Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The night we killed a mouse.

"Do you hear it?" I shook Mirek by his shoulder to make sure he wakes up quickly. There was this noise again and our suspicions of having a pet aboard became more obvious. We had found a few droppings on the sofa before and I just shook it off thinking that the kids must have brought it in or something. Although, a tiny shadow of suspicion came as a overcast.

Then, a few days later when I left a bucket with peaches on the floor there was none left for us to eat. All of them had bites all over. Aha! We do have a sevenths passenger after all! Then the hunt was on. It the was not over until we arrived to our first farm in Washington. And the photo is the proof. We killed a mouse that night. At 4 am in the morning it climbed into our trash can and was happily munching on some leftovers when a broom came from above and it was 'finita la comedia' for the mouse!

After having such a long journey, being on the road from early morning and crossing all of the state of Washington from east to west in one day, changing climates a few times from hot to chilly, to rainy, to cold, from driving on plains and then overheating the engine on the way up and around Mt. Rainier, the highest mountain in WA (elevation 14, 100 ft), we arrived to "Fred's Homegrown Farm" in Naselle rather worn out.
A quick hello, routine unhitching and setting up, everybody was ready to start fresh the next morning.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, please meet farmer Fred. Fred has been farming for about 7 years, having switched from being a chef and having his own restaurant on Vashon Island, west of Seattle, to buying a 70 acres farm in 2003. He also has been restoring an old barn, trying to keep it historically accurate. And in the winter when there is not so much farming going on he had picked up a trade, he refinishes floors.
Our first morning on the farm was not so glorious, weather wise, but the food was a great comfort! What a special place it was! Everyday we were treated to special meals prepared by a former chef!
Hearty breakfast and delicious dinners called for some real work from our side, just to be fair and not to feel guilty. Elk burgers, halibut, farm grown chicken, great coffee, fresh milk...we have never eaten so well as on our adventure trip!

Unfortunately, this summer was one of the worst summers in the area. It was almost non existent. Most of the days we spent on the farm were overcast by the sea fog, coming from the Pacific. There was no sun in the mornings, and only on some days it peaked out from under the fog closer to 12 o'clock, almost like saying a quick hello and then checking up on us to make sure everything is fine, and then hiding away again. The laundry took 3 days to dry, and even when we brought it in to fold some of the items were still damp.

Still we had nothing really to complain about, as the amazing things were all around us. Seeing a herd of elk was phenomenal, falling asleep to the howls of coyotes were a bit goose bumpy but still unforgettable, picking more blackberries on the sides of the road was yammy, seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time and experiencing rain forest in this neck of the woods was something to write home about.
It seemed to us that Fred has gotten a bit discouraged with farming and needed a little boost and some encouragement. Being such experienced wwoofers already, we felt like we had a lot of advice to offer. We volunteered to weed both of Fred's greenhouses, where nothing but tomato plants and some lettuce was growing. Too much wasted space and we felt like we needed to do something about it. In two days there was not a weed left in the greenhouses and the beds were ready for some planting of carrots and more greens. I trimmed the strawberry plants that were being ignored and we planted them with the girls on the patch by the farm house.
Mirek helped by jacking up the house and leveling it. Fred was very happy and thankful as now the other interior projects could begin (like installing the front windows!). Then Fred will be able to host the workshops and cooking parties, and maybe will not be so lonely anymore.


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