What is a caretaker?
>>For those who are not involved in the profession, the word "caretaker" may
>>have numerous meanings. But for the growing number of people who are
>>dedicated to the caretaking profession and land stewardship, a caretaker=
>a property caretaker: a person hired by a landowner to care for his or her
>property in exchange for compensation.=20
>>What is land stewardship?
>>Land stewardship is the concept of caring for land to ensure that it
>remains intact and productive for future generations. Caretakers act as=
>stewards when their responsibilities include preservation and maintenance
>activities. To quote Wendell Berry, author of The Unsettling of America,
>"The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all,
>our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to
>foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope."
>>Is caretaking a new profession?
>>No, it's actually a very old profession,rooted in the British tradition of
>>land maintenance. In 1868 The Times of London defined a caretaker as "a
>>person put in charge of a farm from which the tenant has been evicted."
>>Today, that definition has been expanded to cover a multitude of
>>landowner/caretaker relationships. The number and diversity of these
>>relationships has increased during the past decade. As more and more
>>landowners hire caretakers to watch over their property, the caretaking
>>profession continues to grow in popularity.=20
>>Who hires caretakers?
>>Many different types of property owners hire caretakers. Landowners, large
>>and small, individuals or institutions, can benefit by utilizing the
>>services of a qualified caretaker. Farmers, ranchers, homesteaders,
>estates, camps, parks, lodges, and nature preserves all employ caretakers.
>>What skills and experience are required for caretaking?
>>While many landowners seek experienced caretakers with specific skills
>(e.g. maintenance, farming, ranching or animal husbandry) others are=
>to take on and train people with general backgrounds. As with most other
>occupations, such traits as honesty, common sense, and flexibility are key
>prerequisites. For caretakers who live and work alone on the property of an
>absentee landowner, the ability to function independently and fulfill one's
>responsibilities without daily guidance and instruction from the landowner
>are important qualifications. Although a love of nature and solitude is
>important, having hobbies and interests (e.g. reading, writing, painting,
>photography) that can be pursued in what are often remote areas is=
>>What are the duties and responsibilities of a caretaker?
>>The duties and responsibilities of a caretaker are as varied as the
>>landowners and caretakers themselves. Caretaking can give one the
>>opportunity to work in dozens of areas, among them: groundskeeping, land
>>stewardship, farming, organic gardening, forestry, ranching, animal
>>husbandry and fisheries. While some landowners just require a presence on
>>their property, others need fences mended, snow plowed, gardens tended,
>>animals cared for, and houses, roads and pastures maintained. Plumbing and
>>electrical work may be part of a caretaker's duties - or the caretaker=
>be responsible for hiring competent repairmen.=20
>>What should one consider when applying for a caretaking position?
>>The prudent caretaker sets out to develop a working relationship with the
>>landowner, his or her prospective employer. If the landowner's goals and
>>philosophies are stated in their advertisement, prospective caretakers
>>should consider whether these are in harmony with their own beliefs. While
>>skill and experience are important, most landowners are initially=
>with character references. When answering an ad, a neatly prepared resume
>should be accompanied by photographs of oneself (and family, if applicable)
>and references. Landowners often request a personal letter, where the
>prospective caretaker discusses such things as interests, goals and reasons
>for desiring a caretaking position. It is helpful to be as open and honest
>as possible. Information regarding any special skills or interests should
>also be included.=20
>>What should a landowner look for when hiring a caretaker?
>>A detailed, well-written ad is an important first step toward finding a
>>qualified caretaker. You should be honest about both the situation and
>>compensation offered. The philosophy and goals of the landowner should be
>>stated up-front. This can help alleviate ideological clashes or conflicts.
>>In addition to the standard resume and references, landowners find it
>>helpful to request a personal letter from the prospective caretaker.=20
>>Are there any financial benefits for landowners who hire caretakers?
>>Putting their property in the hands of a qualified caretaker can free
>>landowners from the responsibility of day-to-day maintenance. This
>>arrangement can enable them to increase their profits in the long run. A
>>caretaker who lives on the property ensures that it is kept in good
>>condition, secure from vandalism, theft and maintenance problems. He or=
>also makes any necessary improvements or repairs so that the property=
>remains in top condition. Having a qualified caretaker on one's property
>gives the landowner time to pursue other interests or employment.=20
>>Can caretaking provide any special opportunities for travelers?
>>Inveterate travelers have discovered that caretaking enables them to live
>>and work in a variety of interesting locales - both in the U.S. and=
>Positions may be for the long or short-term, seasonal or year-round. Many
>newcomers to the caretaking field have been lifelong travelers. Most are
>motivated by the desire to live a simple, rural life or explore another
>culture in depth. Caretaking offers travelers the opportunity to become a
>part of a community and experience life as the locals live it. Travelers=
>caretake resort properties during off-seasons, enjoying the use of the
>grounds and facilities. For travelers who are considering a move to another
>geographic area, caretaking allows them to experience life in a new=
>prior to spending time, money and energy relocating there.
>>Can full or part-time RVers find employment as caretakers?
>>Yes. Many RVers are discovering that caretaking is a challenging and
>>fulfilling occupation. It enables them to take some time off the road,
>>settle down for a period of time, and enjoy life in another location. It's
>>an economical way to live as site and utility hookups are provided by the
>>landowner. RVers are often in demand by landowners whose properties do not
>>have separate housing for caretakers. Because RVers have their own housing
>>with them, they require only hookups. While some campgrounds that hire
>RVers as caretakers require light duties, others are simply in need of
>>"site-sitters." In both situations, there is plenty of leisure time to
>enjoy the property and its amenities. RVers can also find employment as
>caretakers on properties of landowners who travel. In this instance, it is
>important to maintain the property and make it appear occupied. Seasonal or
>short-term positions permit RVers to maintain their free-wheeling=
>>Is caretaking suitable for retirees?
>>Yes. In fact, many landowners specifically request "mature" or "retired"
>>individuals or couples when placing their ads. Retirees bring with them a
>>wealth of skills and experience that can be readily used when caretaking
>>property. Landowners like the fact that many retirees have a second=
>>In exchange for caretaking responsibilities retirees are able to live
>>rent-free and experience life in different geographic areas. =20
>>The Caretaker Gazette publishes a caretaker profile in each issue. Here's=
>>couple of condensed profiles:
>>"A Pair in Paradise . . . " - Profile of Sandra and
>> Deane Maxson
>>Dates of Birth: Sandra - 4/18/44 Deane - 11/3/31
>>Children: Two school-age boys at home, ages 10 and 14.
>>Interests: Flower and vegetable gardening, enjoying the outdoors and, of
>>Quote:"We enjoy life and the early mornings are unbe- lievably great=
>>the whole day illuminating."
>>MAXSON'S PHOTO GOES HERE
>>Sandra and Deane at home in the Florida tropics
>>The Maxsons are a couple perfectly suited to each other and the lush
>>semitropical ranch they caretake in south- west Florida. They are=
>>employees on a 90,000 acre ranch which is the site of a cattle operation,
>>farming, mining and hunting. There is a large hunting lodge, snuggled away
>>in the midst of a forest of Telegraph Cypress on an island. Deane=
>>each and every campsite throughout the year. He also takes care of the
>>hunting blinds plus the mechanical feeders which have timers and=
>>The mechanical feeders are suspended from trees and need to be filled and
>>checked every week. Sandra plans and organizes a number of elaborate=
>>for her employer. Sandra does a lot of canning while Deane keeps up with=
>>maintenance of the lodge and the citrus grove. This entails mowing the
>>grounds, fertilizing, painting the decks, porches, railings, and outside
>>redwood furniture. Their compensation includes a salary of $2,000 per=
>>housing, medical insurance, a two week unpaid vacation in the summer=
>>and a gratuity check in late spring after hunting season. The gratuity is
>>based on the number of hunting parties that visited during that season.
>>For their next caretaking position, the Maxsons are willing to relocate.
>>They're interested in managing a bed and breakfast inn, a dude ranch, or
>>even a farm or ranch. They don't smoke or use drugs themselves but have no
>>objection to others who smoke or drink. Sandra and Deane are lucky-=
>>healthy, happy, and have found the right environment and occupation to=
>>"A Caretaker with Many 'Bush' Stories" - A Profile of Mike Peterson
>>Date of Birth: 5/15/51
>>Interests: Building sailing ship models, creative writing, reading, and TV
>>Quote: "If I have a wish for mankind, it is that everyone, everywhere,=
>>spend an hour in the calm, quiet evening, and be wrapped in the northern
>>lights. I think peace would follow."
>>Mike Peterson is a very versatile guy. After growing up on a farm in
>>Wisconsin, spending some time in college, doing a Navy hitch, and getting
>>married, he set off on the railroad to become a locomotive engineer. After
>>12 years on the railroad, and a divorce, he traveled the "lower 48" for
>>several years then settled in Alaska. He's been there for seven years. For
>>the past five years, Mike has been the winter caretaker at Valhalla Lodge,
>>located on a remote lake in western Alaska. Valhalla Lodge is one of
>>Alaska's premiere fishing and hunting lodges. It was built for those who
>>truly appreciate the great outdoors. People from all over the world make=
>>trip to experience a real wilderness paradise. The only access to the=
>>is by plane, using either floats in the summer or skis when the lake is
>>frozen. Once Mike arrives at Valhalla Lodge, he's alone for the next seven
>>months, except for Bandit, the company dog. His duties are to "be there,"
>>and make sure the lodge and all its belongings are still there when the
>>fishing season starts the next spring. If something breaks, he fixes it.
>>When it snows, he cleans the wings of the four planes parked there. Other
>>than that, Mike may do nothing for long periods of time. He's paid $300=
>>month, plus a $1,000 bonus at the end of the season. Mike says "that's OK
>>for a single guy with no bills." The two most common questions people ask
>>Mike are, "Have you seen the movie, The Shining?" (which he has several
>>times) and, "How can you stand to be out there all by yourself for so=
>>His reply to that question is, "How can you stand to go out every morning=
>>the dark, in the cold, shovel off your car, hope it starts, so you can=
>>'bumper cars' to get to a job you probably do not like, where you don't
>>make enough money, so you can pay rent on a place you're probably not=
>>about anyway." On mornings like that, Mike just makes another pot of=
>>puts his feet up on the table, and watches all of Good Morning America on
>>RATNET (Rural Alaska Television Network). As he sits at his table watching
>>it get light outside, he can observe a line of caribou crossing the ice,=
>>a couple of moose walking along the lake's shore. He once watched a fox=
>>up a frozen salmon that had washed up in the fall, then observed as a=
>>of ravens drove off the fox and started to pick at the salmon; finally, an
>>eagle dropped out of the sky and flew off with the prize. Many animals got
>>fed from that one magnificent fish and the show was over in less than 15
>>minutes. It's things like this that make the long winters worthwhile for
>>Mike. But the most amazing thing for Mike on those cold winter nights
>>continues to be the sight of the northern lights overhead. If you have=
>>seen them, try to imagine a shimmering translucent curtain in shades of
>>almost fluorescent greens! At his latitude, instead of being low to the
>>north, they spread like a silken veil straight overhead, from horizon to
>>horizon. Even the snow covered landscape seems to pick up the colors and
>>reflect them back. And the show gets even better. Like a great movie=
>>curtain being opened, this veil of light is constantly moving. As near as
>>Mike can describe it, "It is like releasing a silk scarf that floats down,
>>but never reaches the ground." Mike loves the caretaking life and it=
>>whenever you talk with him!=20
>>MIKE'S PHOTO GOES HERE
>>Mike's getting some timber to feed the wood stove!
>>Copyright =A9 1995, The Caretaker Gazette. Published since 1983, the=
>>is a bimonthly newsletter that helps landowners and caretakers find one
>>another. Subscriptions are $24 per year. The Gazette publishes about 70
>>property caretaking job opportunities, worldwide, in each issue. Caretaker
>>profiles, Letters to the Editor, and employment-wanted classified ads are
>>also in each issue. The Caretaker Gazette, 2380 NE Ellis Way, Suite C-16,
>>Pullman, WA 99163-5303. For any questions, or for Credit Card orders,=
>>call Gary Dunn, Publisher at: (509) 332-0806. (email@example.com)
>>BTW, if we just survived the eighties, and we're living in the nineties,
what do we call the next decade?