All Year: Spring, summer
Area (ha): 1
Host ID: 26089
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Last Updated: March 18, 2018
This is a big year for us as we aim to be ready to receive our very first artists-in-residence in the end of June. Our family has grown a little over the last year, our daughter Alma is now 1 year and Vide is four.
Alex is a former teacher from London, Åsa is a theatre designer and art teacher from Uppland (the county where we live) . We are in our mid-thirties and have decided to build our lives how we would like them to be rather than running in the London treadmill. We found an old rundown farm in the remote and beautiful Hållnäs peninsular and decided that it might fit our needs.
We plan to turn our rustic old small-holding on its own in a clearing in the forest into an artist residency and course venue.
At the moment we are at a transition point; we have made the living spaces comfortable for visitors and have broken enough ground to produce most of our own food in the summer time. However, we are on the final stretch of an ambitious barn conversion project, turning it into rehearsal space, studio and communal kitchen as well as an outdoor space for eating and creative activities. We also have plans to renovate the inside of an 18th C cottage and future guest house.
Basic carpentry skills, a creative mind and an interest in gardening and horticulture would be helpful to start with :)
We can offer two people a warm comfortable place to stay in a separate cottage with bathroom and small kitchen. We would eat lunch together and we would provide food but would appreciate help with the cooking, washing-up and cleaning. At times - when we have a residency or course, 2-5 days, we might ask volunteers to shift accommodation temporarily, so a bit of flexibility is appreciated.
We don't smoke, and would appreciate if you do so outdoors while with us. Cats might have spent time in most volunteer bedrooms, though we've tried to keep one cat-free.
As we have small children, we have found it easiest to have breakfast and evening meals separate as a family, but will provide food for volunteers to cook in their own kitchen.
We are relaxed people who like good conversation over a glass of wine or a cup of tea when we are not in the middle of nappy-changes and other child-related activities. We like listening to folk and world music and play a tiny bit of accordion and guitar. We aim to make a sustainable imprint on the environment which is wild and coastal around us. We like berry and mushroom picking and we are starting to fish with nets along the coast where we keep out boat. Long term helpers would definitely have a chance to get more closely involved with the natural life here.
At present we have a cat, five hens and a cockerel.
I will describe the environment at different time of year as well as a short description of work that will need doing.
We will be aiming to finish the last bit of major renovation work on the studio spaces in the barn, as well as some decorating in the guest house.
There will also be some focus on planting in our greenhouse and preparing the soil on the land. Some work with fire wood, splitting and piling.
It will be a time of frosty mornings but long sunlight hours often very bright dry and sunny but with winter sometimes making surprise visits. Be prepared for outdoor work.
Early Summer (June/July):
More minor carpentry work most likely, hopefully followed by relaxing swims in the sea after a long day. Window renovation and painting will be an ongoing project. We would also need help with weeding and ongoing gardening projects. Some cooking, cleaning and facilitating for a couple of groups that are likely to be here. When they are here, you might need to change to slightly more basic accommodation temporarily.
The weather: The real lush beauty of the Swedish summer, never ending daylight, a riot of flowers and vegetation but with also the worst time for insect troublemakers (ticks and mozzies).
Late summer (July/August):
This would be a time of harvesting from the garden and preserving food when there is huge overproduction! This is a comfortable time with warm humid (can be rainy) weather and the best time for swimming in the sea.
This might also be an intense few weeks in August with a local festival, and booked groups in residency with us - expect lots of cooking, facilitating and most likely some child care.
The ideal helper for us would be a relaxed, creative person with an interest in building and renovation, gardening, nature, people and art.
Skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrics, cars, computers, tiling, bike repair, painting, cooking for many and horticulture are very welcome, but we basically most of all need friendly people who are happy to roll up their sleeves with us and help us make our dream happen.
Please note that we do not have an insurance for volunteers/employees. Although we will of course make every precaution to prevent accidents, we strongly recommend you buy a travel insurance that covers manual work.
You can reach us by public transport and travel to Uppsala or Gävle over the day but a car is recommended if you want to be a bit independent. We have some bikes to lend out.
It is the remote forests here with elk and mosquitos so be prepared for real Swedish backwoods living :)
It's worth mentioning that the Baltic coast, just like Central and Eastern Europe, has ticks (the tiny insects) that spread lyme disease (bacterial infection) and TBE (a virus), the latter can be serious. You can google these, so you have an idea what it is.
Generally, it's enough to wear long trousers/sleeves when walking in high grass and forest, and check oneself for ticks often. We are vaccinated against TBE ourselves, many of our neighbors are not.
Most travel clinics offer TBE vaccination. It can be more expensive in countries without TBE so if you are travelling in Sweden before coming to us you can drop-in at clinics in all cities and have them done for somewhere over 300kr each. You need two jabs at least two weeks apart to be covered.
Most ticks are NOT dangerous, and there aren't many people that get TBE each year - but we'd rather mention this now than when/if you get a tick!
Below are some photos; of the coast 5 minutes cycle ride from us, the volunteer accomodation cottage (200 metres from our main house) and of our home, and of us.