Job description overview:
We are looking for a single person, or maybe a couple*, to manage all aspects of the farm and B&B on a year-round basis with long term possibilities. Growing organic food and maintaining the property are the higher priorities. Compensation, living situation and labor expectation details are provided below.
One very important consideration for you to know is that you will be required to care-take the farm for the winter months, from November to May, as we work in Utah during that time. This is a deal breaker. If you are not willing to live at, and take care of the property for the winter, you can stop reading now.
Water Wheel Farm is a 5 acre organic farm and (newly created) B&B near the border of Washington and Oregon, in the heart of the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River Gorge of the Pacific Northwest. We are located about fifty miles east of Portland in a small community called Mill A. Mill A is in the Little White Salmon River valley about 1,000 feet above sea level on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Mill A is located about eight miles directly northwest of Hood River, Oregon. Photos of the farm can be seen at www.waterwheelfarm.weebly.com.
Our region is blessed with gorgeous crystal clear rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and all kinds of recreation. It is about twelve miles to the nearest town of White Salmon, WA, or Hood River, OR
Please read this whole document before applying for this position.
What we are offering you:
Water Wheel Farm is a peaceful place with creeks, ponds, huge dug firs with almost constant wildlife meandering through it. On the farm, we will provide you with a comfortable bedroom, all utilities, laundry, shared kitchen and living space, free internet, Netflix, (we don’t have TV here) and all the food you can sustainably eat from the farm, plus a living stipend of $500/month for supplemental food and personal expenses. We have for your use, kayaks and other outdoor sporting equipment. You will have access to our music room and some instruments for your enjoyment. (Are you a professional quality musician? There may be income possibilities.) We have an extensive library, which you have full access to use. In fact, we encourage it.
We have extensive experience in many areas of life that we can transfer to you, in both work and play. We can teach you everything we know about operations on our farm such as tractor operation, mechanics, woodworking, power tools, chainsaws, solar power, building, electrical, plumbing and much more.
Applicants may, if they choose, find part time work to supplement income. There are lots of pubs, coffee houses, and restaurants in neighboring towns.
You will be welcome to have guests visit and stay at the farm. We would like to meet your friends and family.
We will support, with previous arrangement, you taking vacations.
What we expect from you:
It is important that you know who we are and visa-versa. We will all be living together in the main farmhouse. You will have your own quarters, but we will share the kitchen and some living spaces. We expect you to clean up after yourself and help keep common areas clean. Because we have had difficulties in the past, we have made this document very detailed in the hopes that it will save lots of time. We have had some excellent interns here in the past, and we have also had some disappointments. It is our hope that this document will naturally weed out any potential applicants that would not be a good fit here.
Anyone who applies for this position should be someone who enjoys the country lifestyle. You should enjoy peaceful, quiet, dark nights. You are someone who likes to read books, watch films, play your instrument, paint, or do other hobbies. There are no clubs, pubs, malls, or coffee houses in our neighborhood. We play music with friends, and watch lots of movies at night. When we have guests, we are often sitting around the fire. The closest nightlife is a 12 mile drive where there are breweries, theaters, and gathering places for you to explore in nearby towns. The applicant (s) is comfortable being alone but not a loner. You enjoy meeting and engaging with people on the farm and in our neighborhood.
The winter season provides ample opportunity to study, read books, write music, and recreate in lots of ways. Winters here can be mild, or very rainy, or heavy snows. Be mentally ready for that. One winter, we had interns call us in January saying that they couldn’t take the constant rain, and were leaving. This is NOT acceptable and causes extreme difficulty for us. You should be someone who LOVES down time by a fire in the winter. If we have a rainy winter, you need to put on rain gear and get outside for walks, hikes and other outdoor activities. It rains a lot in some winters, be willing to embrace it. Remember, it’s the rains and snows that give us our luscious forests, rivers and lakes that we enjoy the rest of the year.
When friends, relatives or guests arrive at the farm, we expect you to come say hello, smile, shake hands, introduce yourself, and be friendly!
Duties on the Farm
You will be required to work 30hrs/week (flexible schedule) from April through October. November through March is the rainy season and workload tapers off considerably, but the farm must still be maintained, heated, and pruning required as needed. Duties will include:
Food growing, including watering, weeding, feeding plants with amendments or worm compost, preparing starts in early spring, planting vegetable garden and staggering growth to provide fresh vegetables all throughout the growing season. Our seasonal veggies grow in a raised bed area with gravity fed water system.
Orchard (2 ½ acre 8ft. fenced in garden area) maintenance including watering, weeding, feeding, pruning, mowing, weed whacking, care and harvesting of fruits, berries, herbs, and nuts. Maintenance also includes fence mending, mulching, maintaining worm bins, weeding, composting, and bee keeping.
Irrigation maintenance, including clearing irrigation ditch, cleaning drip emitters to provide adequate water flow to plants.
Yard maintenance including mowing, trimming, weeding, raking leaves, and burning, snow removal, etc.
Take care of animals, clean coop, feed and care for chickens and ducks, collect eggs, care for new born chicks, and feed fish.
Greeting guests, cleaning B&B rooms, and providing any generally needed assistance to guests.
Farm equipment general maintenance, greasing, cleaning, fuel management, oil changes, scheduled maintenance. Always report when supplies are low.
Building maintenance, painting, sanding, deck repairs, small general repairs, gutter cleaning, and window cleaning.
Be generally ready to assist owners in any project we need help with.
Be interested and willing to plant and care for flowers, lots of flowers!
Firewood harvesting, cutting, splitting and stacking for winter.
In general, you’ll run the place under our direction and with our help. It is also important for you to understand that except under extenuating circumstances, quitting time is quitting time. You must take time for fun, relaxation, rejuvenation, and adventure. This is just as important as your work!
What we can give you in return is a wonderful place to live and grow, abundant organic food to eat in season, and the monthly stipend with room and utilities provided. There are possibilities as well, for your creative ideas. We might be willing, after collaboration, to financially support ideas you have for creating income for the farm and yourselves. For example, if you want to cook meals for B&B guests, or dry herbs to make teas and tinctures and sell them at a farm stand, or run a macro brewery, or host classes for permaculture students, or whatever. If you can find something you’re interested in, that you think will earn income for yourself and the farm, bring your ideas to us. We’re open to that.
Qualities we are looking for in you:
The list below is nothing less than what we expect of ourselves. We think you’ll find our friends embody these qualities too.
Successful applicant/s will (in no order of priority):
Be friendly, interested, compassionate, outgoing, enjoy laughing, and be involved.
Be honest and trustworthy. (practice the law of one)
Be highly interested in gardening, permaculture, organic food, food storage, sustainability to the point that this is your passion and source of joy!
Embody gratitude, respect, responsibility and accountability.
Be curious, want to learn new skills, read our books on composting, bee keeping, engines, building, solar systems, hydro systems, organic gardening. We are not asking you to read all the time, just have a genuine interest in these things and want to learn. We have a lot we can teach you, and we want to learn from you too.
Be financially sovereign and prudent.
Be healthy and strong physically, able to lift 80lbs or more. Take care of your health by eating organic/healthy foods and by exercising.
Be emotionally healthy, open minded, addiction free, and drama free. Practice empathy. Ask for help when you need it.
Be intellectually healthy, a good communicator, articulate, have a well-rounded
education, enjoy conversation and learning about other people.
Have health insurance or apply immediately for federal health care coverage. (Although we have been accident free, we know accidents can happen and we want you to be taken care of should you get hurt on or off the farm.) We cannot afford to cover your health care costs.
Although we will cover your utility costs, we expect you to be respectful of usage. Shut off lights when you’re done with them, take reasonable length showers, don’t let water run unnecessarily, etc. To be clear, it’s okay to use utilities, just don’t waste them.
Have excellent references! We will not bother your friends and relatives for references until you are one of the final potential applicants.
Who we are:
We, Scot and Rebecca, have been together for 27 years and have enjoyed and embraced our lives together. We are best friends. We both graduated high school in 1979, you do the math We have college degrees, and Rebecca has a graduate degree in law. We are not followers of any western or eastern religions, but we both have conscious philosophies that we would be happy to discuss and explore if you are interested later. We are community minded.
Although we highly appreciate the value of our orchard, gardens, and organic whole foods in general, we are not passionate gardeners. Passionate gardeners are what we are trying to attract to this position.
We love our farm, orchard and animals, but we also love traveling, adventure, music and the arts. During winter, we work in Utah as ski instructors, please see our website at www.skiwithme.weebly.com. In the summer, we work as musicians playing music at festivals, wineries, weddings and fairs. Our music website is www.gorgeband.weebly.com.
We also spend our summers working on our farm and recreating in the beautiful Columbia Gorge. We ride bikes, rock climb, kayak, hike and more.
We have designed our lives in such a way to be as free of debt as possible. We’ve lived in campers while building on raw land to avoid mortgages. Slowly, over almost thirty years, we have come to own Water Wheel Farm. We are not trust fund babies; we work hard when we have to, conserve money when we need to, and play when we have the opportunity to do so.
We have been investing and working diligently on the farm since its purchase ten years ago. We’ve been planting, fixing, remodeling and building to create a place to live and grow old. We have temporarily sacrificed our former lifestyles to transform this place into a sustainable and peaceful living situation. Now we would like to return to doing more of the things we love to do.
Running the farm and B&B is more than we want to take on all by ourselves. To do so would mean severely cutting into the activities we enjoy. This is why we are offering this opportunity to you. If you are the right person for Water Wheel Farm, we feel you will love it here.
About our neighborhood:
The Columbia Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest. The recreational opportunities are endless. The tributaries of the Columbia River contain world-class white water for kayaking and rafting as well as immensely beautiful rivers for fishing. The Little White Salmon River is only a half-mile down the road from us. You can find excellent road or mountain biking right from our doorstep. Windsurfing and kite boarding are world-renowned in the Columbia Gorge. The Pacific Crest Trail, as well as hundreds of other excellent hikes, abound throughout the area. Also, the city of Portland, Oregon, is only an hour+ drive from the farm.
The community of the Columbia Gorge in which we are located is made up of an eclectic mix of people. Without a doubt, you will be able to make close friends of like mind in the Gorge. There are lots of families who practice sustainability, permaculture, home schooling, organics, alternative medicine, etc.
The immediate surrounding neighborhood of Mill A is also an eclectic mix, but tends to be a Christian leaning crowd. There are not many progressives in our neighborhood, however, when you get to know our neighbors, and are tolerant of their beliefs, you will discover they are warm, friendly, accepting, and always willing to pull together when any neighbor needs help or to celebrate some event. Although we are not religious, we visit enthusiastically with our Christian neighbors and get along very well, and they come visit us at the farm regularly for evening fires, or a beer down by the pond.
The farm is a popular gathering place. The water wheel has become a local landmark and tourists are always taking pictures or videos of it. Mill A has no businesses, only residences and a K-8 elementary school. The closest town is White Salmon or Bingen (12 miles away) on the Washington side of the Columbia River, or Hood River, on the Oregon side (13 miles away). The community of Mill A is on one of the main routes to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest for tourists. The Gifford Pinchot national forest is just three miles up the road.
How to apply:
We have advertised in the past for interns and the response of applicants was overwhelming, literally. We had to pull our ad almost right away.
If you are applying now:
You are totally comfortable with living on the farm and taking care of the place during the winter.
You are totally comfortable and thankful with what we are offering you, and you understand what we expect from you.
You should have surfed the internet to learn about the Columbia Gorge, Hood River, White Salmon, Bingen, and Stevenson. If you live here, these will be the towns you will engage with and the culture you will be living in. Make sure this is a region that will fit your lifestyle.
You understand what winters are like, and that you can be comfortable with the rainy season! There are many people in the world that would not be able to tolerate our winters.
We would like to have this position filled by April 24th or earlier. We will try to make a decision by April 12th. We are accepting applications now. If you are the one selected, be ready to hit the ground running as planting has to begin right away.
If you are ready to apply, we would like you to respond to the following by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A letter of introduction telling us about yourself, why you think you would be a good fit, your interests, dreams and aspirations. If we’re going to live with you on our farm, give us information that will help us to know you.
A resume’ of your personal stats (name, phone number, age, address, email), any education you have received, accomplishments, jobs, and travels. List any particular skills you may have whether or not you think they may be helpful on the farm.
A photo, or photos would be nice. Not that we care what you look like, but so we can match a face to your letter.
References are not required at your initial application, but if you are one of the top applicants, we’ll want to speak to someone you have lived with and worked with before. We’re taking you into our home and our lives. We’ll be happy to provide you with the same if you want. It’s important, so be prepared to provide references upon request.
We will confirm with you that we have received your application. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt after two days, send again. After the above has been submitted and reviewed by us, we may contact you to set up a personal meeting, or maybe a skype meeting. Write down all questions you may have. Feel free to ask questions before applying. We may add your questions to our advertisement as something we forgot or did not cover enough in detail.
Please understand that the last time we advertised, we were inundated with applications from wonderful, inspirational, experienced, educated people, and it was so hard to choose. Give us some time to review your information and we’ll let you know within a few days if we will not be pursuing your application further so that you can focus on other possibilities.
We are entirely open to all ages, ethnicities, sexes, orientations, and races.
Thank you for applying!
Cheers, Scot and Rebecca
If things don’t work out?
Of course, there is always the possibility that after living on the farm for a while, it is
decided that things aren’t working out. Or, you may decide at some point that your life needs to go in a different direction or an unexpected event happens. No matter what the reason or what transpires, all we can ask for is clear and timely communication, and that we work together to make the transition as easy as possible giving each of us opportunity to find replacement help for us, or time to find another living situation for you. We realize that there may be several different people who come and go from our place. We like to think that there are endless possibilities.
*Couples: We are open to having a couple, but we know from experience that having two people in the house and on the farm has different dynamics, benefits and drawbacks. If after reading our whole document, you feel you would like to apply as a couple, we would like to discuss some additional details, such as what would be the expectations, if any, of the second person? A second person would mean additional costs for us in food consumption, electricity, water, laundry, personal space, etc. Yet, those costs could be offset by energy exchanges such as help in the garden, help with farm projects, housework or cooking, etc. Our personal income cannot support an additional farmhand pay, at least not at this time, but some other type of time trade may be possible. You could offer ideas in your application.
We really haven’t nailed down how it would work with a couple, but we’ve learned from experience it is best to outline expectations as close as possible in the beginning to avoid conflicts down the road. We think of ourselves as excellent communicators and like to work things out, but forethought is best. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter if you apply.