Hello! We are a little family with a little farm Ugla in a beautiful valley Sogndalsdalen, close to the fjord(s) - magnificient Sognefjorden, with all its sidearms, and glacier(s) - Jostedalsbreen, likewise, with all its sidearms. If you in addition to nature like skiing, it might be interesting to know that Sogndalsdalen is known (at least in Norway) for its great skiing conditions during winter. Our farm is approx. 5 km from the village Sogndalsfjøra, which has direct bus (and plane!) connections to Oslo and Bergen (+ direct boat from/to Bergen).
As a little farm, we have a little bit of everything: a few ponnies (one Shetland and three Nordlandshest), a few sheep (three of breed Old Norwegian Sheep), a few rabbits (two females and a splendid Silver male), a few chicken (actually, more than ten now), a few cats (two, black and grey) and a few... no, sorry, one dog (an Irish Wolfhound - he is just one, but as big as a few small dogs together). Our animals are very friendly and tame creatures that are easy (and fun) to get along with - you will learn all names when you come :) We have also a little garden where we grow fruits and vegetables for own use - and a larger market garden where we grow vegetables for sale. During summer we prepare hay ("hesjing"), and collect animal forage from the trees ("styving") in traditional Norwegian ways. We are also currently restoring a pasture overgrown by spruce trees to be once again used for animal grazing.
We need help (described below) with the animals and grass trimming/snow cleaning in period(s) when we are away - but we would like that you stay with us a couple of days before we leave, so that we can show you around (and not the least get to know you!).
During summer, you are most welcome to help us with making hay and "styving" (we will explain, nothing complicated), and with restoration of the pasture (cutting trees and bushes, fixing fences, etc.).
UPDATE SUMMER 2021: Apart from "ordinary" help with haymaking, we are also seeking volunteers for fence reparation/building on a mountain pasture, with accomodation in a mountain cabin - see below for details.
You will have possibility to see a lot of beautiful and unique nature around Sogndal: fjords (including Nærøyfjorden, UNESCO World Heritage Site) and glaciers (including Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen, glacier arms in nearby Fjærland). You will meet interesting old breeds of animals - Nordlandshest (ponnies), Old Norwegian Sheep, Irish Wolfhound - which are not very common anymore. You will experience a life on a little, simple farm on the countryside, something quite different from modern, industrial agriculture. You will meet a multilingual family of a farmer and an ecologist that will be glad to talk with you, and share their thoughts and experiences about life as foreigners in Norway, ecological and traditional agriculture, ecological restoration, etc. During summer, you will have possibility to experience ancient forage harvesting technique of "styving" and making of own hay without using large mechanisms - during winter, we can at least talk about it :)
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
For summer: We need people that like manual work. Prior experience not necessarily needed, but good physical condition is required. For haymaking, we use traditional Norwegian method of drying hay on "hesjer" (racks). So we need help with setting up the racks: carrying the poles (approx. 1.5-2 m long, 5 -10 cm thick) & wire, making holes, setting up racks; raking & carrying & hanging grass on the racks; carrying dried hay to the barn; disassembling of the racks, etc.
For winter: We need a person that likes (to work with) animals, and has at least some prior experience. Help required includes: cleaning the stable, rabbit and chicken houses, and cat toilet (once a day), walking the dog (three times a day), and feeding and providing water for all animals (horses, sheep, rabbits, chicken, cats and dog; twice a day). It is also nice if you can water the plants in the house. There is usually a lot of snow during the winter, so some snow cleaning can be expected as well.
SPECIAL FOR SUMMER 2021: We need volunteers to build/repair fence around a mountain pasture. There are parts of fence that need to be repaired (set up fallen poles, nail the netting on, etc.), some parts are missing and have to be built anew. It is approx. 500 m of fence, partially in quite difficult terrain, so quite heavy manual work can be expected (carrying the poles and netting around, etc.).
You will have your own room with a bed in the farmhouse, together with our family. As you can see by me writing this, we have WiFi :) Bathrooms and living rooms at both floors will be available for you. You can eat with us when we are at home, and prepare your own food in the kitchen when we are away (we cover costs/provide food supplies). The nearest grocery shops are in Sogndalsfjøra, but we usually have quite large stocks of food at home, especially during winter. Smoking is not permitted on the property.
SPECIAL FOR SUMMER 2022: For volunteers for fence reparation, we can provide accomodation in an old mountain cabin. No electricity, drinking water from nearby brook, cooking possibilities on fire or gas stove - simple living conditions, but very cosy and peaceful. The cabin is located right below a mountain plateau with plenty of hiking options, lake(s) and magnificient views.
Time off can be spend by: experiencing the nature around the farm - or, if you have car, around Sogndal, beautiful fjords and glaciers were already mentioned. You can also go skiing if you like. There is a beautiful mountain plateau in walking distance from the farm. Or you can just sit in the living room or at the terrace, read if you like (we have many books on different topics - mostly in German and Norwegian, but also some in English), drink tea/coffee/whatever, and just enjoy the view and silence.
Available transport: bus and plane to/from Oslo and Bergen, boat to/from Bergen.
From Sogndalsfjøra to/from our farm Ugla: own car is certainly easiest, but if you don't plan much travelling around, we can pick you up from the village by our car (and drive you back to the village when your stay is over).
Otherwise - school busses (only outside of school holidays and weekends), bus to Resaland + a walk (30-45 minutes), bicycle (30-45 minutes), walk (1.5 hours?).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day (inclu, 5 days a week (depending on the weather)