The Covid days; Recently everything has gone bananas over the Corona outbreak. On Sunday 29th of March, a first case in our 200 people village was diagnosed. So, given the way that the authorities in different countries react, it might be a bit too early to arrive here soon.
Currently in Spain, all non-essential work or travel is not allowed. I am not sure if the border control people consider Workaway essential. Until the moment those restrictions will be lifted it is inadvisable for anyone to try to travel here.
We cannot (by law) accommodate any Workaway volunteers until further notice.
We are sorry about that, but we will welcoming people as soon as it is possible and legal.
Regards and good health to all,
Robert and Tanja
We are Robert and Tanja, originally from Holland but after 17 years living and working in Africa and South East Asia we feel rather cosmopolitan. Tanja works in International Development, Robert is a guide to Birdwatchers. In 2004 we bought a Finca (farm) in Arens de Lledo, in the beautiful Matarranya region of Spain. Ever since, we have been slowly developing the property as a eco-tourism and permaculture project. There is a lot of work as the property is 24 hectares of pine forest, old terraces, riverbank and fields where we want to practice straw bale gardening. We need help in building fences, gardening, building stables (straw bale construction) and a lot of other small projects such as a climbing wall and a zip line!
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2019
In and before 2018 we had seen 18 Workawayers (WAW’s) coming to help on the Finca. Just two people assisted in 2017 and 16 helped in 2018
During this year we also had additional help, not via WAW: Mari, as a WAW, asked if Ida, her sister, could come as well. They were good company to Luisa, who was a WAW. Eric, Robert’s brother helped in the construction of ‘De Beer van Eric’, The Dutch word ‘beer’ means ‘support structure’, ‘Bear’ or ‘Hog’, choose yourself. Jessica came over for some time, she volunteers at the nearby Boodaville permaculture project, but found time to teach about hoof maintenance, the ponies maybe did not like it at first, but they are benefitting. And some friends from the Netherlands, Fer and Tineke a.k.a. Tina, helped to keep things going forward. Water and electricity on the finca restored. In all 24 people volunteered.
So, the list of projects is extensive, not everything has been finished yet, but most of it is functional:
The plants; the hardest part is, still, to water them. The Pistacchio and Almond plants were joined by mulberry and Pauwlonia trees. That meant a lesson in replanting these from their pots. Taking of all soils, untangling the curled roots and dipping them in a clay slurry went like a breeze, even though the plants are not even hip-high, we kind of expect forest giants within the foreseeable future. Are we remaining over-optimistic…?
More about the animals.
We have taken care of some animals that good friends of us could no longer care for.
May we present: Trotter a.k.a. the Hog: the gigantic representation of male porcine virility. Ruth, his betrothed and the mother of Geraldine, the inquisitive piglet. The parents had a fortuitous extra lease on life when the intended butcher fell ill and had to go into surgery. They will survive until February. We’ll find a smaller sized mate as companion for Geraldine.
And on a more equine footing: Bram and Tanzi, two Shetland ponies that have given us a foal, Skye.
The Pig-and-Goat-Pen: We constructed, with help of volunteers, a second paddock for the animals. The pigs did see this as a challenge and took it up. We have now partially reconstructed the separating bit of fence. The Hog just lifted everything (poles, fencing and electric wire) out of the ground. So, we had to put it back. Geraldine, the smallest still runs underneath. These animals however prove to be very popular with the volunteers.
The solar heater. The basic outlay had been done by Argentinian workawayers and, as a transcontinental effort, two Norwegian ladies continued with it, making great progress; still, some final points are needed.
Life in the chickencoop, we started with 5 hens, 1 rooster, and 6 ducks. Currently we have 27 ducks, so 21 extra’s, none of the older ones died. One of the chickens fell dead, and a couple of the new ducks have not made it to New Years Eve, they were all sent to the pigs as extra protein. The chicken need to be told how to breed. They started with a clutch of 13 eggs, but eggs started to disappear and a strong smell pervaded the nest box. When only four eggs were left, the decision was taken to fully investigate. I tried to cut a small window through the harder part of the shell, to have a look inside at the development of the egg. To my surprise, it ‘eggs’ploded, and the smell became unbearable. The hen had clearly spent her time on infertile/non-developing eggs. Maybe they had become too warm.
The ducks needing water, now also have an extra pond. Thanks to two Taiwan WAW’s. This pond is constantly refilled using a small pump, creating a current to improve the water quality.
The Strawbale Stable, this early spring two experienced Dutchies, Roos-Anne and Martijn, did the plastering of the strawbale walls. (Incidentally, the Hog has made an opening into the wall, going for the straw center, and we had to temporarily close the stable). Two other clog-wearers, Koos and Mary, made sure that the roof is really a green roof, many plants are growing there. The latter also lived on the finca for more than a month. Like Maria and Neomar from Greece/Sweden and Venezuela, they were looking for opportunities to buy a finca, and all used their time in Arens de Lledo to scout for possibilities. In the process, Maria even found a new species of bird for the finca: Pied Flycatcher.
Lennard, Tristan, Hannes, Sarah and Vadim kept plants and animals going, because construction was less prominent during their time. In fact, we have now to register the new buildings before the village council is happy again.
At one time, both the finca and the house were run completely by volunteers, as we had to travel to the Netherlands for a funeral and a gall-bladder operation. It was a great feeling to have everything running smoothly upon returning. Thanks to Yu-ze and Li, Mari, Koos and Mary, we could later harvest many eggplants, peppers, some pumpkin, beets and tomatoes.
Stairways (to heaven?), Two stairs have been constructed. One takes you to the second floor of the mas, the cottage. An outside stairway existed, but that was too steep and rickety. Steven, a Canadian put in the effort to create the 12 steps up, it is a royal staircase now, strong, sturdy, safe. Another one, equally useful and safe has been built by a German woman volunteer, Johanna. We use it many times each day.
Almacen numero dos, quite simultaneously we built another storage, next to the chickencoop. This is very strong, concrete floor and roof, brick walls, steel door and minute window. It holds the food for the animals. Lifting the beams was an small thing for the guy from Barcelo, putting them in place was a group effort in Egyptian style, using levers, ropes and a lot of thinking ahead to keep things safe. The roof is designed to become green as well. The measurements were a bit off, so we needed an extension to one part of a wall, the ‘Beer van Eric’ as mentioned before.
To all people who helped so far (In chronological order of arrival):
2017: Lolane, Mathilde,
2018: Leo, Fernando and Monica, Gonzalo, Joaquin, David, Tatiana, Loek and Stella, Katrin, Julia, Philine, Rob, Ayaz, Jože, Barney,
2019: Martijn and Roos-Anne, Ben and Mary, Johanna, Eric, Maria and Neomar, Koos and Mary, Lennard, Tristan, Steven, Yu-ze and Li, Luisa, Mari and her sister Ida, Hannes, Sarah and Vadim, Jessica, Fer and Tineke (friends that worked as hard as workawayers);
To all of you another big “Thankyou”.
Robert, Tanja, Sander and Jasper,
and on their behalf:
Bayley, Leendert, Eleonora, Luisa ꝉ, Blanca and Morena (chickens), Crispr Cas, (the rooster), Bram, Tanzi and the foal Skye, (the ponies), Trotter (the hog) and his partner pig, Ruth with Geraldine, the porcine Houdini. The ducks have no names, neither do they have numbers. Jessica’s four hens, one of which, Cato, is quite imprinted on people, are with us on a holiday. They still thank you as well.
Hilfe bei Ökoprojekten
Betreuung von Tieren
We have had workawayers from many different countries which provides for cultural exchange, you can learn about birdwatching, enjoy the historical villages of Horta de Sant Joan (Picasso), Gandesa, Valdesrobles, Cretas visit the archeological sites nearby, but also have practical experience of building, ecological gardening and animal care.
We would like to get help for 4 to 5 hours a day during the week. We want to construct four emplacements for luxury tenting, and develop an acre of terracces for e.g. strawbale gardening and fruiting trees.
English, French, Dutch (fluently, German and Spanish at a lower level)
The accommodation will be in a comfortable double room in our village house or a bit more basic and off grid in the Maset on the Finca, you can also camp out in your own tent, and we are developing the luxury safari tents later on.
Free time and Weekends can be spent exploring the Els Ports mountains, the Ebro Delta, the coast and many of the nearby villages like Horta de San Joan or Valderrobres.
Eingeschränkter Internet Zugang
Wir besitzen Tiere
Wir sind Raucher
mehr als zwei
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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