We are young, small multi cultural family and we run an organic goat farm and cheesery.
We have around 120 milking goats and from the milk we make different kind of cheese - fresh cheese, feta style, Camembert, semi-hard cheese. We take also cow milk from the neighbor cow farm and we make Camembert and Mozzarella out of it. Most of the cheese is going to be sold each weekend in the capital - Riga (170 km away).
We try to be as much as possible independent and to live in a harmony with nature. We make our own bread, collecting berries and mushrooms in the forest, have a small garden by side.
Steffen is German, has been studying geology,lived in Norway and traveled a lot around Europe with his Landrover Defender. Likes to discuss about social topics, politics, travels, interested in life stories and history, gets mad if someone is illogical and unfair. A friend told about him: he is geologist, but definitely very far from being a hard stone hearted one.
Ruta is Latvian and is proud to be a farmer lady, not always very talkative, but it might be just the point of the mood and topic..., otherwise warm, friendly and hospitality - enjoying more to have guests as to be a guest ;) Loves nature, animals, cooking, handcrafts and my family, finds herself in to folk, traditional old things and knowleadge, paganism and latvian sauna philosophy. It depends of you and your attitude, you might find her as a great,open, caring friend or an arrogant and rough lady with who is hard to deal.
Rūsiņš is an active, smart and friendly 11 years old boy. He will definitely ask for his attention. If he likes you, he will enjoy to show you goats, farm, play with you table games or football, practice his knowledge of English and German, the world and animals. Our second son - Jurģis is going to be 4 years old in April 2019. He is very interested to give a help in everything what the adults does, the absolute favorite is outdoors and tractors! We hope to have volunteers, who is NOT ANNOYED to have children around, who asks for thems attention, but is happy to spent some time also with them.
Our third child - baby boy did arraive on this world on August 26. last year. At the moment he asks a lot of mom's attention, but in general he is still pritty calm boy.
We are NOT VEGETARIANS, but we often eat vegetarian food. We love vegetables in our meals, but we dont mind time to time also to have a peace of good (organic) meat. We think that vegetarism lately is just a modern hit without big sence and deeper thinkings. We ourself stand more for "slow food" philosophy : local, seasonal, traditional. Time to time we enjoy also to eat spicy, we love asian cusine.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Shortly before the Christmas 2013 we did move to our own amazing nice, wild home place with all our farm in the middle of a lot of nature. There is a lot of huge forests around and no neighbors in the closest surroundings. The village is 10 km away - that means some human beeing civilization, but basicly there is nothing more as a small kiosk, school for Rūsiņš and the closest possibility to catch up public transportation. So most likely we live in NO-WHERE, you will not find anything else around as a rich wild nature. So you definitely have to be a nature lover, who is not anoyed of too much silence around and " not much happening".
We are happy and proud to tell, that the building process for a cheesery is nearly finished, so we have nice, light, big, clean rooms for a cheese making, there is also a large, nice kitchen for a common use, WC and shower, and in the second floor we have 4 rooms for our guests - tourists or volunteers. The rooms are simple, but clean and cosy with a nice big bed. We hope you will feel there comfortable.
We have 3 permanent workers for goats milking and cheesery works. So it means - you will not need to milk goats and wash hardly the cheese forms. But in the same time, since we are not working in cheesery ourself - WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TEACH YOU CHEESE MAKING!!! Specially not in 2 weeks!
As a volunteer you might be busy here with many other random things as some cleaning arround, small works in a garden, shepherding goats, helping with construction building for Steffen, firewood making, brushing cheese in a storage and so on. We will be also very happy if time to time you are able to cook something - as this is always a nice change in our meal rutine:) and we dont think - this is our task always to cook. The same like we expect you beeing able time to time to take a part in washing dishes too. And a very nice thing is, if you are able to take some time and play with kids:) - they will remember you forever! Childcare in general time to time, when we are busy with other important things would be nice to have. And if you have some artistic talent - we will be happy of having some nice drawings for decorating cheesery and upstairs the rooms.
It depends day by day, but there are days when we work long until late evening. We don´t expect the same from you, but you have to count that because of that not always we might be a company for your free time and serve the food on the table. You´ll need to take care of yourself and your own entertaiment. And that there is nothing else around as a great nature. We hope for our volunteers to be flexible enough to adapt to our conditions and lifestyle.
In summer we have a lot of mosquitoes as we live so close by forest and some bog lands. It´s always just a question of how you are dressed and how much you are able to stand it :) Another thing is that we have here ticks, which you might pick up just in the close nature, so if you are not sure about - please contact your doctor for deciding about vaccine for tick encephalitis.
You have to be aware that we are a working farm and not a pet shop: starting from amazing cute new life and lovely goats till also accepting that not always all animals we are able to keep...... It depends how is your personal attitude to the things: it can be a nice romantic fairytale over here or a hard shitty farm life. For us its definitely more the first :)
If you have been a good helper and we manage to have some free time, it will be our pleasure to show you around.
We have here a nice connection with the local organic bee farmer (his bees are also on our farm) - so the local honey is never missing on our table:) He can tell also a nice stories of the bees and we might be able to visit them someday. The same as some pottery guys, with who we have friendly connection. Here is 2 huge nature reserve (nature protected areas, one of them 20 000 hectars huge bog land), which we might visit together. The same we will enjoy and with pleasure share meals and stories with you, sometimes a long, long chatty evenings.... And for sure, latvian sauna what we have on our own and if you are lucky Rutas latvian sauna procedure is something amazing what most likely can get this way just in Latvia by some sauna master.
We are also looking for the same minded people to share not only works together, but also some of the free time - with nice food, tea, chatting, changing experiences and having sometimes even a long philosophical evenings. At the end - we would like to build up something like a community, if someone would be interested to participate - there are many different ideas and possibilities for it.
Families are welcome!
Latvian (Lettish): Fluent
Steffens made cosy red gipsy trailer.
Or a private room upstairs in the cheesery
Our farm is situated 170 km away from Riga (capital) to the east. There is plenty of nature, woods and peaceful country side around for a nice walk, wild berries or mushrooms picking in the woods. 3 km away from the farm is an amazing nice lake for swimming in summer time. We can offer you bike for a biger distances.
We are sitting between two amazing nature reservations: the one is Teiču reservation - a huge 20.000ha swamp land and the other one - Krustkalnu reservation - a really wild forest.
30 km away from the farm are two nice small towns - where is a bigger civilization:) - to the North - Madona, to the south - Jēkabpils. We would say - there is not much to see, but also this "not much" you might be able to see, because time to time we might go there anyhow for something.
Each weekend we go to Riga for cheese selling. Even if we can not promise to you the possibility to come with us each weekend - RĪGA is a city definitely WORTH TO SEE. It has a very nice old town, art Nouveau area, ethnographical open air museum, interesting other kind of museums and activities for each taste, nice farmers and handcrafts markets - one of the most popular and nice one each saturday where we are selling our cheese - Kalnciema market.
But basicly - LATVIA is NATURE. Still a lot of wild and rich nature.
And if you are lucky and have possibility: Latvian sauna by sauna master - is something you have to experience one day! The same like latvian old traditions - summer soltice and other soltice celebrations, latvian singing festival what comes this year. Things which you will remember forever!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
max. 25 hours a day :o)