Sunday, March 14, 2010

and on the 7th day they shoveled mierda....

And not just on the seventh day, my friends. On all previous and subsequent days, as well!

This was one major difference between our farm work at Chacra Millalen and the work at our most recent farm, Finca La Stalla in Tunuyan. La Stalla was home to a wide variety of animals,most of which were our responsibility to clean up after. They had 4 dogs (one of which left us a ´present´outside our tent each morning), 5 or so cats/kittens, 15 chickens, 20 rabbits, 10 chanchos (pigs) with another 12 chanchitos or so, and 5 large milk cows. Each morning we were in charge of shoveling the mierda from the cow corral, feeding rotten veggies and weeds to the canchos, and on special days when it was too rainy to weed in the garden, we had the added treat of cleaning out all of the pig sties as a means to stay dry. Honestly, its not as bad as it sounds, but lets just say the character building activities are at an alltime high.

So other than some unfavorable smells and activities, the farm is great. There´s a variety of work to be done other than with the animals and compost. I´ve had the chance the work alongside Luis and his neighbor Romulo in the construction of their house, and I feel like I have learned a great deal. One day, I was given 3 giant tree trunks, a machete, a chainsaw, and an electic sander and turned them into the three main support beams for the roof of their addition (and it only took me 8 hours!). I also spent time preparing cement and securing support beams for the second and third story floors. But even better than all of that, duruing seista one day I carved Kate and I an incense holder with my knife and chisel, which is not only good wood-working practice, but also extrememly necessary because our tent STINKS! Thank god we did laundry today.

The garden work, although very tedious at times, was beneficial too. I now know how to till ground, prepare a bed, lay compost, etc. All of that may seem very simple and obvious to a lot of people, but I had never really seen it done before or had a chance to do it myself, so that was exciting. Laura (Luis´s wife) was very helpful in the garden. She made it a point to explain to me why some things were done in a certain way, and how other ways can be damaging.

Laura was also a fantastic cook considering what was available at the farms. I have never eaten so many different dishes incorporating tomatoes and corn. Plus, her pizza was hands down the best we have had yet in Argentina, mainly due to the cheese that they make on the farm. The smell reminds me a bit of the cow stalls, but I think that´s how you know its fresh, and it tastes so freakin´good! Dinner were a great time to practice spanish, or at least improve my ear for the language. Everyone spoke really fast, and the 3 teenage kids mumbled a bit so it was a good exercise in deciphering Argentine spanish, which for me makes any disgusting work with the animals worthwhile. The kids were super nice and surprisingly friendly and warm towards the strange Americans in their house.

SO once again, high hopes for the next farm. The woman who runs it seems very cool, kind of hippy-dippy, but I think for these types of situations thats for the best. I´m excited to get new books and travel tips from the other WWOOFers, and also pysched that the work schedule is 3 days on and 1 day off. Wooohoo! Ok I´ve written too much and I´m all tuckered out. Time for ice cream.

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