes to present (trees or tree limbs falling for example). This is NOT a bed and breakfast. We take every step possible to ensure our safety and that of our visitors, but you still have to have a decent head on your shoulders (because we can’t cure stupid).
Now that I’ve stated the most important thing you have to understand, let me explain a bit more about our set up. The house that we live in was built by my husband: it’s primarily straw bale. All of the wood used to build not only the house but our other structures come from the property. Our electricity is powered by a hydroelectric system designed by my husband (he’s a smart cookie). We have one main organic garden (in addition to a few small other gardens that we have such as our winter garden and our culinary herb garden). We have a plethora of fruit/nut trees as well (and let’s not forget my hop plants).
We raise goats both for meat and milk. We also have free range chickens and ducks. We have three dogs, two of which are livestock guardian dogs. We also have a cat. We’ll be getting more geese/turkeys in next summer. ALL of our animals are to be respected. They help us as much as we help them.
We try to raise as much of our own food as possible. We can and dry as much as our food as we can. Nothing goes to waste.
We have a pretty impressive collection of great books/videos/magazine that cover everything and anything when it comes to homesteading (from tying knots to preserving wood to hunting name it).
What You Can Expect:
We do our best to ensure that you have the right training with any tool/task before we start our projects. Because this is a `real life’ farm and not a petting zoo we always have distractions arising and our visitors have to be flexible with us. In other words, while the plan of the day may be to plant starters in the garden, we can wake up and discover that a bear bit through our water line and that can take precedent over what we do for the next 8 hours. We will try to address specific things you are interested in learning, but we have make sure we attend to the farm’s priorities first and foremost. Our visitors have to understand that projects take time. Too often folks come out for a week and expect to learn how to build a cabin, only to find out that they only had time to learn how to use a chain saw. Things take (a lot) of time.
The harder you work with us the more time we have for extra activities or skills you are particularly interested in learning….
We provide your food (again, I will be more specific should you contact us). Having enough to eat is always my personal #1 priority whenever I find myself working, so we make sure that you don’t go hungry by providing good meals. That being said, any snacks in between our 3 meals AND any booze that you wish to have is all on you.
This is NOT a payed gig.
We don’t require folks to commit to staying for a certain amount of time. Realistically, most folks find that around 2-3 weeks is ideal (long enough to really get a feel for things but not too long)….but it really depends on the situation here and the person(s)….
Lastly, we don’t `grow’, so if you’re wanting trimming work then this is not for you.
What We Expect of You:
*To respect our `stuff’-this is key when it comes to our tools.
*To be honest (ie: showing up with your boyfriend and his dog without mentioning them at all during any part of our email correspondence is a quick way to get booted out).
*Be flexible.
*To be realistic (many folks watch Avatar or Into the Wild and get it in their head that they too want to `connect with nature’ but bale as soon as a drop of sweat squeezes out of their forehead)
*That you have a plan B. In other words, if you arrive here and decide that this is not where you want to be, you should have a plan B. We don’t want anyone here that doesn’t want to be here, and while I do my best to inform you of what the deal is out here so that you know what to expect, you should still have a plan B.
*That you have references or/and referrals and/or a resume. Because we are so remote, we have to be selective on who shows up. We expect you to be cautious too (you’re traveling to the middle of no where after all), so we make sure to provide the same information and then some should you come stay. (And having your mom call us just to check in is fine with us).
What we’d like to focus on with guests this season is building a simple structure for future interns/students/wwoofers. We are half way done with building a small structure (roofing is done, basic frame work is flooring/walls yet). This is a good opportunity for anyone who thinks they may end up with land of their own one day and will need to know how to build the basic structure that has millions of uses (livestock housing, firewood covering, workshed, …the possibilities for this basic design is endless…). You’ll use power tools, learn basic construction methods, etc. As the season gets closer to Fall we will begin getting our firewood in. This involves using a chain saw (we will teach you how to do this) and learning the differences in wood (hard vs soft), how to use a wood splitter, etc etc.
We do require that you sign a contract. We can send this to you via email so that you have time to look it over and ask any questions should any arise. In a nutshell it states that you enter our homestead at your own risk and that you commit to learning how to use the tools as intructed (and that you use your voice to communicate with us should you NOT want to partake in a particular activity or don't feel that you can do so confidently without more instruction).
Wi-fi is available but is very limited (no downloading of files bigger than 200KB. Ie: no videos, large pictures, etc). Cell phone service does okay out here. We have Verizon but other folks have had other services and they worked well too. We ask that you use your own phone.
Please no animals. While we love them, we have free range critters everywhere and two of our dogs are livestock gaurdian dogs: they view new dogs as threats until they finally accept them as part of the farmstead (takes months....).
Children are welcome. Toddlers and babies must have an adult with them at all times.
While we are omnivores, we can tweak our meals so that they suit vegetarians. Most of the folks that stay with us have been vegetarians. We like to make sure our helpers are well fed. We are willing to pick you up/drop you off if you don't have a car with you from the nearest bus station (which will be a few hours away....remember...this is the middle of no where).
We are currently looking for folks to stay with us starting late May of 2018 (the snow melts and thus the road opens up by end of May...if it opens up sooner I will update the listing).

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