Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Farm #1

So finding an internet connection is pretty hard.  I am at a library now and I have access to this computer for 1/2 hour and I like to do other things like check email, facebook, news etc.  So I am going to try to convey my first farm experience but I apologize if it seems short, however I will be at this farm for a month so there will be more to come.  For the past nine days I have been working at Caretaker Farm which is near the towns of Leigh and Matakana on the North Island of New Zealand.  This farm gets a lot of wwoofers and while I have been here there have been as few as four but as much as ten at one time.  There is a wwoofer house where the boys live and where the kitchen, shower and composting toilet is.  I share a room with a Kiwa a Japanese girl.  Everyday we are expected to be ready to work at 8 am.  At eight you either have to feed/clean the chickens/ducks/turkeys or walk the dogs (the photo is of Frodo my favorite dog).

 I usually do the stuff with the birds in the morning to get it out of the way.  After that you get assigned work by Audrey, the woman who owns the farm.  She is a tax law professor and self described socialist and workaholic.  She is really an interesting woman who has so many different projects, I don't have time right now but hopefully I will get a chance to write more about her.  Anyways after chickens we get assigned a job.  Currently there is a french guy visiting the property who is overseeing the construction of a community bread oven (see photos at the bottom one of oven one of stairs we built), so usually we have been sent to work with him to clear trees, level the land the oven is going to go on, and prepare the area for the oven.  I believe the actual building is going to take place next week.  Also about every other day I go and work in the vegetable and flower gardens.

Since I am staying for awhile Audrey has shown me some things to work on in the garden - mainly it is weeding, composting, and planting.  So we do that job until 12:30 then we have a break until 4 where we can go into one of the little towns or cook a big lunch or whatever.  When I first got here there was a girl here from California who was also a climber (I could tell by all the prana she was wearing) and we would go exploring together but she left and mostly the wwoofers who are here now don't want or can't afford to do very much in the afternoon.  Then at four in the afternoon the dogs need to be walked again and the chickens need to fed again.  Then one wwoofer needs to help with dinner and we all eat at 7.  We hang out then go to bed and the day starts again.  I really like working outside and doing physical work, I like how tired it makes me feel at the end of the day.  I have learned some things about farming and something that amazes me about this farm is how little is wasted and how much life there is.  So it is an organic permaculture farm so there are little gardens all over the place.  They also do a lot of garlic but I haven't really seen where they grow it yet but I assume I will be planting it soon.  The animals on the farm include pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, spiders, dogs, and cats.  Something I also notice is there are a lot of bugs living in the soils.  Everything on the farm is composted or fed to something else.  I started to get a little lonely this week and start to miss home but I am sure that will come and go.  I get one day off a week and this week I went to the Auckland museum - it was pretty nice next week I am planning on visiting the wineries in the area.  The weather has been pretty nice - mild not very much rain.  I guess they didn't have a very nice summer.  At the farm there is a bunch of clothes we can wear so we don't have to wear our own so the outfits that come out are pretty funny.  I will have to take some pictures to share.



Unknown said...

Sounds like you are learning alot and having fun aat the same time. dad

Unknown said...

What a great working vacation! I'm interested to see the silly outfits you get yourself dressed up in.

Laura said...

Thanks for the update! We miss you back in good old Olympia but it sounds like you are doing well and learning new things which is awesome. (plus if we ever have a garden together again it will be the bomb from all of your new skills!)