Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sono un Pastore ( I am a Shepherd)

I live on a farm.  I’ve been here for just over two weeks and I like it here.  The place is beautiful.  The work is hard.  The food is good and the family is nice.  The farm sits on the top of one of many hills, overlooking a valley of woodland.  In the distance you can see two towns, a dormant volcano and a bunch of isolated farms like ours.  

Here’s the office area/storage space of the farm.  The farm is called Podere Il Casale.

Basically I am a shepherd.  I work with Marco, a mellow animal-lover, and together we take care of the sheep and goats.  My days pretty much surrounds one goal: feed the animals and make sure they make milk.  Cleaning and filling troughs, shoveling hay, bundling olive branches, taking the sheep out to the fields and even hand feeding lambs.  There are about 150 sheep and 40 goats on the farm.  That's a lot of mouths to feed!

During my day these guys get in my way.  Every morning as I'm shoveling hay, they eat exactly where I'm working.  I think they  think I'm there to serve them fresh hay for breakfast.  They are goats who hang out with the sheep because they think they are sheep.  At  first I had negative feelings towards them, but I’ve warmed up to them and I think the feeling is mutual. 

When I first got here there was one other volunteer.  Fisherman Bob, a 65 year old retired Alaskan fisherman with a heart of gold.  He’s one of those people that you are just glad to have met and hope you’ll cross paths with in the future.  He left to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain a week ago. 

During my first week here the sheep started having babies.  These lamb were born the night before I took this picture.  It is a really cook sight to watch something explore the world for the first time.  Since then all the lambs have been born and all but a few kids have been born.  The farm is full of baby animals. (Casey, you'd go nuts!)

Speaking of goats…I’ve come to favor them over the sheep. They are just smarter, more affectionate and (the best part of all) they don’t complain.  Plus they scale rocky slopes - now that's impressive.

On the farm there are a bunch of animals.  Here’s one of the peacocks that loves to show off.  There’s also hens, a donkey, a pony, a duck, a ton of cats, two dogs, the sheep and the goats.  There is always something amusing to see when there are that many animals around. 

Here’s Ben, the watchdog, doing what he does best. 

If any of you have seen Into The Wild, you’ll get this.  This isn’t my accommodation, but I wish it was.  It’s a pretty cool hang out though.

Here’s Marco taking the pony back to its pen.  The sunsets here are amazing with insane colors warming up the Tuscan landscape.  It's a nice way to end my long day.  It's starting to warm up now too, so I can stay out a bit longer to enjoy.

Enough said. 


Casey Newlin said...


Baby, I wish I could be there with you. It would be incredible to watch those sunsets with you.

Gummy Choco said...

hey..these pictures are beautiful. Glad to hear you are working hard and enjoying the farm life :)

Brittany said...

holy moly jon ching
sounds like you are having an epic time!
so glad you keep up with this thing
its a good memory base for later

i just looked at mine and the last time i updated it was about a year ago! insane man :)

i like your pictures :D

bye friend!

Celia said...

the lambs and kids must be sooo adorable! I enjoy your blogs/pics -you really capture what is happening. it is all good!

Dennis said...

Hi Jon! The animals are fantastic! I remember when I was12 and my uncle took us to stay on his farm for 3 days and it was terrific. It has always left an impression on me! Must have something to do with our genes! Take care! Dad

Kris said...

Jon, I love how the goats are smiling at you in the second photo. And Ben is precious. It sounds like you made some great friends at the farm!