Volunteering with Us 😊

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…😂

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 !

Things You Will Need as a Volunteer 😇

Often some of our newer volunteers come in not really prepared for a stay. While we make sure you stay warm and safe, it is easier if you do bring some basics with you.

PLEASE do not go broke buying stuff! We can fill in the blanks.But a little preparation will make you experience better, whichever host you end up staying with ☺

Things we feel are basic for you to have:

A good sleeping bag – it can get very cold here! You also may want to bring A favorite pillow.

A headlamp for walking at night…the house is a ways from the main cabin…and we often go on hikes that last after dark..one of our favorites is moonrise at Hawksbill Crag!

A water bottle..we’d like to discourage bottled water being brought in ….that’s A lot of packaging to recycle!

A good battery powered lamp for your tent or cabin is nice comfort to have.

Batteries! We are on limited funds, so unexpected requests for batteries can end up in whoops sorry😕

Loads of socks, Arkansas weather can be humid..and things don’t dry fast.

A warm hat..beanies work well

.Raingear!

A warm jacket and sweatshirt. Layering clothing is good here. Mornings can be below freezing in winter, and then warm up into the 60’s.

Creek shoes..we hike our creek a lot…

Good hiking boots/work boots..you need good ankle support here..lots of rocks and ankle turners.

Be sure you have any prescriptions up to date..there are times when we don’t get out to town for over a week..our hill is very dangerous in bad weather.

Other things that are nice to have:

Chargers for your electronic gadgets…

Camera

Notebook and pencils

Swimwear and big towel in the warmer months.

Hope this helps you get ready for a visit

Herbhome’s Mission

Mission? That works 🙂

Several of our volunteers have asked that we post our view of what we are about – so here goes…

I thought it would be tough to write about just what we believe and why we do what we do. Surprisingly it is fairly easy.

We want to pass on the love we have for our hills and hollows and be sure that the homestead skills don’t get lost. we hope to show that sustainability doesn’t have to happen in an instant- but can be achieved one baby step at a time.

We can create a better world by taking the dreams in our head and using our hands and skills to bring it to life.

I think that we interact with the “real world” daily, like it or not. Maybe we can make a difference by the small things we change on a daily basis. I used to be one of the loud , aggressive, up front people for the causes I thought were important. Now I think my role has changed. It is more about teaching, making small changes- “baby steps” each one making the word a little better. My best image is of the pebble dropping into the still pool . each ripple going out , touches and changes the next one.

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We love the hills and hollows here and treasure the waters – the Buffalo – our Creeks and Springs are all  rich and beautiful. The culture here is deeply ingrained in our community and we are gifted with a good array of skills that are important to pass done so they won’t be lost.

Our volunteers from the  different work exchange programs we are involved in hopefully walk away with a love for our area- the culture and people as well as a respect for the ecology that is so rich.

I think sustainability starts one person at a time.. if we can pass that on, then we have achieved a big goal!

“To DO” Lists-What’s YOURS like?

Got one? That dreaded “to do” list?

Mine actually helps me 🙂

Making lists didn’t used to be productive for me. Then I read something in a Womans Day magazine some years back that really made it work  by putting a new perspective on it.

A “to do ” list is a memory aid filled with SUGGESTIONS not a MUST  do thing.

How is it helping ?

Well, – we have a big scribble board -with four columns

We keep a NEED list- if one of us wants something or needs something the next trip to town it goes up here . The understanding si that these are budget dependent , of curse.

Then there is the one with the Day of the week and the Date up there for us old folks whose memories aren’t functioning well til there is a pot of coffee on board LOL- this is where the TODAY’S WORK is listed- We try to keep it down to three major items- that way it is not too overwhelming. If one doesn’t get done – it just stays up the nest day-IF it is super important on the priority list it gets a time frame set out-  this means – get that one done ASAP!

The third one is for  Neill’s reminders-his things he wants to remember

and the fourth is MINE – things I need to do in town – or business calls to make – orders to fill etc.

It is surprising how much this helps- also, when we have volunteers it let’s them know what next , if we are out of pocket for some reason.

We do keep a separate chore board – the everyday stuff spelled out for our volunteers- or us , if we happen to be in a time with no volunteers here.

The board is also a place to scribble where you are going if you hike- not intended as an intrusion, but a safety feature- if it gets dark -are you upstream or downstream – were you headed to town?

It truly  has helped us get a load more accomplished to keep our lists.

 

It’s raining , it’s pouring, the old man is snoring….

(Old post- got missed some how – sorry)

Morning! Rain and more rain ! Creek is up – worrying what shape our bottom road will be in when this rain is all done- weather report says five days of it next week. I love being home but have guests due in – yikes!!! Happy news – Grand-daughter Summer is graduating Sunday – a year early ! So very proud of all her hard work .. . she is a special, beautiful young lady – both inside and out 🙂 Seeing her grow into such a strong and intelligent young woman has been a great gift. Many youngsters are either good looking or good people – MY girl is both LOL!

Had nice visit with friends from church last night -made a fish dinner and had a rare treat for us – ice cream 🙂 They stayed and yakked – think Brother Flippo is going to take  our volunteer Ben out one day next week to play disc golf- Misaki is due in by bus today – can’t wait to meet her- she is an exchange  student from Japan at West Florida University.  Jada and Jeremy are coming in for the weekend , so we should have a houseful- have to set up a Scabble marathon!

 

July Thoughts 7/10

Another hot and humid day in the making – July weather in Arkansas, what can I say? The skies are truly glorious though!

Roosters and Mr. Cardinal had a singing competition this AM – verrry early, Bless their Hearts J  I got up    , drank my tea  out on the front deck – watched all the crazy squirrel teenagers start in playing in the trees across the driveway- they have a route they travel that actually ends up  going all the way around the house LOL- reminds me of the Tarzan movies-good old Jonny Weismuler  and Ron Eley… Ahahahhh ah!!!

Watered the baby ducks and turkeys – letting them out for their first run, now they are all feathered out and we plan on being home all day- they know to come to the food call so shouldn’t get tooo lost in the garden. We have electric around it , so no varmints should attack -crossed fingers- one of the risks of living backed up to National forest- it is a stunningly beautiful back yard, but has it’s inherent risks for livestock and Poultry.

I am really excited today! Yesterday my fall herb seeds came in . Harold at Alchemy Works has been so reliable- over the years- I primarily use them and Horizon Herbs – now “Strictly Medicinal”– sorry.. have been my most successful seeds . I ordered the medicinals for fall- been moving slowly , rebuilding from what we had at the Erbie Place. Lamaya helped check the order- she is very interested in botany. So we kinda did a teaching session.

Thursday and Friday are good planting days , so I am getting ready to soak seeds today and refrigerate them til then. It’s not a true stratification , but will  help. I am sorting them out by soil and shade requirements- and plan on spending the next few days prepping the beds for them . It is also a really practical idea to create signage that will  last the winter, so you don’t forget what is planted where, when things start to come up in the Spring .. now , ask me how I know this … HAHA.

Neill is currently in the middle of his wood working project for the bees- he is building cedar boxes- nuc boxes and Warre top bar hives.. he also built two Langstroth style hives They keep getting more and more professional looking…We currently have five active, healthy hives- I can’t wait til fall for honey – the local honey is great for allergies , plus the taste is outstanding. We had goldenrod honey this spring – wow ! what a treat. I hope to Fall sow the old field down by grey rock to herbs that are bee friendly. Maybe try to add some clover , too, though I am not sure there will be enough sun- and we really don’t want to clear it , just utilize the sunny spots.

Our long term volunteer, Ben, heads to Missouri tomorrow- and we will really miss his smiling help. Ben is a reader and a  thinker.  He wants to travel the word – Africa, Europe the Middle East. How exciting!

Don’t forget if you are interested in learning Earth Plaster, come on out Friday and Saturday – we will be elbow deep in mud!

 

Daily Thoughts- July 8th

Mornin’ !

Beautiful one- nice breeze and sunny here – we had  a few spotty showers yesterday , but it was glorious- had a day spent helping daughter Carrie- then Darrell BBQ’d for us- got a lot done- missed my class, and forgot to call- I hate that – think it is horribly rude. but got wrapped up in the process – hauling sheet rock , hanging doors and all.  think my memory has an overload switch  and just shuts off,  haha!

Got to visit with Summer a little too- she is enjoying her lifeguard job.

Nicholas helped out the men and got rewarded with a real door ! Happy dance!

Started this morning  out early- Rosie treed about 5 AM  and I went up the hollow to see what it was- had a nice coon up a beech tree- called her off  and walked back down the Creek- drying up , but the big holes still are running – though most of the springs on the west side are dry now. Bees are working something up n the bench – but didn’t feel like hiking up there. Took some time to just sit at one of my favorite pools- It has a beautiful run oinging water- and the breeze was so nice. Coming back down the old road, I saw the south end of a bear headed north – he was bookin’. Chance set himself right across in front of me- “Mom – you’re not going that way – LOL – for such a small dog he sure is bossy.

Chance is my hero dog – I had been going to get a Border Collie pup- but was having trouble finding one I really liked- a lady had pups in the parking lot at Bob’s (now Harp’s) and this tiny guy grabbed my heart- colored just like a BC – so I “took a chance” on him. – He was Aussie/Sheltie cross- and we have boon companions since . He loves snow-his first snow he put his long snoowze down it and started rooting around like a little pig. Buried himself ! He is in charge of the place-

This morning is busy- hiked , then worked in the garden for a couple of hours- tomatoes are later here in the hollow, but have a lot setting on- herbs to harvest – banana peppers are ripe, zucchini and yellow squash are almost ready..

Getting things ready to plant when the signs are right next week- I usually set things out the first week , but my beds weren’t read. y. We are so lucky to be able to have three gardens here each year- occasionally the spring one doesn’t make , but it is worth planting it, for when it does well , it is amazing! Ben weeded tomatoes yesterday for me- this batch are the ones that YO set out.

The baby Muscovy ducks that Jimmie gave us are doing beautifully – I love watching them – they are so clownish. One of them is colored up like a Dominique chicken – he looks so funny. Gave Carrie and Darrell six of the new batch – may they have as much fun as I do!!! The young bourbon red turkeys we got from Ronnie are coming along nicely- they are intended as a breeding flock – the next generation will be yummy for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Got the Nannies moved down into their new digs- took down the temporary cross fence and todays project is taking down the temporary chicken house- the knob is now ready to do all our work on the tower- nothing in the way except rocks , energy and  time !

This wind tower has been a lesson in patience for me- we will get it up soon, I am sure. Maybe….. LOL

Tomorrow we will be celebrating three birthdays at a potluck dinner- Neill’s was the 5th, Ben’s is today and Darrell’s was the 23rd of June.  I am surrounded by Cancers! 🙂 come join us if you can tomoro!