Vrede Rust Updates

December 11th, 2018

Date: Dcember 18th, 2017 - 17:40
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel, Annelies
 Ines, Gary, Paula, Gabriel, Meghan, Jakob, Evelina,
 Igor, Anan, Emilio & Abel, Meghan, Jakob, Gabriele,
 Rebecca, Sacha, Erin, George, Robert, Hannah,
Gareth, Blair, Nicole, Gyulan, DJ, Jakub, Jacky,
Alex, Niccola, John, Shawn, Richelle, Bonnie, Noah,
Andy, Katie, Graham, Saranne Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello all,

(you’re receiving this update because you’ve either stayed with us or are going to stay with us at Vrede Rust – please let me know if you no longer want to receive this – rather infrequent – updates)

Dinner time is closing in and the beetroots are almost done. Soon I’ll start making risotto. I always how the beetroots turn the rice into a dark purple and the taste makes me immediately want to get out and put my hands in the soil. It’s been a while since I’ve made beetroot risotto and I’m sure the kids will love it. I’m sipping on some homemade cider and have cleaned just out the workshop this afternoon. It’s the end of a pretty productive day.

It’s December and the year is almost over. Winter time for us is time to reflect, relax and regain energy. Time to plan for what’s ahead of us, time to read books and time to do tool maintenance. Every year we seem to get more in tune with the rhythm of the nature, of the land. The seasons this year, unlike us have not been very much in tune.  It feels like Summer started end of April and lasted until the end of October. But now that Winter (or whatever is left of Winter here in The Netherlands) has finally set in after a long and warm year, we slow down. Christmas is fast approaching and I like this time of year.

Last year was an eventful and busy year. We took the plunge and hired somebody permanently to help us with the vegetable beds and potentially scale things up a bit. By the end of the Summer we realised scaling up isn’t what we want after all so we’re back to the four of us. It’s hard to keep things basic and simple, but when we succeed we feel good about it.

We renovated the house in the cold months of February, March and April. Nicole and Blair stuck around, even though Rick and I tried to chase them away on various occasions. Rick taught me almost all I need to know to become a carpenter. Using that newly acquired knowledge I built a cabin for the wedding night of our good friends Jerom and Marije. We then realised it was way too beautiful to tear down again and started renting it out.

We got married. We had a great time prepping the party and had an even better time on the day itself. Even though it was the only day in Summer the temperature dropped below 20C, we had the time of our lives. Many friends and lots of family joined in the celebration. Together with our 150 guests we ate 2 of the pigs that we so lovingly raised since September 2017.

At the start of the year we had to say goodbye to Floris. That was sad and we gave a good resting place. Two months later we welcome Toma into the family. She first tried to eat some of our friends, but didn’t work out. She did manage to succeed in eating our couch. We love her to bits though and now that she’s calming down a bit we do so even more. At the wedding we ate 2 of the we so lovingly raised since September 2017. The other went on their Winter break early November so now it’s us, Toma, the cats and the chickens again.

In September we celebrated Indi’s birthday with the whole class and we made cider. We also decided we wanted another cabin, for in Winter. So with Shawn and Richelle we got to work and in the fully cleaned up barn, we just finished our second cabin, ready for renting it out in a few months.

Indi 4, Jona 2

It’s already been a week since we celebrated Indi’s fourth birthday. I can’t believe it’s four years since she was born. Jona is turning two tomorrow and we’ll also be celebrating his birthday in small (mostly Workaway) company. As last year, we’re organising our annual Summer fest on the 26th of August. If the weather is as nice as last year, it’s going to be a blast.

Indi will actually start school early September and Jona will be in community-supported playground two days a week as well. This is going to a huge change for all of us, forcing us into a strict rhythm of arriving at school by 8.20am sharp every morning! I have no clue how we’ll manage that.

Workaway firsts

In June we went on a short holiday ourselves to Brittany in France and as part of our trip we decided to do a Workaway ourselves. We had never experienced things ‘from the other side’ yet and I can honestly say, we had a great time. Andy, Katie and the kids are awesome and if one of you ever needs a place to in France in a beautiful environment with lovely people, just let us know, we’ll put you in touch.

June also saw the re-visit of our first Workaway’ers ever. Having been at Vrede Rust in November 2015, Mariana and Mauricio, both tattoo artists, were on a trip through Europe this Spring and visited us for a short but sweet 24 hours. It was great seeing them again and was wonderful for them to see the kids again after almost two years.

Did you know…

Since our last visit so much has happened and time is running out, so I guess I will have to end with a little list of facts. So, did you know that…

  • We discovered a 6000 liter underground rainwater cistern and have now connected it so we can water the veg garden with rainwater?
  • After numerous attempts (thanks everyone 😉 to reorganize the shed, we have finally given it a real upgrade that will help me keeping it organised? I know most of you won’t believe me when I say this but I really think it’ll stay organised this time ;-). I won’t share pictures just now, it’s not entirely done just yet, but I can assure you, you’ll be surprised.
  • Although not as good as last year, the veg beds are still performing great? We have doubled in area and it’s close to 200 sqm now. The newly created beds have been seeded with flowers for now, but will be producing fresh veg starting next year. We’re going to extend them a bit further this fall by the way.
  • The greenhouse has turned into a tomato jungle again? I really need to learn to plant the tomatoes a bit further apart. Otherwise the tomatoes are great though!
  • We had a great potato harvest last week? 4 kg per plant(!) for the last harvest and a total of 60 of 70 kilograms for the year. And we came through it totally blight-free this year. Lin has recently taken over cooking duties in the house and she doesn’t like to make meals with potatoes very much, so we’re not sure yet where all these kilos will go ;-).
  • We finally filed for the planning permission for the big barn / BNB-to-be last month? It’s probably going to be a long process, but we’re not in a rush.
  • We also filed for permission for a small campsite, which we’ll probably start early next year?
  • Some of our chickens were killed by a fox and I still feel guilty about that? In the meantime we have new chickens and they’re laying a solid 3 to 4 eggs a day again.
  • People are still crazy enough by bread every week? 10 to 18 breads coming in at €4,= a piece are nicely covering costs for the oven, ingredients, our own bread and then some.
  • We had soooo much fun with Evelina and Igor (from Lithuania) in June and with Emilio, Ana and Abel (from Spain) in July?!
  • That we’re currently having a blast with Gabriele (Italy) and Rebecca (Utah, US), with Rebecca coming with a warm recommendation from Marie who visited us last year? Keep ’em coming those referrals!
  • We’re taking a short break this week to go on a proper trek in the Italian Alps without the kids for 5 days? We’re looking forward to our first real ‘trip’ without the kids but are already missing them ;-).

Autumn is slowly approaching

We’re slowly entering processing season. The first apples are starting to ripen, the plums are already coming of the tree in bunches and blackberry jam is made almost every week (20 jars and counting). It’ll be another 3 busy months before we will be able to take it easy a little bit more

August 13th, 2017
Date: August 13th, 2017 - 11:30
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel, Annelies
 Ines, Gary, Paula, Gabriel, Meghan, Jakob, Evelina,
 Igor, Anan, Emilio & Abel, Meghan, Jakob, Gabriele,
 Rebecca, Sacha, Erin, George, Robert, Andy, Katie,
 Graham, Saranne
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

 

 

 

Hello all,
(you’re receiving this update because you’ve either stayed with us or are going to stay with us at Vrede Rust – please let me know if you no longer want to receive this – rather infrequent – updates)

It’s Sunday, and I’m sipping my coffee in a Coffee Company somewhere in Amsterdam as I write this. Lin is at the nearby zoo (she still has a membership, I don’t). It feels like stepping back into my previous life for an hour or two. No screaming kids around, nothing to worry about on this quiet Sunday afternoon other than my coffee getting cold.

And even though it’s nice to be able to do this once every now and then, I’m already looking forward to hearing all the stories from the kids about all the animals they saw and getting back to the farm to fill up the water bucket for the chickens.

It’s mid Summer and as usual I haven’t been able to keep all of you updated as much as I would like to with everything that’s going on around here. Summer is not so much a busy time… well it is, but it’s more a time that just doesn’t bring the desire to get in front of the computer to write an update and share a few pictures. That doesn’t mean nothing happened of course. Here goes…

Indi 4, Jona 2

It’s already been a week since we celebrated Indi’s fourth birthday. I can’t believe it’s four years since she was born. Jona is turning two tomorrow and we’ll also be celebrating his birthday in small (mostly Workaway) company. As last year, we’re organising our annual Summer fest on the 26th of August. If the weather is as nice as last year, it’s going to be a blast.

Indi will actually start school early September and Jona will be in community-supported playground two days a week as well. This is going to a huge change for all of us, forcing us into a strict rhythm of arriving at school by 8.20am sharp every morning! I have no clue how we’ll manage that.

Workaway firsts

In June we went on a short holiday ourselves to Brittany in France and as part of our trip we decided to do a Workaway ourselves. We had never experienced things ‘from the other side’ yet and I can honestly say, we had a great time. Andy, Katie and the kids are awesome and if one of you ever needs a place to in France in a beautiful environment with lovely people, just let us know, we’ll put you in touch.

June also saw the re-visit of our first Workaway’ers ever. Having been at Vrede Rust in November 2015, Mariana and Mauricio, both tattoo artists, were on a trip through Europe this Spring and visited us for a short but sweet 24 hours. It was great seeing them again and was wonderful for them to see the kids again after almost two years.

Did you know…

Since our last visit so much has happened and time is running out, so I guess I will have to end with a little list of facts. So, did you know that…

  • We discovered a 6000 liter underground rainwater cistern and have now connected it so we can water the veg garden with rainwater?
  • After numerous attempts (thanks everyone 😉 to reorganize the shed, we have finally given it a real upgrade that will help me keeping it organised? I know most of you won’t believe me when I say this but I really think it’ll stay organised this time ;-). I won’t share pictures just now, it’s not entirely done just yet, but I can assure you, you’ll be surprised.
  • Although not as good as last year, the veg beds are still performing great? We have doubled in area and it’s close to 200 sqm now. The newly created beds have been seeded with flowers for now, but will be producing fresh veg starting next year. We’re going to extend them a bit further this fall by the way.
  • The greenhouse has turned into a tomato jungle again? I really need to learn to plant the tomatoes a bit further apart. Otherwise the tomatoes are great though!
  • We had a great potato harvest last week? 4 kg per plant(!) for the last harvest and a total of 60 of 70 kilograms for the year. And we came through it totally blight-free this year. Lin has recently taken over cooking duties in the house and she doesn’t like to make meals with potatoes very much, so we’re not sure yet where all these kilos will go ;-).
  • We finally filed for the planning permission for the big barn / BNB-to-be last month? It’s probably going to be a long process, but we’re not in a rush.
  • We also filed for permission for a small campsite, which we’ll probably start early next year?
  • Some of our chickens were killed by a fox and I still feel guilty about that? In the meantime we have new chickens and they’re laying a solid 3 to 4 eggs a day again.
  • People are still crazy enough by bread every week? 10 to 18 breads coming in at €4,= a piece are nicely covering costs for the oven, ingredients, our own bread and then some.
  • We had soooo much fun with Evelina and Igor (from Lithuania) in June and with Emilio, Ana and Abel (from Spain) in July?!
  • That we’re currently having a blast with Gabriele (Italy) and Rebecca (Utah, US), with Rebecca coming with a warm recommendation from Marie who visited us last year? Keep ’em coming those referrals!
  • We’re taking a short break this week to go on a proper trek in the Italian Alps without the kids for 5 days? We’re looking forward to our first real ‘trip’ without the kids but are already missing them ;-).

Autumn is slowly approaching

We’re slowly entering processing season. The first apples are starting to ripen, the plums are already coming of the tree in bunches and blackberry jam is made almost every week (20 jars and counting). It’ll be another 3 busy months before we will be able to take it easy a little bit more

May 15, 2017
Date: May 15th, 2017 - 14:30
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel, Annelies
 Ines, Gary, Paula, Gabriel, Meghan, Jakob, Evelina,
 Igor, Anan, Emilio & Abel, Meghan, Jakob, Graham, Saranne
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello all,
(you’re receiving this update because you’ve either stayed with us or are going to stay with us at Vrede Rust – please let me know if you no longer want to receive this – rather infrequent – updates)

I was thinking what to write this month, but I keep coming back to the though that whatever I write, it will in no way compare to what Meghan has written about us, the kids and about their stay here at Vrede Rust. Meghan and Jakob left about 10 days ago and have since started their Camino pilgrimmage in France and Spain, but we’re still remembering them every day, not in the least because they left us a beautiful plant that we nurture with great care. Meghan has written a post almost entirely about the plant. Well, there are a few embarrassing details about us as well. Read it here.

We’re also remembering them because everyday we enter or leave the property, we pass by the newest addition to the homestead: a publicly accessible terrace. Yesterday morning we had people sitting there; we gave them some coffee and chatted a bit. It’s nice to open things up more around here. After all, we’re fortunate to be able to do this and it’s nice to share some of it with more people around here. Meghan also wrote an entire post about the creation of the terrace. If I wouldn’t be absolutely sure she is going to have a successful career as a teacher / historian / author back home in Canada, I would immediately hire her as our ghostwriter and while at it, we’d take Jakob on as our dedicated videographer. Read the entry Meghan wrote here.

At firstr we were curious how they would manage filling the gap that Gabi and Paula (our previous Workaway’ers, who we’re happy to report are living in Amsterdam now), but I can assure you, we’ve had a great time with Meghan and Jakob and not just because of the plant and the terrace. We’re also very happy and grateful they let us win when we played Agricola (others will sure remember that time when Lin and I lost a game of Risk – the days that followed weren’t the best ;-). But really, it was great having them!

Please take some time to read Meghan entries. They’ll surely give you a few laughs.

[1] https://kortingadventure.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/welcome-to-vrede-rust/

[2] https://kortingadventure.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/life-at-vrede-rust/

April 8, 2017
Date: April 8th, 2017 - 07:05
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel, Annelies
 Ines, Gary, Paula, Gabriel, Meghan, Jakob, Evelina,
 Igor, Anan, Emilio & Abel
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello all,
(you’re receiving this update because you’ve either stayed with us or are going to stay with us at Vrede Rust – please let me know if you no longer want to receive this – rather infrequent – updates)

Patagonia here we come!

Wow!!! It’s been more than a month since we’ve returned from our trip to Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia and we’ve all settled back into the rhythm here at Vrede Rust. New Workaway’ers have since joined, and are actually already about to leave. We’re also close to the first harvest from the veg beds and we’re making some good progress.

Our trip was great to South America and we’ve documented some of it online. If you want to have a look at that (it’s mostly pictures of the kids with occasionally a bit of scenic background – there’s enough of that down South), use one of the following links: Part I, Part II, Part III or Part IV. For those of you with little time, I’ll give you our highlights of the trip in three photos.

Rototiller to the rescue

Although Chile and Argentina was great, I have to say that every time I saw a potato patch (and there’s plenty in Southern Chile), I was thinking about planting my own tubers back home. And about 2 weeks ago, we put the first ones.

We’ve also just doubled the veg bed area. While working on this, I had to think back a lot to this time last year when Sergio, Noemi and I were breaking up big clumps of clay by hand, after having removed the grass… by hand and then turning the newly created bed… by hand. We spent three days doing a 6 square meter bed… yes, by hand… Looking back, it was a bit crazy, I guess…

This year (just as later in the season last year), we spent €100,= on renting a rototiller and a neat little machine that removes grass sods. With the three of us (Paula, Gabriel and me), supported mentally and with great coffee and lunch time snacks by Lin it was hard work, but by the end of the day we had gone from approximately 70 square meter to well over 100 square meter!

The rest of the week was spent hauling big 25kg tiles, laying root cloth and creating paths. It’s looking great! Not all of it is going to be used as veg beds in the first year. We’re dealing with a very light contamination in that area. Nothing to be scared off, but better safe than sorry. So we’re replacing the soil over the next few years and until then, we’re seeding the area with flowers.

Have a look at the progress by scrolling through the gallery below.

Willow weaving galore and other news…

In the front of the property, we have now woven a new willow fence. This will make sure Jona doesn’t fall in the ditch (unlike Indi he’s constantly looking for opportunity to leave the property on his tricycle). The new area that’s fenced off with the willow fence will also serve as a sheep grazing area, meaning less grass to mow! The only thing left to do is chip all the prunings from the winter season and put wood chips around the fence.

On the projects front, we’ve just contracted a carpenter to assist in renovating the outside the house. We’ll be replacing most of the windows, doors and siding of main house. Some areas took a big hit last Winter and now definitely need replacing. This job will probably start mid to late August and if you happen to know construction-minded people that would want to come and stay for a few weeks in that period, we’re more than happy to have a chat!!

Last but not least I’d like to mention that although there’s still room for more, we already have a bunch of other people joining over the next few months. Jakob and Meghan will join us next week. Late May we have Evelina and Igor joining from Lithuania and somewhere in July, Abel, Emilio and Ana are joining. It’s going to be the first time we host a family, so that’s exciting too!

And with that, it seems it’s about time to put the first batch of bread in the oven. I’m experimenting with raisin bread filled with dried apples from last year’s harvest. Let’s see how that turns out!

warm hugs from all of us!

Alef & clan

December 11th, 2016
Date: December 11th, 2016 - 18:00
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel, Annelies
 Ines, Gary, Paula & Gabriel
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello all,
(you’re receiving this update because you’ve stayed with us at Vrede Rust or are going to stay with us in the future – please let me know if you no longer like to receive these updates)

it’s shortly after 6 and everybody except me is still fast asleep. The first batch of bread has been divided, shaped and is going through its final proofing stage, ready to go into the oven at about 7.30 or 8.

Our first year here at Vrede Rust has come to an end and we’re almost ready to leave for Patagonia. Monday evening we’re taking the kids and will fly to South America for over 2 months and we’re very much looking forward to that. The main part of our trip will be the Carratera Austral and we’re hoping to end our trip on Tierra del Fuego close to Antarctica.

In the past weeks, after having finished our last projects in and around the house I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on that past year and I can say we’ve all achieved a lot and had some great fun too.

I wanted to share some thoughts

The kids
Easily the most important part of this update for all of you of course ;-).

Jona, I can’t imagine him only being a 3 months old baby a year ago. Kollen wrote on August 4th that Jona was going to take his first steps right after he left for America. Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but still, he’s walking! I think about a month ago he took his first baby steps and he’s sooooo happy lately. His first word was ‘aai’ (coincidentally it was also Indi’s first word), which is to caress 🙂 but he’s also into animals sounds now (hee-hee for a horse , beeheeeeehhhh for a sheep and – my fault – bee-bee-bee for an owl). Although his appetite is still not as unlimited as Indi’s, he’s devouring freshly made pasta and if something sweet passes his eyes he’s sure to grab it.

Indi is doing great too. A few days ago she said she’d rather be a pirate than a princess. Well, that’s how we like it ;-). And when asked if she wanted to have a pony tail she said no and asked if we could go to the hair dresser again (we had just been there 3 weeks earlier). She’s great with words and I think all the languages that were spoken around the table over the past 12 months have helped a lot there. She’s also still very much aware of everybody’s that has stayed here. Last week she saw Kollen’s purple water bottle (which she thoroughly believes Kollen left as a gift for her). Without my asking she said: ‘Kollen lives in Russia but his parents live in America’. I’m only mentioning Kollen here, but not to worry, she still remembers each and every one of you!!!

The two of them are getting along quite well that last few weeks. There was never a period where this wasn’t the case, but they’re really playing together a lot now and that’s great to see!

On the health front, Indi is still short on breath occasionally, especially around this time of year when it’s humid out and when she has a cold. The Ventolin medicine we have to give her when she’s short on breath is not doing her any good (she’s very edgy if we give her that) and when we get back from Patagonia (the Summer mountain air there will do here a lot of good) we will research other ways of dealing with it. Fortunately we haven’t had to resort to more heavy measures and also haven’t been at the hospital anymore.

Indi’s helping me cook a lot and I’m sure in a year’s time, she’ll be baking her first baby bread without my helping. Also, she’s an expert on vegetables and if I send her into the garden to get some carrots, she’ll also get some Spring onions, because ‘that has to go into the pan too’.

Concluding I think it’s been a great year for the kids. Striking for me to see is how outgoing. Although Jona is still a bit more bound to us than Indi, they’re both very comfortable and easy-going with new people. I know for sure that has to do with the amount of joy and love that all of you have given them in the period you’ve been here.

The homestead
On the homestead front of course a lot happened over the course of the past 12 months. We originally only planned to start working hard on the homestead and with the help of Workaway’ers in late Spring, but when requests from Mariana and Mauricio and shortly thereafter Nathan came in, we got the train rolling a bit sooner than that. It’s been a long workaway-year full of projects, extending all the way to the 1st of October when Nigel and Annelies left (and then for me continuing until mid-November with the new geothermal heating system being installed) but we got a lot done.

When I’m browing through our list of rough goals that we set ourselves late December last year we nailed most of them. I won’t go through each and every one of them, because that would take too long. The vegetable plot and the amount of food we’ve been able to get from it (and from the green house) is one that I think we’re most satisfied with. It’s something we’ve all worked on I think, from creating the willow beds, so painting the green house and from preventing the kale from being eating by the caterpillars to sowing the beds with rye, oats and mustard for winter. It’s really been very satisfying to churn out meal after meal with our homegrown veg all the way to today’s closing meal of stamppot boerenkool (google that if you don’t know) that we’ll share with our latest friends Ines and Gary. Except for onions and garlic (we didn’t plant them) I think we have hardly bought any vegetables for the better part of four months (August – November) and that’s only our first year in!

There are obviously so many other things to talk about, but it’s almost time for the first breads to go into the oven…

The team
It’s fair to say that all of this obviously wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. But you know what, all the work aside, it’s a great feeling that we’ve been able to share this place with you and that’s we have been able to have sooo many special moments with all of you. The joy you have all brought to the place, the love you’ve given the kids, I don’t think I can thank you enough!

what’s next????
Just last week we’ve had a little Skype call with our first guests for next year. Paula and Gabriel all the way from the South of Brasil are joining us mid-March, about a month after we get back from Patagonia but even sooner, no later than 5pm this afternoon 😉 Gary and Ines are joining who are going to be taking care of Floris, the cats and the chickens for us while we are away (ooooppsss, totally forgot about Floris – he’s doing great, snoring, as always ;-).

We’re already looking forward to brainstorming next year’s plans and goals while we are sitting around a campfire down South. We have a pretty good idea about some potential projects already, more on that in a later update maybe.

See you on the other side
Well, that’s about it for this updat and for year when it comes to Vrede Rust. The bread really needs to go into the oven right now, so I need to run.

Thanks again for all you have brought!! I hope you are all well and keep those udpates coming our way too :-)!

love from all,
Alef, Lin, Indi, Jona
(and of course, Floris, that cats, the chicken and the bees)

p.s. I have put a webpage online with all past updates for you to enjoy and read through. I have not password-protected it yet, but will do so in the future. I’ll let you know how to get to it when it’s protected. For now, you can reach the page here: www.vrederust.com/vau.
p.p.s. when you’re looking at the pictures and are wondering what happened to the lawn, that was the result of the new heating system being installed. With four 80-meter deep wells having been drilled we are no using geothermal energy to heat the home. The lawn in the meantime has been restored again, ready for next year to be ravaged by the kids ;-).

September 21st, 2016
Date: September 21st, 2016
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel & Annelies
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello all,

It’s the 21st of September and so Autumn is starting. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a more quiet period here at Vrede Rust, but knowing myself that may just as well not be the case.

It’s been a while since we last updated you. The main reason for this gap in our normally monthly updates is that harvest season has been getting in the way. There have also been various other projects that kept us busy, but work outside has been so plentiful and the weather so nice that we simply didn’t get to spend any time in front of the computer.

This time I’ll keep things short and will sum things up in a nice little list:

  • When Kollen wasn’t trespassing airforce bases around the country he did a great job painting the shed and fixing the bakfiets
  • Both Kollen and Hale get bonus points for scraping the shed and the ‘wagenschuur’ respectively. I never knew scraping paint is such a big job; and I guess neither did they. The result if amazing though. Tomorrow I’m putting the final coat on the ‘wagenschuur’ (side kitchen and deel)
  • We really liked the spring rolls Hannah and Hale prepped for our 80-people end of Summer party so much that we invited them over to teach us how to make them last weekend. We were glad they accepted the invitation and not just for the spring rolls; we are just having great fun with them and are very happy they will be in Amsterdam for a year. I did learn how to make the rolls a little bit, but I will never be as proficient at making them as Hale. That’s okay though ‘coz then there’s a reason for H&H to come back 🙂
  • We have stopped ordering vegetable somewhere early July I think and apart from garlic and onions we took everything from the veg beds. We’ll probably be able to eat from the gardens for another month or so.
  • The green house has performed really well. Loads of peppers and tomatoes. We have just cleaned it out this week.
  • We just loved the postcard we got from Shaun and Keely!!
  • We now have 18 chickens. Farmer Jan brought one extra hen and 12 chicks the other day that we have parked in the movable rabbit run for now. We’re moving them to the sheep fold in a week or so.
  • Jimmy the cat is bringing a lot of joy to the place and it’s amazing how Indi handles him, he’s okay with whatever she does
  • Indi and Jona are doing great. Jona still doesn’t walk and doesn’t talk, although if he repeats it a few more times we’ll consider ‘aaaai’ (stroking an animal) his first word. Funny, ‘coz it was Indi’s first word too 🙂
  • Chard is a very versatile veg; having eating it literally every day for almost two months, I have to admit I have grown a bit tired of it
  • We’re still having a great time with Annelies and Nigel. They’re both from New Zealand, although they moved there from Holland the UK some 50 years ago. Nigel is a serious organic gardening wizard and is bringing lots of experience to the place and Annelies is just wonderful with the kids. It’s great to have them around until next Monday.
  • After Nigel and Annelies we’ll not take in any more workaway’ers until next year. We’ll be putting the garden to rest for Winter (although that’s still a while away of course) and are in fact planning a trip ourselves. Indi is turning four next August and then she’ll go to school. So that means we only have one chance of a long distance trip over the Winter period and we’re going to use that opportunity to go to Patagonia. We’ll be workaway’ing there as well, so if you have any ideas of where to go?!!

All right, that’s it for now. I hope to be doing a more elaborate update in October when the dust has settled a little.
love from all!

Alef

June 25th, 2016
Date: June 25, 2016
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin, Ashley, Nigel & Annelies
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Here we go again with our monthly update from Vrede Rust.

We have just been so lucky with all of you in the house and not in the least for being just great with the kids! It has to be said however, Ashley broke all the records when after two days Indi said: ‘but daddy, where’s my other mama???’.

Ashley and Kevin (both from Portland, OR – see their travel blog over at www.noflightshome.com) have just left and it won’t be long before Alexandra from New Jersey will also be leaving us. It’s been great this month so far and we’ve done a lot.

First of all, the weather has been insane. It really seems climate change is here. The local weather office is saying the weather patterns we’re saying currently are the ones they are predicting for 2050(!!!). Heavy rains / hail storms (with 6cm / 2 inch hail, which is just unheard of in The Netherlands) have been pounding the country the last few weeks and we’re lucky enough only to have been hit one. Kollen (our new guy just in from Moscow) was sleeping in the campervan and he was saying it just like a bunch of toddlers was jumping on the roof all night.

Despite all of that, the veg beds are doing fairly well. The raised beds provide for excellent drainage and also the bigger beds we created in the ground are performing fairly well. We’ll be eating our first peas sometime this week or maybe early next week and the beans are also almost there. Chard is on the menu every other day and the beetroots are also plenty. We cooked a beetroot risotto on the hot tub the other day, which was wonderful! Beetroot in a risotto is one of my favourites and it combines very well with feta / mint or with any type of blue cheese. And then, I must say: sitting in the hot tub enjoying the sun set after finishing dinner wasn’t too bad either.

Then, the bees have arrived. After having been in their temporary hives for a week or two they have just been moved to their new home. There are still some issues to take care of, but Queen B. aka Lin is on top of it and has things under control.

The edible teepee made by Shaun and Keely has reached its highest point somewhere last week and although the kids aren’t using it very day just yet the following was just a great scene of Indi feeding Jona some watermelon.

Last but not least the Muider Bread Express is doing really well. We’re selling out in about an hour every week and the latest addition to the assortment of breads is proving to be a really successful one. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds seem to do the trick.

Not all is well, because we had to go into the hospital again to deal with her asthma-like symptoms. Fortunately we didn’t have to stay in the hospital overnight again. Things seem to go a bit better now and she doesn’t have to use the Ventolin inhaler as much any more the past few days. That’s good too, ‘coz the side effects makes that she’s much more on edge and that’s just not nice for her!! Well, we’ll see how things progress…

Ah, before I forget, there’s one final thing I’d like to mention: I seem to have given in to my Facebook addiction again. No, no more personal account, but I did set up an account for Vrede Rust. So if you’d like to stay up-to-date on our endeavours more frequently, please like our page: https://www.facebook.com/VredeRust-1617743995167594 :-).

Love from all!!

Alef & clan

June 3rd, 2016
Date: June 3, 2016
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale, Sophie, Kollen, Kevin & Ashley
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hey guys, girls and future friends,

yes I blatantly stole that phrase from you Nathan. Please let me know if you take offence in any way ;-). It’s just that it applies so well to this wonderful group of people that we have met over the past half year and are going to meet in the immediate time to come that I couldn’t not use it!

Yeah! It’s been about half a year since Mariana and Mauricio first joined us and we started opening up our place to volunteers and I think I can also speak for Lin and say there hasn’t been a moment we’ve regretted it! Apart from all the work that we’ve been able to get done thanks to all you guys it’s just been such a lot of fun having each and every one of you around, sharing experiences, learning from each other, …

It’s Friday morning now and I think it’s been the best night of sleep I’ve had in a very long time. I just got off the phone with Lin and this is something that unfortunately we don’t have in common today. Lin’s already on the campsite in the North of Holland and I’m still back home. I’ll head out to the campsite as well this afternoon after I’ve tended to a few things at the house such as baking bread for the entire family we’re gathering with over the weekend.

So, Lin’s had to do the morning routine all by herself and not only that, she’s had to do that in the confined space of the camper, with Floris with her and with Jona waking up at 5.30am :(((. I’m proud of her she’s still smiling and am looking forward to going there in a few hours to help her out!

Back to our update. It’s been a while already since we’ve said goodbye to Marie. She’s still walking the camino to Santiago the Portuguese way (meaning she’s hiking 800km – I believe – from Lisbon straight North). We’ve had a lot of fun with her in the two week period she’s been her and were able to get the whole green house operational. The major job left to do after we painted and sealed the whole thing shut with Shaun and Keely was installing the beds (which we did with a wood alternative made out of recycled plastic and clothing), getting a growing medium in the beds and planting all the plants we had been growing in-doors since early March.

I can say we were successful and the first tomatoes have just showed themselves! The peppers are in full bloom as well and we’re eating pesto every other day pretty much so you can imagine what the basil looks like (Shaun, I know, the boarded up panels are still there – the glass has been ordered, hopefully in our next update they’re gone).

The orchard is doing great too. The apple, pears and plums have all bloomed and the trees are full of fruit already.

Other than that the vegetable garden is also doing quite well. We’ve managed to more than double the area in operation in the period Marie was here. Since we now know where exactly the (lightly) contaminated soil is, we do not have to use raised beds in some areas anymore. With Noemi and Sergio we already prepared about 8m2 of new growing area totally by hand. This time around I chose to use some machinery to get rid of the grass and do the tilling. The result: 40m2 of extra growing space with potatoes, kale, beans and zucchini all planted already.

Speaking about the raised beds; although we now have a lot more space in the newly created areas, the raised beds are working very very well. The new soil in there together with excellent drainage and the slightly elevated working height make it a breeze to work in them. We’ve had plenty of spinach, turnips, turnip tops, lettuce from them already and the beets are close to ready now as well, as well as some of the beans and pees.

In other news, our house in Amsterdam has been sold and we’re handing it over to the new owners on the 8th of July. This is definitely one thing less to worry about. There is going to be a bit of work though emptying the place and that’s what we’ll be doing late June.

Most importantly of course and this is what you’ve obviously all been waiting for: an update on Jona and Indi :-). Well, here we go: Jona is teething. He has four teethes by now and is happily using them over breakfast, lunch and dinner. He’s standing up now and using a cart, or box or other means of support slowly starting to walk. Indi unfortunately had to go into the hospital for a night after she suffered from a really bad cold and could bare breath anymore. Fortunately that has all turned for the better now and she’s back on her feet. After half a year of foreign languages in and around the house we definitely notice Indi’s picking up a lot of English. She won’t speak it but definitely understands a lot; Lin and I have had to switch to Italian if we want to say something that Indi doesn’t understand :-).

All right, that’s it for now folks. We have a busy Summer ahead of us. With all the projects we’ve started (and finished) over the past half year it’s now time to consolidate. Although we’ll definitely tackle a few new things here and there (the shed needs some paint, there’s a typical Dutch ‘bakfiets’ to restore just to name a few) I think we’ll have enough work keeping the gardens in check and sit out the growing season and with Kevin, Ashley, Alexandra, Kollen, Sophie, Hannah and Hale joining this Summer (fortunately not all at the same time :-), we’ll have plenty of fun around the house.

I hope all you guys are well.

We’ll be back in a month or so!

a big hug from all of us!
Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona

April 26th, 2016
Date: April 26, 2016
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah, 
 Hale & Sophie
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hi all,

It’s the 26 of April now, exactly a month after I sent out the previous update email from Vrede Rust. You’d say the weather would be even better than last month, but no, in fact as I write this it’s hail is coming down in heaps outside. I also saw some lightning outside a few minutes ago…

Tomorrow’s King’s Day, the national feast of Orange where we all go crazy and celebrate the King’s birthday. That’s not going to be a lot of fun tomorrow ‘coz the weather or not improving over the next 24 hours. Too bad for our Italian friends that just joined us yesterday especially for this party…

Green House
Oh well, at least we finished the green house while Shaun and Keely where here last two weeks. Wait… what? It’s finished? Well, yeah, pretty much.

Together with Julia, Ezra and Nathan we started what we thought would be a small renovation early January. The weather was great, we sanded and painted some. Unfortunately when we were just about done the weather turned for the worse, a few of the windows broke and we had to abandon the project temporarily. The weather never really got better until several weeks later so unfortunately Julia, Ezra and Nathan were never able to see the thing finished. That was a serious case of bad planning from my side :((.

It needed to be done though and preferably before the end of April, ‘coz in 2 weeks the tomato plants we have seeded indoors will have grown too big to stay in the kitchen so we’ll have to move them to the greenhouse. And fortunately right when Shaun and Keely arrived the weather turned and were able to get started.

In about 4 or 5 days we sanded the remaining bits and bobs, primed the parts that hadn’t been primed yet, made some new supports where the wood had rotten away too much and painted the outside. Cutting the glass was something I didn’t really look forward too, but fortunately Shaun came to the rescue and with Keely’s help they got in place all of the glass! A few panels I hadn’t ordered in the correct sizes, so we boarded those up and they’ll have to be done later.

I’m REALLY happy that after all efforts of Ezra, Julia, Nathan, Shaun and Keely we have finally managed to get the green house in order. I’m sure the tomatoes will be great.

Edible Teepee and other stuff</b
One night when Shaun and Keely were on the couch I stumbled across a video of an edible teepee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVpAH_r6x4) and we decided it was time to put something like that in place here too. It turned out great although we’ll have to wait a bit to see the final result. I’ll keep you posted.

Other than that we ate the first radishes, all veg is growing as planned and we’re well underway with the architect for the B&B that we’ll be creating here.

We had a great time with Shaun and Keely. They’ve left last Sunday and we might see each other one more time tomorrow on King’s Day in Amsterdam, although the rain might get in the way a little.

Next week Marie is joining us and we might still have another visitor coming over in May but we haven’t confirmed that yet.

I hope you’re all well! I’ll close with a few more pictures.

Have a great King’s Day :-).

Alef & clan

March 26th, 2016
Date: February 28, 2016
 From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
 To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi,
 Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie, Alexandra, Hannah & Hale
 Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hey all,
(you’re receiving this because you’ve been at our place volunteering or are volunteering with us in the future – let me know if you no longer want these updates))

as I write this, it’s quiet in the house again. Indi’s is staying at my dad and mum’s, Lin’s attending a baby shower of a friend of hers and Jona, well, he’s probably being fed right now and those of you who’ve been here know what that means and where’s he’s at :-).

It’s about 24 hours since Noemi and Sergio left us and we had a great 2 weeks with them. Spring has started and despite having just said goodbye to two newly found friends, we’re definitely in a good mood (okay, I won’t lie, the beer that I just opened helps a bit too…).

Yesterday Quinty turned up with her grandma to look at the sheep and lambs we have in our orchard. Quinty is the daughter of the dairy farmer across the road and her boyfriend has sheep that he needs to graze; we happily offered our fields to him so only 3 days after Spring started we already woke up tot he bleating of little lambs; it’s just great. To Indi’s joy, one of the lambs still needed to be bottle-fed for a while. Just before they left, Sergio and Noemi helped clear out the sheepfold so as they’re traveling back to Italy, the sheep are now enjoying their first night in-doors.

Quinty and her grandma were surprised by the amount of progress we had made since we first got here. The place is in a much better shape than September last year they thought. I can only agree with them and it’s mostly because of the help of all of you that we were able to do this. By now we have finished the parking lot (which does not only hold a place for two cars but of also some wood storage, the compost station and room for 6 red currants.

The planning board Mauricio and I made early December was definitely a good move. We’re looking at it every day and it’s proving to be essential in planning all of our projects and tracking our progress. Apart from the parking area I planned to finish cleaning up and re-arranging the orchard with Sergio and Noemi. As some people say: it’s always a good day to plant some trees. Well that certainly held for Thursday last week when we put in two new apple trees (granted, after having taken our two old cherry trees first :-).

Since our last update we’ve also started the Muider Brood Express. Graham, our Italian / Irish friend from Le Marche immediately came up with a great theme song and there’s no way anybody can give a better impression of what the Muider Brood Express really is (https://vimeo.com/160474513). We’re delivering about 8 breads now on a weekly basis to friends in the area and are hoping to scale this up to 18 in the next months.

Last but not least we’ve also started to talk to a bunch of architects about the old cow barn and the conversion into a bed & breakfast and multifunctional space. At first I was a bit hesitant to talk to architects because my impression is some of them are really good at depriving an old building from its soul. I think we’ve found the right guys because sending him the following video (https://vimeo.com/157572718), didn’t put them off at all; on the contrary using old techniques and natural materials to restore the building is something that they would really like to do as well. It’s going to be a fun process; if you have any ideas to share with us, please don’t hesitate.

Okay, that’s it for now. I hope you’re all well! Please, don’t feel obliged to write us back (although we definitely like that of course), just accept this update mail at a little thank you note for all that you’ve done for us.

best,
Alef & clan

February 28th, 2016
Date: February 28, 2016
From: Alef, Lin, Indi & Jona
To: Mariana, Mauricio, Nathan, Julia, Ezra, Noemi, 
  Sergio, Keely, Shaun, Marie & Alexandra
Subject: Hello all, an update from Vrede Rust

Hello lovely people!

(you’re receiving this because you’ve been at our place volunteering or are volunteering with us in the future)

So, it’s only 36 hours away and we’ll be saying goodbye to Nathan 🙁 and then we’re going to be on our own again for a while.

So ever since visiting Graham and Saranne [1] in Le Marche in Italy (go there if you can) we knew that whenever we would find our own place, we would probably start with Workaway. So when we finally settled down in Muiden we put up our profile quite soon after. Originally we didn’t plan on getting any people before Spring 2016 but then Mauricio and Mariana got in touch. We chatted a bit, changed our minds and agreed on a stay of almost three weeks end of November / beginning of December. Mariana (Mari) made a gorgeous mural in Indi’s room, Mauricio (Mauri) created the chalkboard that’s so central to everything we do here at our house. In the meantime, Nathan had checked in with us and he joined us in just before Christmas. The day after we said goodbye to Mari and Mauri. Shortly after Christmas Julia and Ezra joined us from Virginia and then we were 7 all of a sudden. A full house and never a dull moment. We celebrated an easy-going New Year’s in the hot tub with some champagne and fireworks and had a great time.

We’ve already come a long way thanks to all of you! Veg beds ready to be planted, green house half way done, parking area close to being finished, compost station built, plumbing in the orchard done, mural, chalkboard, … Now that Nathan is almost gone it’s starting to feel like an empty house again. But that’s not going to last very long. We have Noemi and Sergio coming over from Italy, joining us mid-March. And then there’s Keely and Shaun, Marie and Alexandra joining later. I’ll update all of you occasionally and will include a few photos next time. For now, stay well.

love from all of us!
Lin, Indi, Jona, Floris and Alef

[1] Graham and Saranne operate a eco farm house annex holiday rental in Le Marche. They’re a lovely couple, have two kids and we’ve had a great time there in the Winter of 2013/14. Their Workaway profile: https://www.workaway.info/237684214955-en.html