So, I’ve been to three different farms now, all of which have had very different philosophies and goals and business models. There does seem to be one thing in common with all of them though, and that thing is mice. There are always mice everywhere, and they can cause some damage. Not only do mice carry diseases, they eat everything. And by everything, I mean the food that is supposed to go to more helpful animals such as chickens and goats. (Oh, yes, there are goats here too. I quickly sussed them out, my very own spirit animals.)
The pacing of ranch life seems to be a little bit different than farms with a more horticultural bent. With plant based farms, the rhythm is based around the growing season, which divides things into the time sensitive tasks, such as planting and harvesting and the less pressing, get-to-it-when-there-is-time, winter projects. Ranch work seems to be a lot of winter projects. Now, it could be that I am just so well into the winter here in Arizona, with temperatures at a chilly 75 degrees, that I am just missing the grow season. But the majority of the work seems to be facilities management, such as cleaning out woodpiles and repairing porches. These are the sorts of things that get shunted to “later” at other places. Hence my new developed title of “mouse hunter”
The week here has simply flown by, and I feel like I haven’t learned very much. Except for a lot of hunting terms, since it’s the close of the deer season, and everyone is trying to get a last shot in. But, what I have learned is some neat things about Ireland from my fellow WWOOFer, and various home projects, and chatting about cows.
It’s pretty run of the mill stuff. But I just about died when I got to use the phrase “We’ll be here til the cows come home” in a non-figurative way. Because there are actual cows! That will take an actual long time to get home!
It’s the little things, guys.