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help exchange   Host 44237
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: 5
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 44237
Country: Belgium

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Last Updated: November 12, 2017

Hi there,
We are Bruno and Jenni. In January 2016, we bought a little house with some land around it. Our wish is that this place may be a home to all, a place 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're ready for more :-)
Accommodation and lifestyle are simple and basic. You will have a room for yourself, a wood stove for heating, bed & blankets. Meals are shared.
We also work together with a (French-speaking) lady living down the road. She owns a domain with forest and gardens. She's really into this new ecology and transition movement, so we like to support her place with a few helping hands. There are a few guest rooms and a separate kitchen, so it is possible to stay at her place, too (we're a bit more strict with our 'selection procedure' for this place, so please inquire about this if you would like to stay with her to help out).
Organic fruits and vegetables, building with recycled/organic materials, balanced vegetarian food, games, music... Sharing all the good that life has to offer. In a most natural way.

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. The garden is often full of opportunities for work.

We're renovating the house with lime mortar and cob, painting with natural home made lime-paint, using cob and clay inside the house and sheds... we have seasonal gardening work, kitchen work (especially in the harvesting season), wood sawing and chopping...

We started to grow some vegetables and berries in the garden, and it works really well. So this year we would like to expand our garden-project. We own a piece of land in the back of the house (about 6000 m²). The last decades, it had been managed along the regular 'produce to make money' agricultural philosophy. Now, we would love to see the soul of this land shine bright again, with trees, fruit and vegetable gardens, ponds and pools, birds, bees and flowers energizing the place.

We regularly go to work at our neighbours place as well, and we can harvest its natural treasures when the season is right.

We make juices, jams and candy from the berries, apples and pears (seasonal).
Preparing natural soaps, shampoos and creams when we find the time for it.
Fixing and improving things, in our house and in our neighbours house.
Cooking, music, games... all to share.

Typical planning for the garden:
- march: preparing the land, first sowing (greenhouse), last cut for the trees
- april- july: weeding, sowing, planting, harvesting...
- august: we're usually organizing a camp in August, so we're probably not home. We can receive you if you can work independently and have contacted us well beforehand. Or you can help out at the camp.
- september october: weeding, sowing, planting, harvesting...
- november - february: some harvesting, planting trees, pruning trees, collect and chop firewood for the next year

Other running projects, no special skills required:
- restoring brick walls with natural lime mortar
- painting with natural lime paint

Upcoming projects, special skills required (we only start when we have the right people for this):
- restoring the roof of the big shed in the back (remove some of the old tiles, redo the wood work where needed, replace the old tiles)

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

*We generally leave you very free to divide your time as you wish. You can work when it suits you and take your 'days off' when it suits you. As long as you talk about it in time so we can organize the work properly, it's all fine.

Basic but comfortable. Small room in the house, the caravan outside, the old 'baking house'. Bed and blankets are provided, as well as wood to burn in the stove when it's needed. Meals are shared. Separate (improvised) outside kitchen for your extra tea and coffee.

Possible day-trips for your free days:
You can use one of our bicycles to tour around. Lots of good people/places around to visit. A lake at 10km, small nature reserves, towns, other eco-sustainable projects in the area... the train station is a 30 min 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 whole weekend.
You can also join us on some of our trips and visits.

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

Hope to see you!

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