What is a Workaway stay like in Uruguay?

The sign at the entrance of our sweet hosts. There are many types of workaways, as varied as the hosts and volunteers themselves. We were accepted to a Workaway in Colonia Valdense, Uruguay for all of November, 2022. Here are some sweet memories.
Dropped by the autobus here in Colonial Valdense, Uruguay. We are traveling as a family through South America with our teen kids and border collie. Victoria, our host, picked us up and warmly welcomed us to her family’s organic farm. We quickly saw that the daily routine is work and more work: to grow, harvest and make glorious food, care for animals and enjoy the life of the land and community.
Taking a walk on our first night, getting to know the area before going to sleep.
Picking peas.
First job for us was to pick and schuck peas and beans. It’s a job any kid on a farm can do.
So many beans and peas.
The poppies, calendula and articokes at sunset
First morning, woke to news that 19 chickens were killed overnight by a fox. The work of discarding the bodies led me to this forest where these cow skulls greeted me. The kids take the bones and build forts here.
Our host family is growing artichokes for the first time and is open to how to prepare it in creative ways. Sooo many articokes.
Articoke flower, it’s really special to see this in person at sunset.
Oregano, dried and destemmed. Ready for the blender and then storage.
Viv cooking one of the many meals in our thirty day stay at Uruti Workaway with Gaston and Victoria.
Medicinal teas guided by Victoria
Stinging nettle swelling…
Remedy for stinging nettles (ortiga)
Making green pasta with Ortiga, stinging neddle. Nettles are rich in calcium and iron and used on the farm for fertilizer, chicken supplements, pasta, medicinals, etc.
Number 2049, as picturesque as this scene was, we learned that these steer are all shared by families and friends for meat. The schedule of “harvest” is depending on lunar calendars. Gaston and Victoria rotate the 2 small herds daily to sections of grass bordered by a flexible electric fence and in exchange receive some of the meat either to consume or sell. The streers live a pretty ideal life until…that day.
Number 2049 the day after being killed, chopped and left to cool overnight, these neighbors came back to finish the cuts. The processing of this steer took two men two half days of work plus the prep time Victoria did of moving the single steer to a pen alone and away from food for 12 hours prior to slaughter. The steer was never transported by truck to slaughter or sale while full size. Pretty earth friendly when compared to commercial beef.
Niles’ lemon meringue pie to put your mind in a sweeter mood.
The galleria that makes hot afternoons bearable.
Niles making tortillas.
Niles made Victoria a birthday apple pie.
At the Rio del Plata beachfront, a huge waterfront that has both Buenos Aires and Montevideo as inland ports. Niles throwing sand balls for Gypsy.
Hanging out deciding on how to approach a swim.
Peoma the farm dog who is not able to keep a fox away from the hen house, loves a lap
Viv and her chick orphaned during a fox raid.
The huerte or working garden for squash, corn, and tomatoes. Niles, Viv and I dug, conditioned the earth and planted with Victoria’s guidance.
Mike breaking ground with me for the corn.
Harvesting moras for dulce de mora in front of the house.
Victoria with her vat of ducle de pimentos: best with cheese. Victoria makes ducle de mora, pimentos, hongos, doraznos, limon, naranja, quinotos, damascos, uva, pera etc. All products of their land, all organically grown.
We cleaned jars, wrote and taped labels for the products as she turned them out of her kitchen. It was a treat to be able to see the process from harvest to jar.
The sign used in front of the Organic Fair on Saturdays while getting ready for the fair.

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