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sailing the farm tribe - join our seagypsy tribe of tomorrow!

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Interested in self-sufficiency? Want to help build a community? Love the sea? Our collective, on an organic farm a few hours north of Oslo, is for anyone who wants to learn and work hard. We grow food, boats and ideas, so if you have a knowledge or interest in permaculture, farming, boat building, or sailing, come and help us create a home that is sustainable both on land AND out at sea!

We are building a sailboat (the first of many), with the hope that when she sets sail (hopefully 2012/2013) we will visit other eco-villages around the world, collecting knowledge and travelling in the most eco-friendly way possible. Anyone who helps will have the chance to join our crew, a tribe of floating sea-gypsies! We also need help on the farm, as we build up the infrastructure to form a stable base for our community. This project is relatively new; we began in 2009 so there is still a lot to be done. We live with two dogs, the farm cat and some (very) free-range chickens. We keep bees and make jam; this year we harvested our first crop of potatoes and planted next seasons raspberries. Eventually we hope to grow all our food. We want to create a place that will flourish as our boats start sailing, a place where crops, thoughts, adventures, and of course boats, can grow!

Want more info?
[Thumbnail for 2012-02-26.jpg]
our noahs ark in progress
zeyang lin
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Newsletter February 2012. .

Dear Sea Gypsies,

Spring is slowly coming our way, This winter has been really nice
compared to last winter. It has seldom been below -15, which is quite
out of normal.

We had a really nice christmas on the farm, with lots of friends and
seagypies. This year Santa Claus had an australian accent. We tried to
teach him the only one and important centence in norwegian - "Are
there any nice children here" but in last minute he forgot - but the
"kids" still got their presents. The small ones got proper
vikinghelmets and dress of course.... What else for seagypses?

Else we have been doing regular winter maintainance on the farm and
been looking forward to the spring. The boat project is going forward
working on small and big pieces on the boat. We have been doing some
work on how to make a furnace to melt all that scrap aluminum into
more useful stuff like portholes. Casting is not something new. People
have been doing thise for ages. Hopefully we manage to make something
out of brick run on propane or better firewood which we have plenty of
up here. Any foundry and casting experience out there?

Anyway, its quite busy up here now but dont forget to enjoy the early
spring folks! .. and if you want to join our tribe please contact us!


a. Enjoy christmas dinner with friends and seagypies.
b. A young seagypsy quite happy whith his christmaspresent - proper
viking helmet!
c. Out walking the mast. Even a mast need some fresh air these days!
d. We want to duplicate these guys! Anyone with casting/foundry
experience out there? We want to learn!


zeyang lin
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Newsletter April 2012. .

Dear Sea Gypsies,

Still some time until we are ready to put the seeds into the soil. Its
more or less -5 degrees C during night last weeks but daytime is above

The days have been spent welding and welding and when we havent done
welding we have spent time troubleshoot welding machines. They have a
tendency to break down unfortunately. So we bought 2 more big
machines. We also got hold of another ton of lead. There seems to be
no end to how much lead we need for ballast.

Ahh yes. We got more chickens on the farm. one of our hens found out
we need some easter chickens this year and she missed by 2 days. Not
bad. The small one is a little shy so its hard to take a picture
without getting attacked by the angry mother.

Today it will be traditional easter-dinner here on the farm with
people from near and far. Wish you all fair winds and following seas
and hope you all have a peacful easter.

picture from last weeks.

a: our chickens are enjoying longer and warmer days.
b: two more welding machines arrived on the farm.. It seems we cant
get enough welding machines.
c: Our easter chicken arrived 2 days before easter.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter May 2012.

Dear Sea gypsies

Spring has come to the farm! And then came summer, and then a few
blustery days of fall, and finally last Friday and Saturday it snowed
again. But that will be the last snow of the year, we hope - the mild
weather seems to have returned, the trees are leafing out, the
wildflowers are springing up around the river, the bees and the
neighbors have come out of hibernation (again), and we are hard at

This week we mixed a few tons of lovely manure compost into the soil
of the north field, and planted eleven rows of potatoes - by hand -
which should give us about 300 kilos of potatoes in the fall to feed
hungry sea-gypsies all next winter. Next week we'll plant carrots and
onions, and move some tender warm-weather starts to our new greenhouse
- radishes, bok choi, spinach, parsley, beets, and sugar peas so tall,
they might start climbing us if we don't get them out of the kitchen

Work on the boat has really picked up recently. We've been distracted
with planting, and replumbing the bathroom, and building coldframes
and the new greenhouse - but now that the potatoes are in the ground
and the sea-gypsies are in the bath (phew), we are back in the
boatshed all the time. Our resident woodworker is about to start work
on a wooden dinghy from a traditional Norwegian design, just as soon
as he gets the greenhouse finished. And we cast two tons of lead
ballast, a very medieval process involving a wood-fired furnace in the
yard. The boat will eventually carry five tons, so there is more
casting to do as soon as the scrap yard has more lead for us.

Inside the boat we're sealing off the keel with aluminum plates - the
bow is nearly done, and then we can put in the last of the bow ribs.
In the stern, we're wrestling with engine placement - it needs to be
high enough to fit the cooling system and the primary diesel tank
underneath, but low enough that the propeller clears the stern.
Hmmmmm. Fortunately there's plenty to do while we're thinking about
it - like put on the deck! The boat will start looking dramatically
different very soon and we're all pretty excited.

As always, there's room for more in our big sea-gypsy tribe - so if
you like planting, weeding, shoveling, soldering, sawing, nailing,
welding, grinding, sewing, cooking, drilling, knitting, routering,
getting headbutted by chickens, watching 2-hour sunsets, measuring,
cutting, re-measuring, thinking, re-re-measuring, making bread,
reading sea books, eating waffles or knot-tying, drop us a line!

Picture from last weeks.

a: Sea gypsy girl making psykedelic chair-protection for the chairs.

b: Shaping wood with router

c: Potato-planting.

d: lead melting girl finished melting 2 tonns in one week.
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Hallo Zeyang, I have tried to send you my application form but I am afraid your system is bouncing me back. Please let me know if you receive my mail. Thank you massimo.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter June 2012.

Dear Sea gypsies

We're back to a full farm - the current crew of sea-gypsies hail from
Norway, Germany (times two), Finland, France/Belgium, the UK and the
US - it makes for lively, er, discussions in the evenings while we're
watching Euro Cup matches.

It also makes for rapid progress - in the last few weeks we've picked
the entire farm clean of rocks, planted two fields in a mixture of
cover crops (including phacelia, whose blue flowers are a favorite bee
snack), built and painted a fence around the yard, re-plumbed the
basement, fixed our fleet of bicycles, put in almost a kilometer of
fence around the biggest field, dug up half the far field looking for
a pipe leak, refinished a beautiful old door... and then, in our spare
time, built a model for the boat's dinghy, biked all over the area,
hiked down the river, spent a weekend in Oslo, foraged local plants
for dinner, built a campfire spot overlooking the valley, installed a
swing under the barn ramp, given each other mohawks, and baked about
forty loaves of bread.

And we're going to be parents! Kind of! One of our chickens has very
motherly instincts, and she's been incubating thirteen eggs - some
hers, some laid by the rest of our flock. We're expecting chicks in a
week or so.

All the farming hasn't left us much time for boatbuilding, but we
still managed to make some progress this month: the keelbox has been
welded shut in bow and stern, the last ribs are being bent to shape
and welded in, and the calculations for the curve of the deck have
begun. This week we'll finish the ribs and begin the wood patterns
for the deck frames.

We've been eating like royalty - everybody has learned to bake, and
the spring plants are out in force, so we feast on nettles, milkweed,
chaga mushrooms, dandelions, wood sorrel, and our own bread. After a
long winter of turnips, potatoes and carrots, it's wonderful to have
the green leaves that come with warm days, and the new dishes that
come with new comrades.

So, enjoy summer folks, and if you want to join us, just send us an

Pictures from last weeks.

a: Sea-gypsy girl busy planning the route with help of the world-map
in background.

b: Fence-banging guys!

c: The Fencing-crew on the way to the field.

d: Enjoy a short rest after hours of rockpicking in the field.

e: Welding up the keelbox inside the boat.
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
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Your endeavor sounds delightful.

We have a farm/permaculture-paradise-in-the-making here in Rhode Island (smallest state in the US, googlemaps Matunuck RI) and when you make your voyages you are welcome to make a stop here. There are many marinas nearby and we have ample space and equipment for camping. We love sharing ideas and experiences. Community is one of the best products of thriving permaculture!

I look forward to hearing of your future exploits.
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Location: CA
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Hello Seagypsy!

I would LOVE to become a seagypsy myself. I am finishing up at job in CA around the second week of September then spending some time ascending Mount Whitney. My life opens up after that, around the second week of October and I would love to come live with you through the fall and into some of the winter. I am currently in the process of learning and applying medicinal herbal healing and would love to do some experiments and possibly store you up on some of my favs! Sailing is a great passion of mine, but I need to gain some skills on restoring and building sailboats for my future home. I am a strong, positive, motivated worker and I really want you to say yes!!!

zeyang lin
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hi era
send us your email and we will send you more info
Era Keys
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Location: CA
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Hello Seagypsy

My names Sorell ( i know it sounds close to sorrel but don't eat me please haha) and I would have to definitely agree with Era up there I my self would love to be a sea gypsy as well.Being from Florida and living close to the ocean for a number of years in my younger days the sea has definitely had a huge impact on my life and always wanted to live at sea. I am currently job hunting in the world for money to travel and I would definitely love to help out here some time perhaps next spring or so I've had experiences with different types of farm work and am very good with my hands. plus wanting to live on a sail boat my self would love the opportunity to learn more of the craft of ship building and repair. I'm strong(being into bodybuilding as a hobby), young, a quick learner, friendly, positive, a self motivated worker, and loves to work with my hands. I really hope we can chat and hope the chat turns into a yes.
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Hi Seagypsies!
What you have there sounds like a dream to me. I had to sign up just to contact you. I'm a Finnish gal just turning to my twenties and I have an agricultural education, which means I have the basic knowledge of critters like cows and pigs. I'm eager to learn and I love your idea. I'd be happy if you sent me an email and gave me a chance to tell more about myself as well as learn more about you guys! Keep up the good work!
Johanna (
zeyang lin
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Newsletter Late August 2012.

Howdy Sea gypsies

August has been a good one.... The weather was much nicer than july i
must admit. even some of those wwoofers start to complain about too
much sun!

We have had quite an invasion from volunteers lately, and majority has
been from US, so now we have a distinct texas-slang around here.

Boatbuilding is going forward with the speed of light kind of... The
deck is on. The deckhouse is fixed. Even with the possibility to
remove to store big stuff inside. We are now working on
interior. Space for six bunk beds, kitchen and toilet/shower needs
some thinking...

We got some cool news lately. two volunteers (french/american) who met
less than one year ago here on farm, got married... even after
struggeling so hard to keep those girls and boys in separate barracks!
... some stuff must have been happening after dark... hmm.

That was big and small news from our coolest sea gypsy tribe this
month. If you fancy joining us, please drop us a line...

Some pictures from last month.

a: happy volunteers eating lunch
b: Deckhouse is soon on.
c: two pretty mermaids taking care of the raspberry field.
d: forehatch girl cleaning up inside boat.
e: wedding picture...

Love from
Sailing the farm - a sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter October 2012.

Our big accomplishment this month was getting the winter bathroom
constructed, insulated and piped - just in time for the first big
freeze to hit the pipes in the summer bathroom. (Just in time to wash
some dirty sea gypsies.) At the beginning of September, it was just a
dark, drafty hole in the corner of the barn, and now it's a warm and
bright room with heating, double-glazed windows, a fancy new
shower... oh, and two couches, a worktable, a bookshelf and our sewing
machine. We decided it was too big to just be a bathroom, so we made
the other half into a winter living room. (If showering in the living
room and hanging out in the bathroom sounds like a weird combination,
just think of it as practice for living on the boat.)

In boat news, the deck is on, the deckhouse is constructed and
suspended precariously from the boatshed ceiling, and we've started on
the sub-deck and the insulation inside the hull. There's a lot of
infrastructure to go under the sub-deck - tanks for diesel and fresh
water, a greywater holding tank under the shower, and 5.5 tons of lead
ballast. Last week we cast another 600 kilograms of ballast in our
evil-looking smoky wood-fired crucible - only 1.5 tons left to go!

We've been doing a lot of farm work the last couple months - fall is
always a busy season. We harvested those crops we planted back in May
- onions, carrots, and 300 kilograms of potatoes! - plus lingonberries
from the nearby forest which we made into jam. And getting ready for
winter is a big job - cleaning up heaps of scrap wood, burning trash,
raking hay, organizing the bee stuff, putting snow chains on the farm
equipment, ghostriding the old tractor into the barn, and getting
things stowed under roofs before they get lost under the snow until
spring. We had our first big snowfall last night - about 15cm, and it
looks like it's going to stick around. The official end of summer
time on Saturday means the sun goes down around 4:30pm these days, but
that just gives us more night hours to watch for northern lights.
Tomorrow is Halloween, and we're going to celebrate by dressing up
like boatbuilding farmworkers and stealing candy from passing
children. Happy winter!

Some pictures and movie from last month.

This is our house band.

a: Beware of moose on deck!
b: Harvesting the carrot crop.
c: Making jam from local lingonberries.
d: Fishing in the local lake.
e: Fall bonfire with guitar.
f: Making Swedish pea soup for lunch.

Love from
Sailing the farm - a sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter December 2012.

Dear All,

First of all, Mucho Gracias for all contribution this year - This
doesent goes just for those of you who have been flying, driving,
peddaling, walking and swimming up here to lend a hand on the farm and
the shipbuilding - but it goes also to you who have send support
mails, commented on forums, asked to help sponsoring the project and
mailed us. Without your support, we would never have come this far.

We are now going into the last year of building the Seagypsy Boat #1
and hopefully start sailing. Yes, i know some of you think she will
sail only backwards, or even upside down, but sail she will.. ..

Together we have come a long way taking into consideration that most
of volunteers coming up here have never done any metalwork or even
farmwork before, but they all share the same dream...

To sum up for 2012. We have used more than 2 metric tonns of aluminium
this year, welded hundreds and hundreds of meters of welding, consumed
a few hundred kg of Argon gas, melted 5 tonns lead. Not to mention
breathing way too much welding fumes and aluminium dust...

On the farm, we have had lots and lots of volunteers who has been in
charge of growing potatoes, sugar pees, carrots, berries and lots of
other stuff. They have got new friends and met old ones from prior

They have shared and learned, maybe eating too much porridge and
waffles, laughed, cried, made love (tough I really worked hard here to
keep those sneaky wwoffers in separate girls/guys barracks!!) Some
have even taken step to marry! So in sum I think 2012 has been quite a
good year.

As we are nearing the end of this year (and not end of the world i
hope!) I wish you all a peaceful 2013 with much joy and happiness for
the coming year and we up on the farm really look forward to meet new
and old volunteers both here and out on the seven seas.

Fair winds and smooth sailing from

Sailing the farm - A Sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.

picture: Boatshed in winter night.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter March 2013. .

Dear Sea Gypsies,

Spring is slowly coming our way, Its been maybe the coldest winter for
as long as people can remember up here. Minus -30 for weeks out and
weeks for january and february and even in march we have -20 degrees
for many days. But we dont complain (at least loudly!) the shed was
filled to the brink with firewood and during evening and weekends time
have been spent reading about small pacific islands where the sun
always shine... Guess where to boat is sailing!

Last two months have been spent doing foundry work (melting
aluminium). We are now making our own portholes and all small bits and
pieces out of the all the scrap alloy we have floating around. Next
would be to make a few dolphins for decoration

Anyway, enjoy the early spring folks! .. and if you want to join our
tribe please contact us!


a. making a sand-cast for a small porthole.
b. Out enjoy the skiing in cold winter weather.
c. a cake? Nope. Its called cores and used for foundry work! Its a
miks of sand and linseed oil. Taste awful, but works good.
d. welding small boxes and stuff together.
e. Porthole production.
zeyang lin
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Newsletter April 2013.

Dear Sea Gypsies,

The potatoes are planted just a few days ago. Thats even earlier than
last year. It a little risky since its still frostnights up here but
they are protected under a bed of soil so hopefully they wont freeze.

Summer is coming very slowly. Still no leafs on the trees, but the
small yellow flowers - coltsfoot (tussilago farfara) are starting to
show up along the roads. They are important pollen plants for the bees
this early in season (together with salix)

Sailing the farm have 3 nice girls now (irish,zchech,french). 2 guys
(swedish/english) who have been here the first part of april.

We have mostly been working on casting portholes for the boat which is
pretty timeconsuming. It means making molds, melting aluminium and
then shape the half-finished product in the lathe. The result looks
really good i must say.

Even if not even close to being foundrymen/girls or machinists we
manage to get quite a professional result after some weeks of trial
and error.

Thats enough for now, If you fancy joining the seagypsy tribe - just
drop us a line.

Love from
Sailing the farm


a. irish girl making sand-castles (sort of)
b. inspecting the casting results.
c. swedish sand-crab.
d. unfinished and finished result. (with the help of a lathe)
e. turning soil.

Posts: 724
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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thank you for posting pictures, please keep them coming
Posts: 86
Location: SW Wisconsin zone 4
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I'm impressed by your group's enthusiasm and energy, especially in tackling skills such as aluminum casting, a very useful skill which I have dabbled in. I used a basic bentonite/water/sand mix for the casting sand, which gave less than favorable results. If I were to get back into casting I'd try the K-bond mix with a finer sand. Here is a recipe for it:
Your portholes would need much less machining with a sand mix like this, maybe none at all.
zeyang lin
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Dear Sea Gypsies

Summer is here, its more or less rain every day but the wwofers order
sun in the weekends so weather is always nice when we go hiking during
weekends, (not sure who they order it from though)

We are now up to full speed on boat and the farm. Last week we
planted another field of rasperries, which will be give us lots and
lots of rasperries in 2 years time. Then another field with potatoes
and even more herbs of all different kind. Its getting interesting
when the weed is coming up. It will be plenty of weeding soon.

The bees are busy collecting honey, and flying all over. they seems
pretty happy now after a quite cold may.

The portholes are more or less finished - that was a long journey. Its
quite a few steps. The good thing: which casting and machining skills
there is limit to what we can make in alloy. Plenty of blocks for the
boat is already on the list..

We are in the stage of insulating all over inside. Then make ready for
the wood deck and railings. The wood deck is not just to make the boat
look like a boat, but avoid burned feet on hot alloy deck in the
tropics - besides since we are faking everything to look lke wood, so
why not a proper wood-deck.

Lots of sea gypsies are coming next months, both returning ones and
new ones, but we still have some space, so if you have any skills you
think could be useful - drop us a line!


a: sorting out weed in the rasperry field. Then we planted out some
hundreds sq-meter more.

b: metal girls at work moving heavy alloy-plates.

c: casting stuff for the boat. We use sand to mould them.

d: welding guy busy welding up ears on the portholes.

e: dumpsterdiving. one night catch from the bin at the foodstore. Now
we go every weekend to stack up on free fancy food.

zeyang lin
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September 2013

Dear Sea Gypsies

The autumn is here soon, but its been quite mild to be september
sofar. It feels more like august... But we are not to be fooled so
easily... Winter is coming soon enough so we work hard to finish up
all stuff before its getting too cold to work outside.

We are more or less finished on the deck. The hatch is in, the rail is
on (just need a little shaping) water intakes, and all bits and pieces
are there. It start to look like more like a war machine for
blood-thirsty vikings and not for a bunch of friendly sea gypsies.

The naked oats (or rather half naked oats) are harvested, potatoes are
still in the soil but will be harvested soon. Our sugar peas are dried
and harvested for the thursday peasoup and waffles, not exactly self
sufficient but we have at least for one thursday

Out of the 10 chickes we got, 1 was taken by a fox or something, 7 are
males (which in this case is lots of sound and and no use) and the 2
last one will give us eggs. So in sum quite a bit of work and hardly
more eggs than we have today But they are mighty fun to watch -
Chicken-TV is addictive.

Ok, thats all for this months from Sailing the Farm - a place where
crazy dreams come true. If you are interested in joining, just drop us
a line.

Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.


a: Boat seen from the bow.
b: Lots of head scratching to get all the pieces togehter.
c: Out swimming (yes, we are not always working)
d: The noahs ark chickens waiting for the boat to finish.
e: Dumpster dinner again.

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Hei hei!
Jeg fant dere på wwoof og det virker bare som et helt fantastisk prosjekt!
Jeg har selv lange hatt drømmen om å bygge båt og seile verden rundt men trodde altid det var litt for voldsomt.
Jeg letet etter en økologisk gård siden jeg har lyst å lære mer om økologisk jordbruk siden jeg selv egentlig leter etter et fint sted hvor det ville ha vært mulig å begynne en slags tribe.
Jeg ble veldig glad for å finne dere:)
Jeg bor nå i Nederland men skal flytte tilbake i juleferien og lurer på om dere har plass til en praktikant i begynnelsen av januar?
Jeg har ikke planer fremover, bare at jeg vil tilbake til Norge.
Håper å høre fra dere!
Venlig hilsen, Gaia
zeyang lin
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November 2013

Dear Sea Gypsies

Whops. time is flying so fast and soon october was gone and no
newsletter sent out so here it comes a little late.

Still no snow up here, which is just incredible. Should have been half
a meter by now.. but the good thing is: it feels like mid-europe
climate so why migrate to Spain when Spain is coming to us!

Farming season is over, everything which was planted during summer is
in the basement. We got around 300 kg of potatoes which will keep us
going until spring. We have turned into professional dumpster-divers
and find way too much food - so we are getting a little picky - What
about raspberries from Brazil? Its hard to believe so much food who is
just wasted. Someone should do something... ahh. enough political

Boatbuilding is going really good. She is happy as a fiddle. Latley
she got shiny bowrollers installed, (both forward and aft), tiller,
and soon to come: bowsprit! We just have to cut down the tree.
Everyday we see changes, and its a good sign... We are making the fat
lady ready for the 7 seas. She will be the strongest boat ever sailing
out there.

Thats all for this late october newsletter, If you are interested in
becoming a seay gypsy, just drop us a line.

Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.


a: A little crowded on deck. Even the anchors are soon installed.
b: Picnic and out looking for a bowsprit in the forest. (6 meter long)
c: Hardcore welders in action.
d: The sea-monster looking trough the porthole
e: Fancy dumpster lunch with sushi!

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This sounds like a surreal dream come true. Please email me more info on joining your expedition. A
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
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If you guys ever sail past Galicia (Northwest corner of Spain) drop me a line. There are plenty of ports around here. I've got some hardy nut tree seeds you can have! Nuts store very well on boats I think.

zeyang lin
Posts: 42
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December 2013

Dear Sea Gypsies

December again! This one has has been quite warm. (today is only -10C)
We still have frostbites from the one last year so we are happy as a
fiddle up here. Makes life and boatworking much easier.

Its been a really good year on sailing the farm with lots of stuff
accomplished and its still some more work weeks to go before we can
sum up 2013.

Deck fittings, deckhouse and most of the stuff up there is
finished. We are proud to say that everything is home-made. Not a
single thing is from the the boat-store.. Main reason for this is:
its hard to get stuff in alloy who looks like wood..

We have probably put another 2000-3000 hours into the boatproject this
summer (with the help of all of those nice and skillfull volunteers)
and still some 2000-3000 hours to go until we see her finshed.

This christmas will be a traditional one on the farm with St. Claus
(Julenisse in norwegian) coming down from the northpole with the
sledge, raindeers and ofcouse packets. I usually dont fancy soft
packets, but im in dire need for a new welding overall so if the
julenisse reads this...

ok. I know its a little early early, but we wish new and old friends
of sailing-the-farm a peaceful and quiet christmas and a prosperius
new year and hope to see you all up next year.

Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.


a: the boat start to look like a wooden boat now.
b: shaping up the bowsprit. 6 meter long
c: boat from stern. Sexy lines.
d: welding up the bunkbeds.

Mother Tree
Posts: 11657
Location: Portugal
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We seem to have two pretty well identical threads, so I'm locking this one. Here's the link to the other - sailing the farm - seagypsy tribe of tomorrow
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association
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