Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Willow Farm

So, I'm at the next (and last, for this trip) farm. Of the farms I've been to, this one is the least like a farm. Basically, they live in a small town with a backyard garden ("they" being Rob, with whom we spend the most time, his wife Chrissy, and 2 of his kids (Liam, 16, and Helena, 18; 2 other daughters each live nearby). And they recently (2 years ago) bought a plot of land (~3 acres) that's 3-4 miles away. So most days, we drive out to the plot of land and do work there, haven lunch there, then come back to the house for dinner.
I will admit, when I first arrived I was a bit dubious. The plot of land is nice and peaceful, but not incredibly beautiful; the house is nice, but the area it's in is, again, not that beautiful. But by the end of the first day, I was feeling much better about it. Rob took us ("us" being Gavin, the 32-year-old British WWOOFer who arrived the same day I did) for a short drive to the coast, which is really nice- part mudflat with coastal grasses, then some steeper areas where the ocean has made little coves of super-smooth rocks which lead to abruptly-eroded land. And yesterday, he took us on another drive to see an old priory, as well as more of the coast.
The work has mostly involved efforts to improve the soil at their land plot (or at least, in the small area they're trying to grow things in). As Gavin put it, "This is the worst soil I've ever seen." It's basically clay. So, lots of moving of manure. We've also done some planting (beans and corn), though I have my doubts about how well any of it will do. What Rob really needs to do is get a lot of good compost, and put that down anywhere he's going to plant something. At the moment, he's just using manure, which, while rich in nutrients, still comes from the miniature Shetland ponies that are grazing right nearby; thus he's not really adding any nutrients to the system. And the manure isn't broken down enough yet; I don't think the plants can use it yet.
Other notables: the pets (of course). 2 spaniels (a springer and her daughter, a springer/ cocker mix apparently called a "sprocker") and a chihauha. My favorite is the sprocker; she is, as Rob puts it, "ball-obsessed." When she has a ball, she will bring it near you, put it down, then lie down about a foot away from it, staring at either it or you. Until you throw it. Several times, while working in the plot, I've thrown it, gone back to working for 15-20 minutes, then realized that she's brought it back and has been waiting there the entire time for me to throw it.

Speaking of pets, I realized that I never posted about Lima! This is the kitten that I picked out as my favorite when I was at the second farm. I chose her out when she was about a week old, and I chose rightly: she was the first one to be scampering about the house exploring things. (Lima is pronounced "Lee-ma" and is short for limace ("lee-mahss"), which means slug in French. I thought this would be an amusing name because Lima is a pretty name, but... its short for "slug." And despite her liveliness, all the kittens looked kind of like slugs when they were first leaving their box and wandering around the floor.

No comments:

Post a Comment