At Blue Rock Station, we take pride in our ability to translate green living principles (re-think, repair, reuse, reduce, recycle, respect) into living breathing ways to live happy and fulfilling lives. Our goal for the summer intern program is to provide opportunities for each person who lives, eats and works with us to find their own definition of green living.
The internship program is a fee-based project, however each fee is based on the number of weeks in the project, and scholarships are available. If you cannot afford the full fee, or need to request a scholarship, please do not let this hold you back from applying for an internship. We believe there are many resources that make up an economy so this may be your chance to see how it can work.
THIS IS IMPORTANT – We hope you’ll read through all of the information and try to think through how you will feel about living in an isolated rural area in a very simple setting. This life is not for everyone, and often interns experience an adjustment period of slowing down from their everyday lives of school or work so that you can really be here to learn and contribute something.
What we provide
During the time that you will be working and living at Blue Rock Station you will be a member of our family. Family is a huge part, in fact the core of the success of sustainable living. There are many components to family life at BRS, but first and foremost is respect and time together. During our time with you we promise to provide the following:
- Specific goals for your time with us – most of the time we will work together to create the goals and discuss progress daily, usually at mealtime.
- A place to sleep, and time for relaxing – this may be in the straw bale intern chalet, the bunkhouse or in the Happy Nest, but the accommodations are very simple with a bed and a lamp.
- Three meals per day rooted in green living. You will help in menu planning and also provide your share of preparing the food. Meals are generally eaten together. This is a time to reflect on the day and often discuss goals for the next day.
- Instruction on various aspects of our work including but not limited to sustainable building techniques, natural gardening, animal husbandry, leadership, tourism, and general ideas for living a green life (the last one we can’t help but impart in most everything we do).
What you provide
In exchange for providing you with experience in green living and leadership we request the following:
- Start the day no later than 8:30 AM. This means being prepared to start work – dressed and eaten breakfast, plus having everything ready that you will need for the day’s goals. The only exception is if you are ill.
- Be prepared to take a leadership role when asked. We won’t ask if we don’t think you are capable and ready.
- Treat the animals, including the humans with respect: no hitting, throwing things, or yelling in anger (occasional cussing does occur, but is directed at the universe and not at humans or generally the animals).
- Do not use harmful substances on or off of the property, including sprays, tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs during the time you are working and living at The Station. Tobacco, sprays, illegal drugs are not acceptable and any use will be the basis for ending the time you spend at BRS – no exceptions.
- Sharing the responsibilities for everyday living: sign up for cooking a couple of meals per week and help in creating a menu; cleaning up common living areas; cleaning up after using the shower, laundry and compost toilet, and, ugh, the dishes. We all get tired and occasionally need reminding – including us – but for the most part we need to make sure that things look neat and tidy for our visitors.
- Clear information from you about when you will be here working and living, or if you leave for R&R, when you plan to return.
- Honest communication about your goals, your progress and any other concerns, challenges or praise.
- Long distance calling within the US is limitless, but we request that phone usage be restricted to before or after our business hours of 8 AM to 6 PM.
- Access to the Internet is upon request because we have dial-up and it is heavily used. However, if you need more access than we can provide the library in Duncan Falls has regular hours and Broadband.
- If you are paying a fee for your internship, please make sure to pay on time without being reminded.
- At the end of the internship we request that you provide a photo of yourself that you like (that reflects your time with us), and a description of how you spent your time, and any observations. This will be used on the BRS website.
Generally, the items listed here are meant as a guide for the time we will be working and living together.
A Typical Day at Blue Rock Station
Since we don’t know each other we like to share a little of how things work here at Blue Rock Station. Here is a sample of intern life:
We prefer that interns spend their first couple of days just getting acclimated to life here and learning about the various projects we’ll be working on to determine their strengths and challenges. Each day we try to go over work schedules and plans – and goals for the day during breakfast.
Interns will be involved in creating the menu and each day someone, or more then one will be in charge of meal preparation. For those of us who don’t create the meal, we’ll be doing dishes or cleaning up. With so much traffic in and out of the house, floors can get quite dirty or muddy, so sweeping up and tidying up after the evening meal is an important job as well.
Lunch is mid-afternoon (the influence of the Europeans on us) so we have some time in the heat of the day for resting, reading or completing other projects. Then around 4 PM we’ll begin again with our projects. Meal preparers will fix a light supper, which we like to eat outdoors, if possible. Evening chores are completed before supper so there’s time after eating for talking or watching a film, or playing a game. Then clean up. We’ll be tired pretty much every day so evenings are not usually late.
Occasionally interns have visitors – friends or family. We encourage this, although we feel it is only common courtesy that any visits are discussed ahead of time, and coordinated with everyone’s schedule.
Please keep in mind that you may be the only intern, or there may be as many as seven others folks from around the US or other countries with a variety of backgrounds including engineering, agriculture, environmental science and architecture.
Every other Monday we travel to the Chesterhill Produce Auction to purchase or sell fresh food that influences the weekly menu, or is canned or frozen for winter.
In the spring and fall there are usually quite a few tours. Eventually each intern will be asked to assist in the tour, either by describing their project, or leading visitors and talking about points of interest.
(Fees: There is a fee for room and board – $150 per week. This includes all food, primitive housing – and if we go somewhere, we generally pay the fee for admission. A limited number of scholarships are available.)
Most of the time spent at Blue Rock Station is either in the common areas, or working on projects, so accommodations are simple and rustic. This arrangement can be quite appealing to those who want to experience a more sustainable way of living. If your idea of roughing it is a television without a remote – you may be in for a bit of a shock.
The Happy Nest is a tiny cottage with two single beds (one up and one down) and a desk. The Dogwood Chalet has a double futon, and its own private deck. The Dragon’s Lair has a single bed. The Peace Porch sleeps three or four and is situated in the woods.
Common areas are the sun porch, the kitchen and Earthship living room. There are lots of indoor spaces for hanging out, although the Overlook is a great place outdoors for writing letters or playing music.
The privy, located near the common areas, is a dry composting toilet in a straw bale building – with a million dollar view of Moody Holler and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There is also the Half-assed privy down at the Bunk House. Both of these are what is referred to as “out houses” so keep that in mind when considering just how simple life can be here.
The Corsica Solar Shower – designed and built by one of our past engineering students who created the building out of 500 1-gallon milk jugs and other re-used materials – is located right next to the Happy Nest. This is the showering place unless it’s too cold, and then everyone is welcome to use the shower in the house (but not at the same time).
This is a seven-day a week farm – the animals and other farm activities demand our attention daily. Keep this in mind since it probably means there will be very little time “off”. Interns are here for such a brief period of time to learn and share that we feel it is important for them to take the time they need, and to work hard the rest of the time.
During the warm months of the year there are quite a few good skill-building opportunities for learning natural building techniques, and one or two gardening classes. You can see the schedule on our website – www.bluerockstation.com.
If you want to travel to other locations on your own while you’re an intern here, you will need a vehicle or strong legs to ride a bike. We do have bicycles here. Most folks who come for six to eight weeks stay the entire time and just go to town when we do or go off on little excursions with us. Not having transportation is limiting but there is only so much time to be here as well. Each person handles this, as they need to.
Also, we have five cats and two dogs, lots of chickens and lots of goats. We cannot stress enough that these are a big part of life here so if you’re allergic to animals or don’t like them, this is not a place where you will enjoy your stay. The cats and dogs like to supervise all cooking activities, and often gently attempt to sample our food. This is bothersome to some folks so it’s best we make you aware upfront.
We are basically vegetarian, although Jay and Cat like to eat sausage, so we will occasionally have meat, but mostly we will eat fresh food – often raw from the garden or local produce auction. Between all of us adults we can cook up some amazing food, and usually lots of it so no one will go hungry.
I forgot to mention that we often enjoy ice cream in the evenings, or fruit smoothies. Since they are made from raw milk this treat often serves as our light supper – of course we make fruit ice cream and Jay insists that his has chocolate sauce, but it is overall quite healthy and, after a hot day, enjoyable.
Our past interns have given us high ratings when asked about what they learned and the environment that we created for learning. They often state that the most important thing they learned was how to live together. Their only complaint was that they didn’t feel they could take time off because everyone else kept working.
There will be many projects this year and lots of changes with pasture rotation and more goats to milk. It’s an amazing life every single day – we wouldn’t change any of it.