ecotourism

Out in the green #2 - The Yaaran Family

I feel very fortunate to know some amazing people that decided to walk away from the mainstream way of living and adapt their life to something they really believe in. I don't hide the fact that i really admire them, that sometimes i dream of doing the same. But then on the other hand, i love my life just the way it is right now...

IMG_2537.JPG

The Yaaran family is one of these amazing families. They are living in the Ben Shemen forest, a wild piece of land in the nature reserve between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Avshi and Bar Yaaran with their 5 children built their own wooden house 22 years ago in the forest and started a goat farm. Ever since, they live from what they produce on their land, the goats provide milk and natural gas for cooking. They also have 2 donkeys, a horse, some chickens and a bunch of shepherd dogs. Solar panels generate electricity and the family is collecting rain water. Everyday and the whole year around, their goats graze the land, a perfect natural prevention against wild fires. Avshi and Bar never go on vacation, they never take a day off but they are both happy and really enjoy their work. They celebrate slow living and the most important thing for them is to stay in harmony with nature and their goats and to be far away from the buzz of big cities and big crowds.

Bar is a goat cheese magician. She is producing the best goat cheeses, labaneh and yogurt you can imagine. The family has a small store where they sell the goat milk products to visitors. Bar lets them taste from a variety of cheeses, from strong to mild and if you like goat cheese like i do, you will want to buy everything you tasted. She also makes delicious bread. The flour she is using comes from the wheat that is growing on the farm.

Their special way of life is unfortunately not legal and so they are fighting for many years already against their evacuation. In 2015, Avshi had to destroy most of their initial beautiful family house and him and Bar built a new home on wheels in order to be able to stay. Even though they have the smallest eco footprint and are even contributing to the prevention of wild fires, the state sees them as illegal settlers. 

Our first family trip with Ellie was to the Ben Shemen forest, to visit Bar and Avshi. We enjoyed that day so much. Like every time we are there, we breathed in the quiet and the beauty of it, we bought tons of goat cheese, we sat in the garden and watched the animals and thought with a heavy heart: "maybe it is our last visit".

and here a few more pictures that are screenshots from Ohad's movie "Planets" where he portrayed the family - for those who want, the movie is available here.

Visit the Yaaran on facebook

Hebrew article about the Yaaran Family (published in Haaretz in April 2014)

Desert escapade

"The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names... Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape."
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Ohad found a place in the Negev with little mud huts on sand dunes about an hours and a half from tel aviv and we decided to do a little family escapade before the holidays to get some quiet.

There is something magical about getting to a place where the only sound you hear is the noise of the wind on the sunroof and where there is strictly nothing else to do than relaxing. So that's what we did.

We walked to a nearby hill to admire the view, saw beautiful sunsets, sunrises and starry skies, ate, slept, rocked in the hammock, read, made a bone fire and watched the camels graze.

Going to the desert is like a meditation. The sky just seems so much wider than elsewhere and there is a soothing softness about the colors. I have always been attracted to the desert. It's a place that fills my soul with deep peace and i always wish, i could stay a little longer even though i never do...