Help with renovation projects and gardening for our house and land in Zoutleeuw, Belgium

Country

Belgium

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    Last activity

    16/10/2021

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    within 2 days

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  • Description

    Description

    Hi there!

    We are Floor (33), Bruno (42) and Gita (born Aug '19), living in a little house on about 8000 m² of land, which is becoming more beautiful every day. It is our wish that this place may be a home where natural exchange can happen, where we aim for the Highest, and we have space for all. Until now, we have really enjoyed hosting people from all over the world, and we are up for more :-)

    The 150-year old house is small, but it has an extra room for guests and there is the old ‘baking house’ which we use as a guest house, big enough for couples. We also have a very large caravan in thr back. In summer, we can up a large tent for those of you who prefer camping. So there is enough space for you to join the fun!

    The land has a vegetable garden, fruit trees, many kinds of berries, a greenhouse, and lots of space for nature: wild flowers, trees popping up here and there, buzzing bees and singing birds...

    We don't have a paid occupation and so we have no fixed income but plenty of time, which also adds to our efforts to live in a simple self-sustainable way. Money does not interest us more then necessary, and as long as we can do with the little we have, we don't look for more.

    Before we moved in (2016), the land in the back of the house had severely suffered under the strain of regular suppressive agricultural methods. So we decided to plant trees and hedges and sow flowers, and add more of them every year. Now, the land is gaining back its natural beauty, and a rich diversity of living beings increasingly finds its home here. We are feeling the energy of the place rise with their presence.

    In the organic vegetable and fruit garden, we try to implement some important permaculture principles and a bit of bio-dynamic. It is a learning process: we try to observe and read about the things we observe to see how we can improve them. We also learn a lot from the insights of friends and passers-by. We have been adding plenty of organic compost to the land, we use mulch, woodchips, and manure from happy cows… all natural. The garden is still taking shape. We regularly change and new patches every now and then to keep things exciting.

    We also work together with our neighbour, a lady living down the road in a beautiful house surrounded by forest and gardens. She is really into this new ecology and transition movement. We often spend quite some time there and like to support the place with our helping hands. There are a few guest rooms and a separate kitchen, and it is possible for our volunteers to stay there for a while to work on the land and in the garden, if they like.

    During the month of August we set up camp in the south of the country, on a field with a small river. Many people gather there to celebrate life and our summer-time connection. It is an ecological camp, low-impact, with vegetarian food and lots of good vibes: acoustic music, games, bhajan singing, yoga... We can host up to 4 volunteers at any time there, so feel free to apply.

    We believe it is possible for human beings to live in harmony with the natural environment, protecting natural diversity and sharing space with other species. We are truly enjoying this deepening connection with the totality of life around us, of which we feel we are an essential part. Welcome!!!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Language, culture and ever growing experiences in 'natural living, building, gardening and cooking'. And making new friends, of course :-)

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help

    Help

    The 150 year-old house needs plenty of work to be done, from removing what is not needed or doesn't feel good, to restoring what is good and adding beauty and natural efficiency. And the garden… is never-ending :-)

    Here’s a list of things we are working on or will be working on soon:
    - renovating parts of the house with recycled materials, locally sourced wood, lime, hemp, cob...
    - painting with natural home made lime-paint
    - gardening tasks (sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, preparing vegetable beds, mulching, planting trees, pruning, harvesting hay with the scythe… depending on the season)
    - kitchen chores (especially during harvests, we make jams, juices, chutneys and pickles)
    - wood sawing and chopping
    - some construction activities on the sheds - the wooden structure needs to be fixed here and there
    - so many other small tasks that show up every day :-)

    *️️️️️️️️️️️ If you have some specific skill in construction, restoration, gardening or anything else, please let us know. We may get inspired to find the right job for you :-)

    *️️️️️️️️️️️We generally leave you very free to organize your own time. You can work when it suits you and take your 'days off' when it suits you. It's all good, just let us know in time.

    So welcome to our place!!! We are sure you will like it!

    *If you are applying to volunteer at the camp during the month of August, you will join the main kitchen team that provides vegetarian food to all participants, and you could also contribute to the ‘general maintenance’ of the camp.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Hindi: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    Spanish: Intermediate
    German: Beginner

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Basic but comfortable. You will have a room / large caravan / one-room house for yourself, a wood stove for heating, bed & blankets, limited internet access...

    The bathroom is in the main house, and there is a compost toilet outside of the house.

    All meals are shared. We're vegetarians so no meat products here, but we do use organic milk from a nearby farm, and local organic eggs. We choose to eat organic, also a part of our view on a life in harmony with mother Earth.

    We don’t use alcohol, which may be surprising in a country famous for it’s beers. But we don’t mind if you open one once in a while.

    Internet is available with limited data. OK for everything except streaming or downloading videos. We have no television, but we do have a few movies on a laptop you can borrow.

    When we are not working or cooking, we like to play a game of cards, go for a walk, play some music, read, talk, or sit around and do nothing, listen to the birds and the wind in the trees... you are warmly invited to join us for a game, a talk,, a walk, some tea... We really appreciate these moments of sharing, but we also encourage you (and ourselves) to take your own time whenever you feel like it. No pressure here. You can be as you are.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We have a few good bicycles you can use to discover the surrounding area.. Lots of good people/places around to visit. A lake at 10km, small nature reserves, towns, other eco-sustainable projects in the area... Tienen train station is a 25 minute bus ride away and connects you to interesting cities like Ghent (80 min.), Bruges (100 min) , Liège (40 min), Brussels (40 min), Antwerp (90 min), and to the more forested South of the country (120 min). It's a small country, so nothing is very far away. We can help you find your way, and we can even arrange a sleeping place with friends in some of these places if you feel like going for the weekend.
    The nearest supermarket is about 6km away. Two libraries with free WiFi are 6km and 8km away.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week, but this is flexible

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Host ref number: 652347586412