An alternative to leave aside the stressing tasks of the city and teach our children about the lifestyle enjoyed by the dwellers of rural areas.
We resolved to go on vacations and we included an unusual experience in our itinerary: we would stay in a farm in order to try the tasks generally carried out there. Once we settled down, both grown-ups and children got up very early, had a hearty breakfast and joined the hosts in the activities they had planned for us. The smell of the countryside invaded us from the very first moment. The house, located in the outskirts of town, had its own orchard, an ancient tree grove and a large green field where the cows, lambs and farm animals were grazing. We walked to the nearby river enjoying the air, the birds’ song and the murmur of the water. We felt the pleasure of being away from the noise, the engines and everything that represented our routine. As we returned, we went through the greenhouse and enjoyed the challenge of cutting the vegetables that would be part of our lunch. The aroma of the soup coming from the kitchen made us think about homemade food, prepared with loving hands. We were looking forward to sitting at the table.
We were told that that river causes floods during the rainy season but in the summer it provides a beautiful beach to sunbathe. A wooden boat was moored there, inviting us either to go for a ride or to go fishing. The cold afternoon found us next to the slow-combustion firewood stove. Francisca, our hostess, offered an earnest smile and some delicious Patagonian mate as we chatted. She told us that she generally invited visitors to feed the farm animals and take care of the orchard and the greenhouse, as well as to harvest the fruit. “Milking is the task visitors enjoy the most”, she told us and invited us to witness this event early in the morning.
We got to the shed at dawn. The cows we would milk arrived with their calves. After tying the rear legs and getting the buckets ready, Aliro started to milk. We witnessed a ceremony performed peacefully, without any unnecessary noise. We respected that spirit and, from a corner, tried not to miss anything. For him, it was a habit and he had done it forever. For us, it was a wonder. In addition to obtaining milk for consumption we observed the tenderness of the mothers to feed their calves. Whenever the offspring failed to find the teat –whether out of clumsiness or hunger- it was Aliro who would help the newborn to find its way. Two buckets with 30 liters of pure warm milk were the final result. He filtered it through white cloths before taking it to the house. We could not take our eyes off such show in the gloominess of the shed. There was so much life to offer… Finally, the last task was to clean the shed and the accessories used. The milk jars should be spotless for the following morning. Afterwards, the boiling process followed in order to use the milk in the daily menu and to prepare butter. We talked with Francisca, and she told us about the life led by farmers and cattle-raisers. The Gallardos have their own animals and all of them were born in the field. They have learned to manage simply, always watching nature and its behavior. They are completely self-sufficient: they drink water from a nearby creek and generate their own electricity using the same source. Nothing is wasted. Everything is recycled. And this turns the venue into a model sustainable project. We learned to look at that reality and have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city where we lived. We let ourselves be carried away by the peace of the countryside, which had everything necessary to make us feel comfortable. It was a lesson both for our children and for ourselves. Our phones: +56 9 6177 6894 Francisca Solis +56 9 8438 8285 Rubén Gallardo