07 Nov Back to Scotland…our real first HelpX experience
Day 222 – 232 (12/22 Oct 2013) – After our boat escapade we look for a campground near Colchester or Dover to spend the next 2 or 3 weeks. However, the couple of campgrounds we pass by already closed their tent-pitches for the winter. Since Ute was not ready to leave Scotland anyway, and none of us looked forward to spending the next two weeks in the crowded, overpopulated southeast area of England, we decide to drive back to Scotland. After another 9 hour drive, we arrive back in Dalbeatie around 01:00 set up camp and go to sleep.
In the morning we receive yet another message from a different HelpX host, who would like us to house-sit their farm and maybe do some work around the house and garden for the next two weeks. The timing could not be any better, but after our last HelpX experience we are a little skeptical about the whole idea and spend some time mulling it over. We come to find out the farm is about a two-hour drive from our current location. The pictures of the farm look great, the profile sounds intriguing, and we really would like to work on a farm for a little while…and the place is located in Scotland! What else could we ask for?
We decide to give the host a call. The host sounds organized and has a plan; so we agree to give it a try. We arrive there Thursday evening and are greeted warmly by Kay and David in their beautiful home.
Kay and David show us quickly around the farm. There are vegetable- and fruit-beds as well as flowerbeds and an herb garden to take care of. Kay and David tell us how and when to feed the animals and how to clean the chicken coop and goose barn. Later in the evening we enjoy a wonderful dinner together, chat over a glass of wine and get to know each other a little bit more. The next day Kay and David take off on a short vacation to Spain and we are left in charge of a farm, 2 cats, 3 geese, 9 chickens, 1 pony, 1 white rabbit, and a ton of sheep…These must be the most trusting people in this world!…and we love it!!
When David and Kay bought the property, the farmhouse itself was literally just a ruin, built in 1774. There were only a few crumbled walls, a chimney, and a lot of big rocks left of the building, which once was a farm and a mill. Amazingly, the two rebuilt the place within the last seven years and made a beautiful home out of the pile of rubble.
The people we meet never cease to amaze us!
The farm is secluded on a small hill out in the beautiful Scottish countryside. A long bumpy driveway leads past several sheep and cow pastures up to the house. There are several chicken farms in the area; however, the nearest neighbor is about a half mile away…and no matter which way we look from the farm house, the views are gorgeous!
During our stay we wake up every morning and feed the animals, fill up the little pool with fresh water for the geese, and check on Clyde, the old (30 + years old) and very cute pony. During the week we build small stonewall terraces in the front flower garden to keep the dirt from washing away when it rains. We mow the yard, weed, shovel gravel into a pit which will hold reeds that are going to help filter the water from the shower and washing machine, we tidy up around the yard, and we clean up and bust up the old shed and chicken coop. We dig up potatoes and harvest what is left of the cabbage and leek and enjoy cooking it all for dinner. We turn the vegetable garden and clean the chicken coop and geese barn. And of course we check the chicken coop for eggs every day… and eat fresh eggs nearly every day!
Every once in a while the shepherd comes by and we watch him train his sheep dogs with the flock of sheep in the back yard. It is amazing to see the animals and man work together as a team.
One afternoon we decide to burn all the old wood, chicken coop, and the old shed so we build a fire pit in the back yard (with David’s permission) and have a great time at our “campfire”, while enjoying the beautiful views from the back yard.
Who knew HelpX could be this much fun!
The following weekend Kay, David, and Lewis return home from vacation. We decided to make a typical German dinner for their welcome home and everybody actually seems to enjoy the meal.
Since our hosts only expected us to take care of the animals and to watch the house while they were gone, the two are very surprised and happy with everything we have done around the farm in the mean time.
During our remaining time on the farm, we continue to feed the animals and help around the house. Ron also helps David to finish building the balcony.
But it is not all hard work around the farm; we also had a great time exploring the area and went for a few hikes nearby. And of course we had a fantastic time chatting and hanging out with David and Kay.
Thank you two for making our real first HelpX experience special!
HelpX is a great way to meet great people while learning many new things.
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