Volunteering with Us ­čśŐ

Over the last twenty years we have enjoyed volunteers from all over the world. Many of them have become family of heart, returning often.We are trying to share the concept that everyone can work toward being more sustainable, a few steps at a time.

As the years have gone by we’ve learned a lot about what works for us and what doesn’t! I thought I’d share a little about what a volunteer can expect here and what we are looking in return.

While we do ask our volunteers to help out, it is mainly about sharing our love for our local culture and the beauty of our area. If we can create a love for it, hopefully it will help preserve it for future generations!

Our life is fairly primitive, but we love it!

Most of the year, volunteers stay in tents down on the campsite.Our campsite is also our native plant garden..with paths winding around colonies of wonderful plants, some of them rare or endangered.While you are here you’ll learn about them.

The bath house has a cold water shower and compost potty…the shower is gravity flow, and has a wood burning hot water tank. The walls have art ….paintings by different volunteers..my favorite was by Charlene, She was from Quebec…all of 99 pounds soaking wet! She came in mid Febuary and it SNOWED!

When she came up to the house the next morning, we asked if she’d been warm enough! Her painting was better with snow coming down…­čśé

We teach as we go, sharing not only how we do something, but why. Often there be another way of doing it…even a better way..so we try to share those as well.

Another goal is helping volunteers learn how to do things, teaching old time skills…between us we know many of the old ways of doing things..I grew up with herbs both traditional, and the wild ones, so that’s a big focus of what I share.

We set down to three family style meals, sharing Our day and making plans for the next one.

We also take off hiking to the scenic areas nearby…floating the Buffalo during season, and encourage our guests to visit places like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to climb.

We ask folks to each help with a house chore and an outside chore and then help a few hours each morning with whatever project is in the works. Many hosts ask for more hours, but we have been happy with this arrangement.

Most of our projects are aimed at making a minimum impact on our land…our home was designed using passive solar concepts, and utilizing wind patterns and passive design to help cool it. Our gardens are developed using a meld of French Intensive gardening and horticulture concepts. We forage wild plants in season, hunt and fish..using several different methods of preserving our harvests. Much of our home medical care is herbal based.

We try to share the ideas behind all this and love hearing ideas from our volunteers as well.We have learned so much from them !

Daily Blog- Library for a homestead

OK- I know we all use the internet these day , right ? LOL well I still love the feel of book hands when I curl up to read and it can be a wise thing to have a good reference library on hand! There will be many times that you use these books…

Tyler Geyman was back up from Louisiana to visit for a while and we got to talking ”┬áthings to know “- and what books are good┬áto keep on hand. Promised him a list ! So here goes…

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First the usual disclaimer -This is for informational purposes only – these are books we use and enjoy.

My three standbys are :

“The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening” -Rodale Press

Good basic┬á info about gardening , livestock raising and companion planting”How-to” graft, starting root cuttings etc.

“Stocking Up”

Great how to’s on preserving food- drying , canning , root cellar design , etc.

Merck’s Veterinary Manual”

Conventional meds for livestock- has dosages, diagnoses for illness etc.

There are many other good books- and great resources for books

Storey books- usually on a shelf in you farm supply store- these┬áare good beginners manuals – with sound information. They can give you a great start on basic animal care

Chelsea books – fantastic publisher of alternative building books

Horizon Herbs- now “Strictly Medicinal” – some very good books and their catalog is full of growing info on herbs of all sorts

Alchemy Works – great seed resource for medicinal’s and tons of wonderful, accurate information !

Books in our library include the following , plus many more- I search thrift stores for basic texts on things like chemistry , physics ,etc.

The Hand Sculpted House- fun and informative about cob building…

Serious Straw bale – I feel this is the best book about building with bale-we followed is guidelines about moisture issues and have had no problems with it in seven years…

Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson- a good read about basic rocket mass design

The Old Farmers Almanac- great lists of best planting days and all – gestation table- just good general information.

Llewellyn’s Moon sign Book- a yearly Lunar almanac

Any of Susan Weeds books about  healing

Euell Gibbons books – wonderful reads about wild foraging…

The Modern Herbal by Henriette Grieve- wonderful compendia of┬áherbs – she refers to Culpepper a lot – includes many old time uses , but there area lot of American plants not included. I tend to use it for reference , but do not count on it for accuracy.

The Herb Book – by john Lust- I consider this to be one of the best sources for descriptions of a plant- I use it in combination with Nat. Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Flowers

Trees of Arkansas by Dwight W. Moore- good basic guide to learning trees

Audels- this is a serious of how-to books for construction and mechanics – on of the best to have on hand. Gives how to figure angles for rafters, proportions for mixing concrete, how to figure load bearing. etc.

There are so many more , but this gives you an idea┬á of what a resource library might have in it ­čÖé

Have fun browsing LOL!