A little history of the Ranch

A little piece of lovely Belgium, in the famous Dreiländereck, (or the Hohes Venn!), near Maastricht, Aachen and Liege.

3,5 Hectares, altitude 210m, cold hard winters, incredibly beautiful summers, and everything in between.

More than 50 or so years before us, the farming family Lambertz (2 brothers, and wife Pauline) eked out a living here with 8 cows, and a lot of hard work. One brother lives as I write… bless them, they knew a very different time here! The region here is full of memories of the second world war. We have a train line running past the entrance to our drive,  and just here you can also find  a stone cross to some poor devil who in 1944, (the farmers told me), jumped off a prisoner’s train to escape and died on the spot, that spot…

It fascinates us to think how life was here  just 120 years ago, when the small, typical, Belgian farmhouse was built, using the local “bruch-stein” (German, lit.: “broken-stone”), which has a very nice warm color and feeling to it. They used no cement in the mortar (!) and because the ground consisted more or less of solid clay, they even made no “foundations”. They managed a small but lovely arched cellar, which also houses a stone water storage tank for the cows in summer, fed by the roof-collected rainwater. There was no iron used at all except for a few hand-made iron nails, but great usage of oak to make the roof, and hold the whole thing together in the traditional way, made for a sturdy and long lasting house.

Life must have been very hard, just living from the milk from 8 cows, more or less.

Depending on what one does with the 3,5 Ha, it can be a hell of a lot of work, or just a lot of work, so when they sold the place to us back in ’94, they were ready to retire.

But we are not. The fun began, and this place has added a few trees, bugs and bees…