Help our family in Ostashkov (about 7 hours from Moscow) with eco building and gardening, Russia



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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    We are a small family with many friends nearby. Our family consists of me (Nasta - 46), my husband Victor (61), my father Adi (79), my daughter Tess (23) and 4 out cats. My daughter tried being a helper last year in Check Republic and made a great experience. Now she is a student and study in Europe (in CR) and has many friends all over the world. She will correspond with you, because we are in the village and sometimes communication with us is difficult. Internet connection is sometimes absent there. She sends all the necessary information to us over the phone.

    We don’t like living in a town. We moved from the city to try alternative life style. We have two old houses in a small village near the river Volga and many projects to realize there.
    The most important is that we need to spend the rest of our life active – doing something interesting and useful. That’s why we want to turn our old house into an recreation center and the land around into an ecological garden and the place with hand-made things.

    The main component planned is an international art workshops and exhibitions, tools to try different handicrafts, base for recreational sport especially aquatics in the beautiful area with many places of interest such as disappear villages, narrow-gauge train line and an old town with beautiful architecture.
    We hope people from different countries join us to start an international Art projects in giving workshop for everyone who loves construction work and hand-made things. This might include learning about self-sufficient way of living as well as permaculture and so on.

    We are interested in eco building. We have a range of building projects involving natural, local and recycled materials such as clay, straw, sawdust, bottles, lime, wood and stones. We are building a small cob cottage not for a living but for the soul.

    The author and the architect of this cob house is my daughter. The main idea is to prove whether it is possible to build a house without money. It is really possible! We have managed it this year, our walls are quite ready.

    Next summer we will build cob walls in the second floor, experiment with clay, making rocket stoves (may be) and other things.

    This is a good chance to get stuck into various aspects of eco building.

    We like to do things on our own and not buy them when possible. We hope in the future to add some animals to us so that we can become more self-sufficient. We want to make the project self-sustaining and profitable at the expense of people who want to relax here, learn a foreign language and get acquainted with permaculture.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Language practice
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Things we can teach you:
    - we can teach you the wall technique with cob (clay+straw+sawdust) ,a slow but very nice technique to make walls without cement
    - putting straw-mud plaster on the cob walls
    - making toys of wool, straw, grass, clay, paper and wood
    - making tea of medical herbs
    - cooking national food and many useful things such as bread, ice cream, sweets

    Things we want to learn from you:
    Everything! In different fields of life. We would be glad if you help us to develop our farmstead.
    Our dream is a rocket stove. But nobody knows how to make it:) May be you are skilled in it.
    Languages, of course. We and our friends would like to practice foreign language.

  • Help


    So, what we are looking for?
    Hands are welcome, ideas even more!
    Frankly speaking, there is a lot of varied work. Depends what your talent and preferences are and on the stage of the project’s creation.
    Our main plans for the next summer are:
    - reconstruction of the house;
    - and the aforementioned ruin which is a small house which we would like to fix up but don’t really know where to start;
    - construction of the roof in the adobe house. We are looking for people to help with wood construction.
    Other plans are:
    - making sheds for animals (for goats, I mean);
    - preparing a place near cob cottage for making some garden furniture and outdoor oven there;
    - repairing an old dugout (shelter)
    - building a fence (perhaps)
    - painting: always possible for handy people
    Moreover, there are many not very exciting but absolutely necessary tasks such as:
    - cutting the grass
    - gardening and making new parts of garden
    - fire wood cutting: we have a lot of trees that have to be also dropped
    - conservation of seasonal food
    - picking up water and chopping firewood
    - cleaning around the house

    Helping hours:
    We don’t think too much about counting hours. Border between work and rest is anyway not very clear in our lifestyle :)
    You can come for a few weeks or for a few months. If you fill yourself as a part of a family you might stay as long as possible and return as much as you wish.
    If you want to volunteer and to work on your personal portfolio that is a good combination.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English (me – basic) and German (me and my husband -basic), Czech (Tess-advanced), France (my grandfather - basic), Spanish (our friend – advanced). Our best friend and our neighbor is a professional translator (English +Spanish) so it is a great deal for

  • Accommodation


    General speaking living in our village is back to nature. If you can get on without a big comfort this accommodation might be cozy for you.
    There is a lot of place both in the stove heated house and for the tent on the meadow. The room is not luxury of course but warm even if it is cool weather.
    We are self-sufficient in the basic resource (water from a well, wood for heating from forest), a compost toilet and we use a ceramic stove in the house.
    We have wireless Internet connection, sometimes slow (remote area). We don’t have automatic wash machine.
    Sauna is available every day but we should pick up firewood for it in the forest:)
    There is a lake, which comes very handy during hot summer days too.
    There is no shops and no roads in our village. However, it doesn’t mean that it is an irresistible problem:)

    We are not vegetarians (but not eating meat every day!) It is no problem-cooking vegetarian if you are that way inclined.
    We are non-smokers. If you need to smoke, you can.
    We have place for 10’s but can’t provide food for all right now, so we recommend 2 to 3 people at one time.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Entertainment and places to see:
    You can also enjoy plenty of sports here: swimming in a lake nearby, fishing. It is available water skiing and surfing in the neighbor village (but you must pay for motor petrol). There is a beautiful forest nearby, where you can just take a walk and relax. Picking up mushrooms and wild fruit (cranberries, bilberries, strawberries& raspberries) all grow in the forest near the house.
    We hope you will teach us how to relax because sometimes we forget it, really. There are many places to see: an old town Ostashkov, church Nilova Pustin and others.

    How to get:
    First of all you need visa in Russia. We can not help you with a private visa because in spring and summer we will live in a village, not in Moscow, where we have a registration. If you are an employee, then it's easiest for you to get a business visa for 1 month. If you are unemployed then you can get a tourist visa.
    As for transport:
    First variant - from Moscow. You need take a bus from the bus station Tushino (Tushinskaya metro station - purple line). A bus goes From Moscow to Ostashkov every day at 7:45, 10:45, 14:30. The way from Moscow to Ostashkov takes about 7 hours by bus.
    Second variant - from Saint Petersburg. You need take a high-speed train Sapsan number 753A from Saint Petersburg at 7:00 to the station Bologoye. You will be in Bologoye at 8:51. In Bologoye you need to transfer to another train number 6691x : Bologoye - Velikie Luki. This train goes BE CAREFUL! - 5 times per week. You need to see his schedule in Google. This train departs at 9:40 and has a stop in Ostashkov at 12:30.
    In Ostashkov we will met you.

    In additional:
    We like to have a good energy on the house where everyone can be open with ideas and opinions.
    If you are thinking about visiting us and have some questions, write an email!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

in the evening
cob cottage 2016
I reap the rye
sculpture of clay
water skiing
hand-made toys
wild berries in the forest
One of the room in the house where we cook and eat. Other are something like that
ice skating on the lake in winter
Our house
The wiev of the village
Tess-the main architector near her cob cottage

Host ref number: 637524152411