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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 5
Persons: 4
Category: Other
Host ID: 55846
Country: Finland

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Last Updated: June 1, 2020

We are Marja (finnish sign language interpreter, homemom, from Finland) and Mick (carpenter, from Ireland) and we have two small kids Leo (born 2014) and Luna (born 2016). We live in the countryside in North Karelia 20 km from Joensuu center.

Our project is to build a small straw bale round house to be our home. We have decided to settle down in Finland and after a few years of thinking we decided to build our own home instead of buying an old house. After that decision was made we bought 5 hectares of land in December 2016. We bought it very close (500m) from where we live now and also close to an organic farm Pikkunuppu where Marja has grown up.

We have now cleared the road to the house, gotten building permission and had the trees cut to boards for the house. After we got the building permission we cleared the building plot from trees and we did a natural stone foundation. The foundation of the house is ready as is the foundation for the chimney. In year 2018 we completed the post and beam structure from the trees we peeled. Also we started on the roof of the house. 2019 we completed the roof, had a chimney and oven built and we completed the straw bale walls.
We are doing the whole project with a small budget trying to use as much as possible natural and recycled materials from local resources.
We had our first helpers in year 2017 spring and then more all through the summer and autumn, even up until December and the same in 2018 and 2019. We take helpers from three different organisations. We are very happy how things go with helpers. That is why we are continuing this great way of sharing: we get help and we are able to teach people skills and show them our way to live and we get to meet interesting people and learn from them.

Accommodation: in our current house upstairs, there are two rooms with a bed or mattresses.
Food: nutritious, filling, tasty, vegan. We ask you to help cooking simple food with help (Marja is the main cook and you will help her with it).
Getting here: we can pick you up from Joensuu (from train or bus)
Work time: 5 days a week, 30 hours

Languages: English, Finnish
Internet, Wifi (off at night)
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, you can do berry and mushroom picking later in the summer, walks in the woods, we have regular sauna. We are into making wooden spoons and are happy to show you how to do it.

For 2020 we are going to fit in the windows, complete the ceiling inside and then do the clay plastering of the walls. The plastering will be a fun job that we will specially need help with since there is a lot of clay to be mixed and a lot of wall to be plastered.

We are looking for helpers for a few different kind of positions, here we try to describe them as well as possible so that you know what to expect.

Job one:
Long-term job
We are looking for someone who is interested in building. You will be treated like an apprentice so Mick will teach you as much as possible during your stay here. You will be working with Mick building the house, being his "second hand". You will be cutting boards, hammering nails, plastering the walls and fitting in windows. You should have some experience of using hand tools and not be afraid of hights (3-5 meters). We use mainly hand tools, Mick occasionally uses power tools for big jobs.
This job suits a person who would be aiming to learn so they could build their own house some day. The one doing this job will definitely learn loads!

Job two:
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 (that is most of the time now!)you would be the second person. The other time you would be getting building materials ready, tidying up the area ect. and or helping Marja with numeral different jobs around the house such as making the garden and picking berries for the winter. You should have some experience of using hand tools.

During the whole project we are very happy to receive any volunteer help given so if you are interested in doing something with us, please contact and come to help. Carpenters and carpenter minded people are super-welcome!

Please notice our blog, there is a link to it above.

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