Getting used to life on a farm (again)…
If there’s one thing that we definitely didn’t know before arriving here it’s how different two farms can actually be. Not just for one or two reasons either, there’s loads!
Day 160 – Sunday 30th October 2016
I’ll start today with a picture of our new home which I didn’t include in yesterday’s post:
The house, which was impacted rather dramatically by the 2011 earthquake, is still only part way through a major renovation process.
This morning we had to be downstairs for breakfast by 09:00, which seemed particularly late for a farm, but suited us of course. We headed for the kitchen and got to choose between bread, eggs, cereal, and just about anything else from the fridge or cupboards that could be prepared and eaten within about half an hour. Of the seven other volunteers that we share the place with (four French, two German and one Dutch), half were already awake and eating, and the others were still in bed. Strictly speaking we were meant to be done by 09:30 but by the time we actually got going it was more like 10:00, which again seemed a bit too laid back for a farm, but was absolutely fine by us two.
Our first job of the day was to help feed the animals, of which there are loads! Firstly we fed the three of the large pigs, one of which is really unwell at the moment:
After that we fed all of the chickens and ducks, three smaller pigs, and one other large pig with her piglets:
Lastly we had to catch one of the ewes who had to be isolated with two of the lambs (who aren’t actually hers and wouldn’t feed otherwise):
After getting the morning animal routine out of the way we were put into pairs and assigned a task for the day. Abbie and I were put together and our job was to firstly put up some scaffolding, and then wash and sand an exterior section of the house, ready for painting another day. As a couple who have never put up scaffolding before it was quite an interesting job to start off with, but one that worked out rather well after a long trial and error kind of process:
We spent a good few hours washing and sanding, and didn’t face any difficulties except for occasionally have to stretch at the top of a ladder to reach certain areas.
With everything finished we packed away neatly, then fed the animals again before getting showered and changed for the evening, and checked out the rest of the farm to see what else we could find when we came across this guy:
Apparently his horns were painted to differentiate him from other goats and show that he’s had his injections, but that makes no sense at all because he’s the only goat here!
At dinner time the French got together and cooked pancakes for everybody as a farewell for three volunteers who are each heading off in their own direction tomorrow morning. Then once we’d eaten and the others went to pack we sat in the living room and had a play with our favourite of the animals here – ten tiny little kittens, of which four are a month old, and the other six are only a couple of weeks old:
In our bedroom there’s one single bed and one bunk bed, but the top bunk is where our hosts son sleeps when he is here, so Abbie had the single to herself and I had the bottom bunk. This place definitely has a hostel vibe to it, which is great because we love hostels. Being around the others definitely brings out the best in us, and with more volunteers due to arrive in the next few days we couldn’t wait to find out what the future holds.
Day 161 – Monday 31st October 2016
Today was very much the same as yesterday, starting with breakfast around 09:00 followed by a trip to feed the animals. After that we returned to our assigned tasks, continuing where we left off yesterday. By early afternoon we had applied a coat of pigment sealer and a white undercoat, which we left to dry instead of painting straight over. We didn’t get any pictures of the wall at this stage but did have time to stop for a quick selfie, in which I used a pole to stop myself from squinting and ended up looking like I have a Zorro mask on:
Other jobs for the day included collecting firewood, cleaning one of the cars, cleaning out the chicken coops and moving one of the pigs from one pen to another, when Abbie managed to lose one of her wellies:
We had a new arrival late in the afternoon, a solo traveller from America, who seemed to settle in very quickly. With three of the others gone and the number of volunteers down from nine to seven we had dinner together again and got to know each other a little more, then got an early night ahead of our first day off tomorrow. We knew that we’d have a car to use if we wanted it, so the possibilities were endless – all we had to do was the animals first thing and then we had the whole day ahead of us to do whatever took our fancy!