Farm Life in Northern California

I'm So Damned Short!

So I’ve gone from a life of tapping away on my computer while sipping coffee in cafes (with the occasional day spent lounging by the pool), to doing hard manual labour in the sun. It’s been a tough transition and my body currently hates me, but I’m loving it!

Playing 'Stump'I’m doing a work exchange on a farm in Northern California and visiting a friend who works on the farm and another who lives here. It’s a great little community called Boonville which is in Mendocino County. Everyone I’ve told about my plans who are familiar with California have assumed I’d be spending my time here trimming pot plants. Well, while we’re apparently surrounded by marijuana growing operations, this farm is legit and I’ve been spending my time doing the usual farmy tasks of planting, mulching, digging, spreading compost, and now I’m working with my friend on building a composting toilet.

I love this stuff. The weather is really great… although maybe a bit cold at night for my wimpy self. The food here is amazing. The farm is all organic and each meal is made from farm veggies and meat. I’m happy because goat meat is a regular menu item. I never would have expected to be eating goat in the US! I’m even preparing goat brochettes on Monday for everyone… Rwanda’s main dish of choice.

Besides visiting friends, my motivation for subjecting myself to some hard farm labour is to learn a bit about growing food and farm life in general. I guess I’ve always been interested in living sustainably and growing my own food has always been really appealing to me. I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to have a base somewhere and I really like the idea of buying or leasing a hunk of land somewhere and building something out of nothing. So I guess I’m seeing what’s involved.

Building a Box to Shit InSo far I really like it. It’s really hard physical work which I like. I’ll like it much better once my body, which is used to a cushy life in Kigali, gets used to it. They’ve got a bunch of things growing, animals, milking, cheese making, and some building projects on the go so there are a lot of opportunities to learn. There are six of us in total on the farm, the guy who set it up, his girlfriend, and a person to look after the animals. My friend is construction guy and there’s another work swapper from Miami.

It’s a nice mix of people and I’m enjoying the communal living. I really like cooking and living with other people in a cooperative environment and this is what they’ve got going on. I guess working alone means that I like to have people around anytime I’m not staring at my laptop. It’s a nice balance. I thought I’d be in the middle of nowhere but the farm is actually just up the road from a small main street with a bunch of great little cafes with wifi. A perfect combo!

I really like this community, too. It’s a town of 700 people and really relaxed and fun. It’s wine country and pot growing country and there’s an interesting mix of folks here. Some hippies and some rich wine families but mostly, it seems, laid back people who are really into good food, good drinks and living in a natural way. I really like it here.

I Love Goats

About Kirsty