Natural building with straw bale walls and clay plaster in North Karelia, Finland



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    Last activity


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    66.7 %

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    Average reply time:

    within 10 days

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    Super Host

 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    We are Mick 41 carpenter from Ireland, Marja 34 from Finland and our two kids Leo 5 and Luna 3 years. We live in the countryside in North Karelia 20 km from Joensuu city center. We are building a debt free, natural, straw bale insulated roundhouse to have a debt free life in. We bought in December 2016 five hectares of forest land adjoining a lake and the fields of Marja's Dads organic vegetable farm.
    We want to live a simple life in the countryside, close to nature and growing most of our own food. In season we pick lots of mushrooms and berries for preserving.
    You will be sharing our rented farm house which is a 500 meter walk through the forest to the building site.
    We are expecting the main house project to last at least 2 years, in 2017 we did the planning, made a road, prepared all the logs, cleared the site, did ground works, foundations and started the timber floor of the house. In 2018 we got the roundwood timber framed walls and roof structure up, and started covering the roof. In 2019 we will finish the roof covering, build straw bale walls, fit windows and hopefully get the walls coated in clay plaster.
    If you have interest in crafting, natural building, working with hand tools, organic vegetable growing, being in nature, following natural seasonal cycles, berry picking, mushroom picking, getting or staying out of the rat race I'm sure we will get along.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Babysitting / child care
    General Maintenance
    Help in the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Learn how to provide yourself with a healthy, beautiful soulful shelter, which you will not need a thirty year bank loan for! Experience living more simply using local food and resources.

  • Help


    We are looking for people with a keen interest in crafts/hand work or an interest in gathering berries in season and harvesting and processing vegetables.
    The tasks will be varied over the length of the project, but will include peeling trees for building wood, general carpentry, roofing, straw bale erecting, clay plastering, general site help such as digging and moving earth, preparing the garden and many other things.
    We have learned from the last years that the longer people stay the better it works out for all involved, and are hoping to have people for a minimum of one month or longer.

    For year 2019 we are looking for helpers for a few different kind of jobs, here we try to describe them as well as possible so that you know what to expect. Please read the descriptions well and tell us what job are you wanting to do:

    Help 1: minimum stay 1 month, the longer the better
    This person will be helping either Mick on the house or helping Marja with other jobs. Whenever Mick needs two people with him you would be the second person. The other time you would be getting building materials ready, tidying up the area etc. and or helping Marja with a number of different jobs around the house such as making the garden. You should have some experience of using hand tools and not be afraid of heights (3-5 meters).

    Help 2: Long-term intern/apprentice, 5-6 months (availability on our calendar does not matter for this position)
    We are looking for someone who is interested in building. You will be treated like an intern/apprentice so Mick will teach you as much as possible during your stay here. You will be helping Mick building the house, being his "second hand". You will be cutting boards, hammering nails, putting roof tins on, building straw bale walls and fitting in windows. You should have some experience of using hand tools and not be afraid of heights (3-5 meters). We use mainly hand tools, Mick occasionally uses power tools for big jobs.
    This help suits a person who would be aiming to learn so they could build their own house some day. The one doing this will definitely learn loads!

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Finnish

  • Accommodation


    We have two bedrooms available in our traditional Finnish farm house. We eat only vegan food. We have all food together, simple, local wholesome mostly organic food.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Free time: we live by two lakes to swim in, we can give you bicycles to go for a cycle and you can cycle to Joensuu 20km, there is a restaurant in the local village! You can do berry and mushroom picking later in the summer, walks in the woods, we have regular sauna.

  • 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?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

New compost toilet at the building site
Post and beam structure waiting for braces
Building our cob oven
Hand carved spoons

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Host ref number: 722448694749