Gripen gard and rural time travels” is a genuine old-fashioned smallholding, shaped by sheep over hundreds of years. Gripen offers accommodation, courses and experiences. And wool!
Gripen gard is situated in the end of the road, by the big lake Storavatnet, on the big island Holsnøy. (the word øy means island in Norwegian). The region is Nordhordland, who in 2019 became Norway's first Biosphere reserve. Search for "nordhordlandbiosphere.no". In this area we have a cluster of businesses who work with wool, and a lot of sheep. The density of sheep you can clearly see in the landscape. They keep the heathland (coastal landscape where Heather is dominating), and the hilly green landscape open, and free from bushes and trees!
Since Norwegian wool now is massively gaining interest, we have made a wool heritage route, and Gripen gard is one of the destinations on the route. This route will give you a nice tour and overview of this region. You can by sustainable memories from your journey, from yarn to knitted garments, ham from sheep, sheep fleeces and more.
After the farm, with old houses and the green pastures, it is just wilderness. It is a nice area for hiking and rowing. If interested, I can take you for a swin in the forrest or a guided forest walk.
When in season we can pick mushroom. It is a very good mushroom forests around the farm, both my own and further away. Most of my forest is saved native rainforest with pines. My sheep are very tame and friendly, so it is a nice opportunity to get to know sheep. I also have a minipig, the gigantic Nelly. Completely free-range chickens provide the eggs. In addition I have two cats and three dogs. I run the farm organic and eco-friendly, which is of great importance for me. The farm productions are certified organic, and it is also certified ecotourism.
All my now 101 sheep have names, and I know them individually. Every year I must send some of them to the slaughter, and I wheep hard every year, thinking I cannot do this anymore. But then, all the rest is so nice, and there is no meaning in this farm without the sheep. So I dry my tears, and go on. Then again, I produce the very best salted, dried, smoked sheep ham! Good fleeces too. Luckily, they give me their wool every spring, without any harm, and I use all the wool for different purposes. I have videos on Gripens Instagram who shows how we do it, the Gripen style. https://www.instagram.com/p/CBqpltBHXoj/
The big lake Storavatnet, is 5 min walk from the cabins and the farm. Rowing boats, life vests and fishing gear can be provided. The fishing is good. Mostly trout. It is possible to have a full pension at the farmhouse. All the farm buildings are old, one is from fifteen-hundred-and-something, and the whole farm is authentic. The smokehouse, our oldest house, is restored the best way possible, using materials from the Gripen forest (not the saves part), on our own sawmill. It is also possible to sleep at the smokehouse loft, if needed. For the moment, we can serve up to 18 people there. When Helene bought the farm in 2012, the barn had already fallen. The old stone walls is now repaired, and during the summer 2020 we will start to rebuild it the old fashion way, with materials from our own forest (the not saved part of it).
CRAFTERS NEST: Small cozy cabin with a woodburning cooking stove. Situated in the green with lovely view. The cottage has a small double bed, 120x200. In the cottage you can make your own food on the woodburning stove. It is not as difficult as is seems. But you can also be provided a little gas- or electric oven. Water right outside the cabin. It is a small compost toilet in the cabin. The cabin contains a lot of books, mainly about crafting. Sewing machines and spinning wheels and old typewriters can be borrowed for use in the cottages. Located in a very green environment, native forest, the big lake and wilderness. Perfect for hiking and fishing. Boat and life vest are available, also fishing gear. You can park outside the cabin. Gripen is a silent place, only a few farming noises.
WRITERS NEST: Little sweet cottage with two rooms. One double bed, 140 x200. Little kitchen with cooking possibilities. Water right outside the cabin. Two extra mattresses with bedding is possible. Compost toilet right outside the entrance, under the roof, so shoes are not needed to go there. Located in a very green environment, native forest, the big lake and wilderness. Perfect for hiking and fishing. Boat and life vest are available, also fishing gear. It is a little library in the cabin since it is “Writers nest”. Sewing machines and spinning wheels and old typewriters can be borrowed for use in the cottages. Gripen is a silent place, only a few farming noises. The cabin has a bonfire pit outside the entrance, who is a warm and sunny spot.
The two mini houses are close to the farm, and both houses have a compost toilet. For showers and laundry, guests must come to the farmhouse (100 meters away) The cabins are situated in the middle of the sheep pasture. Electricity in both, but no Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi in the lounge of the farmhouse. Firewood is supplied at the farm.
ROSEHOLMEN: Escape the city and go to your own deserted island and live primitive! Explore the wilderness and the native forest! Enjoy silent days and nights, catch and make your own food, make your own firewood and do bush craft. It is set for an adventure! You rent the whole islet, and the big tipi. Rowing boat, life vests and fishing gear is included. The tipi is big and have several simple beds, gas cooker and woodburning ovens. The tipi contains all you need for an adventure and surviving in the wilderness. You need to bring waterproof shoes, warm clothes, gas, food and sleeping bags. If you do not have sleeping bags, you can use the ones who are in the tipi. Then you can rent an “inner sheet” from the farm. As an extra thing to do, you can rent a toolbox containing tools for woodworking.
ABOUT THE OWNER: Helene Olli is a former architect, who was so bored in her job, that she just one day quit, to start up her own business. She bought an old farm, who had been heavily neglected for many years, an took on the challenge to get it back to former glory, and to earn her living only from what the farm could provide. It has been a struggle, but the farm project is going very well, and she has now all her income from the farm and are doing good.
One farmhouse after the other is being restored, and the year of 2020 is the year that the new barn is going to be raised. Sadly, the old barn had fallen, and now it is going to be built again, with materials from the farms forest, and in the old tradition, called "grindbygg". The old stone wall is partly taken down and build again and is now ready for the new building to be raised. The farm is a small sheep farm, with about 70 winter fed old Norse sheep, who is the Norwegian native breed. It is a growing interest of wool from native breeds, and other old Norwegian sheep breeds, so the new barn will be a house for wool an work with wool. The big Gripen family (all who loves the farm and engages in the work) is already doing a lot of wool work-and we have a range of product for sale.
Welcome to Gropen Gard!
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