Caretaker Couple - Orleans, CA

Caretaker Couple - Orleans, CA

Posted: 9/25/2019 - 8:00 am

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We are seeking a capable, able-bodied caretaker couple to help with our cabin rental business in exchange for a house on the Klamath River, some paid work, and sharing our riverside Permaculture homestead. We seek mature, self-motivated folks with basic rural skills to help with cabin cleaning, cabin & structure upgrade and maintenance, grounds, and guest reception.  We offer a beautiful, natural built, straw bale home with established gardens and orchards, in a mountain setting with surrounding wilderness, rivers, and a strong community.  

More about the Caretaking Position –We are seeking a couple who are capable, able-bodied and have some basic rural living skills (i.e. dealing with woodstoves, firewood, chainsaws, mountain roads, gardening, power tools, etc.).   Primary caretaker responsibilities are cabin cleaning, grounds upkeep and basic maintenance.  We ask for a minimum commitment of an entire season, through November 30.  Caretakers will need a reliable vehicle (a pickup truck is ideal).  We are asking for 8 hours of work per person per week in exchange for a natural straw bale home, including utilities.  We are also asking for 8 hours/ week of paid work, which includes cabin cleaning and customer booking and communication, help with grounds, cabin and grounds maintenance and general presence on the ranch.  We expect that caretakers will need to find paid work off the ranch and can offer some flexibility in scheduling.  The work we need is not distributed evenly throughout the year, thus there will be opportunity for vacation time, especially in the winter.  We are seeking caretakers with interest (and ideally some experience) in gardening and animal husbandry.    

The caretaking position does not require full responsibility for our property and business – we, Mark and Blythe, live on the Ranch and will continue in that role.  We are looking for a couple to help us with our responsibilities, and cover for us while we are away, in exchange for a home, some paid work and access to our garden and grounds here on the Klamath River.  We are looking for self-motivated individuals with a good sense of humor and good communication skills. 

Skills/ tasks we are looking for from caretakers include:

Cabin CleaningOur peak season is from Mid-June through October.  We tend to rent by the week throughout the summer and in the peak of the fishing season (mid-September to mid-October), with Saturday being the turnover, so Saturdays are a big day during these times.  In our shoulder season our rental schedule is more irregular thus cleaning happens throughout the week.  We are open year round, but generally have very little business December through March. 

Maintenance – We have lots of buildings that require ongoing maintenance and upkeep, though most of the maintenance duties occur in the winter months, from January through March/ April, when our cabins are mostly vacant and available for top-to-bottom maintenance.  This is the time to fix plumbing, repair screen doors, paint, fix knobs, electrical, basically anything that needs fixing, so that the cabins are in good shape for our busy season, from May through November.  We also have several other buildings in addition to our cabins.  There is a fair amount of flexibility in exactly when this happens, the important thing is to pace it so that all the cabins are finished by the start of the season in May.  If the cabins are not adequately maintained then it just makes for more running around during the season fixing minor (or major) problems while customers are occupying the cabins, which is a hassle. 

Building Projects – We typically have a few retrofit/ renovation projects each year, anything from retrofitting a cabin bathroom or kitchen, to repairing foundations to replacing an outbuilding. 

Spring Cleaning – Each spring we go through the cabins and clean them thoroughly in preparation for our cabin season.  It takes about 15 people hours to clean a cabin through and through.  There is a fair amount of flexibility in scheduling this activity, it’s nice to spread it out.  

Cabin Customer Reservations and Communications – Blythe covers this, but there are a few times during the year when we are away and do not have easy email/ internet access and will need this covered.  Incudes taking reservations, returning phone calls and emails, answering questions about the cabins, making invoices and charging for lodging and deposits.   

About our Ranch and the Orleans Area - We own 42 acres on the Klamath River of Northern California where we manage a Permaculture homestead, host workshops and rent cabins since 1992. Though this region is remote, surrounded by National Forest and three major wilderness areas, it is unique in that there is a strong alternative community consisting of Native Americans, organic farmers, U.S. Forest Service personnel, artisans and people who work in the forest. Orleans has fertile soils and a long growing season, the surrounding area offers opportunities for hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, whitewater rafting. We have six riverside cabins, which we use for workshops, vacation rentals.  

The cabins are open year round, though our busy season is late Spring through Fall.  Through the cabin business we strive to educate people on Permaculture and watershed restoration and sustainable living. Over the years we have hosted many workshops on topics including Permaculture, natural building, acoustic music, and natural history of our region, though nowadays we are doing less events and our educational avenue is our work with the Mid Klamath Watershed Council.  We each have served on the board of directors since helping to found the group, and we each serve as staff as well. We have a diverse one acre flower and vegetable garden and orchard, as well as 2 dairy goats and chickens.  We grow much of our own food including fruits, veggies, eggs, milk, cheese and some meat. We have a dried flower wreath business and a small home crafts business with beeswax candles, chipotle and more.  



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