|Sept 1-15: Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms in Sant'Agata di Goti
We would like to introduce this two weeks of our travels with a hearty recommendation of the thing affectionately referred to as "WWOOFING"!
And we are sorry we have not updated our page or called or e-mailed anyone for two weeks. We were without access to phone and internet.
We stayed for the two weeks on a small organic farm (5 hectare) nestled in the velvet draped mountains of the Campanian countryside, just an hour inland from Naples. Pietro, Antonella and their two children, Sirio (12) and Sati (10), made us feel like family and basically took care of our every need for the duration of our stay.
It was a really interesting experience that we will treasure forever . . . and it is hard to put it into words.
Their home is over one hundred years old. Our accomodations were perfect: a very simply furnished room that had everything we needed (laundry, bathroom, sink, cute beds, woodstove) and the timeless feeling of the Italian farm life.
The farm, not surprisingly, is organic. Our diet was different that usual, as they don't use sugar, meat, or milk and almost everything we ate was made at home and from scratch. You can probably imagine then that the food was DELICIOUS! And we both really liked the absence of those food items on which we are so dependent at home. Every night we recorded in our journals the tasty and creative meals Antonella prepared during the day! The great thing about the fare was the simplicity. So tasty, hearty, and so healthy. We felt so good after eating it! We should mention also (because it was so surprising to us) that the meals were big, three courses usually. But we just tried to keep up with our hosts! Of course, if you know April or Mary Ruth that well, you know that we didn't mind that much! ;o)
As to our work, it was varied, sometimes challenging, but always interesting and rewarding. We harvested almonds, beans, figs, apples, pears, and cactus fruit and made lots of preserves, made a garden (from overgrown field to neatly planted rows), did not a little weeding (and you haven't seen weeds like this before!), cleaned out the chicken coop, and helped with the compost. And also, rather providentially, our two weeks coincided with the grape harvest. So we bottled last year's wine, deep cleaned the wine cellar, picked all the grapes, crushed them, and just missed seeing the pressing process. It was a wonderful opportunity!
Every afternoon we took siesta, which was fabulous. We loved it.
So, if its not clear already, we learned quite a bit. More than that we were inspired by many things we experienced. The simplicity, the work, the diet, the slow pace. Mary Ruth is pretty sure she wants to strap on an apron, make bread from scratch, feed chickens, and pick fresh vegetables her whole life!
Before we close this entry we want to tell you about the people we met. They were the best part. Pietro and Antonella were very gracious and taught us so much. Sirio and Sati were such fun kids. We seemed to be laughing aloud or chuckling to ourselves all the time. Such dear hearts!
The neighbor who lived in an adjoining part of the house was a widow named Immocolata. She is a quentisential old world Italian farmer. She taught us how to make pasta and had us over for caffe's. Although we weren't able to communicate very well, we really valued the time we spent with her.
And then we got a little unexpected treat at the end of our stay. A new WWOOFer came to the farm, Roberto. He spoke perfect Sicilian Italian and perfect Brooklyn English. It goes without saying probably, that he was a real character. But he was the perfect addition and we loved getting to know him too!
ALSO, we are learning Italian! We have been studying very hard (we found an old textbook in our room) and now that we are back on the road again, its incredible how much better we are able to communicate. We are very excited about this and both want to continue the effort when we return home.
There is more that could be said, but our time is running out. Basically things are going really well and we are continually amazed at God's providence! Truly amazed!
We love you all and miss you. Thanks for writing us . . . it brightens our day!