Arriving at Helle Bauer

A lot has happened since my last blog article. I finished the internship at Ridgedale in Sweden and tried hitchhiking home which didn’t really work out that well. I managed to get to Gothenburg almost directly from Sunne and spent two nights there after meeting Edmund who had also been on the internship and took the train to Gothenburg. He had to spend four days there waiting for his flight.
Trying to get out of Gothenburg was hard hitchhiking and I ended up booking a bus to Hamburg and hitching on from there. I wanted to get home quickly and get some stuff sorted out before leaving for the European Juggling convention and on to my next big stop the Helle Bauer farm in Höxter.
And I have already been here for over seven weeks now living with Jasper and Anna who own the farm and Jakob who is from Austria and lived here from March till the end of September.

Helle Bauer market garden
entrance to the garden

Jasper and Anna purchased the Helle Bauer Farm in autumn of 2017, together with Annas father and three siblings, after Jasper had come back from the Ridgedale internship. The farm has two big barns, one small barn which is not being used, one small barn which is being renovated to be the chicken winter stable and a big ‚Fachwerk‘ House. Fachwerk is an old style of building houses in Germany which is a wooden frame house with clay plaster walls.
The family renovated one side of the big house which is the side we are currently living in. The other side has a separate entrance and still needs a lot of work which will probably be started this winter.
One of the big barns is a former pig stable which is planned to have space for a farm shop and a conference/yoga room. Jasper is a yoga teacher and would like to offer classes there some day. The other big barn has a workshop and storage for chicken feed, wood, building materials, etc.
The farm has about 2 ha of land which is mostly grassland with old fruit trees scattered on it. Jasper has 200 hens which he grazes holistically on the pasture between the fruit trees. The other big enterprise of the farm is the market garden which has about 80 20m*0.75m no dig vegetable beds and one polytunnel.

The Fachwerk House and old pig stable
The Fachwerk House to the left and old pig stable to the right in the background.

There is a washing station for vegetables in the center of the garden right next to the greenhouse which gives easy access to the delivery van. The vegetable beds are arranged in blocks of ten beds with a bed in between each block that has trees flowers and perennial shrubs on it. This makes the garden even more colorful and diverse and gives habitat to more creatures. In the future the fruit trees will grow big enough to give shade to the gardener and house birds and other animals.

two big barns and the main house in the middle
two big barns and the main house in the middle. The winter chicken stable is the small building to the very right.

I am enjoying working here a lot and feel really at home in the small team we have. There is a lot to do every day since next to the day to day running of the farm infrastructure needs to be built and routines put in place. It is nice to be able to have such a big impact in the building up of a place like this and to work on a farm that is very similar to what I can imagine having.
I am learning a lot and it is really valuable to me to have a structure that I can orient myself on when looking for my own place.

looking from the garden towards the house
the vegetable beds with greenhouse and washing station to its left. The big pole is for birds of prey that use it often to hunt small rodents and the like around the garden.

Busy farm life

There is a lot going on on the farm as the season progresses and we, the interns, got more settled in. I am on turkey, cow and sheep team, which means we feed and move the turkeys in the morning and then go up into the pasture to move the sheep and cows.
The turkeys are still young little six week old birds but are out in the pasture already where the cows have grazed the land a couple of weeks ago.

Hungry turkeys