Mini-Camp Weeks 2018 | May | June | July | 2-5 days for a quick get away
Living on a farm – I’m not so sure I like this.
Written by Sheila Cook
Entalhof | Simple Living Camp
In early May, I arrived at Martin’s Entalhof, our base for the summer. I felt exhausted and jet-lagged. The zigzag drive up the mountain made me feel queasy. The house filled with wood furniture, expansive mountain views, big kitchen, and red and white duvets was as welcoming as I remembered.
But, for several days I felt uneasy living on the side of a mountain and at the farm. In the past our Austrian base was in the valley. In just a few minutes I could walk to the bakery, bank, pool, ice cream parlor, and grocery stores. Every evening I’d stroll by the river, and around the storybook village admiring the window boxes overflowing with colourful flowers.
I’d sit on the balcony and listen to the tennis and soccer matches, the tractors and mopeds drive past, and the neighbour’s kids playing outside. I missed the hum of the village.
Then something shifted. I milked a goat. I instantly felt a connection to the rhythm of the farm.
I smiled whenever I saw the hens, roosters and chicks waddling around pecking at anything that might be food.
I anticipated the loud mooing of the cows when Martin entered the barn at milking time. The enthusiastic snorting of the huge pig when we delivered our compost to her trough startled me every time. I became more aware of what I was eating – the eggs with the orange yolks; the fresh cow milk poured over muesli; and the delicious goat milk served still warm. Martin is an energetic, grinning farmer who loves to share stories and appreciates when we’re curious about his way of life. One day in late May, we were surprised and excited when he invited us to join him for the annual event which transported his goats to their summer pasture. Six of us squeezed into his pick-up truck, along with Nellie the smelly herding dog, and we drove up a narrow, twisty- turny road.
Martin released his goatherd, and with a nip from Nellie they trotted over the bridge, through the gate and immediately linked up with another herd already on the mountainside.
There was some ceremonial head butting as the goats vied for top goat status but soon they were happily munching on spring grass. The goats wandered around the craggy mountains all summer long. By now, in October, Martin will have magically found them and brought them back to the farm from their summer camp.
Our gift to Martin – cake made by Janine symbolizing the fenced in goats. Rainy weather did not allow to build the fence in 2016 – so it will be done in 2017.
Back in London, Canada, I miss the farm life, and the sound of the waterfall, the roosters and Martin’s aging truck bumping home from evening milking. My connection with farm life started with milking an irritable goat. And in case you’re wondering, goat milking was never on my bucket list. But now milking a cow is, and uncovering the magic behind Martin rounding up his goats from a vast mountainside. I can’t wait for next spring!