Monday, July 22, 2013

Ich bin Wwooferin. And three months in Austria come to an end.

I wwoofed on a farm in Upper Austria for about 2.5 weeks. The main product was milk, and although the twice-daily milking is done with machines, my dear diary moment was learning, at long last, how to milk a cow by hand. I only did it for a couple of minutes; time is money, and both my technique and aim need a lot of work, but I can now check this off my bucket list. The close second for awesome activities was making cheese and topfen. We made and ate so much cheese, I almost cheesed myself out. Almost.

This farm had lots of varied activities, and a menagerie of animals including cows, calves, one bull, two goats, two horses, sheep, rabbits, ducks, an unknown and ever increasing number of chickens, two swans, fish in ponds, several cats, and bee colonies, Other things I did, in no particular order: trimmed wine grape vines, collected honey from bees, picked berries and cherries, made jam, got bitten by a hungry swan, mowed the lawn, hauled and stacked firewood, made yogurt, milled grain for bread, helped prepare dough for baking, ate more whole grain bread than I suspect is healthy for any individual, stacked hay using a giant mechanical spider-like claw, shoveled manure, laid down new bedding, and squished potato beetles by hand. Also, I discovered that cows have scratchy tongues. I did not know that before. They are like cat tongues, just a thousand times bigger and way more abrasive. 

Out of all the farm residents, my favorite was Momo, a little black cat with emerald green eyes. Sometimes she would just appear out of nowhere and keep me company. One day I was up a ladder trimming the grape vines, and she walked up the ladder to the top, easy as pie. Such a cool little cat. 

And so three months in Austria come to an end. Traveling can always be bittersweet. It's sad to leave such a pretty place and so many new friends. But soon I'll get to see new places and old friends. Tomorrow I go to the United Kingdom where the plan is to go up, up, up north to Orkney, and maybe even as far as Shetland.