When my best friend suggested we get our first experience with Wwoofing together I obviously jumped at the chance. I was so excited to spend a week with my best pal and work on a farm. However, I was not prepared for the week we endured.
As we got to about 10 miles away from the farm our gps decided it no longer could help us. So there we were… stuck in the middle of nowhere with no service and not a clue where we were going to end up. Once we found our way to the farm a whole new set of anxieties came in. We were immediately surrounded by hundreds of chickens and dogs that looked like they haven’t been bathed in weeks. In my immediate site was a house that you could tell was built by one person and a barn with two animal skulls hanging from the wall. There was no sign of human action anywhere. Then out walked a woman with short graying hair and a cut up t-shirt baring the message “hug the trees.” There was no doubt in my mind this was the woman who ran the place.
Getting over the initial awkwardness of introducing ourselves we set off on a tour of the farm. (This was led by the German woman who had been here for two weeks.) The tour really shed light on what Allie and I had gotten ourselves into. The camp kitchen housed a rusty old gas stove, a tiny fridge, a sink that used a water jug to fill, and a few things of eggs and pasta. We then spotted the bathroom situation. A bucket for a restroom and a camping shower bag was all we had for the week. Oh and all that was there to separate us from nature was a tiny curtain. I new from just the looks of the camp we were in for a rough week.
Once the tour was over and we had dinner with the family and planned the first day of work all Allie and I could do was sit in the car and freak out. There was no way we could last for 5 days living in a tent in very rural conditions. I consider myself pretty adventurous but this was really pushing my comfort zone. But despite how terrified we were, we decided to grit our teeth and accomplish what we set off to do. We set up camp and set our alarms for 7am unaware of what we had in store for the next few days.
The first day was incredibly intimidating. We woke up to the sunrise and began our day at promptly 8:30. First on the list was to feed all of the animals on the farm. This included: cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs, turkeys, goats, and sheep. For the rest of the week this remained my favorite part. We then started to forage this area in order to build a natural fence… I wish I was kidding. Armed with a hand saw and clippers we cut down trees and pulled vines in order to clear a path at the edge of the farm. This was a task that took two days. I now know how all of the world explorers felt when finding a new world. When Allie, Jana, and I were about to give up on life we opted to start weeding the ENTIRE farm. Let me tell you… weeding in the hot sun is tough work. I immediately could tell I was not in as good of shape as I thought. This is a task that lasted the entire week. Finally was the worst job of all: mucking the barn. I know this is an inevitable chore at any farm, but man I did not anticipate the amount of mucking that was actually to be done. From the heat, to the smell, to the animals ruining everything two minutes after you finish! I get that the cows have no control and are super duper cute, but it was just very depressing. Though the chores were at times so miserable it was funny it really was fulfilling to finish a job.
First experiences are all about living and learning. I learned that I would not make a good explorer… like I don’t know how Ponce de Leon did it. Cutting through a tiny patch of trees was enough for me. The last thing that I really learned is to NEVER FORGET BUG SPRAY! If you are working in a wooded area chances are there will be mosquitos, and if you’re like me, those bugs are going feast on you. I think that this week was definitely one for the books. If any of you have the opportunity to go on a Wwoofing adventure I urge you to go. It allows you to try something completely new. Plus, most of the time you get to play with awesome animals!
Until next time,