We are an organic sheep farm in Viljandimaa with about 300 sheep (in the summer about 700 sheep). We keep sheep for the wool, from which handicraft is produced, such as gloves, socks, hats and much more and also for the meat, either for ourselves or for selling. The farm also produces a lot of vegetables and fruits for our own usage. We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, some chicken and 3 adults - Mirja (grandmother), Madis (husband), Karen (wife), 1 year old boy Aron and baby girl Silvia. In the summer period there might be some more family members around: Madis his sisters and brother with their families.
As sightseeing it is possible to go hiking in the nearby forest to see a reconstructed bunker where a few people used to hide out at the time of Soviet Union. Also recommendable is to visit the town Viljandi (about 20 km from the farm), it has a nice old town with ruins from a fortress, sometimes there are interesting concerts and in the end of July we have a big folk festival.
We are quite used to hosting people and we all like to have some extra people around :)
:UPDATE: unfortunately the bunker has collapsed and will hopefully be reconstructed in the summer of 2017 (the hikes in the area are still lovely to check out though).
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help is needed all year around, and especially in obstetric period around March till May (time when sheep have baby's/lambs), when volunteers can help feeding and taking care of the lambs. In addition to sheep farming we are making handicraft from the wool and grow vegetables and fruits in the gardens for our own usage. Maintenance of the farm is always going on: either building or repairing fences and buildings, wood chopping and preparing firewood. We appreciate it very much if the volunteers that come here, also have a sense of own initiative. This means that we love to host you, show you, teach you and from your side we appreciate a certain responsibility. We all live together and everybody puts in their effort of help.
Some detailed description of the work per period:
Wintertime: December - beginning of March:
In this period, as there are not so many hours of light, there is not so much help needed in terms of the sheep. We feed them the silage we made during spring- and summertime every few days and we treat them daily with some snacks, just like all the other animals need their daily food. We do a lot of chores inside with the wool, such as coloring, spinning and getting the handicraft ready.
Lambing season: March - beginning of May:
This season is quite busy: every hour or two we need to go to the sheep and check for new born lambs. It is very important to look for abnormalities, problems and if needed we have to help the lambs to drink from the mothers or help the mother sheep to give birth. Some lambs need extra feeding and we give them a bottle. In the meantime every few days we have to feed the sheep with silage. Also some preparations can already be made in the gardens, such as: cleaning out the beds of the old dead plants and unwanted weeds, preparing the earth and seeding some vegetables for in the greenhouse.
Spring and summer: May - August:
This is the time where we will let the sheep roam free on the grass fields. Once in a while we need to herd them from one field to another so that they always have enough grass to eat. In this period we do a lot of outside chores in the gardens and maintaining the property. All the fruits and vegetables need a lot of caring and maintenance, we don´t use any pesticides so it means a little more work (but for a better cause :)) We are producing a lot of meat as well, from time to time we kill sheep and we prepare the meat for consumption or preservation. We also make a lot of silage for our sheep with the tractor, so that they have enough to eat in wintertime. But we also enjoy the warm weather a lot: to do barbecues and swim in a nearby lake for example :)
Autumn: September - November:
Here we try to harvest everything from the fields, bushes and trees. All that we can not eat directly we preserve, we make jams, pickled vegetables, juices and sauces. Since we take everything from the field, we have to prepare the ground, the beds and greenhouse for next year. Sheep meat is still being produced and needs preparing.
Around November and December a lot of markets and fairs will be taking place where we sell our handicraft and products. It is a really nice and fun experience to help out on these events as you will get a good impression of Estonian (handicraft) culture.
And finally, the most important thing is that our animals are happy and well taken cared of. A lot of tasks are really bound to the season, but keeping are animals and ourselves healthy and happy is the main theme throughout the whole year.
Estonian, English, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Finnish and a little bit of German
We have dorm-type rooms on the attic of the main house, also possible to sleep above our sauna (separate) building or in a tent in summer (we have a tent).
We are 160km away from Tallinn, but there is a quite frequent bus connection between Viljandi and Tallinn, also a train 2-3 times a day. The distance between Viljandi and our farm is about 20 minutes by car or bus. From Viljandi there are busses to our place or sometimes we can pick you up with a car in Viljandi. We are going to town by car almost every few days.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week