Hey it's us, Lin and Alef! Ah, and let's not forget our two kids Indi and Jona (5 and 3 y/o). We live and work on a small homestead just outside of Amsterdam and we'd love to have you over to experience the real Dutch countryside. Positions for Summer 2019 have filled up by now. There are still possibilities for September, October and November. That's still far into the future though, so bear with us if you send us a message.
Our old wooden farm house is located in Muiden, a tiny town just 10km East of Amsterdam. Apart form a big vegetable garden that provides us with lots of food we have some 20 fruit trees that we use to make cider and other goodness. There's also about 2ha of pasture facing the 12th century castle that's literally in our backyard. We use the pasture for our sheep, our Shetland pony and if it's windy to fly a kite with the kids.
We try to eat as local as possible always organic. We bake (and sometime sell) our own sourdough bread using flour from an 200 year olld flour mill (we'll take you there; it's lovely). We have two flocks of chickens that provide us with plenty of joy, and the occasional egg and the little amount of meat we eat has been raised right here on the property.
I should by the way not forget to mention Toma our 1 year old Ridgeback puppy, three cats and a swarm of bees.
There's always plenty of work and there are always lots of ideas for improvements. We like to take things step by step though as we like to enjoy the process and not feel rushed.
It all started 6 years ago when we were still living life in the fast lane. Myself, I'm a typical example of a college dropout turned entrepreneur and my wonderful wife Lin was a scientist (infectious diseases) and compensates for me with her double MSc. and Phd. degrees. We took a temporary sabbatical and had our first baby.
We spent some time in Italy to wean ourselves from the fast-paced life we had. We were totally immersed in nature on a tiny Alpine meadow in Northern Italy. The temporary sabbatical turned into a permanent one.
Italy was great but in the end we missed The Netherlands too much. We realised our home really was 'back home' and that's when we returned to Holland. Windy, sometimes rainy, perfectly flat but for us, the best country in the world...
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Well, we really like sharing the Dutch way of living and very much welcome all cultures from all over the world at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table. For us, it's like we're travelling ourselves a little bit ;-).
The area we're in is very typical for Holland: polders, flat lands and (occasionally) lots of wind.
We speak Dutch, English and Italian, so if your idea is to improve either one of those languages, that's also something you'll take away.
We've ran a vegetable garden for quite a number of years now, so we know what we're doing. But then again, if you have tips and tricks or are a master gardener, you're more than welcome to share your knowledge! Other than that we bake about 10-20 loaves of bread on a weekly basis (all sourdough with local flours), totally by hand, which is something I'd gladly teach you as well.
Last but not least, if time permits, we'll take you out to some of the sites around the area that are not very well-known to tourists.
Sharing the local and simple life, that's what we like to do here at Vrede Rust. We do that in all sorts of ways such as baking and selling bread and other farm products and offering two cabins people can rent out.
The vegetable plots, the orchard, the greenhouse, the micro bakery, the animals, making cider, the two cabins we rent out; that is what keeps us busy right now.
For 2019 we are looking at the following activities organised by month mainly:
*️️️️️️️️️️ March: we've upgraded the vegetable garden in several areas. We've added some more perennials (mostly berries), planted a sloe hedge and prepped most of the best. Indoor seeding has started. We've also built a compost toilet and cladded the indoor cabin (see some of the photos).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ April: we've got the garden started. We've prepped all the beds for seeding and planting, starting seeding a lot indoors and transplanted the tomatoes. We've made our own tea mixes that we'll start to sell during the Summer at our road-side stand.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ May: we continued the work in the garden and did some haymaking (the old school way, with the scythe). We built a solar dehydrator that's cranking out herbs and other things for our tea mixes now.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ June: if we get through the months of June weed-free, the rest of the season will be great. That's what they say at least. Other than spending time in the garden we plan a building project in June. Maybe we upgrade the straw cabin or extend the public terrace a bit. Maybe we'll build a new covered area for the bees and there's a rainwater cistern that we might want to get connected.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ July: this is when harvesting and processing season really kicks in, the pace picks up. Pickling, freezing, fermenting, et cetera. Hay making will happen this month (with the scythe) or depending on the weather in August.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ August: harvesting and foraging for blackberries. We usually make enough blackberry (and red currant) jam for an entire year and then some. So we put our boots on and search for the best berries in the area. Lots of plums from the garden to be harvested as well. We are also planning to host pop up restaurant in the meadow or in the orchard this year (a week long) so there will lots of preparations in this area as well.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ September: apple & pear harvest begins. This is probably the busiest month of the year. We harvest all the fruit, make cider, dry apples and process them otherwise. Also lots of baking of cakes to keep the spirits up :-).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ October: lots of processing and harvesting still going on.
Other than that there are always the daily farm chores to do. The animals need to be fed (pigs / sheep / cats / chickens, pony), Toma (our Rhodesian Ridgeback) needs a bit of exercise every day. The grass needs to be scythed. The greenhouse has to be watered. And there's always some maintenance and painting here and there.
Bread baking is something you can participate in as well if you like (sourdough, completely by hand) and if you like cooking, you're more than welcome to bring your own recipes to the table.
Last but not least, we expect you to participate in the daily household chores (washing up, setting the table, et cetera) and if entertaining the kids is what you like, you've also come to the right place. The kids speak English quite well and when they don't, they can always teach you a bit of Dutch.
Hours depend a little bit on the type of task we have at hand. 25 hours max per week though. We're flexible though, so if on one or two days you'd like to do a little more to take a day or two off, that's fine too. Let's discuss. The daily routine looks like this:
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Breakfast between 7.30am and 8.00am (Mo-Fr) and 9'ish or later (Sa-Su)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Dropping off the kids for school at 8.15am
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Start of work at 8.45am - 9.00am
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Coffee time 11.00am
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Lunch at 1.00pm
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Finishing up work at 2.30pm - 3.30pm depending on the pace of the day
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Dinner around starting around 6 or 7pm
To give you an idea, here's a list of projects we've finished over the last few years:
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ We've recently built a mobile chicken coop
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ We've built two cabins for guests
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ We've created a hop patch and planted it
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Some 300sqm vegetable garden has been created over the course of 3 years
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ There's a publicly accessible terrace including vending area we've built
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ We've completely renovated the outside of the main house
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ A rainwater collection system and pump was installed in 2017
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Renovation of the greenhouse was done in 2016
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ We remodelled the garden to include a parking area and berry patch
Dutch, English, Italian and Spanish
There are three accommodations. If the cabins are in use, you'll sleep in the big bedroom in the downstairs area near the kitchen. But, if that's not the case you'll be in one of the two cabins. One is in the barn and one if outside in the orchard. We rent them out on AirBnB normally and they both get 5-star reviews, so you'll sleep like a king ;-). You'll be totally immersed in the family, so you have access to all areas in the house as well.
We try to live a healthy life, spent lots of time in the kitchen, bake our own (sourdough) bread, cook from scratch, using fresh ingredients where possible from our own garden. If in season there's fresh fruit directly from the orchard. It'd be great if you can add to our healthy lifestyle and bring your own recipes, tips and tricks!
In terms of surroundings, Muiden can't be beat. We're just 10 kilometers east of Amsterdam. By car it takes about 15 minutes to get there. The train leaves from Weesp (a 10 minute bike ride) and takes 20 minutes. The bus stop (with departures every 5 minutes) is situated just on the other side of town and brings you to Amsterdam in about 30 minutes. You can also take one of our bikes to cycle to Amsterdam (which will take you anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes depending on how fast you go ;-).
The small village of Muiden is very historic (it's older than Amsterdam) and right in our backyard we have Muiderslot, one of the most famous castles in The Netherlands (built in the 12th century). There are also several cozy bars and restaurants in town and a small variety of shops.
We're 5 minutes away (walking) from the center of the Muiden and we're in a polder with plenty of birds, cows and sheep around. The polder is (as much of the Western part of Holland) below sea level and protected by a dike. Beyond the dike (offering a nice walking trail) there's a large lake called the Markermeer. If you like water sports you can take out our kitesurfing gear and cycle to the local (small) beach (10 minutes) to get turn some kite loops (by the way, only for people that have proven experience with kite boarding ;-).
Last but not least, if you're inclined to get in touch with us please mind the following:
1. On diet; while we have a very health diet, I have to mention that we are NOT a gluten-free household (the freshly baked sourdough bread has lots). Breakfast is porridge with some added fruits, lunch is typical Dutch with sandwiches with cheese, jam, peanut butter and when available some salad or tomatoes. We do try to eat as local as possible, so there's no avocados every day ;-). Do let us know if there's any dietary considerations, that way we can accommodate.
2. We take on people for a period to 10 days to 3 weeks. We feel this works best for us and alternate having people over with relatively quite periods in between.
3. If you're interested in staying at out place, we do a Skype call to get to know each other a little bit and only then confirm a stay. We feel this makes all the difference in making the right decision, not just for us, but also for you.
4. Amsterdam is near and having lived right in the red light district with its numerous coffee shops (that don't sell coffee) we understand the city has a certain number of attractions you won't be able to find anywhere else. We understand you will want to go into the city, but don't expect us to party on with you (we have kids you know ;-) and... we have an absolute zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug use on the property. Also, we are a non-smoking household and cannot host smokers.
5. We will ask you to leave a copy of your passport upon arrival (we have a printer so can make one for you). We like to have some info on hand in case of an emergency.
6. We have two kids almost 4 and almost 6 and there's usually more visiting throughout the week. 80% of the time kids are happy and smiling but occasionally things are not moving along smoothly for an hour or so. Kids cry occasionally. We just want to let you know that our kids do too :-).
7. We will welcome you as part of our family and we expect you to act like that too. This means we try to share meals as much as possible but if you're out for the weekend or evening, that's of course fine.
8. On cellphones; we try to limit cellphone use in the house as much as possible. No cellphones and screens are used in the entire house, except for one small area in the side kitchen and of course the private quarters. Why? Well, we can talk about that when you're here.
9. We have spent time on presenting ourselves in as much detail as we can on workaway.info. We expect you to do the same, so if you consider getting in touch with us please make sure you have a complete profile that tells about yourself, your interests and your motivation to do what you're doing. Also tell us why you want to volunteer at our place specifically. We very much appreciate a personal message.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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