While I have not had the pleasure of morning farm chores yet, the farm of Chewonki is one of my favorite places. I was told at the beginning of the semester that I could volunteer for weekend farm chores and I immediately wanted in. I have gotten to do so many different things while on farm chores that I always wanted to try. I even learned the process of milking a cow! Unfortunately Hazel was not very well behaved that day, but Megan (the farm manager) and I were still able to get a whole bucket of milk for the kitchen to pasteurize later. I did try to race Megan but she had the advantage of milking cows for over 10 years, while I had been milking cows for 10 minutes.
I have mucked stalls for horses and cows including our new calf, Peanut, who is very curious about shovels and kept getting in my way. There was so much excitement around Chewonki as Poppy (Peanut’s mom) got closer to her due date. After returning from Backcountry Trips, it was so much fun to go see the new calf! The farm hands told me how Peanut had an attachment to shovels and I had to test it for myself. It was true!
I think feeding the cows is the most fun out of all of them because you stand on a platform above the feeding trough and “fluff” the hay into the trough. However, cows are not the brightest all the time and stick their heads in before the food is down. This leads to much of the food ending up on their heads before sliding down into the trough to be actually eaten and not worn as a hat. Feeding the sheep is also fun and there are many more sheep than cows so the hay really goes everywhere. Recently the sheep were sheared and it was comical to watch the walking balls of wool turn into real sheep! All of Semester 68 got to watch as two sheep were sheared (or tried to escape shearing). You learn so much every time you go to the farm!
My proudest day on weekend farm chores was when I set a farm record in eggs with a friend. We collected a basket and a half of eggs from the chicken coop after refreshing their food and water. That might not seem like a lot of eggs and we didn’t think it was a lot either. However, while washing the eggs and putting them in cartons we noticed the tower of eggs was getting bigger and bigger. Soon we had to make a second pile so they would not fall over. When we were done we had to triple check our math but it turned out we did collect 166 eggs. Alice told us that it was a new farm record and we proudly wrote the number on the calendar. The next day we thought we might beat the record as we collected two baskets but somehow we ended up with only 154 eggs (still a lot!!). I think that was the highest producing weekend so far this semester.
Whether it was washing eggs with Lila K. or Kiran or mucking with Natalie C. or Annika, I had so much fun every time. I love going back to the cabin after and telling my cabin mates how much fun I had. Some of them got excited about it and have volunteered as well. I love hearing their stories of what they did and seeing the joy on their faces when they proudly state they milked the cow for the first time or had to get eggs from under a chicken. I can’t wait till it is our turn for morning farm chores!
-Grace Irving, Neshaminy High School, Langhorne, PA