Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wwoofing at Hop en Grut, The Netherlands

Hop en Grut is a lovely, small family farm right in the top right hand corner of The Netherlands, near a village called Vlagtwedde and I have just spent a couple of weeks wwoofing there.  The farmers at Hop en Grut are Arthur, originally from somewhere near Rotterdam and Benedetta originally from somewhere near Urbino in Italy.

Here are Arthur and Benedetta (with Hibbe the whippet in the background)

and this is their house

The organic garden is mostly for themselves, the lucky wwoofers who find their way here and some of the produce ends up at the nearby markets.  At this time of the year, there is lots of weeding and harvesting to be done.

As well as the vegies and flowers, there are some dogs including Alicia, a Spanish greyhound

some chickens

and some sheep like this one

Last week there was a school camp at Hop en Grut.  Before the kids arrived, we had to turn the sheep out of their favourite paddock and convert their shed into a kitchen

We also had to put up a big tent in case it rained.  Here's Arthur trying to remember which bits go where

and Benedetta talking things over with Hibbe

Here are all three getting things underway

At one point the tent looked like this which was not very encouraging really, especially as on the day it was a heat wave (27 degrees & humid)

but finally we got it up 

We also set up the dining tables and chairs for around 20 kids, two teachers and ourselves

I wasn't behind the camera the whole time.  I did my share of lifting poles, carrying things & tightening ropes.  I also got to try out out some real clogs and pretend to be Dutch for a while

At the end of the afternoon, we were all pretty pleased with ourselves.  Here's the whole team (from left to right) Bel from Brazil, Arthur, Dani from Brazil, Benedetta (with Diego, another Spanish greyhound) and me

The kids' luggage was dropped off by a couple of parents well before the kids arrived

They had a 50km bike ride from Gronnigen to get to Hop en Grut and looked surprisingly fresh when they finally turned up

In no time at all they worked out where to put their tents, got them up and then settled in for dinner

The sheep, evicted to another field, didn't look so impressed

Over the week, the kids did some great work at Hop en Grut.  Amongst other things, they refilled the garden beds with compost, they reworked one of the compost piles, they picked and chopped up apples and they made some surprisingly tasty apple juice

Of course, it wasn't all manual labour.  There was plenty of time for fun and laughter as well as countless great meals, only some of which involved chocolate sprinkles and apple jam on bread

On the last day, after a week of late nights and early mornings, bags and tents were packed up, tyres checked and, with smiles all around, off they went.  Just 50kms to get back home

A moment later, we had the gate open for the sheep 

and in they galloped 

to check out all the places the kids had been (just to make sure they were gone)

and eventually settling in to do what sheep do best

look cute

And just to finish off, here'a another pic of Arthur and Benedetta, two of the best wwoof hosts I have had the pleasure of meeting this year

Hop en Grut - what a great place.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, My name Kaew from Thailand. I would like to be volunteer wwoof in your farm. but I can work only 3 days per week on Friday to Sunday.Is it possible to me?