Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Farm livin'


So I just got back from Monkton Wyld a farm and community near the coast in southwest England where visitors come to learn about sustainable living.

The main house is totally gothic with a marble staircase that echoes, a resident crew of bats (seriously), and virtually no heat. But I don’t mean to make it sound like an Alfred Hitchcock film. It’s awesome, and the people alone keep it warm.

About 15 live on the property full-time. Here, a short incomplete cast of characters…
--Rachel and Mark, a couple of Zen-like gardners who always seem to be wearing muddy jeans, wellies and peaceful expressions…

--Sophie, the brilliant and laid-back chef who uses fresh vegetables and eggs from the farm to prepare two killer meals for over 20 people each day at the ripe old age of 28…

-- Patsy and George, the longhaired and very environmentally serious (but very cool) permaculture specialists

-- along with Caroline the manager, Tom a maintenance-type guy (and Sophie's boyfriend), Sean, Mark, Ali, etc., etc.

The residents operate like a big happy family. Every morning at 8:30 they hold a meeting in the library over cups of tea to talk about work for the day. A smaller group of rotating volunteers stay for just about a week and help with whatever else needs to happen (Like me and two 32-year-old women from Malaysia who had taken a year off their jobs as a chemist and a civil engineer to travel through England working on farms...two inters from Spain were also staying for a few months.)

Every day though someone new floated through the house for a course or a quick stay like Monty, a middle-aged man full of wisecracks and wisdom who retired early when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. One night I also joined a group of seriously trippy people from nearby villages – including a couple of women from Germany and Argentina -- who come regularly to practice the Dances of Universal Peace.

As usual though most of the fun stuff happens in the kitchen...

video

In addition to cooking food, the kitchen holds more warmth than most spots in the house making it good for other practical purposes...
video

More on this gorgeous little kitchen later…
Kitchen music: Jack Johnson and Bright Eyes

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