This is our sustainable way of living on our 5000m2 property in the south of Holland. We (Peter and Marleen with our 3 children Daaf (14), Emke (11) and Steef (9) ) are building a straw bale house, while living in a temporary house besides the building place. Peter is a arborist, but now only works on the house. We have a large vegetable garden. And furthermore two cats lives here and a bunch of chickens. Piano, guitar, accordion, drum kit, bikes, campfire available!
We are building a straw bale house low cost, low tech, using natural and used materials. Low cost, because we don't want to have a mortgage, en low tech because we want to make things ourselves. A good example of such techniques is our wood splitter, logging wheels etc. During the building process I have used no crane.
The straw bales are placed in the walls, and plastered outside. In spring its time to work on the terrain: pruning willows, felling trees and weeding. When the temperatures raise the work at the interior starts: sanding and oiling roundwood, plastering inner walls, fixing the root cellar, building a pizza oven, etc.. We are very interested in helpers that are experienced in or well motivated to learn working with natural building materials.
We expect from volunteers that they stay connected to our family life: feel free to explore Holland but if you join a meal help cooking or do the washing up or so. You can literally do whatever you want as long as you stay aligned.
Because of fire risk smoking is not allowed on our terrain.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
You will learn working with natural building materials, understand the benefits of living low cost / low tech. We make decisions with sociocraty (every vote counts). If the school agrees, you might visit the democratic school (students are responsible for their own learning process) where Marleen works. If not; our children will tell you all about :-)
The help we can use is plastering walls with clay, oiling interior round wood posts, making root cellar ceiling and walls. The terrain can have some attention; a few trees didn't survive the extreme drought last summer, weed control, maintaining the vegetable garden. Mowing, wood splitting (with Ingmars Klyv), etc.
Caravan besides the house on a 1000m3 meadow. It is a small (max 3 persons) caravan, 40 years old but dry, clean, looks as new and cosy. If sharing the caravan is unwanted, the attic where the straw bales are stored in (2/3 empty) is sleepable and we are preparing the kitchen to sleep there during colder periods.
We are not vegan/vegetarian: we eat eggs, milk, cheese and butter. We don't eat meat except our own chicken, a few times a year...
We live near Schijndel, between Eindhoven and 's Hertogenbosch. Bus 2/h to 's Hertogenbosch (20min) with main train station (Amsterdam 1h, Utrecht 0.5h). 's Hertogenbosch has a nice old town center with pubs / restaurants / museums. Eindhoven is famous as Design City. We can bring you there.
200 meters north of our home is a large (well, for the Dutch...) forest. The environment is nice to bike: forest, meadows, villages with windmills and lots of mais of course. We have bikes and a bike trip map.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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