Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Farm life with the Ashtons - Part 2

My memories continued....

Clearing the sheep house and getting absolutely covered in poo was pretty disgusting to say the least!  They pooed so much that after only a few days their whole house was full again.  I found Katie sitting in there one day with all the sheep around her.  I sat down too and we spent hours talking to the sheep and cuddling up with them.  Some wanted to practically sit on you whilst others were scared to death and jumped every time a blade of grass moved in the field opposite.  When Katie said they would be the ones to be killed and sold, it was so funny when the started acting more confident; "Scared? Who's scared? No, I'm fine. I'm fine!"

Pom Pom the donkey.  He always wanted to be around people, so even when we were digging the trenches in the barn, he was stood right next to us.  He was super intelligent too; if the barn gate was left open for even one second he would escape and make his way over to the food pen and kick the door constantly hoping to get in.

Vide Greniers (car boot sales).  Every Sunday all the women neighbours would join Katie and I, jump in two cars and head off to the nearest Vide Grenier.  I could never see anything of any use at all, but Katie and Dee were experts at finding ancient antiques to fit somewhere in their old barn houses.

The pigs - Maggie and Pablo.  Maggie was really sweet but Pablo was the scariest animal I've ever met!

The rabbits - Salt and Pepper and Mr Malone.  One of the ladies had babies but we didn't see them for weeks until one day two almost fully grown rabbits popped up from nowhere!

The potager!

All the hours spent in the potager.  If I picked every last weed out of the ground then a day later it would be full of them again.  We planted hundreds of seedlings, most of which I had no clue what they were.  There were thousands of lettuces, I know that!  Every time a neighbour came round to visit we would pawn some of on them.  I never thought I would be so interested in producing my own fruit and vegetables in the future until I came here.

Coming to the end of cherry season meant only one thing... the three huge cherry trees needed to be picked.  I admit I did eat quite a lot of them whilst I was picking.  The next day I had picked the stones out of the majority of them... after about three or four hours my hands were stained red and I almost felt like being sick because of the strong smell.  It didn't take long to get over that though, I think we had cherry pie for dessert the very next day!

Sometimes I got up super early to feed the animals to give Luc and Katie a day off from that.  If you were even five minutes late they would all be baaaa-ing, naaayy-ing, cluck-ing, squawk-ing, snort-ing, and everything-else-ing.

The new Workawayers arriving.  After a month and a half with it just being me and the Ashtons, it was pretty strange for the first few days.  It was so different having other people around that I thought I wouldn't get used to it.  I gave myself a slap one day and changed my attitude towards it all; and they all turned out to be wonderful people once I opened up.
Max & Britney
Max from Chicago - He was so fun to be around and we had so much in common.  By the end of his visit we were stuck at the hip.
Nick from Chicago too - Probably the strangest, completely immature, funniest person I've ever known.  His party trick of sucking in air and farting it back out had everybody in total shock and laughing harder than ever.
Britney and Mike from Canada - They were super cool and so easy to be around and chat to.  A big reason for me to travel to Canada in the future.
Karen from Canada - She only arrived a few days before I left but we had some great conversations as well as a lot of laughs on band night.

Kate's mum and dad; Brenda and Doug.  They were supposed to arrive a week or so ealier but Doug got ill.  All the hoping and wishing worked; they finally arrived and everyone was so happy to see them, including me!  They were just the nicest people and it was so nice seeing them around their family.

Luc's 39th birthday (sorry to spill the beans there Luc!) We threw a party for him that night and everybody came.  He was super happy with the huge card that the kids and I made for him and everybody had signed.

The Jellybobs, AKA Tracey, Andrew, Sam and Will.  The Ashton's friends from back in England.  I had heard so much about them before they came to visit that I think I was as excited as everybody else about them arriving.  They turned out to be just as friendly and fun and I was told.

Band night. The nearby town put an entertainment night on for everybody. We had a meal whilst a big brass band played to us, we danced on the chairs and sang along, almost nearly got in a fight with some snobby British people, and "Ooooed" and "Ahhhhhed" at a huge firework display.

After only about three or four weeks at the farm I had gotten to know everything so well that I felt like I had been a farm girl my whole life.  I could find jobs without having to ask, I knew how to use my initiative to fix things, make things, build things.  When I think about all the skills I gained I am tempted to make a farm CV for the future!

Two and a half months passed and I finally decided to leave the Ashton's farm.  On my last night, people came round for drinks and pizzas... and to say goodbye.  I tried to say a little speech about how much I had loved being there but instead I stumbled on my tears.  The guestbook I had made for the Ashton's had everything I wanted to say in it, so I made Kate read it out loud.

I left the farm not because I wasn't enjoying it anymore, I definitely was.  In fact I felt like I could have stayed forever. But there are things I want to do elsewhere in the coming months.  I think it got to the point where I felt comfortable in leaving because I felt like I was so close to them that I would always be welcome back as a friend.

Duck face Number 457.
I had such a good time.  It shows in the fact that I have never stayed anywhere as long, except from home of course.  I would love to be able to explain why but I don't think I can.  How can you sum up people you feel like you know so well?  Katie and Luc have all the traits that I love in a person.  They are funny, happy, positive, caring, loyal, and very very humble people.  Everybody adores them so much and instantly I did too.  One thing I admire most about them is the life they are providing for Phoebe and Romy. They don't see it themselves, but the attitude they have towards bringing the kids up is spot on in my eyes.  They are two young girls who already have bright, individual personalities and I'm sure they will grow up to be very special people who everybody wants to be around... just like their parents.
Everybody I met during my time on the farm were really happy, positive people.  Of course, everybody has their problems, but these were the kind of people who didn't let them get in their way.  It's so admirable to see that other people live like that.
It's also an amazing feeling to walk into unknown territory and two months later feel like you have another place to call home.

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