Working at a biological farm 

 

Bienvenido al Campo! 

The ranch dates back to 1890 to the family’s great grandfather. Three generations presently live and work here - the couple who run the estancia (Hugo and Maria), Maria's daughter Monica, Sabino (her 11year old son), and abuela, Hugo’s mother. Beautiful family and you can feel the history on the ranch! 

The property is enormous, stretching as far as you can see in all directions, with no other buildings in sight; side-by-side stonewall circles, set against giant boulders, trees growing up all around.

Hugo told us that many archeological and historical experts have been out to investigate the site.

It seems to have been constructed by “indigenous” people, at some unknown point in time. A number of theories on the significance have been proposed, but he says no one knows for sure.

He showed us four circular stone depressions, perhaps used to grind herbs for ceremonial purposes; no mention of grinding corn.

A stone boulder chair and “foot rest” is theorized to have been a birthing chair. Another thought was that the footrest was actually a kneeler for priests to kneel at, hands in front to the side and head down in worship.  

The larger stone circle has a large boulder to one side that has been demonstrated to be an “energy center.” Some people feel a sort of vibration when sitting on the stone. People have had their watches stop working, and noted blank spaces or “windows” in photographs taken in the circle. A very high level of phosphorous has been detected in the soil suggesting it may have been an Indian burial ground. 

 

Activities:

Bringing in the cows for milking. The procession is lead by big daddy – the bull and father of all the calves on the place. He rouses the girls and gets them moving toward the milking shed. The bull is extremely docile – as are all the cows.The milking of the eight cows is done by hand.  Normally each of the milking cows has a calf, and you leave one teat un-milked for baby. After milking, calves are united with mommies – lots of mooing until the reunion takes place. 

Making cheese 

 

Giving water to the goats 

 

Vaccination cows 

 

Working or conditioning the land in the vegetable allotment for a new seasons vegetables to be seeded. 

 

Gather wood from one of the fields. The wood supply (branches and treefall) seems unlimited. 

 

When guests are around, as a volunteer you help preparing breakfast and lunch, assisting with the activities, such as horse riding, fishing or hiking. 

It was nice when guests came because, out of working hours, you are encouraged to socialize, and practice your Spanish. Guests ranged from varying nationalities, mostly Uruguayan or Argentinean but some Europeans too. 

 

There is so much to do on a small farm, that as soon as someone can take over a task – it’s yours.

Not a scrap of food goes to waste – all food material goes to some animal for consumption –  pig, goat, dogs. Even apple peels (from making a delicious apple crumble dessert) are boiled in water, lemon peel and a little sugar to make a light and refreshing drink.  Then, the pigs get the peels. 

There are a couple of palm trees in the yard that are dropping these lovely orange fruits called “butia.” They are great to eat as-is, but Maria also stews them to make a sweet compote with spices like cloves, and even uses the fruits to make a really yummy liquor (that takes a year to come to its full potential flavor). The squashed fruits in the driveway are gathered for the pigs, or shared with the goats as a special treat.

The food at the Estancia is delicious, fresh, flavorful and plenty of it.

The Estancia can host up to 3 volunteers, sharing one room.

The water is taken up from a well around 600m from the house by an old wind turbine. As the saying goes ‘no wind, no water’. Shower when you can! 

Working days start at 07:00 am and you normally have breakfast around 9.00am, lunch at 1.00pm and dinner at 10pm.

After lunch there is free time until around 4.00-4.30pm and you work until sunset. at about 7.30pm.

After dark you have free time. You can go to the main house reading a book, watching TV or talk to others. 

 

You have one day off a week and you can easily organize which day off you prefer.

You are supposed to spend your day off outside off the ranch, visiting the local town, Nueva Helvecia, or go to Colonia or meet friends etc. 

When there are no other volunteers around, your time can be very relaxed, but also boring. You can take advantage of chatting with Hugo or Maria and practice your Spanish.

 

You can learn many things, maybe all of which would be only necessary on a farm but a life experience nonetheless.

 

For more information, please contact us

 

 

Cigarette shop: low-cost cigarettes