We got so incredibly freaking lucky that Karie reached out to us to help work on her farm this summer. The experience so far has been unbelievable. No like seriously, if you told me before I left that I was going to feel so accomplished, so welcome, so at peace with the world, I would have scoffed in your face. So much shit has been going on in my life, and though this trip wasn’t planned as an escape, that is what it has turned into. And it is a much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the pressures of society, and the stress of making life altering decisions. It’s so easy to fall into the habit here on the farm, to hang out with the animals and play with them, take care of them, and just be with them every day before and after completing other farm tasks. Every day I like to have myself a little baby goat therapy. Aka, going into the baby goat’s pen and just letting them jump all over me. They are so cute and adorable, and they love to jump off of me, so naturally, as you do with any pet or child, I like to “fight back” and push them around a bit, “head”butt them (they headbutt me first! so I just lightly bop them on the top of the noggin where there horns are starting to grow), and twist out of the way when they try to best me. It’s so much fun, and then, I like to end my time in the pen with some lovin’, and I’ll pet them as anyone would their dog or cat. It’s so amazing to me that in a little over a week I went from being scared of going in their pen for fear that I would hurt them or myself, to the point where I am in there everyday for at least 5 minutes letting them jump all over me and jump off me and I am playing right back just as rough as they are because I know what their and my limits are, and I never even come close to them.
And the same thing goes for all the animals. We arrived on the farm and I was afraid to even touch some of the animals because I was worried that they would react negatively. But with the way that Rob and Karie treat their animals on a regular basis, that isn’t even a concern anymore, and it never should have been. Those animals are treated so well, they are honestly treated like family – as any house pet would be – and that is an amazing thing to see. They get so much positive human interaction, that they would never fear a human, or see them as a threat to their well being or happiness. They are tended to twice a day by at least 2 loving people (more when they have WWOOFers on the farm), they are given excellent food, the attention they deserve, and the free ranging they so desire. Because there are enough of them, they rotate who gets to stay outside every day, and Karie and Rob try to get as many out as possible – we are in the process of fencing some more pasture so that more can be out at a time! They can’t all be out at the same time because some animals harass the others, or try to establish dominance, or like the calf would try to feed from the mama cow but is so big now that she has hurt the mama while nursing, and the male goat can’t be out with the ladies because nobody wants unplanned pregnancies! But yeah, I’m now to the point where I follow Rob and Karie, and Gerry’s (another WWOOFer) lead, and talk at the animals, or talk back to them when they make their noises at us. Even when we are working in the gardens or with the chickens or pigs and the goats or cows start making noises, we’ll yell back at them. And I feel so comfortable handling them, and taking care of them, it’s so cathartic now, going out every morning at 8, and every evening at 5 to take care of these absolutely amazing creatures. It is all ending too soon, but it’ll be off to the next adventure after that!
Another sense of accomplishment comes from all the other work we have been doing on the farm. We have created so many rows and planted so much in the garden. We have mucked out almost the entire barn – the exception being one cow stall. We have cleaned out the barn after minimal cleaning over the winter (because they don’t have enough work to have a WWOOFer on the farm, but have enough that tasks like that get trumped by other more pressing needs). We help with the cooking as often as they let us. We complete odd jobs to make sure the farm runs smoothly. And in between everything, they give us time to explore, to wander, and to ponder. We have gone for runs, completed workouts, gone for bike rides, and explored some cool local attractions, all while helping out two lovely people take care of their farm and their animals. In usually between 2 and 4 hours a day (not including the hour every morning and every evening with the animals) we accomplish so much because these people are so down to earth, so fantastically nice and genuine, that honestly I wouldn’t even consider giving anything but my all. And I often feel like we aren’t doing enough to help them, but she’ll refuse to give us more work to do, because as she says, this is a working vacation for us, not an internship or a job, and we should treat it as such as well, because she’s going to. Sometimes I’ll just wander the property while we’re in between working and just take in life, and let myself get lost in my thoughts and my surroundings. I’ve been trying to run for about 30 minutes every morning. I take the same route, but depending on the weather, day of the week, or whatever else factors into it, I don’t feel like I’m “just taking the same run every day”, I feel like every day brings something new. The whole run is along farmlands, and much like our farm, their is something new to see every day, or something new I notice based on what is being highlighted by that morning’s weather. It’s so hard to describe the feelings of being here, and being surrounded by a whole lot of nothingness, but it is an amazing feeling that I sometimes can’t believe I get to experience. I wish I knew about this sooner, I wish more people knew about this, because it really is life altering in so many ways. It really changes your perception of the world, and the people who live in it, and the ways in which we interact with nature.
And the people, omg the people, I have too much to say about them though, so I’ll save that for another post. For now I’ll leave with this. I don’t know where my life is taking me, and I don’t think it really matters at this point – what I do know though is that I needed this experience, I needed to see the world from a new perspective, so that I could know not necessarily what is going to happen with my life, or the path I take, but how I want to live along that path, and who I ultimately want to be.