My name is Max, from Friuli Venezia-Giulia, an off-the-beaten track region of Italy, strategically located next to the Venice Region, Slovenia and Austria. I live in a countryside house with my two daughters and aim to be respectful of the planet's resources, appreciate the value of food and achieve a condition that is as eco-sustainable as possible.
My house is surrounded by 12,000 square metres of land, on which 29 ancient mulberry trees grow. In addition, I planted many other fruit trees, including apples, pears, plums, figs, cherries, persimmons, medlars, pomegranates, apricots, hazelnuts, walnuts.
There is also a vegetable plot of about 400 square metres in which pumpkins grow very well!
Chickens and rabbits roam freely and the dog Axel looks after them defending them from possible predators. The chickens provide the best eggs in a radius of many miles as, sadly, people keep their chickens locked up.
On the house, photovoltaic cells are installed for a total power of about 6.6 kWh, feeding a modular Sonnen battery of 7.5 kWh. They also power pumps that send water to the thermal collectors so that from April to September the water is completely heated by the sun. In winter the house enjoys under-floor heating provided by three possible sources: a heat pump, a thermo-fireplace, the solar collectors.
In the garden, three 90-litres compost bins ensure that no organic material is wasted. The resulting compost provides excellent fertilizer for the vegetables and fruit trees. Egg shells are also recycled as fertilizer.
The washing machine is always operated when the photovoltaic system produces enough electricity, and in the kitchen an induction plate allows to cook using the available electricity. However, daytime cooking is also possible with the outdoor, portable solar cooker!
The house is located in the heart of Friuli and is surrounded by vineyards. The view of the Alps on clear days is excellent!
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
There will be plenty of opportunity for cultural exchange, both at home and in the surrounding Friuli area.
Guests will have the chance to learn about local cuisine and history, as well as many aspects related to sustainability. As part of his job, Max often gives presentations on sustainability and on the roles of education and science for the implementation of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
At present I am basically alone trying to keep the "eco-sustainable house" project going.
The help required varies according to the time of year. In winter, preparation of the soil in the vegetable plot takes place, followed by planting in spring. Also in winter, pruning of trees is carried out while the trimming of the hedge can be done more or less at any time of year. Chickens do not require too much attention, apart from water and some grains, as well as an occasional clean of their coop. Wood cutting and piling is a therapeutic activity for any moment. From late spring into the summer, fruit collection and jam making can be a very satisfying and rewarding activity.
An irrigation project for the fruit trees is very much needed, and is being planned.
A guest room is available, with a double bed, a walk-in wardrobe and a bathroom ensuite. While guests will be able to use/cook/eat any of the food in the house for breakfast and lunch, dinners will often be shared with Max.
The expectation will be to help for 4-5 hours per day, starting at 9am.
- smokers cannot be welcomed or accepted;
- people who eat a plant-based diet will be considered as a priority.
Also, no cow milk or dairy products are consumed as cattle are known to be a significant contribution to the greenhouse effect. If you must drink cow milk and eat diary, you will need to make an explicit request.
At times, the host will be away overnight, due to work shifts, which often cannot be known well in advance.
During their free time, guests can walk in the countryside or visit the Friuli Region. A car may be the easiest option, although public transport may also work well: the house is isolated, but with planning you can get a ride to a bus or train. Lovely cities such as Trieste and Udine are a must, and Grado, Cividale and Pordenone are worth visiting. Finally, at least four castles enrich the Region: Miramare Castle, Duino Castle, San Giusto Castle, Gorizia Castle. Natural places are abundant for hikes on the coast, hills and mountains.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
The house connection is poor. Anyone intending to do serious work online should come with their own connection/network.
Plenty of people have stopped their campers on my land.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week