Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Day of Work

The local men who work for Mr. Lucas work a full day, but WWOOFers only have to work in the morning. I tag along and do whatever work there is to be done, from right after breakfast until lunchtime, and then the afternoons are mine. The first day, they showed me around the gardens and I helped to water all the plants and remove marigold seeds from dead flowers. There are marigolds planted at the ends of all the rows of plants, and sometimes in the middles, because Mr. Lucas believes that marigolds help keep bugs away. The local boys don’t think so, but they keep their own counsel except for when they’re asked.

I also helped carry the plant stalks that are used for the thatch on the pilapias over to where my pilapia was being finished. Once they started actually building it, their wasn’t as much I could actually do, because they can do it easier than explaining it to me. I raked leaves into piles, which would later be moved over to the compost pile by the big garden.

There are two gardens, the kitchen garden, closer to the main house and kitchen, and then the bigger garden, further away. I can’t really tell any difference between them, because the kitchen takes produce from whichever garden has what it needs, and when there are extra produce to sell, they sell them, regardless of which garden they come from. The kitchen garden has chicken coops near it, and there are goats that wander all over the farm. The chickens pretty much have free range too, and the gardens have chicken wires all around them to keep out the chickens and goats both.

It rained the first afternoon, so we didn’t have to water the gardens the second morning, but we checked to make sure nothing had been damaged and then worked on finishing my pilapia all morning. I cleaned up extra leaves, and moved all the leaf piles I made the first day into a wheelbarrow and barrowed them over to the compost pile.

The third morning, (I am writing this on the afternoon of the third day), we tore down the smaller chicken coop, because the thatch is old and rotten and doesn’t keep out the rain anymore. We also cut new leaves for the new thatch, and I learned how to use a machete and prepare the plants to be used for thatching.

All the work doesn’t sound like much, but I finish each day exhausted, and I have muscle soreness in various places. That will pass as my body gets accustomed to the work, and at present is something I’m grateful for, because it tells me I’m actually working. The experience of doing real labor is part of what I came here for.

The third day of work was a Friday, so now I get a couple of days off, and then next week will have a full five mornings of work for me. Sandwiched around that is a couple of days of adventure, followed by a full five afternoons to fill however I want. Life is full of excitement to be had.


  1. I'd always heard that about marigolds too...last summer they were the first things eaten. Maybe that's the secret; they eat the marigolds (which are hardy and survive anyway) and leave the other plants alone. :)

    For some reason your garden comments made me laugh out loud.

    My body is getting accustomed to a full day's work too, though not as physical as yours. Sunday at 2:30 our home teachers came and I could hardly stay awake until they left. Then I slept 3.5 hours.

    "huge blizzard" here--another evening of classes canceled--I drove home with no issues but I guess it is getting worse and there are travel advisories all over the state. Enjoy your warm rains!

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your blizzard. Dallen mentioned it yesterday when I talked to him on Facebook, too.



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