Tuscan WWOOFing

Just over three years ago, Ralf, Artemisia, Ahlia and I indulged in one of the best holidays I have ever had. On a Tuscan Farm, near Montaione, Italy, we met up with friends Ken, Amy and their children, who were working as care takers at the majestic organic farm called Barbialla. There we also met Kyre and Ivano and their children. Ivano is a down to earth visual and performance artist who could whip up simple, incredibly healthy and delicious Italian dishes effortlessly. Over the three weeks that we were there we shared various farm duties (and child care) between us and would then come together for lunch and dinner to enjoy each others meals and company. I had so much fun because my all time favourite thing to do is to work on my holidays! I just can’t do lying on the beach or by a pool for longer than 2 days before I get so docile that I just want to sleep all the time. And to share this work with like minded people and then to come together at lunch time to share cooking and eating! chatting and singing! I am in heaven…

 

Our home for three weeks.
Our home for three weeks, Barbialla, Italy.

A close up of our Italian WWOOFing Villa.
A close up of our Italian WWOOFing Villa.

Ralf making bread on the day that master baker Ken is off to tend other responsibilities.

Ralf making bread on the day that master baker Ken is off to tend other responsibilities.

Kneading this much dough is hard work.

Kneading this much dough is hard work.

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In a commercial bakery the kneading is done by a machine.

Quince paste, Ralf, Artemisia and I. The quinces had fallen off the tree prematurely due to extremely hot weather. I had not realised what I had signed myslef up for when I decided to make a huge quantity of quince paste for the farm with them. They took three days to cook!

Quince paste, Ralf, Artemisia and I. The quinces had fallen off the tree prematurely due to extremely hot weather. I had not realised what I had signed myself up for when I decided to make a huge quantity of quince paste for the farm with them. It took three days to cook because the quinces were in fact not ripe!

Amy care taker for Barbialla, training, the new care taker to be, Kyre.
Amy from Australia, care taker for Barbialla, training, the new care taker to be, Kyre from America.

Ivano, Ralf and Ken mapping out the days duties.

Ivano from Italy, Ralf and Ken (Australia) contemplating the days duties.

Every friday, it's pizza time.

Every friday, it’s pizza time.

Barbialla's communal kitchen.

Barbialla’s communal kitchen.

Ken is a fantastic bread builder and house builder, and all round highly skilled maker of all things food and wood.

Ken is a fantastic bread builder and house builder, and all round highly skilled maker of all things food and wood.

Kyre and Ivano, preparing dinner.

Kyre and Ivano, preparing dinner.

And performing kitchen theatrics.

And performing kitchen theatrics.

Day trip to buy cheese from a small local farm.

Day trip to buy cheese from a small local farm.

Gorgeous Kyre.

Gorgeous Kyre.

A local organic farm shop painted in the beautiful deep red colour so often seen used on Italian buildings.

A local organic farm shop painted in the beautiful deep red colour so often used on Italian buildings.

A break from work, a day trip to a small village with Ralf and Artemisia.

A break from work, a day trip to a small village with Ralf and Artemisia.

Shopping at the outdoor markets is a culinary and aesthetic delight.

Shopping at the outdoor markets is a culinary and aesthetic delight.

Farm cattle in an old barn of timeless beauty. The breed of cattle is called Chianina.

Farm cattle in an old barn of timeless beauty. The breed of cattle is called Chianina.

Farm buildings - reception.

Farm buildings – reception.

Barn.

Barn.

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

Feed stock.

Feed stock.

Our kitchen for three weeks.

Our kitchen for three weeks.

Pizza and bread oven.

Pizza and bread oven.

Fire trail on the way home for lunch.

Fire trail on the way home for lunch.