At Pratale, no-one pays to stay: it’s not an agriturismo. It is possible to make it a working holiday if that’s what you enjoy.
Anyone who wants to work in the fields for 4 hours can take part in the farmwork. This means you pay 10 euros a day as your share of the shopping bills (we don’t produce everything and we also buy in cereals and hay for the year).
Anyone who prefers to rest, read, paint, go for walks or whatever pays 15 euros a day as their share of the shopping bill plus their consumption of the farm produce.
Children under 12 pay half of whatever their parents pay for the shopping bill; children under 6 don’t pay.
We are happy to have people who help with the work, but are just as happy for people to relax. However, everyone takes part in the housework and cooking. When there are lots of us, the housework is quickly done but the cooking takes more time!
You can change deals anytime – you just need to let Etain or Martin know in the evening whether or not you want to work so they can figure out who’s doing what in the morning: organising the work takes time and thought and you need to have the work explained. What counts as a working day is that you get up early and get four hours work in.
In the summer, we usually work from 6am to 10am to enjoy the cool of the day (it’s too hot after 10am). There are also a couple of hours in the evening around 6pm which can be used for working if you need extra time. You can also not work all four hours and just keep a record of the total number of hours so at the end of your stay, every four hours done will count as a working day.
We don’t work Sundays, feast days and when it rains or snows. This land is clay and when it is wet underfoot, we can’t work otherwise we just end up with compacted soil.
Summer jobs include: cleaning out stables, barrowing manure onto the olive trees or gardens, hoeing the garden, hoeing the vineyard, digging over gardens after harvesting, mulching the summer garden, clearing fields of thistles, broom and small trees, picking fruit for jam or drying, making bundles of small wood for cooking, picking the grapes (Sep).
Winter jobs include repair work on fences and ditches, sawing and chopping up logs for the woodstove, picking the olives (Nov), picking rosehips (Jan), clearing the fields, digging the gardens, cleaning stables, barrowing manure.