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We, my husband and I live in Balen, Belgium, in a big house, with our animals, 2 horses and 2 mini-horses (stallions), 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a few hens. In summer we host swallows and a church owl has a nestbox in the barn. Our land is approx. 4 ha. and is situated in the midst of nature. We are surrounde by woods. On one side of the nature reserve are landdunes and on the other side you find quaking bog.
We are fulfilling our dream and are in the making of this place an ecoasis and eqoasis for our horses. We want to design the place as much as possible following permaculture principles. We want to keep our horses as 'natural' and ecological as possible. We call it... a place to explore and discover.... to meet and encounter to grow, develop, thrive.... to reflect and to meditate. A place to come at rest, closer to nature and your own true nature. A place to do what has to be done ánd to enjoy it. A place to share.
We also offer reflective coaching with our horses for individuals, group, teams and organisations. You can interact with the horses on the pasture, but you can not ride them.
We can use help in all areas involved.
We welcome help for mending fences, painting fences, stable doors and windows, some construction work etc. There are also the daily chores of cleaning the pastures and weeding the poisonous jacobea. Since we work ecologically there is also a lot of weeding work around the house.
Ingrid also loves all textile crafts and arts.
Although we are in the midst of nature and only reachable by a sandy path of 1 km by car, there is a bus 'on demand' that stops within 100 m reach of the house and a train station in our village that has a direct train to Antwerp (1 h) or Hasselt, Brussels is about 1:30 h. We also have bikes for our guests.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
You will stay in a unique natural biotope in the world, where land dunes are also 200 m away from marsh/swamps, so you can go walking, running, biking... (We have 2 bikes that you can use). You easily find your way because there is a smart system with nodes. We have maps of the area, but you can also have an app on your smartphone. You won't get lost and feel free to enjoy the area.
In summer that are a lot of different small festivals in the neighborhood - at which you can also volunteer :-) and get free entrance and/or drinks. There is an abbey nearby with a huge herb garden, with it's own bread, beer and cheese. Belgium is famous for it's different beers. Foreigners often underestimate the strength of the beer (so be warned :-)). In Balen there is also a "café"/ bar where you can meet a lot of youth.
Mol is a charming town nearby with a small river. You can also find all kinds of cafées/ bars and a youth house too. In the surroundings there is a 'silver lake' where you can swim and even take a boat trip or sail, surrounded by forest. There is also a sports harbor and a high tower with a viewpoint where you can see the whole region (one of the nicest viewpoints in Belgium, says the newspaper :-)).
I love experimenting with making my food more alive (germinating seeds, fermentation...). I love to learn about self-sufficiency, wild edible plants, and I have done a Permaculture Design Course - I want to apply the principles here as much as possible. I'm interested in aquaponics and also agroforestry, but don't know enough about it.
If weather is not so good, I have a big library on different topics (psychology, sociology, ethics, philosophy, organisations, communication, horses, learning and developing with the assistance of horses, permaculture... a lot of them in English). I also know something about textile and different crafts.
Luc plays guitar, if you push him a little :-)
You just tell us what you are interested in, and we'll help you out as much as we can.
We need help in and around the house:
painting in and outside the house ( only if you have experience and work neatly); helping in the garden;
maintaining the pastures and making them fit for the horses...
cleaning joints in walls and flush them again (experience needed)...
If you have experience with chickens and chicken tractors and want to build one.
If you know a lot about fruit trees and shrubs, you could help us out to design a part of our garden.
Any ideas about improving the infrastructure are welcome.
I have a lot of ideas, but we don't always have the right skills to accomplish them :-).
We can offer you a room (which may be shared with a friend, or partner) when you are coming with 2. There is plenty of room and we can find all kinds of solutions. Meals are shared. Sometimes we also have 2 workawayers that don't know each other in 2 different rooms...
We don't allow smoking in the house, prefer non-smokers. We prefer quiet and peace. We can help you to find your way around, if needed, bring you to the trainstation, etc. We expect you to work some 4 or 5 hours 5 days of the week, but it depends on the needs. We are flexible.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Internet works fine here, Cellphone connection is not great. You have your own room with a desk.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week