We are a married couple with two early teenage children who are attempting to repurpose a two-hundred or so year-old, part half-timbered farmstead, into a place for meditation, contemplation and discovery of the natural world. At least, that is what the general idea is. I am always trying to remember that nothing is permanent.
We are interested in sustainable development in many different forms and hope to cultivate a place based on tolerance and understanding. Focus on physical work, being present when I scythe or wall, I find to be one of the best forms of contemplation there is :)
We have space for either a couple or two individuals in year round accommodation. Part of the work we do is to create gardens and restore areas of land. A lot of the work is quite physical but there is plenty to do on the garden too.
My background is in forestry and land use but my better half is the creative force.
We have two dogs, both of which are now advanced in years and although good with folk, not so tolerant of having their space invaded by other dogs so, sorry to say, other dogs would not be possible.
DIY and building projects
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How long is a piece of string? We live in a small village away from the noise of metropolitan life. This for many can pose a big shock in itself. We are bilingual, so anyone working with me can happily practice their English language skills. I am more than happy to cycle around the area and introduce some of the more interesting perculiarities of the area :) So far I have enjoyed the chance to show many visitors the landscape and history of our area, sometimes from the back of a tandem! Tourism in our region is still very under-developed and there are a great many interesting sights to be seen which are very much 'off the map'.
UPDATE TIME IS HERE AGAIN :)
As a bold experiment, five mulberry are being planted this week. Very soon we will be fitting roof windows into the main proposed meditation room, after which work will start on fitting out the interior into a usable space.
Probably, from now until the end of time, I will need help
with constructing a drystone wall. This will involve moving ROCK, which is not the lightest of stuff but sure helps you focus.
The land may well be muddy, at least if the weather continues to be as mad as at present, so
You will need:
Strong work clothes ( if you do not have any I will see what I can find) We can always wash dirty clothes.
Gloves I will can provide, and any other protective gear, if necessary.
There is always tea or coffee available/
SPRING IS HERE!!
I hope we can get on with the construction of a small tree nursery. Although I intercrop, I am not a fully fledged permaculturalist and so still require help with weeding. I am in the process of creating several different hugel beds and am exploring the idea of creating secluded areas for microclimate enhancement as well as places for contemplation and meditation around the whole farmstead. This year I hope to scythe a much larger area than previous - to allow an increase of cover for animals and birds and to allow for greater seeding time for wildflowers.
A major project will be the creation of a partially sub-ground level greenhouse, but how far I will get with that remains to be seen.
I hope to find someone who can help both Dana and myself to sing!
We are in the process of creating a meditative retreat so in addition to building reconstruction work there will be opportunities to learn how to drystone wall and hedge lay and possibly some basic forestry skills as it is our intention to construct a roundhouse meeting and meditating room within the grounds of our small holding.
At the end of June there will be grass to cut. I can show how to use and prepare a scythe.
Their will be quite a bit of lightish work required to keep the vegetable garden/s in order as well as the greenhouses.
I am considering ways of improving wildlife habitat and would welcome constructive comments. An area of uncultivated land needs to be a little diversified and, with luck and a digger, I hope I will find time to create some wet(ter) land areas too.
I can offer training in some basic skills such as hedge laying, walling and hope that this year we can make more use of local material for fencing.
I hope to start construction of a wood fired bread oven very soon and still have some rendering work to do on the accommodation. There is also some work to do indoors, should the weather take a turn for the worse.
Update: the base has been constructed! Now to build the rest! Hopefully pizza and bread by the autumn :)
Our intention is to turn our site, once used principally as a small holding, into a place of enhanced beauty for meditation retreats and women's groups, with vegetable, fruit and herb production on totally organic lines complimenting rather than dominating our lives (well, to be honest, it does tend to dominate, but there again, work is a great focus. Last year I spent several days scything grass accompanied by storks. I am constantly trying to enrich the site for wildlife, be it leaving areas overgrown or building stone walls to encourage lizards, toads and slow
worms to hold the slug menace at bay.
Accommodation is separate from the main building, recently reconstructed, fully insulated and heated by wood burning stove. Toilet and bathroom are separate and in the main building although we are in the process of constructing other facilities. (I am still in the process, as a large amount of rubble has to be cleared out and water pipe trench dug and buried etc - best not count chickens) I have now prepared some material for an external toilet and want to start work on that this year.
This means that to get to the toilet you will have to cross "The Yard" so I recommend a torchlight.
You will need a sleeping bag.
We do have some blankets. There are two new mattresses and a good size hammock available, The bed is a loft bed, as can be seen from the photo, but the ladder access is steep.
On the log burner a kettle can be used. There is no internet connection in the place but there is in our house for use by agreement. Our private space is our private space!!
Should clothes get wet, there will always be some place to dry them out. Laundry can be done by agreement.
We are located some 20km from the main railway line to Prague, about two hours away. Our principle town is Litomyšl, a UNESCO listed, baroque market town. There is a regular-ish bus service but if I am passing that way I don't mind picking folk up. The usual assortment of eateries are available for the non-veggie (this is rural Czech so veggie options, even in this age, are somewhat limited.
The surrounding area has free access to many kilometers of quiet cycling routes, unlimited hiking. There are some useful apps available and the whole of the country has a wonderful, simple, colour-coded system for both long and short distance paths, which I only wish I had more time to explore. We also have direct contacts with horse riding centers in the vicinity both Dutch and Czech, western and English. Our landscape is one of gently rolling hills and forests with opportunities for discovering wildlife, birdlife and the rich history of the area. I am still discovering new stuff on a weekly basis!
We are well served by a local bus service and always have at least one bike for use. Previously we have hosted groups of young people for work experience placements in forestry as well as professional tours for forestry professionals in both Czech and Slovak republics.
We expect all visitors to be respectful towards the general peace of the village area. . We are not smokers and so must forbid smoking in all buildings. Outside is fine with us as long as no one blows it in my face
We are not, however, the great metropolis of central Europe!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week