Life on the farm

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So from our first workaway experience to our first experience Wwoofing in Argentina. We arrived at Granja Tia Nora on Dia del nino, Argentina’s national celebration of all things children (like a fair return on mothers and fathers day I think) and were greeted by a farm full of life- there were people everywhere making asado, looking at animals, playing on the swings. One of the other volunteers Jean Chris from France explained how the farm is for volunteers and introduced us to the owners, Pedro and Lucia. They have had over 250 volunteers here in two years!

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When we arrive there are four others, Jean Chris and Sophie and Nina and Claude, from Switzerland. I know much more about Switzerland now, including that you have to pay for insurance and there is national service.
With Nina and Claude we live in an adobe house constructed by previous volunteers, I love it lots. Unfortunately it is really dusty here so everything we own is covered in dust. And my hands are those of an old lady, very nice.
Here they have chickens, cows, horses, goats, rabbits, geese, ducks, quail and a peacock and a tortuga, as well as three dogs and one cat and many kittens so in the morning and evening the first and last job is feeding the amimals.
What with spring rapidly approaching here, we have lots of baby animals and more on the way.IMG_20130831_184326 Even as I wrote that last sentence we discovered 7 new born bunnies (who were unfortunately abandoned by their mother and will probably be cat food, but that’s farm life!). Every morning and evening we have to move the 40 day old goats from one place to another, which sometimes means goat cuddles and other times means being headbutted and your hair eaten. There were also some escapologist ducklings, which meant duck cuddles.

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I love a kitten called Mimi, called Mimi by me -none of the cats have real names. She is super lovely but egg won’t let me keep her even though Nina gets to keep Milo. (Update- I now wander around saying you know who would like this? Mimi. As if cats like running along supermarket conveyer belts).

I milked a cow for the first time here, not as easy as it looks but easier than I thought. It is really exciting drinking milk you milked and eating eggs that you collected. If not exciting then satisfying. And if not satisfying then at least queasy making.

So day to day work for me is planting seeds, weeding, checking eggs in the incubator, talking to visiting school children about seeds in hesitant spanish, digging stuff up. For egg there is manlier work that mainly consists of digging, his hands hurt. Men look after big animals, and women the small ones, I love argentina.IMG_20130829_182015

I think my Spanish has improved, all the volunteers are fluent in english, give or take, so sometimes I’m very lazy, but I force myself to have Spanish only days, where my talking time is reduced by 80%. But I normally manage it. Farm vocab is greatly improved, unsurprisingly. Egg is going for a a stealth approach to learning Spanish, by which I mean he is going to suddenly surprise us with his fluency but for now he is largely silent.

We eat a lot of the vegetables grown here, there is a lot of salad and acelga, like spinach, and broccoli. Ooh and incredible black olives. Later there will be tomatoes, pac choi, lettuce and a lot more, we have been busy planting. And food is washed down with wine made from the farm’s grapes. Safe to say it is a good life.IMG_20130831_185622_1

Excitingly the farm provided extracurricular activities of a sort, a cynical person would say when they wanted the farm to themselves. Never the less a trip to Pedro and Lucia ‘s friend Luis’s house/studio was interesting, and another friend’s bodega tour and tasting was great. All in heavily accented Spanish but I’m picking up more and more. My favourite was a sunday outing to the near desert, where we chilled and cooked risotto over a fire and paddled in the river. Ideally this sentence would be punctuated by the group photo we took from the top of the eagle head, alas I have not yet extracted one from Nina or Sophie. (Update- photo now received, thanks Nina!).

NWP_2820The highlight of the trip was the very old decrepit van we travelled in. On the way there it broke down so many times I lost count, but it has personality and we made it.

Also this post- I found out I still rule on monkey bars but suck at table football, egg and I did a daily tortuga check (it doesn’t do much), I tried gf cake baking with moderate success (1 OK, 1 awful- 8 very polite and hungry people assured me they were good though!), egg and I learnt the Spanish word for blister, I discovered an unhealthy love of flan thanks to Sophie and I learnt two new games. Also, more mentions of “whimsical”, “wibbly wobbly” and “kerfuffle” than I had anticipated.

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