Have a fantastic 2016!

2016 has just begun, and nothing says “Happy New Year!” like a good start. Axel skipped the good start with some help from the influenza virus (he’ll make up for it next week, I’m sure), but I’ve been quite productive in the past few days. A lot of my energy has gone into planning for our volunteering program and a party in May.

Workawayers repairing & draining a terrace wall

Workawayers repairing & draining a terrace wall, Jabba & Jinx surveilling the works

As you might have read in an old blog, we’ve been working with Workawayers for the past 5 months. So far that has worked out great! Workaway is an organisation that brings people into contact with each other: on the one side, there’s people who want to travel and explore the world, experience other cultures and / or learn new skills; on the other side, there’s hosts (like us!) who need a hand and are willing to share their lives with (mostly) random strangers who come into their homes for a few weeks, doing a few hours of work a day in exchange for a bed, a shower, and 3 meals a day.

We’ve had about a dozen workawayers so far, and are all ready to welcome the first batch of 2016 (the first one is arriving on Saturday). What is so cool about the system is that you get to choose exactly the type of volunteer that you think will fit right in: we try to select people who are really travelling with the purpose of either learning new skills, or sharing the ones they’ve already got. In a little over a year, Axel has become a master in building stone walls and stairs – there are so many of these to (re)build, that most workawayers leave here with newly acquired stone building skills 🙂 But at the same time, we learn from them: Ciaran showed Axel the basics of woodworking, I learned to make seitan from Frank & Anne, and most of our volunteers made us their signature dish – I made several quiches since Mathilde left…  The same goes the other way around: volunteers look at the pictures on our profile page, read the reviews left by former workawayers (we read the reviews left by their former hosts), and sometimes this leads to a match made in heaven… I’m hoping we’ll have a really good time with the people coming over in the next few months!

Sanchez & the Sanchitas

Sanchez & the Sanchitas

We’ve got so many project lining up: making a mobile chicken coop (I love the design of this “chickasaw” so that’s first on the list), making beehives, or the drying oven to dry our figs in (although we might as well give more to our friends Mellissa and Dan this summer, they made some really great fig wine with last year’s!), and last but not least we just bought an incubator so if Sanchez and his Sanchita’s continue to do their best laying (fertile) eggs (the Sanchitas do the laying, Sanchez is responsible for the “fertile” part) we might get some chicks this spring as well.

Looks like a house! (from afar)

Looks like a house! (from afar)


In the mean time, the construction of the house looks like it’s still on schedule: walls have been plastered, most of the roof has been laid, inner arches look finished (the outer arches not yet) and we’re counting down to the delivery of the stones – local stones that will make our house melt into the landscape. As soon as that’s been done, Axel can start tiling the floors (with some help, hopefully) – by then spring will hopefully be coming around (you never know with the seasons!) so I can start doing the landscaping and planting lots of stuff… I’m really looking forward to spending a day in the greenhouse this weekend to get a lot of seeds going.

And then in May it’s time for our Fiesta Fiesta: officially, it’s a wedding party (we got married in Amsterdam in 2014) – but everyone who knows us, knows we don’t need a reason to have a party. We just had all the invites out and now I’m really really hoping I didn’t omit anybody, the inviting proces was quite chaotic as I sent most of them on the road between Spain and the Netherlands at Christmas. More people seem to be coming than we expected, which gives us the chance to get really creative! Which we really need to be now, only 4 months to go…

The "food forest" (veggie garden / orchard) in its very first winter slumber... no telling what spring will bring

The “food forest” (veggie garden / orchard) in its very first winter slumber… no telling what spring will bring

After May, we start reaching for the stars… we’re hoping to open our B&B this summer (in June). We might do a try-out at first: friends & family only, trying out different formulas (different kinds of breakfast, with or without food at night, with or without organised activities,…) and finding our way to what works best for us and for the guests. The main idea is still unchanged of course: we still want to offer people an oasis of peace in the middle of nature, with food from the land (plus locally grown stuff, especially in the beginning we won’t have enough diversity year round) and fantastic surroundings. Crazy times are coming, only 5 months to go!

To conclude this post filled with unhidden anticipation, clearly we have a lot to look forward to this year. We expect to spend lots of fun times in the sun or under the stars with good friends (our get-togethers have become a more than monthly habit around here), but we also hope friends (old and new, close and distant) from around the world will have the chance to visit us – if not this year, maybe make plans for another year… Dear friends / followers, I sincerely hope you have a lot to look forward to this year as well, and I wish you a very healthy and happy 2016!



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