Hi, this is Soledad from Argentina. I'm on a work & travel trip and I found this volunteering in Worldpackers where I applied to participate.
A few days later I received a message from Aimee telling me that she accepted my application.
When I arrived to the farm, the first impression was very pleasant as I was very welcome and the landscape dazzled me with its beauty.
The workflow in the volunteering consist in fulfilling an amount of hours of work per week and achieving a objectives, or tasks. To keep count of these things we use a computer program where each one reports in which tasks you spend the hours on. In addition to distributing the work in different tasks the volunteers count on two days off to rest and enjoy.
Now I'll tell you how is a day in the “Kuckucksmuhle” Eco Hacker Farm and I want to start by saying that no day is alike, there are a lot of diverse activities that will make each day unique.
I wake up with the morning sun entering through the window, contemplate for a while the heavenly green landscape that contains trees, planting fields and a stream.
Then I go downstairs to have breakfast in company of two lovely dogs, Moomoo and Black, and I take that moment to give them much love, change their water and refill their food bowls.
With renovated energies starts the day of work, so I check the system for the tasks that were assigned to me for the day. This may sound a little bureaucratic at first but its very easy to use and is not that strict.
My first task is to pick up two pots from the kitchen, in one of them put all the leftovers of vegetables, bread and old food that we are not gonna eat and use it to feed the four chickens. Every morning I feed them the same way, refill their balanced food dispenser, watch them just make sure they're alright and collect their eggs - always find one of them hatching inside the coop. Politely I invite her to leave but if she resists I gently carry her outside before I pick up the egg. I feel very sorry when I do this because when she goes back inside she looks for the egg and it breaks my heart.
After collecting the eggs we have to record the quantity in a spreadsheet where is stored the everyday production. In the last few days I have been finding four eggs each time!
Feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs is a task that I do every day, but once a week I have to take away all the old straw from the coop and change it with new straw.
The second pot is used for the compost (mostly onion, citrics and all organic waste that the chicken won't eat) which is very suitable because it reduces the garbage produced and is used to feed the worms that generate fertile soil and rich in minerals.
Like every morning, the next thing is to turn on the heating system of the house which provides us with hot water too. The heating system consists of an industrial oven powered by firewood and it's pretty easy to use: pile a few layers of cut logs in the size of the chamber accompanied with chips bark and other elements of easy combustion. The objective is to get it to 100 degrees so it stays during the whole day but in very cold days sometimes it is necessary to power it one more time. The logs, branches, dry leaves and pieces of bark need to be restocked and once a week maintenance is necessary, which consists in empty the oven and clean the inside.
After lighting the oven I move to the greenhouse to check the seeds on the planting trays. They need to stay on the greenhouse to grow strong and prevent the cold from killing them. It's important avoid the dirt to get dry, and if it's not, check that it has not fungus. There are two greenhouses, one in the meditation garden and the other in the yard.
Other members of the farm need love and care! I had to clean their bathroom and feed the three lovely cats.
It's important to note that both the cats and dogs poop have their own compost. In this place nothing is wasted!
The few waste that is generated in the house are properly separated, which gives me the daily task of discarding the metals and plastics in their due containers.
And speaking of wastes it is worth mentioning the weekly task of maintenance of the compost toilet. It's a dry bathroom placed on the front yard that is used during the day. A very interesting project.
Finished with the farm activities, what is left is the housekeeping which we all have done or do. Clean the kitchen, the bathroom, do the laundry, vacuuming, mop the floors and all the domestic chores which are necessary to maintain a healthy coexistence.
While I entertain doing this, noon comes and with it the lunch time. Usually we try to eat what was left over the previous day just to avoid throwing it away. If there is nothing left I make myself a salad or something simple and easy.
In the afternoon, taking advantage of the sunny days and that we are in planting season, I dedicate myself to plant the mandala garden. The beds, where we plant, are already made but we have to keep them clean and throw biochar for the next plantation. This is one of my favorite activities since I spend time outdoors, under the heat of the sun and connecting with nature.
A while before the sun goes down I sit on the deck next to the house to drink some Mates(an infusion based on herbs) which is very common in my country, while enjoying the sunset and the beautiful landscape that transmit peace and tranquility. Also use this moment to connect with my loved ones.
Around six o'clock we gather in the kitchen with Aimee, Franz, and whoever want to offer, to make dinner. A nice moment to share and learn different customs from other places, in addition to trying typical dishes, which I found them all very delicious. The atmosphere is nice and the conversations produce very interesting cultural exchanges.
After having dinner we extend the reunion to enjoy some hours of entertainment together watching a movie or playing some board game, which they are very well supplied, and after which we retire to our bedrooms to rest and renovate our energies for the next day.
In conclusion, I enjoy a lot been here, and I believe that anybody who likes being outdoors, animals, a simple life and a beautiful landscape will enjoy this experience.
Thank you for everything! =)