RESUME - Katharina
When I arrived in the small village of Jarenina at the end of February, it was like coming home to me. The warm hug of Maja and Matjaž, the crackling fire in the oven and a delicious tea made from home-grown herbs were the start of an unforgettable time.
It was cold and snowing in Jarenina when my voluntary service started. On a farm that makes a living from growing fruit, vegetables and grain, there is not much to do in winter, there is time to rest or time to do things for which there is no time during the year. One of the first challenges was removing an old apple orchard with tall trees. Fortunately, I didn't have to do this on my own, as two other volunteers live on the farm with me. The beginning of the year is also the time of sowing and planting. Potatoes, onions, garlic and also carrots, beetroot and other vegetables found their way into the soil.
With increasing temperature, sunshine and rain, the variety of tasks expanded. There was a lot of weeding, hoeing and harvesting. Not only the cultivated plants shot up, but also weeds such as wild amaranth, dandelion and convolvulus.
In mid-May, the most beautiful part of my voluntary service began: the berry season. From now on we had to harvest (and eat) berries one to three times a week. First strawberries, followed by blueberries, currants, black raspberries, blackberries and red raspberries. In the middle of September, it was time for the last berries for this year, the aronia berries. A harsh-tasting vitamin C heroine who is very popular here in Slovenia and is slowly becoming known in Germany as well.
Now, in November, the feeling of saying goodbye is slowly spreading. In agriculture, the time when the days get shorter and colder is also the time when large parts of the yield are harvested. The last few weeks have been shaped by potatoes, carrots, beetroot and many other vegetables being brought in for the winter storage. I finally can see what we have been working for all year long. It's an overwhelming feeling to be part of this cycle. To have helped grow a plant from a single seed and harvest delicious fruits from it. And it wasn't just the plants that developed and grew, I myself grew during this time as well.
Building a Sauna
I had the honor to renovate the old RV situated in the orchard as my personal project this year.
I have been interested in the tiny house movement and building my own home for a while already, so this kind of building project intrigued me.
It was also a wish of mine to live in the orchard during the summer since I felt the need to withdraw from society, noise, and distractions and to find peace and awareness in nature and the simplicity and
remoteness that this space would provide me.
In the beginning, I had the idea to buy my own RV and take it to Germany with me to live in it in the
future. But I had doubts about such a big financial commitment.
Due to my undecided and changeable temper, it took me a while to come to the decision not to buy one,but to work with the lovely RV that Maja and Matjaž already owned. Since this camper might serve as an accommodation to future volunteers, I was also happy to make a useful contribution to the farm and the people living here after me.
The main work I did from the middle of May until the end of July, so that I was able to move in after I
returned from holidays at the end of August. I didn‘t know how long weather and temperature would
allow me to live there but I was quite determined to stay in RV and orchard as long as possible.
But I was lucky and after some chilly days at the beginning of September, late summer was sunny and
warm and even allowed me to go for many mild and calm evening walks until the end of September,
when it got cold and too early dark to be outside for longer in the evening.
In October it got quite rainy and cold and I was struggling with drying my wet clothes in the damp air in
the RV. But I found enough candles and blankets to stay warm and cozy in the evenings and nights, not
wanting to leave my little island yet.
In the mornings, it was hard to get out of bed, into the cold, sometimes even frosty autumn air. But the
pink and orange sunrise over the hills, the mist over the meadows, the deer grazing on the neighbor's
field, and the meetings with my friend and neighbor Harry the hare, paid off for all the cold and
I felt at peace and home in this space. The two months in the RV taught me many things about myself and how I want to live in the future and where.
I feel endlessly inspired and grateful for this experience and will remember these days with love and
gratitude towards Maja and Matjaž, who trusted me to allow me to renovate their RV and to live in their
orchard and who gave me advice on how to proceed if I had problems, to all people who supported me
during the working process and to all creatures and spirits that shared their home, the orchard with me.
STEPS IN THE BUILDING PROCESS
• tearing out little bathroom/shower cabin and huge wardrobe
• dismount cupboard doors, clean and paint them with white varnish
• tape edges of all cupboards and furniture along walls, before painting
• take out old curtains
• rip out old linoleum flooring and discovering black mold and rotting of wooden boards underneath
in the area of the former bathroom and at the entrance
• cutting out rotten wood with a saw
• filling up empty spaces on the floor with cement plaster
• cutting of nails sticking out of wall and ceiling where wardrobe and bathroom where
• painting all furniture with white varnish twice
• replacing old plastic knobs on cupboard doors with new wooden ones and putting doors back on cupboards
• measuring out flooring and sketching the layout
• Cutting out and taping together cardboard in the measurements of the future floorboards
• Cutting out wooden floor pieces, with cardboard sheets as measurement support
• laying cardboard under wood floor noise cancelation and less friction between the old and new
• laying out new floor, fitting boards into each other, and gluing edges together
• filling out gaps and cracks with silicon
• glaze floor with transparent varnish twice
• assemble left-over wood to kitchen counter cover
• sow covers for sofa cushions and curtain for open cupboard in the kitchen
Searching - by Brigid
Not more than a feeling. Just the knowledge to be just right where you‘re meant to be. To be connected
with everything. Truly everything You can perceive. Everything within yourself and everything and
everyone surrounding you.
No separation, no estrangement. Pure belonging. Union with all that is.
You‘re asking yourself, how to know that this is true. How do you know that this is really where you‘re
meant to be? How can you even know yourself well enough to know where you‘re meant to be. Can you
even know yourself?
Is there a self? Are you there? Can you feel yourself?
Am I confusing you with my questions? Just tell me yes so I can believe it and I will be quiet.
Ok. I believe you. You‘re right. If you can feel it, it‘s true.
Maybe it will be wrong. But not now. Now you‘re perfectly right, that this is home.
Home, what does that even mean?
It‘s nothing stagnant or fixed in one place. It‘s surrounding you and fills you up. You are where you‘re
obviously meant to be. Without doubts or questions.
You don‘t have to ask for space for yourself, because the space just is there for you wherever you need it.
You don‘t have to stand up for yourself, because you are standing already.
No gravity is pushing you down.
Space to laugh and to cry out loud. No shame, no suppressed feelings, no second thoughts, no lies, no
hate, and no fear. Just you. You and everything else.
Sounds great! How can I get there? Where is this place?
Within you, and myself? Within everybody?
I don‘t know how to get there. Can I follow you? I see, I have to find my way and I have to go by myself.
It‘s a lonely journey, but when you arrive at your destination, your own company will be enough, you
There you are at home.
Nice! See you there then!
Saying goodbye to the RV
A week ago I moved back into the room in the house. During the summer I had the pleasure to stay in a RV that was renovated last year. It has been an amazing time but as the leaves started falling and the temperature with them it felt like the right time to move back into the warmth. With the tiny-house movement and all the trendy and creative vans I, like everyone else, also felt like trying something like that out and this opportunity was just perfect. The RV really felt like my home and how it was placed in the garden surrounded by trees and blueberries made it feel extra much as a whole space. I will have so many memories to look back at from this summer and project and the time in my tiny house will surely be some of the precious ones. But of course I also learn some other sides of tiny living as you always do when you are trying things out. For example there was just enough space for my yoga-mat on the floor but if I wanted to actually practice it the closet and old kitchen were very much in the way. And I also noticed how practical it is to be close to the bathroom when moving back to the room, especially when it’s raining. But although I notice some less good sides I think I would really like to live small in the future, and maybe even build my own tiny house.
This weekend we went on an outing to a lake called Blaguš. It was situated on the way to Murska Sobota and it was a really beautiful small lake with old big trees surrounding it. The weather was wonderful with sunshine and warmth and we would have gone for a swim if the water would have been more clear. When we arrived one of the first things we noticed was a very modern wooden building where you could rent sups and boats to go out on the lake, which we unfortunately didn’t do. Close to the rental house there was also a small cafe and a place where they sold pizza and right behind it there was a glamping spot. It was the first time I saw a glamping and we all were surprised about how nice it actually looked, so maybe we will go there some time for a stay over night. But we also had a good laugh about it because it looked a bit silly. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, one of the things I miss here the most is water and the feeling you get gazing out over the surface, so I guess that longing made the whole experience even better. After going for a walk around the lake we found a very nice spot to eat some very tasty vegetables we had brought from the farm along with some other food. We sat on a meadow filled with flowers and next to a beautiful oak tree that was going out over the water. We got the advice to go to Balguš from Maja and I can also warmly recommend going there if anyone feels like going on an outing in the area.
A Contemplation of Work - by Brigid
In the beginning, is the inspiration. This sudden glimmer in one's soul slowly grows into a fire of passion
and excitement. The idea is becoming a picture, a vision of what‘s going to be. How this world is going to change just by you living your dream.
The fire is becoming smaller with the sobriety, with which the idea is turned into a plan. A detailed
manuscript, telling you all the steps needing to be done, to realize your vision.
Now creation can start and with this, a process is starting. A development that can save one soul or the
whole world. It can save the world from separation, materialism, egoism and bring unity and awakening.
Work is a formative, creative, producing, social action, mediating between individuals.
Every action, that has an effect can be a work. Every work should have a beneficial effect on the
individual, the community, and the environment this individual is living in. If one is suffering all are
suffering. If one that is suffering is being saved, all can be saved.
All that is being created will necessarily impact the entirety.
The longing to act to the benefit of all is in the nature of all humans. Sometimes this knowledges is
sleeping in people's hearts, like a dream that was once dreamed and that only remains as a vague feeling, but can‘t be grasped. Sometimes it is only thoughts waiting patiently in people's minds for the moment to be turned into actions.
Wherever it is, it will be lived. If not in this life then in another one.
If this longing is turning into reality, the individual is becoming a part of something bigger. An organism,
that perfectly is healthy. It is healthy in a way that goes far beyond the mere absence of disease. It has
reached a state of wholeness. A unity that is formed by all that exists in this universe.
Work has to be beneficial to the future throughout the effect it has on the world, and in the present within the actions that are being carried out. If one of those conditions isn‘t met, the work becomes meaningless.
It is the responsibility and a life task for each to find their way of bringing good into the world and to
themselves. It is the responsibility of all others to support each other in this way with all their powers.
A Story about Desire
Be my teacher and tell me your secret sister, that you carry through meadows and forests, bathing in the infinite beauty and scents of countless blossoms. Dancing in the morning sun, humming a song about service to mother earth.
Show me, how you nourish the devotion, with which you‘re fulfilling this duty every day of your life.
Selfless and loving you‘re turning flower into fruit and dust into liquid gold. Gold that is more precious
than scraps of paper or numbers on a screen can ever be.
How could one ever be closer to enlightenment and awakening, than in your existence!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.