Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Farm #5 - Animal Farm

After three weeks of living at Wilderland - I was ready for something new.  It was sad leaving the friends I had made but I moved onto a good place.  I chose this farm because I wanted a farm with a lot of animals (and I found one!).  There are pigs, ducks, guinea fowl, sheep, cows, dogs, and one cat.  The farm also grows a lot of fruit trees, berries, and veggies.  I arrived at a good time for the animals because right now there is a baby pig, a calf, and a lamb.  I didn't arrive at a great time as far as berries and fruits, as it is still winter in New Zealand (slowly turning to spring).  The baby pig is kept as a pet in the house and it has so much character.  It usually just walks around grunting and scratching itself on stuff but will squeal if you do something it doesn't like, wants to be cuddled, or is hungry.  My yard work tasks while I am here is a lot of composting, mulching, and weeding, mainly because it is the season for that sort of stuff.  I have also spent a lot of time in the kitchen.  Sheryn likes to experiment in the kitchen and also likes WWOOFers to share what they know and things from their country.  Sheryn and her family are Kiwi's and that is fun because to honest, so far I haven't met a ton. 
I milked a cow for the first time.  It was something on me list of things I wanted to learn how to do.  It is a pretty cool thing to learn.  The actual milking isn't that complicated - you just have to pinch off the milk and squeeze the teat.  Getting fast at it is the hard part, and I would never really want to milk more than one animal in a sitting - it is a work out for your hands and forearms (probably good for climbing).  When I arrived they were getting about 7L of milk per day.  There was a calf that was feeding as well.  But everyday we had to figure out what we were going to do with all that milk.  Somedays it was just for drinking, somedays, we made butter or ice cream, some days it was for baking, and some days we made cheese.  Sheryn had just done a cheese making class and had tried out some cheeses, but was still experimenting with what worked and what didn't.  While here I made a feta, halloumi, ricotta, and cream cheese.  It was really fun to learn.  A few days after I arrived, another WWOOFer joined me.  Her name is Lorainne and she is from France.  She knew a bit about making cheese so we could ask her advice if we had questions.
Even when I wasn't making cheese, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen at this farm and that was really fun.  When you grow or produce a lot of food you also have to spend a lot of time preserving and cooking it.  Sheryn also asks each of the WWOOFers to make a dinner from their country.  At first I didn't know what to make but ended up doing chili, corn bread, and angel food cake.  Can't get much more American than that.
I also ended up celebrating my 28th birthday here.  It was really nice Sheryn's family made me feel like family.  Everyone wished me a Happy Birthday, I had a home made chocolate cake with lunch, and home made cheese and hard cider in the evening.  It made it nice even though I am not at home.  I am only here for a couple of more days, then I am going to spend a couple of days exploring Rotorua, and then I am planning on doing one of the Great Walks.  It is a tramp (backpacking trail) that goes around a lake and should be quite beautiful.  I am crossing my fingers for good weather.
Some peach blossoms
Overlooking the pastures
Here is the cat playing with the pig in front of the fire
This is the cow that a milked
Here I am milking the cow - the calf has the other side

Sheep and lamb - the lamb is so cute!!
Lichen covered chair out in the orchard
The calf came to say hello - don't mind the cow ass

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