at the farm

Years ago I spoke with an colleague about my plans outside the Netherlands. Maybe I would go farming. (goldfish farm) and that I could possibly go for “Boer zoekt vrouw” international. That was the first thing I thought of with a smile once I arrived in Lagonissi. I’m going to delve into farming! That is the expectation that I have.

When reading about the place and the organization, reference is made to Permaculture. I first had to look it up on wikipedia.

Permaculture is a set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community.

The word eco or Ecology is also used.

Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, “house”, or “environment”; -λογία, “study of”) is the branch of biology which studies the interactions among organisms and their environment. Objects of study include interactions of organisms that include biotic and abiotic components of their environment.

This is going to take time to understand this, and how it will be put into practice.

The organization asks if you come to share your skills by initiating own projects or initiatives. Think about workshops. Initiatives that give substance to the development of human living environment. I am already shuddered, because the word human does not come across as much inspiration to me. When I read the Workaway profile , it doesn’t get much clearer to me.

In May I met Costas (manager) and looked around. The atmosphere feels good at that moment. It all looks a bit disorganized, but that must be part of permaculture and ecology. The color green is missing a bit. This is due to the drought and the sun. I also wonder where the much-needed water comes from.

From the bus stop to the farm it’s a short 10 minute walk. One of the residents, a volunteer who has been living here on the farm for a year and a half, met and welcomed me.

At that time there were only 3 volunteers in total of which 2 were more or less about to leave. That means that it was pretty quiet there.

I only spoke to Costas in the evening and it soon turns out that it is a man with even more words than me, and where I could still follow him perfectly with the introduction interview, he is now sometimes inimitable. He is Greek and English is not his own language. I am Dutch and English is not my native language either. I emphasize on Greek and Dutch, because I immediately see some differences in attitude. Therefore enough ingredients to not understand each other. It is important that we give each other enough time to learn. I also found my superior in being able to describe context and use of metaphors before coming to the point. It takes a while and sometimes there is no point at all.

The house I stay in is a bit crappy. Not clean, clearly a house where several people live and for someone who has lived alone for a long time and has a cleaning rage it will be a challenge. It feels even worse than in Athens. Mwaah I’m going to experience it. I approach it just like when I am camping. In anticipation of the enjoyment of living at the end of my stay (I am not publishing this post until August) eight out of nine weeks there was no electricity, so no airconditioning, internet, refrigerator etc.

The daily tasks are clear, but that only takes an hour and a half work in the morning and an hour and a half work in the evening. In the morning the animals and the farm are taken care for and in the evening the land and the animals. We work from 7.30 am till 10.20 am and from 7 to 9 p.m. You can’t do anything else because the energy disappears as it gets warmer in the day. Milking Bianca takes me an hour and it takes Costas 5 minutes. I only get half of it and Bianca becomes impatient. That is understandable too, because who is pulling my tits for over an hour, I hear her thinking. No I will not get used to it!

The chickens are impatient and jump for the bag of food. They don’t even give me time to scatter the corn. I do not know what the criteria are to be called free-range chicken and free-range egg, but in my observation enough is being used. The Skyrian horses go into the meadow every day. Now 5 because a foal has been born. This is a nice and relaxing walk and with the horses and I feel comfortable. Once in the meadow and the buckets filled with water, we go back to collect the manure and get it to the compost heap. By the time we are done with this, the temperature is already getting high.

Until half past eleven we are busy with weeding of weeds and grasses, and extra maintenance, or projects. (For example, make a new chicken coop) Watering takes place in the evening after 7pm. Strawberries, vegetables, plants, baby trees. If necessary, some will be harvested and the animals will return to the stable.

There is also a kitchen service, and that includes the daily cleaning of the room and in the evening cookig a meal. That suits me. In between during the day’s we are also baking bread!

During the period that I stay here, it turns out that we are focused on growing greens for our own consumption in a sustainable way. So get ready to eat tomatoes for a few weeks in a row, or something else that needs to be harvested at that time.The vegetables are supplemented with organic vegetables obtained at markets and all kinds of flour, rice, guinoa etc. Most fruit is also bought at markets. The work on the farm appears to be less time-consuming than I had expected.

Is this farming as it should be, or did I not end up on a farm?