A Travellerspoint blog

the past days



what do u know? another really good day today! and yesterday! i think i just got over the slump caus im doing fine!

so yesterday, did some bread, but not a lot because tuesday is little bread day. i think i might be doing it wrong, ever since i started there has been really big holes in the bread. i think i might be kneading it wrong, too many air bubbles! who knows! still tastes fine- and resembles a bagel- very american!

after we went to their apple trees across the road and picked up apples. they had all fallen pretty much on the ground, so we got those. they were being used for apple sauce/compote/applejuice so it didnt really matter if they were ugly or not.

o! and i got a letter from my aunt candace, uncle keith and rockey! VERY much appreciated! thank you!

next phillipe took all les filles (the girls) to a nearby field (im not sure it was his, but i think he said something about corn from that field when we were feeding the cows grain! who know?!) we put our super cool jumpsuits on, andwhile in the van turned to us and said, in french- does anyone know how to drive?
isa doesnt cause shes a city girl, and all other candidates are under 14 years. so i said, oui, mais je ne sais pas courir un standard. translating horribly to- yes, but i dont know how to drive a standard. i dont think he cared if i did or not because next thing i knew i was being taught how to not at least stall the standard on first gear, and how to use the clutch. all in french. it was chaos, but eventually i learned it! so i drove in the corn field very slow as he took bags of organic fertilizer vitamins and put them in rows throughout.

next we were given buckets full of the vitamins (i think it was magnesium and calcium?) and we spread it by hand all around the field. now, the random white powder was a little scary at first, but he said it was actually good for ones health. isa and i still have our doubts. something about powder in our lungs, not so cool with. it took about an hour and a half, and afterwards we looked like powdered oldfashioned people.

after, milking, spreading hay, etc;

i tried to make chocolate chip cookies last night, didnt fair to well. i had all the ingredients (maybe?) eggs, flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, butter.

must have gotten the mixture wrong. i was baking them in the compartment above the furnace, and i had to set my alqrm for one in the morning to get them out. that part wasnt so fun, but they came out mediocre, one set was really hard and crumbly, then the other set i added too much butter to and never cooked through that well. o well, it was still cool to dip them into fresh milk. when i got up this morning half of them were gone. food goes so fast, its really a game of survival. almost.

during milking this morning, we brought the newest mom in and milked her. she kicked a lot at first, but phillipe had a bar that makes it so she cant kick, it was my job to hold the bar, his job to milk her, and her job to have all of her waste products come out while i was standing in the splash zone. great.

we pierced the ears of the baby calf, the numbered tag looks ridiculous on the little baby, but shell grow into it!

after it was isa and i had to make lunch. thats always an adventure! shes not a big fan of cooking, it really stresses her out, where i am the opposite, and want to add any ingredient that might even smell remotely good into whatever were making. i think i might double her stress. oops!

so we made rice, green beans, salad, and barely some fish. we had a bag of frowen fish. or a fish. ones random parts chopped and thrown in a bag. so, we found a good stovetop recipe (because the oven is not so good at being an oven) and proceeded. our initial plan was to leave the chunks as is, dip it in lemon juice, then flour it, then put it in a sauce pan with herbs and butter. sounds good eh? what eventaully happened however, is while i was trying to debone/ scale/ and de tail it, throught the process of hot water and pulling on random flesh, i got really queasy. this surprised me because 2 nights ago i watched marie laure take the head of a cooked chicken, split it in half and eat it, with no uneasy feeling. maybe it was the smell, but it got to me. i took a break and when i came back, i went crazy and we ended up with shredded fish with a lot of lemon.

i think it was too much lemon because my tongue hurt afterward. but one thing was true- the sour fish didnt taste that fishy! hooray!

so after lunch one of the girls kidnapped me and said something about a bike, and finding a cat. doing nothing else i came along, about 5 mins down the road was there neighbor bea and her son leo, leo is friends with manon, and ive seen bea around the house randomly! while the kids played, she made me some coffee and took out some chocolate! i love this custom! she knew a bit of english, i knew a bit of french, and it was so nice to talk with someone without 10 other people around, then i could concentrate on her words, and work on mine. we took out a map and i pointed to where i was from, where ive been, where she had gone. we talked for about 40 mins non stop! pretty amazing how i can communicat finally!

after returning home, isa and i went for a bike ride to st brillet, for conditioner, chocolate, cookies and a stop at the bakery! its kind of a hard ride, 30mins each way, with a lot of hills, but we made it, and i feel really good about it!

then milking, food and now this!

but my FAVORITE thing to happen to me today was getting a package from home! i almost hugged the postal lady when she came in carrying a big white box!
when i opened it, i saw pages of the fosters daily democrat and immediatly started crying! thats beforre i saw everything else! marie laure said- ca va? tu es triste? english-u ok, are u sad? and i replied- non, je suis tres content! la pluie de joie- eng- no, i am very happy, the tears of joy.

so in this lovely package, besides newspaper- was a lovely sweater (which im rocking right now!) scarf, gloves, hat, bra (thank you thank you!) socks, funny times newspaper, under shirt, then gifts for the family- recees for the kids- natan loved them! maine maple syrup, blueberry jam, and dog biscuits for la loup! (she has been with me ever since i gave her them!)

i was so insanely happy! i took all the newspaper and organized them into the 2 days they are from ( oct 30th, 31st if u were wondering) put them into sections, and refolded them! then i read them cover to cover (minus the classifieds, those are boring)! so now im caught up with politics, the maine consolidation bit, holoween, sports (go socks!) and everything in between, including all the small town news a traveller could ever want!

ok! i have cookies waiting in my bedroom, just waiting to get eaten! love you all! id love to hear from you!

Posted by MaryP 13:39 Archived in France Comments (0)

i love being happy

i got over the slump


i am in such a good place right now!! physically and mentally! hooray!

this morning after milking isa and i took photos with the cows- its very entertaining! black and white ones come out really cool, so ill have to keep that in mind! all of mine are really corny, but thats how i like them!

then we came inside and made, wait for it, REAL pumpkin pie!! i mean full on cutting the pumpkin, pureeing it with this sweet pureeer (note to family, this would make a great wedding gift, for me,) then doing all the spices and such, rocking the dough, etc! i even made a petit pumpkin to put on top (you should be proud mom!) so then some guest came over- they were one of the kids teachers maybe? in total there was 13 of us!

marie laure (my host mom) made this thing almost like a shepards pie. on the bottom was spaghetti sqash, then a layer of onions, then mashed potatoes, then on top was melted chunks of brie and another type from a goat. then of course was dessert, the pumpkin pie, apple tart and apple crumble. ya, it was good. afterwards isa and i did some weeding, but then we went to see:

THE BABY CALF!!! it was born at 6 this morning! it is frickin adorable, pure white, its legs are wobbly, its adorable! at one point the mom got seperated from the baby and, being really dumb animals couldnt find it (even though they were the only ones in an open field! wow, genius) so phillipe started mooing until the mom finally came!

after that was night milking, then dinner (i was still stuffed from lunch, but it was soup, so i still ate it!)

its funny how there are different portions in different places, for the most part, we eat a very small breakfast, a GIGANTIC lunch and a medium dinner. i feel at home its always dinner that is really big!

one thing is true- im eating so much! isa said its just a farmers appetite, who knows!

last night we had some crazy music on (french fiesta/salsa) and the house went wild, everyone was playing hide and seek (this is a sick house to play it in!)

but tonight, manon found a meditation cd, and everyone is very chill. its very nice.

so cute natan story! hes the little boy about 6. so he loves movies and dvds, but doesnt know really how to care for them. the other day i caught him rubbing the cd on the floor as if cleaning the floor! zhen talking with marie laure, i guess he put a casset in the washing machine. qfter the load was done, she found it, and curious if it still worked plkayed it- and it was fine! we are still watching ice age to this day!

gross thing of the day- i saw the dog, la loup, eating a very much alive rat. it was huge! they really only have kittens, and i think the rat miught have been bigger than them. scary!!

ok! time for bed!

write me emails! i love to hear what people are up to!

Posted by MaryP 11:28 Archived in France Comments (0)

on the upside



so after writing the last entry i realized how depressed i sounded, but things are getting better! they always do!

last night we went to the my host families parents and along with about 17 other people ate, and laughed for most all of the night! there were so many people all at one big table, it was really cool to see that kind of openness. we werent even celebrating an occasion, it was just a bunch of people somewhat related having a good time! very cool!

so this morning- isa and i got up at 725 and started making pancakes! the ingredients took us a bit of time to find, but it ended pretty well. we had plain, chocolate, banana, and apple (qnd any combo in between) it was deliscious!

later during this lovely lazy sunny day i took a wlak around, taking pictures! had a lovely photo shoot with one of the babies ( i cant wait to show the pics!!!) but for the most part just enjoyed the sun. i was a bit bored as well, so i took some scrap paper and made a horrible sketch. it was kind of fun doing it, but afterwards i realized it looked really bad. oh well! kept me entertained for a while!!!

i really need to get a journal, other than the computer one. i have somewhat of one, but its turned into my french random word reference/ address book. and when the computer isnt availible, i cant really do anything about it. isa has one, and she says i should pick one out with a soft cover, because it is human nature to expect perfection from hard cover? or something like that. i might pick one out in amsterdam, who knows!

im not sure when ill leave now. i love this family, so who knows!!

ok, peace love and laughter

Posted by MaryP 11:37 Archived in France Comments (0)

life on the farm

so nothing really crazy exciting has happened since i last wrote. Yesterday i went to see a movie. its a small cinema and the whole tozn sits together. it was a love story, very nice. i think i got the basic tale.

so im not sure if im getting better at french or just better at zoning out when people are talking and instead watching for physical characteristics. sometimes i play a game with the people who are talking around me. its called find the verb. once i do that, i can at least tell the action thats being talked about.

But for the most part im having a difficult time internally. Previous to travelling i wanted to maybe go to somewhere in asia for a silent retreat. After this experience people are going to find it hard to shut me up. I feel like a shadow.

so, what to do? for the most part every night ive been looking up words, reading french books and just trying really hard. and then i realized, i can read french perfectly fine, but hearing and speaking, not a chance.

the other day i tried to tell a story. the 2 french people both just stared at me after i finished. i could feel my face reddening, thankfully isa explained it in a much better french and they laughed politely.

I love it here. the work, the kids, the food, definitly the food, but the social aspect is hard.

so i wrote to another wwoof farm in holland, they have already accepted me for anytime! yeah! heres thier description:

We live together with 7 people, goats, chicken, dogs and cats, in a former abandoned farm in the centre of Holland, near Utrecht. This part is called 'the green heart of Holland', lots of countryside around and a beautiful preserved water area behind the house. We work on different projects; we have an organic vegetable/fruit/herb/flower garden (if you have any seeds to plant, bring them!), a small organic shop, and a straw/clay sauna is being build. Work includes helping in the garden, taking care of the animals (milking the goats!), making wood- and food supply for winter, baking bread (in the clay-oven),making cheese, carpentry and there is a lot of space for your own initiative and creativity. Meals are vegetarian. There will be enough time to go on day (or night) trips, and see something of the country. We're looking forward to exchange of culture, stories, knowledge. Musical instruments are welcome! Its best to use email to contact us.

so ill probably go there soon, how soon? im not sure.

i feel like theres such waves of emotion here. the mornings are great, but after sitting at the table for lunch i get extremely sad and tired. i have happy moments later on, but the dark cloud still hangs over me.

i found a french book called: socrate. it kind of mirrored my situqtion

so long

Posted by MaryP 10:56 Archived in France Comments (0)

pomme de terre!



i promised id write more, so here i am a day later!

today was nice, we got up around 8 and did the cows, i thought we were going to do bread but one of my host moms sons girlfriends family is here, so they did it. the cows were good this morning, if u were wondering. only had one mishap when i was pushing the cow to get it to move forward when it started to poo. yeah, a bit nasty. after that, isa and i did some moving of hay for the cows to eat. i always feel like a big strong farmer because i get to use a pitchfork! sick, right? later were going to do a pic of american gothic.

o, speaking of, bad news- this computer is to old that it doesnt have a flash port. no port- no pics.

after haying, isa and i rocked the garden and dug up 3 rows of potatoes! i guess it was a really bad year for potatoes, because between both of us we probably got about 40. it was kind of fun, but hard work. Kind of reminded me of a scavenger hunt! youd be forking your way through the soil and then gold would appear! hooray!!

after that i hit a low point- we had lunch with all of the 2 families, and i had no idea what they were saying for the 2 hours. i felt like a silent mute, its very frusterating. so after, i went upstairs and decompressed, then through the help of isa- i felt a lot better.

then everyone went into the field and round up the cows for some reason im not sure of. at various points i was a human wall, a dog holder downer, and finally natans babysitter. that really helped me to again chill out with natan and the kittens. it was a beautiful day and i was glad i wasnt chasing cows who were escaping the fences at that point:

then i played legos with manon, and went on the computer for a really long time. thats where i am now!!

ok love u all!

ps- im getting better with the keyboard! yeah!!

Posted by MaryP 10:25 Archived in France Comments (0)

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