Tours and Activities:
Rural Life in La JuntaMónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
We traded the stress of the big metropolis for the simple lifestyle held by those who live and work the land everyday.
We resolved to go on vacations and we included an unusual experience in our itinerary: we would stay in a farm in order to try the tasks generally carried out there. As we arrived, we decided to get up early and, after breakfast, take full advantage of the activities the hosts had chosen for us. The smell of the countryside invaded us from the very first moment. The house, located in the outskirts of town, had its own orchard, an ancient tree grove and a large green field where the cows, lambs and farm animals were grazing. A short hike to the nearby river enjoying the air helped us make contact with the birds’ song and the murmur of the water. It was our first approach to nature and we felt the pleasure of enjoying the silence the big cities certainly lack. In spite of being calm now, we were told that that river causes floods in the winter due to the heavy rain. But at that time, we sunbathed on the beach and imagined ourselves going for a ride on a boat resting on the bank. As we returned, we went through the greenhouse and enjoyed the challenge of cutting the vegetables that would be part of our lunch. The huge kitchen was impregnated with a pleasant smell of homemade food and we were looking forward to sitting at the table. We found a great corner in the living-room to read some books we had packed while a big wood stove made the environment warm and cozy. Francisca, our hostess, told us that she generally invited visitors to feed the farm animals and take care of the orchard and the greenhouse, as well as to harvest the fruit. “Milking is the task visitors enjoy the most”, she told us and invited us to witness this event early in the morning.
Early Birds... As we got to the shed, the cows we would milk arrived with their calves. After tying the rear legs and getting the buckets ready, Aliro started to milk. We witnessed a ceremony performed peacefully, without any unnecessary noise. We respected that spirit and, from a corner, tried not to miss anything. For him, it was a habit and he had done it forever. Milking the cows by hand turns out to be quite unusual today. In addition to obtaining milk for consumption we observed the tenderness of the mothers to feed their calves. Two buckets with 30 liters of pure warm milk were the final result. He filtered it through white cloths before taking it to the house. We could not take our eyes off such show in the gloominess of the shed. There was so much life to offer. The shed and all the tools used were cleaned carefully. Everything should be spotless for the following morning. The milk was boiled in order to be used in the daily menu and to prepare butter. We talked with Francisca, and she told us about the life led by farmers and cattle-raisers. The Gallardos have their own animals and all of them were born in the field. They have learned to manage simply, always watching nature and its behavior.
At the venue, they are completely self-sufficient: they drink water from a nearby creek and generate their own electricity using the same source. They are used to recycling waste in every part of the farm. As a result, they reduce the project’s costs. We became aware of a reality much different from ours. We had a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life and appreciated comfort and, at the same time, the peace of the countryside. It was a lesson both for our children and for ourselves.