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Hello! I am Johannes a 40-year-old Kindergarten educator with two young daughters and a black cat.
I try to live a sustainable lifestyle which means crazy much work but also enables me to have a lot of time outdoors around my two girls and be an example for them about caring about this planet.
We live in a very, very big, ca. 250 years old farm house. We have a big garden with a natural brook running through and some chicken. The house is located right on the famous St. James's Path/ the Road to Santiago at the edge of the beautiful Black Forest Natural Park, between Horb am Neckar and Freudenstadt in the south of Germany.
I have that enormous big house (900m²) and at the moment only less than one quarter of it can be used for living. My dream is to repair it and make step by step a place for exchange and living of people who are into, music, art, traditional building, philosophy, and for cultural and international exchange. This is my dream for the future, but first the house needs to be repaired. I'm grateful for any help here. Very often people help in the household or garden and assist me with the building projects in the house.
This year we need house-, animal - and garden sitters during August.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The region we live in is beautiful and peaceful. It is a place for quiet country life, for returning back to the nature, for being true to yourself and enjoy each peaceful moment. The famous "Road to Santiago" (Jacobsway or St. James' Way) is right at our door step. We enjoy greeting pilgrims from our balcony now and then.
I live by purpose a mindful, traditional Black Forest lifestyle and I only recently became aware of the renewed interest for this kind of lifestyle. Your stay here is a big chance for you to live a life “Fridays of future- youngsters” would likely urge for. Living with me means always asking yourself how to leave a positive footprint in your environment
I loved unconventional traveling, and I have traveled intensively by bicycle and donkey around Asia before my children were born. I will have many interesting stories to share with you.
I usually talk with workawayers in English. If your German is enough for having a good conversation, we can also talk in German. As the kids are half Chinese and half German they also understand Mandarin :)
I only work half days at the Kindergarten. This way I have a lot of time for my kids and my many ongoing projects. I do my best to get my food from my garden and my chicken and buy as little products as possible, therefore I mostly eat local and seasonal food.
I try my best to keep IT-things and screens away from my kids when they are at my place. That means that you will only be able to use your mobile phone or Computer inside your own room and I’m strict about this.
In my experience, workawayers coming from cities sometimes need a little bit of time to get adjusted to the daily life here. If you are not used to this kind of lifestyle, the first days might be challenging for you. Plan a long stay if you can, as this will leave you time to adjust and become comfortable with this lifestyle.
What you could learn here:
- How to use old, often already forgotten handyman skills (carpenter skills, making clay walls etc.)
- If you stay for very long you can get also introduced to working with different kinds of power tools.
- How to process firewood for the winter
- How to prune fruit trees
- How to care for the vegetable garden (I try to follow the principles of biodynamic gardening)
- How to do landscaping
- how to get close to a no waste-lifestyle
How to breed chicken and ducks
- How to slaughter animals (is rare)
- How to preserve fruits and vegetables for the winter
- How to use traditional herbal medicine (collecting the herbs in nature and processing them)
- how to reduce drastically the consumption of water and energy
- how to live a life with nearly no screens (mobil, computer, TV etc.)
- If there are other workawayers here (I can host up to 6), you’ll have great chances to meet people for cultural exchange
- How to live a steady lifestyle in following the rhythm of the nature
All in all, I believe that the right helper will come to us at the right time, so that we can share a part of our life journey together. I am thankful that this workaway platform makes this possible. So write to us and we will always reply (within two days), and hopefully greet you at our beloved countryside home! ^_^
First of all I tried to press all possible information into this page please read it carefully and only ask for information which are not already given here.
We have no capacity for people who have to go in corona-quarantine in our place.
I dream to find people who are used to working with their hands efficiently (fast and good result) and love physical activity. That people do not need to be physically very strong or specifically trained, but practically minded, able to learn fast new manual skills, and are willing to get things finished in a reasonable time. They also would need to be able to keep on a task with endurance and concentration and last but not least take care not to create damages while they work.
By experience I need to say that the most important thing for a good fit is that there is, in sharing the daily life here, a natural feeling of a good fit between host and workawayer. This sounds perhaps strange but sometimes there are workawayers don't fit into our conscious needs and ideas at all, but after they arrived here, it turns out that there are any hidden skills or emotional fits which are above our dreams. This unexpected fits are often the most benefiting for both sides.
The other very important point is if workawayers can identify with the place, the rules, and the project, as we are as a family not very flexible and also not willing to adjust much towards the needs of the workawayers.
I realized both factors can't be planed or foreknown in advance. By that, I need to say:
I want to invite everyone who wants to come and with whom I could at any possibility imagine that it could be a good fit and give me, him or her a chance and a try. On the other side I have no hesitations to end a stay as soon it turns out to be not benefiting.
Most workawayers are from cities and we of course welcome them here, but we want them to be aware that the first 2 weeks can be very challenging being confronted with a completely unknown “museum-like” simple lifestyle and world. Here they have the opportunity to learn about and take part in the traditional country life of the region.
People who are used to working with their hands and exposed to daily farm life despite coming from completely different cultures find it extremely easy to adjust to our daily way of life.
By experience, after 2 weeks of their stay, people either leave or get used to the place and feel mostly that it has a great and peaceful impact on their soul. People who stay longer than one or two months with us often leave as a different person as they arrived and describe that they had reached an inner development or self awareness here.
In general, I need support on various aspects of my busy life in and outside the house. Here are some examples: preserving vegetables or fruits for the winter; landscaping and gardening (both for vegetables and for beauty); repairing the very old sandstone walls of the house; sanding old furniture; stacking fire wood, moving building materials. As I don't have many animals, the care for them is only a little job. Some of the tasks only seasonal or dependent on weather conditions or on their urgency.
In the winter, I would also be happy to have people who are good at needlework, mending old clothes could be also a possible task to do. Also artist who know how to paint with acrylic in naturalistic style are welcomed.
Musicians would also be very, very welcomed as I do not have a TV. After working time, I would love to enjoy live music. I play the violin and sometimes like to sing. If wished and joyful to all, I offer to free the musicians from other works for their time of playing music for all.
I have children and I am grateful for every moment they are with me. They are one week at their mother’s place and one week at my place. In the week where they are with me, I do spend nearly all time with them and I would expect workawayers to take their free time during the period that I am not around.
In the time without kids I will be often around the workawayers in the time the Kids live with me I stay mostly in privacy with them. I work every day from Tuesday till Friday from 8 am till 1.30 pm at my Job. That means I only can collect workawayers from train station after 2.15 pm. In the week I have the kids I be busy between 6 and 8 pm to bring the kids to bed.
We have one double and one single room for guests in a separate part of the house. This area is nicely renovated with exposed timbers, which are filled with natural clay. The rooms have washbasins.
In addition, there is space in not yet fully finished (but with heating) rooms, in the attic, or in the barn. Sometimes, workawayers groups decide to share the big workawayer living room all together like a dormitory. Finally, if you bring a tent you of course are welcome to camp in the garden.
If there is no worldwide corona crisis, mostly in the summer, I sometimes host about six or seven workawayers at the same time.
I try to provide a single room to every workawayer who has the need for that privacy, but I cannot guaranty that you would not sometimes have to share room with other workawayers. It is very rare, that there is not a solution acceptable for all.
If you need to work on your computer you have WIFI nearly everywhere in the house also in your room.
As I and my kids try to live as much as possible an analog life your digital tools and toys (mobile, smart watch, laptop etc.) are restricted to be only located and used in your rooms and the workawayer area. It would be nice if you could use that as a chance to reconnect to the real world and yourself.
There is a lot to do and to see in our region. There are many hiking paths that go through a number of middle age towns. A ruined castle can be seen from our house. Nearby are many small farms and a bio buffalo farm, an outdoor swimming pool, a barefoot park, a number of museums presenting the traditional lifestyle of the region and its rich historical past, various sized gardens, beautiful forests. The low light pollution allows for good star gazing.
I also have a nice library and a number of music instruments waiting for you including a piano to play them.
If you want to dive into city life, the nearby little cities are Horb am Neckar and Freudenstadt, both about 20 minutes away by car. From Horb, there are direct express trains and the highway (A81) to Stuttgart. There are local buses from our little town to the nearby big towns, i.e. Sulz and Freudenstadt. Other nice places to visit are Alpirsbach, Tübingen, Hohenzollern but unfortunately they are not that frequent, especially during the holiday time as in every other remote region. You can always borrow a bicycle from me, if you are really fit, as it is a really hilly region. The challenge for fitness and nice view on the way, however, are for sure guaranteed! ^_^
Think of the often rather cold temperatures and bring warm clothes. Additionally, for working you will need suitable shoes.
Please take it serious that you need a valid health insurance.
I am very committed to be a good host and I am searching for similarly committed workawayers. Please only apply if you:
- are willing to challenge yourself by experiencing a life that may be tough and tiring at first
- take responsibility of your own words, e.g., if you say: "I will come!" then you really do come. So, please NO LAST MINUTES CANCELATIONS.
- be ok to share room with an other workawayer.
- are open minded and willing to adjust to our family and house rules and the regional culture and mindset.
- accept that as soon as someone feels uncomfortable with the stay, then the stay can be ended by the host or workawayers. (this would anyway be the case with all workaway-stays at any place, but I still want to stress this point. As a family we decided that we have no capacity for trying around. in case it does not fit or does not feel good we end the stay immediately).
- are ok to take part in the cleaning of the household you share with me, as I do not want to end up having more housework by having workawayers. Helping to keep the shared household area running would be on top of the 4 hours help that you have to do. The housework would normally take me (the host) about one hour and you might do it faster or slower. For example, keeping the kitchen clean or watering the garden and caring for the animals.
if there is only one or two workawayer we often change the way after the individual needs and often the workawayers work 5 hours on the building but do not do the housework.
Other informations are:
1. For all vegetarian and vegans - we do eat meat once or twice a week (mostly pork from the bio -farm close by).
I cannot afford to buy any extra diet special for vegans or specific religious groups. I always provide the same food to workawayers as I eat myself. Until now vegans, vegetarians, Muslims or Inuits always managed to pick out the food acceptable for them, but of course in winter it is much more difficult than in summer and fall when the garden is full of crops.
2. We offer food but we do not always prepare it for you. Mostly if it fits well by life- situation we will cook and eat together like a big family. But there is no guarantee for that and I have to admit, that food, cooking and eating has not a very high importance in our life. Even we eat mostly own products we try to minimize the time in the kitchen
Often you need to cook and eat your food for yourself, as I would be busy or the family would need some private time in their area of the building
3. I do not write invitation letters or be part of a visa run.
4. If you arrive by train in Freudenstadt, pay attention to the station at which you get off (Stadtbahnhof Freudenstadt or Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) Freudenstadt) so that I know where to come and pick you up.
5. If you are not very, very familiar or even professional with building and gardening you need to speak and understand English or German very well in order to understand the explanations about the work.
6. Most of the tasks will be done in very dusty conditions (I provide face masks for the dust) and the house can also be quite dusty in the winter because we heat with wood, so if you have any problems/allergies with dust it may not be the best fit.
7. I cannot afford to pay money for your work. Your help is only in exchange for food, accommodation and to get know regional skills, culture, lifestyle, and knowledge.
Thank you for your understanding and I am looking forward to welcoming you at my home!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
4 hours a day, 5 days a week. In addition shared household tasks are daily duties of the workawayers.
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