Finding Happiness in the Little Things: Life on De Biesterhof Farm

Finding Happiness in the Little Things: Life on De Biesterhof Farm

“Would you like to play badminton on Tuesday evening?” volunteer Tako asked a few weeks ago. They are systematically short of one person and see me as the solution. For me this was an unexpectedly confrontational question.

In 2014, 10 years ago, I worked as a team commander in the team of mountain specialists of the Dutch army and we trained to move secretly and at night through the high mountains. In 2019, 5 years ago, I rode with my ex-partner on a Chinese 250cc dirt bike across South America for a year and walked 2500 km of the Pacific Crest Trail with her, from Mexico to Canada.


And now, in 2024, we are entering our third year here on the farm, I don’t get much further than Nijmegen in terms of outings (and we have already made it pretty crazy) and I am invited to play badminton in Leuth on Tuesday evenings.

There are some things in life that you consciously choose: for example starting a family and a farm. Other things in life sneak up on you. These are all the small, everyday things that unnoticed come along with the big choices, but add all those little things together and you find out that they largely determine the extent to which you experience happiness or not.

Small things

Of course, starting a family and a farm is also a big adventure, but it is one in which you spend a surprising amount of time changing diapers, pulling weeds and cleaning up stuff, a lot of stuff. It is good to become aware of those little things, to realize how different your life looks now because of the decisions you have made and to reflect on whether it is okay this way.

During this process you quickly come across all kinds of little things on the other side of the balance. When I have been ‘far’ away and I drive over the Waal Bridge near Nijmegen to turn towards the Ooijpolder, a feeling creeps up on me that I have not known for years, the feeling of ‘home’. When I arrive home, an (often) cheerful toddler, a life partner and a noisy farm cat await me that is drowned out by even noisier runner ducks.

To enjoy

The self-planted fruit trees are starting to bloom, the garden is coming back to life, with plants, insects and volunteers. Since there seems to be no way to start, I’m going to stop my frantic clean-up efforts for a while to enjoy it all.

The life that begins to emerge here, in this place we call the Biesterhof, is the true adventure that gives me satisfaction at the moment. I am extremely grateful for everything I have experienced in my life and perhaps that is precisely why I now feel the peace to enter into this new life. The wild journeys and real adrenaline moments may be largely behind me, but I really feel like playing badminton!

De Biesterhof

Howard Koster, together with his partner Claudi Rudorf, leases 25 hectares of agricultural land in Millingen aan de Rijn (GD). Together they have been selected by citizen cooperative Land van Ons, which wants to make agricultural land more biodiverse with money from members and investors. Koster has applied for a SKAL certificate for his country and therefore wants to focus on organic agriculture. De Biesterhof Farm is currently nothing more than a house with a house plot of 25 hectares, so Koster is starting from scratch. Koster studied organic agriculture at Wageningen University and met Rudorf during his studies. It was a shared dream to one day run our own farm. Koster and Rudorf previously lived in Berlin, Germany. For Agrio, the publisher of this website, Koster talks about setting up a viable, sustainable farm.

2024-03-19 16:12:13
#Column #Badminton #Agricultural #news #Eastern #Netherlands


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