We arrived at our first farm on Friday, July 16th. We got there around 3 in the afternoon, just as our hosts were leaving for an afternoon out. We met them and they seemed nice. They suggested some places on the property for setting up camp, and told us to make ourselves at home. We went to the place they suggested for the tent and it was shady, but infested with mosquitoes. We picked our own place and set up. We each had to use the bathroom, and Eric went into the house first. When he came out, he said “Enjoy!” “What is that supposed to mean?” I asked. He remained silent. I guess he didn’t want to ruin the surprise.
Upon entering the house, I was a little stunned. It was in complete disarray. Now, I understand when you have four kids and a farm, keeping a tidy house can be difficult. But this was beyond a few toys on the floor and shoes not put away. Really, without a picture you wouldn’t be able to imagine it. Ok, I thought, no big deal. I don’t want to judge these people who I don’t even know. I found the bathroom. That pretty much sealed the deal. The toilet looked like it had not been cleaned. Ever. And they’ve lived there for 3 years. I was afraid to sit down because I thought whatever might be living in it would bite me in the ass.
I know this is our first farm and we really have nothing to compare it to, but a feeling of “What the hell did we get ourselves into” came over me, and later that night I learned Eric was feeling the same way. We talked about it, and he was ready to leave that night. I thought we should at least give things a chance, and so we stayed.
The next morning Eric worked a little in the fields while I stayed in the kitchen and helped shuck peas and freeze them, then prepare lunch. We had lunch, then went back out into the fields to weed and thin out crops. The weather there was beautiful. Sunny and in the high 70’s in the afternoon, and lows in the 50’s at night. And in the middle of July!
I guess we were both expecting something totally different. I would think if people were trading work for room and board, that they would want you to be well fed so they could get more work out of you. Apparently this was not our host’s philosophy. Eric and I are both big eaters, and that’s when we are not doing manual labor! This family of 6 with one on the way are barely able to feed themselves, much less hungry travelers like us.
There were some other red flags which I will not discuss here, but we decided that the farming thing may not be for us, not just because of us, but also the dogs. They didn’t do so well being tied up while we worked in the fields. Our hosts didn’t mind the barking, after all it is a farm. But we minded. The dogs are not farm dogs. They are not used to this way of life. It was hard for us to hear them bark until they were exhausted. We had high hopes for them, but we realized it just wasn’t going to work out. We decided to leave on Monday. We also decided to postpone our “farming tour” indefinitely, and just travel the west coast on our own for as long as our funds will allow. We also talked about where we may end up when our traveling is done. We have some ideas, and are leaning towards being closer to family.
Part of the reason we decided to take this trip was to find answers, to find our way home in a sense. Perhaps we needed to come all this way to figure out what we wanted, and where we want to be. I don’t regret anything. I’ve learned so many things about myself, about Eric, and about what we want out of life in our short time on the road. We still have much to see and learn. But now I think we have clearer vision of where we are going. It’s a nice feeling. Almost like coming home.
In other news, my next article is up on Go Girl about Yellowstone. Check it out by clicking here!