Monday May 30, 2016
The Horse box
I finally took a shower!! The last time I showered was in the hostel in Lisbon. I know, I know, 5 days is quite a bit to go without, but it hasn’t stopped being cold and super rainy, and this is an outdoor shower we’re talkin’ about, and requires a good three minute walk from my little box. But today was different, today it didn’t rain once, and the sun finally showed itself, so I figured today was my day. I even washed my hair. The water was nice and hot (powered by the solar panel) and I used my new biodegradable shampoo and conditioner, woohoo. Their water comes from the stream on their property, and after use goes back to the earth, so all soap needs to be able to biodegrade.
My day started a 8:30am when I got out of bed. I hiked the little hill from my horse box to the kitchen, made myself some turkish coffee, and sat outside with the chickens and Jessica the cat waiting for Annie and my projects for the day.
She came down to the kitchen and we were off to gather the horses! I told Annie that I saw the horses in the field next to my horse box, so we just went to get a couple harnesses and fix their oats in their buckets, and then we set off to find the horses and bring them back to feed and brush them.
I have never really been around horses. And I must say that at first, being up close and personal with those majestic giants was very intimidating. I was having visions of being kicked like a football. But today is not a story of tragedy, it is a story of overcoming fear! Kind of. haha
So Annie showed me how to put the harness on their heads. I was in charge of Bonilia. The brown lady horse. Apparently she is very well behaved, Annie compared her to a dog.
With Bonilia in tow (I was leading her by the rope attached to her harness, like a leash), and Annie leading another horse, the whole group of horses followed, including Molly the beautiful pygmy pony.
The words terrified and exhilarated probably adequately describe what I was feeling while walking a horse like it was a dog. We walked through the forest part of their land, which took us to some very narrow paths, at times making things a little too close for comfort. And the male horse was affecting my horse in a bad way, I dropped that leash and ran for my life like three times. But in the end we made it safe and sound. We led everyone to their buckets of oats and banana peels and there was peace.
After today I feel that I learned a lot about interacting with horses. They are such amazing creatures, with huge personalities. Each one that I approached to brush, I tried to radiate all of my positive energy and good intentions to them, in hopes that they would feel me and accept me, and definitely not kick me. I felt like I connected with both of them, including the little pony Molly, even though I didn’t brush her. She walked up to me a few times today. One of them was when I was making dinner in the kitchen, she walked right on in and started looking for things to itch her face on, the poor thing is allergic to flies really badly. But she stayed in the kitchen with me for over an hour, just hanging out. 🙂
After the horses there was lunch and then more hard work. All I know is that I had to carry a lot of stuff up and down a hill repeatedly. Hopefully I’ll get super hot and in shape here.
I started looking for my next volunteering stop. I’m thinking to volunteer at hostel near the beach. I messaged a couple hosts today, so we will see if I get a response soon.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Today started out as a magical day in the woods. There was a last minute booking on Air BnB so my hosts were in a scramble to get the place ready to accept guests. My assignment in the morning was to go out and gather some flowers to put in vases. I still go into a state of amazement when I stop and think about how that gets to count as part of my work here. Anyways, I set off and started picking flowers, I don’t really know much about the plants here, or which ones would be good to put on display, so I just picked the most colourful and sturdy looking ones I could find.
There was one flower in particular that Annie wanted me to pick. I forget the name of it but it’s a tall stem of purple bell-like flowers that are poisonous to the horses if they decide to eat them, but they sure do look nice in a vase.
How nice it was to just walk around and enjoy the beautiful day, the sun finally came out, yay. I think I might have even got a little colour from being out all day. I sat on the bridge again, I think that that is my new favourite spot here.
Next I did the dishes, which is hardly a chore, while taking in the incredible view, it was therapeutic. My next job was to go around and pick camomile flowers. It started out just perfect. I spent two lovely hours picking these tiny white and yellow flowers, siting in the grass and singing to myself. The horses were nearby eating, when one of them saw me and approached. Me thinking it was him being friendly, I gave him a pat on his nose and then went about picking. He then noticed my bucket and thought it was for him. I tried to move away from this giant being but he was extremely persistent and followed me. At this time I was scared, I didn’t wan to run for fear of being trampled. He was not taking no for an answer so I was backed up into a corner and had my bucket of flowers stolen from me and eaten until the very last petal. So basically I spent like 3 hours in the sun preparing this horse’s afternoon snack. haha
So I explained to Annie what had happened and she said that I could be done for the day. Though I did end up going back out and picking some more, after taking a break and settling down from the incident.
It was seriously a beautiful day, the sunniest and happiest day since I had been here. I set my blanket in the grass and laid down for hours, half in the sun half in the shade. I talked to mom on the phone for an hour or so, and told her about what happened with the horse, she laughed.
While I was laying down, to my surprise, the guests actually arrived! We weren’t sure if they were going to show up, but they sure did. After 5 days here I could use some socialising. The guests were 3 people. One Canadian, his Israeli cousin and the cousins Columbian girlfriend. Of course, Israelis would find me here in the middle of nowhere.
Adam made a big dinner and we all ate outside in the dark. I think that the guests weren’t used to the cold weather, so they were pretty freezing during the meal. But the food was delicious, he even made hummus. 🙂 It was a nice dinner, I didn’t say much, but everyone talked and shared some stories about their lives. The Israeli was super Israeli. That was funny and unexpected to see here in this part of the world, the middle of nowhere in Portugal. Adam also made some chocolate cake, yummy. And that was it. I was super tired, by the time we finished dinner and had tea it was 11pm. So I fell right asleep in my little camper, I guess I’m starting to get more comfortable here because I didn’t even need a night light. 🙂