Day 11 and 12 Time to get to Work

When you are a WOOFer, you are a worker, here to help a farmer whose livelihood depends on the success or failure of his/her farm.  This is not for the faint of heart…you are not on a fun side trip checking out quaint countryside while you can some vegetables…this is for real (and yes that is meant to sound like a cheesy tag line for a reality series!).  Time to rise and shine, I did get a little bit of a break because I am homeschooling Reid, but I am not so sure that counts as a break!  I actually started my first task as babysitter for the twins and their little 5 year old brother who was sick…not a bad job huh?  But when their mother got back it was time to work a bit.  We pressed the apples that we picked yesterday, into juice…gallons upon gallons of juice.  We had to clean the apples, which meant stirring them in a big container of water with what looked like a pseudo pitchfork, and them scoop them out of the water and put them into boxes.  After they were in the boxes, they went into a chopping machine, and then into a press.  It was a combo of man and machine the whole way through.  We had to take the leftover apple pieces in a wheelbarrow over to the barn, for the cows to feast on later!  When the juicing was completed and cleaned up, then the real work began!  We had to get ready for the Saturday market.  This meant that we had package flour and mill and package grains (carefully labeling and weighing each one).  When that was done, there was bread to be baked…lots of bread….in a wood fired oven no less.  I feel like we have been a combination of help and hinder during our stay…I am hoping it leans more towards the helping end of it!

We finished getting the last loaves out of the oven at around 10:30 p.m. I was exhausted and my back was aching…and yet Gregor seemed like he was just getting started.  This man is amazing…a one man army…or should I say farmy…get it?  Well it all got done, and loaded, and ready for market.

Although WOOFers are supposed to get the weekend off, we wanted to go to the market to help and see how it all worked.  I was envisioning a beautiful outdoor marketplace in the Slovenian countryside, but in reality it was inside what I can only describe as a Slovenian mall.  A giant Target type store, with some other smaller stores around it…and yes in case you were wondering there was the obligatory overpriced mall pet store there too!).  Oh well, either way, it was amazing to see.  Gregor (with very little help from us),  unloaded the van and brought it to the stand inside the mall, and had everything set up in a matter of minutes!  It was impressive to see!  Customers came and went all during the time we were there.  WE of course, wandered around the mall, bought coffee for everyone, and generally made ourselves useless.  After a while, we left and just drove around a bit.  We found a beautiful hiking trail by a waterfall and stopped for a short hike.  It was so fantastic to see the water rushing and swirling down over the rocks as if it were late for an appointment that it couldn’t miss!

After our hike, it was time to come back and pasturize (okay, damn I know it is spelled wrong, but can’t seem to get it right) the apple juice,  Now I would love to thrill you all with my fabulous description of this process, but the truth be told I was not feeling well and decided to take a little nap…about 4 hours later I was up, missed out on the whole thing….by the time I was up it was all finished and so our next task was to fill up the bags and bottles with juice as well as make apple vinegar… I am so amazed at how there is really no waste…everything is used just about!

Now the best story comes next…what Reid was doing while we were at work.  Reid has become fast friends with the children on the Silbar farm.  Again, they have 6, so odds are that he was going to get along with at least one of them…but honestly they are all amazing kids!  His favorite playmates are Ulshka, Clara, and Urnia they are 10, 8, and 6 respectively.  Yesterday hide and seek was the game of the day, today it was soccer.  Soccer, sounds like a good game right?? Sure if you are not near a pigsty…because where will a ball go when you kick it…you got it…pigs playing soccer! But Reid wasn’t satisfied with one ball in the pigsty…and you have to ask yourself…really who would be?  So the Pele of Slovenia, gets a new ball…and proceeds to kick it right into a giant pile of manure…or should I say a mountain of manure…a 2 story high mountain of manure!  Yep… so there it went…now what?  They did not have another soccer ball…so it was decision time…do you wade through the cow poop and get the ball or give up and play something else?  The choice was made to retrieve the ball…and so Reid comes to me.  Let me just say I love my son, but there is no way on God’s green earth I was going to get that ball for him.  I have to say that I was impressed.  Reid and the girls found some boots that fit him and away they went.  If you know me at all, you will know that there is no way I was going to let my son wade through cow manure…without watching it firsthand!

I am not sure I can accurately describe the sounds that boots make when trudging through wet, dense manure…but let’s just say whatever disgusting sounds you are thinking…are correct.  So now Reid is about half way to the ball, surrounded by manure, and what is stopping him from getting the ball???? A spider…yup a spider!  He is freaking out about some tiny spider, while practically drowning in manure…classic Reid!  After a few minutes and a pep talk, Reid is back at it!  He got the ball!  After lots of rinsing, the ball is back in play!  All is well on the farm! Life is good once again!