We are staying on a farm1. It is on the side of a steep hill on an island near the larger city of Bergen on the west coast of
Norway. It is a lovely area with waterfalls, plenty of water due to a solid week of rain, lovely views across the water to the town of Arna, and a lot of fresh air. There are Highland cattle, sheep that I haven’t really seen up close yet, Christmas trees that we should be starting to cut next
week, and three dogs… That’s the animal count only of course. I know you have been wondering what we’re up to so the following will provide the answers to some of the questions that you didn’t even know you had!
How did we get the idea of coming?
WWOOF2 = World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms…
We joined WWOOF Italia and WWOOF independents [which lists all the smaller countries that are participating but are too small to have their own lists per country]. I had wanted to volunteer our time because I think it’s a fun way to meet people and get more closely involved with others and a community than just passing through as a tourist. We decided to try WWOOF because it really seems to be one of the more favorable choices that fit our parameters the best. Read: the organization charges only a modest fee -to weed out the riff-raff, if you ask me- to become a member which allows the member access to the lists of participating farms. Contacts are all done on your own. I had contacted Linda at Askeland Gard probably as early as summer to ask about volunteering at their place. And, finally, almost six months later, we are here!
It’s one of those ‘far-away’ and ‘exotic’ places in my head. Included on that list, by the way, are Alaska, Thailand, Argentina, Chile, and Antarctica. In my minds’ eye I imagined coming up here to the 71st (!!) parallel to be trudging through the snow under a glorious [and nightly!] display of the fantastical Northern lights. Well, silly me. We are here at the wrong time for such fanciful images! However, we are here, on the side of a lovely little mountain with a great view of the water below and the town of Arna across the way. There are just a sprinkling of houses around us, many barns, as well as some sheep dotting the landscape on occasion.
What will we do?
The idea is to help out where ever help is needed. Our first week we have been easing into the whole thing by helping getting situated for the oncoming winter in various capacities.
Next week or so it sounds like we will begin cutting the Christmas trees for selling. In the states, I usually like to put my tree up the day after Thanksgiving. However, apparently in most of Europe the common day is December 23rd!! Imagine! I wouldn’t know what to do with the first 22 days of December, really.
Stay tuned for an update on that work after we begin with it.
What do we eat everyday?
Bread. Lots of delicious, nutritious, fiber and flavor-filled home-made bread.
I’m totally going to get a bread-dough-kneading machine when I get settled again at home and always make bread. Bread with nuts, bread with seeds, bread with raisins, bread with …. cheese? [had to try the rhyme, sorry].
I heart with all my soul the way the dough feels in my hands, the way the yeast makes the loaves rise on the table, and the way the bread smells as it bakes in the oven. I like to cut open the hot and fresh bread and smear butter and honey on it and take a big bite! Yum. Just thinking about it makes me want another slice.
For breakfast: homemade smoothies, hard boiled eggs, the bread!, cheese, and some mystery-meat that I haven’t had the guts to try yet.
Lunch: the Bread! Sometimes with soup. Leftovers, like, fish-ball soup [meaning, balls of fish, thank you] in creamy sauce with peas.
Dinner: Traditional Lamb and Potatoes [lamb from last weeks’ slaughter], Lasagna, fish-ball soup [same as above], and Vegetables with fish. And sometimes there’s Bread! With nuts! And sometimes seeds! So delicious!
Coffee: All day. Every day. Lots of coffee. Which is good. When we’re tired of coffee? Tea. Some tea, yes, I’ll have some more tea.
Where do we stay?
This is a FULL house! It’s really a fun and lively atmosphere. In addition to the family there are three WWOOFers here
currently. I am enjoying it. We get to stay in the cozy-camper next to the house. It’s perfect sized: bigger than the one we have back in the states, which makes it feel like a small studio apartment. The view would be great except for the hours of daylight are such that we get up and go to bed in the dark. Currently with the consistent rain and cloud cover it feels like it gets light around 9 am and gets dark by around 3:30 pm. That might not be exactly accurate as far as a meteorologist would say [and, guess what, we can Google it!] which is why I qualify about the clouds and rain, and how it feels. We really have about six hours of daylight now. So my point with this is that the view is there, but it’s not noticeable when we are actually IN the camper. Okay, thank you.
Are we having fun?
Absolutely. It’s nice to be welcomed into the home and household of others, which Linda and Arne really do so well. They are extremely easy going, fun, kind, and both have a great sense of humor. The whole family unit is really cool and I feel amazingly lucky that it worked out that way. Looking forward to more good times to come.
If you have any other questions please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Happy Holidays from Askeland Gard!