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Tere! we are a couple running a small NGO in the south of Estonia.
We organise events and workshops to promote more sustainable living and environmental awareness. We currently do this from an old abandoned farm without a shower or running water. We are the right place if you love this simple life (if only in the warmer months). The only place to refresh/wash is the river who is usually quite cold! Be warned!
We are working on making some sustainable solutions to provide a little more ease and comfort, but these will develop over the coming years. We are looking for adventurous volunteers who love to live close to nature.
Our focus in 2020 is developing our site for more comfortable hosting of small groups for overnight workshops.
The first priority is establishing the first stages of a 0.5 hectare food forest and some more food production in permaculture/nature inspired gardens. We also will be building something most of the time!
Rea loves plants, trees, foraging, gardening, yoga, dancing and making pizza in the old bread oven in our home.
Justin loves designing garden elements, eco-building and spending time in natural landscapes such as our place!
Puri loves people and playing with her neighbour dogs and in the river. (1.5 year-old puppy)
Pastinaak is a longhaired cosy and affectionate cat (age unknown)
Osh-Tisch is funny grey kitten who likes to sleep on her face.
The house and old barn sit next to the Piusa river in a landscape protection area. The block of land is 10 hectares, most of which is steep, rolling, forested valley-side rising above the river. Down by the house is a flowering natural meadow. And our garden and little field.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Life here is a blend of traditional Estonian countryside life, with some more modern sustainable ideas here and there. (plus an internet modem hanging in a tree). Between us we have fairly wide experience in growing things and building things in more ecofriendly ways but we are by no means experts! These things seem to us best learnt by doing and sharing. Mostly we try to always do something a little new so we are always gaining new skills and experimenting. You might learn about foraging for mushrooms or building a green roof, all dependant on when you come, what we are up to, and what you would like to put your energies towards.
Rea is an Estonian local so can give some language tips. Justin is still learning (not an Estonian)!
Food forest planning and planting.
More hugelkultur garden beds.
Enlarging no-dig field
Mushroom inoculation of living trees, stumps and trenches
Foraging for forest foods and medicinal herbs
*Building* (If some funding applications come through we will attempt all, if not we will do what we can)
Timber framing repairs to barn
Insulating ceiling of house
Building second composting toilet
Mowing with scythe
Firewood cutting and stacking
Playing with Puri
Random tasks around the farm area and river....
If you have any talents or skills you would like to use please let us know. So we can plan our time together somewhat.
For now we ask that you bring a tent and camp in the meadow near the house. We can provide a tent if you give us some notice.
We hope that soon (maybe with your help!) we can clean out the attic area above our one room house and make sleeping space there. We also have a mosquito-proof hammock up in the forest for the single and adventurous!
We have plenty of spare blankets and mattresses.
Our household avoids eating any meat or dairy from the store/mass production. Most of our fresh food comes from our garden, friends gardens or the forest. We don't cook meat but at times fish appears. Our daily diet is usually vegan friendly.
If you want something other than porridge for your breakfast then please bring your own. We will provide basic ingredients for a hearty lunch and light dinner. We can share cooking between us. We have plenty of teas and chaga (mushroom tea coffee substitute). We don't often have coffee around so if it is part of your routine then bring it along.
Across the river is this state park hiking and cycling trail:
If you go north, you reach the Piusa sandstone cliffs and local pottery store, south you reach Vana-Vastseliina and the preserved ruins of a Livonian castle. The town of Obinitsa nearby has an art gallery, seto-culture farm museum, and a dramatic swimming lake.
There is also much forest to explore on days off.
Public transport is not great for day trips, but much exploring can be done by bike or foot.
The nearest village is Vastseliina, library, supermarket, postoffice etc. This can be reached 10km by dirt roads or 15km by walking trail by the river. 30km away is the bigger town Võru and Tartu is 100km north.
Leaving and arriving is best by train to Koidula station where we can collect you by car. The train website is elron.ee. All Estonian trains have ticket people you can buy on the train or prebuy on the website for a very small discount.
In summer you can get off at Piusa which is closer but only open in the warmer months. If you prefer we can give you instructions for a 15km walk along forest trails to our door.
You can also reach us from Võru by a bus to Vastseliina where you will need to hitch or be picked up by us!
We like to work hard, in summer we rise around 8am splash in the river and plan the day. We appreciate people who put energy and creativity into any task they undertake. Well done if you read all this, we are looking forward to reading about you!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
5 hours a day, 5 days a week