In our critical search for a really suitable place we travelled thousands of kilometers through France, Belgium and Germany. Already in 2007 we found “our” new farm and thought we had everything in hand: our farm was sold and huis nohn 2008the owners of this new farm accepted our price so what could go wrong? Well, I can tell you: everything! The owner had accepted our price and wanted to sell quickly, but the man who actually rented it had no wish to move at all. And because he had two small children nobody could force him……so he stayed. At the same time the man who had bought our farm with a signed contract “suddenly” found out that he could not finance it at all…

So back with our feet on the ground and we had to start all over again. In may 2008 our farm was sold definitely and we had time to find another place till October…..

Again we were on the road every weekend but somehow every object we looked at did not have what we wanted, when you look for a place in the middle of nowhere you find there are not many there. Until June, when we found a place that was suitable, not exactly all we wanted, but we had to do something…… On the way home we decided to pass by ”our” house and somehow something looked different, we could not say what it was. We went home and had to decide two days later if we would buy the place we found that weekend. It had to be so: on that day the estate agent of “our” house phoned and said things had changed and there was a good chance we could buy the farm! From that moment on everything went very fast: lots of talks, also with the man who rented it and yes: he would go out the first of September. We signed the contract on my birthday: what a present!

But then it started: the big move. Just imagine to move the content of two active farms, the result of 30 years collecting all sorts of things, all the animals (including 30 horses) etc. etc.

alphons verhuizing A very good friend for years, Alphons, had promised to move us with his big truck. I can tell you that he was sorry he did but he kept his word: he travelled up and down 8 times! It was “only” 265 km but with all the time it took to load and unload the truck he could do only one trip a day. Our super friends Kees, Monique, Eta and Yvonne helped to pack and also travelled up and down. My two brothers Ed and John were working their buds of for weeks to pack everything, including a 20 box stable, and drove up and down many times. Erik’s daughter Eva helped with her horse van to transport the horses and I also drove up and down with the horsebox, it’s incredible what you can load in it besides horses. As soon as the animals were ‘on the other side’ someone had to sleep there but also there had to be someone at the old house to organize the logistic…….. We left the dogs to be moved last. They did very well understand something drastic was happening and they were not happy until they came to the new house.

huis Nohn 2008 I can tell you when finally everything was over on the 23th of September and all our friends were safely home we just sat there and tried to oversee the situation. We had to make a plan to tackle the immense mess we were literally sitting in: a house full of old junk, no kitchen, heating not working, windows broken, no working toilets or sinks…….. Just a little example: on the terrace were two cages: one with a big pig still living in it and the other was a henhouse so no way to see the beautifull vally.... Luckily the pig was collected a few days after… Another thing is when you are moving with so many people the only instruction you give is: just put it on a place where it is dry. But how do you find everything later? But we made a plan, started with the kitchen and just did room for room, repaired the central heating and installed a woodfire. When the last mess was cleaned, the windows could be seen through and the nettles were cut down a bit there was but one conclusion: it will be beautiful!! But before that we had to move mountains, literally. Mountains of dirt, old furniture, machines, etc. etc. Erik drove on and off to the next town to get rid of all the junk and I can tell you that is very expensive in Germany. But it had to be done. We spend all winter and part of the spring to work on it but now we have what we wanted: a super house to live in with our dogs.

huis winter 09 That first winter absolutely surprised us: already when we were moving my houseplants that had landed somewhere outside were frozen but after that it was nice and mild till one day at the end of October: from one hour to the next there came a snowstorm I had never experienced in my life and with that came the panic: the horses! In this terrible weather they could not stay outside. With double strength and in no time we converted two barns into horse stables and they were all too happy to go in. The snow stayed till the beginning of April, so they had to stay there. Not the stables we dreamed of but big and dry, so it had to do. Unfortunately no water in the stables, not much electricity, etc. etc. It was pioneering but we made it, also in temperatures of -28……..

The spring came and we could start to work outside. What a joy! We are doing it in projects although it is like a domino game: before you can do A you have to move B and when you want to do it well you have to do C first, etc. etc. You must be very curious by now why on earth we are doing this at our age. Normal people buy a nice house in the south of France and spend the rest of their time reading, playing chess, travelling, etc. No, we bought a ruin buried in dirt and looked through all this to find a very pleasant house which does not look very big from the outside but has many rooms and because it is almost 500 meters high we have a lovely view over a big part of the Vulkan Eifel. kashmir met kip 2009 kippenhok 09On the yard there are three very big barns, one of them with toilets, showers and a separate apartment. We have no neighbors for two and a half kilometers and are surrounded by our own fields and on two sides forests , one of them is our own. We will plant lots and lots of trees, make gardens everywhere and plant hedges in our meadows to be sure the horses stay where they are supposed to stay. There will be a park with a pond for the chickens, ducks, emus, pigs and whatever will come our way. In the end all our animals will have a suitable place. Lots and lots of work for years but with that we create our own spot on earth where we can live with our animals the way we want to. We will have time again to enjoy our great hobby: the Leonbergers and everything that has to do with it, besides living with them: showing, breeding, enjoying the company of good Leo Friends.