Thursday, 22 August 2013

Flying Horse Farm, near Davis

As soon as I arrived on the farm, I knew that I would love it, it had none of the run down aspects of the other workaway places I had been to (they have both been great experiences, but both places weren't particularly very successful businesses) - the blue and white barns were clean, the masses of plants alive and growing, the horses healthy and the property just generally beautifully kept.

The House
I met Danny (my actual host) seconds after arriving and I think we clicked instantly. She seemed down to earth, intelligent and had a great sense of humour, plus she had a whole list of films she wanted me to watch!

Fabian arrived the day after me, a 19 year old German boy from Hamburg. We got on reasonably well but he wasn't a big talker.

For the first week, I got to know the place and the horses, I cleaned the two that I would be "in charge" of (Dennis and Pepe) and watered plants. I even got to ride bare back for about half an hour.

In preparation for the second week, where Danny and her son would be leaving for Japan and then Hawaii, we were introduced to all the projects we would be completing during week two. Unfortunately there were also several horses that required medication, so I learned how to do that as well as which grain to feed each horse and which hay bales to use for the morning feed.

In what seemed like no time, the second week was upon us and Danny and Ty left for the airport, and my days were spent in somewhat of a routine.

My day started at 7am, I would get up and let all the dogs out, some would follow me while I fed the horses their hay bales, (sometimes Glenn, Danny's husband, would help me), then I would feed the horses their specific grain and apply the medication that was needed. On the way back to the house, I would water the plants along my way.

After feeding the horses, I would feed myself; Fabian and I would take the two "puppies" in the car to one of the four local towns, our choice was mostly Davis, if we hadn't eaten breakfast at the farm, we would get breakfast somewhere in town and then walk the dogs. Sometimes, if I wanted to walk the dogs for a little longer, Fabian would drop me off and pick me up in an hours time.

After walking the dogs, I would return to the farm and start on that days project, which included things like replacing the barn doors with Fabian and Brandon, cleaning the white pony fence, removing the 4x4 beams from one of the stable's fences and painting fences white.

It would usually get too hot for me and Fabian to be outside for long at around 13.00, so after lunch we would take some time off. I spent my time playing with the 6 dogs I had to look after and looking at Netflix.

Once it cooled down again, we would either continue with a project or I would apply the horses medication again and make sure that the barn was clean. Dinner was then made by Glenna and we would eat it in front of the TV, usually watching a motorbike race or a survival show.

Tiny and me, with cream on my face because I had a rash on my face for a bit
I went to sleep pretty early every night, as working on the farm and sleeping with the dogs in my room, was starting to take it's toll. A few different things happened during the night, for example Tiny peed in the bed once, so I had to sleep on the sofa, Daisy ran away to the other property one night, so I had to go get her and when Lola was still there (before she went back to her own owner; Danny's daughter) she would wake up and bark at everything that moved, or didn't.

Day trip to the Redwood Forests where we drove through a real tree
Danny came back the same weekend that I was leaving to return to Mill Valley, it was great to catch up and she even bought me gifts from Japan and Hawaii! Of all three workaway experiences, I believe I am most likely to return to this one. If I lived in California, I could imagine getting a summer job at the farm. So a big thank you to Danny for that experience!

Humming birds outside the windows
I was sad to leave, but excited to be going to the Tahoe region with people roughly my age and to not be working every day. I think the thing I got to most was having Tiny sleep next to me, so sleeping without him was going to feel really weird!

I left Davis on the train to Richmond, where Delaine and Lucy (Rachel's parents) picked me up and drove me home.

Let the real adventure begin,
Lucy xxo

Monday, 19 August 2013

Santa Rosa

I arrive in Santa Rosa at 11 am to find that there was nowhere to store my massive backpack, so instead of having a look around town, like I'd imagined, I spend the day watching movies at the cinema with my backpack in the seat next to me.

I watched Despicable Me 2 and then Monsters University after a quick lunch break at Burger King. It is a really weird experience to go to the cinema on your own. I kinda felt like a rebel and a weirdo at the same time!

After Monsters University (both films were absolutely great by the way) I got back on the bus and took it 5 minutes down the road to Fast food chain restaurant Denny's to met up with my next workaway hosts.

Brandon arrived to pick me up at around 7pm and we drove for about an hour before reaching Flying Horses Farm, but not before stopping off to get supreme style pizzas for dinner - yum!

Talk to you soon,
Lucy xxo

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fort Bragg

This was my second experience using the workaway website. I had organised it before leaving Australia and apart from pushing my arrival date one week back, it all worked according to plan. I was welcomed by a whole host of other workawayers/HelpX -ers (another similar website) - there was Australian Mandy, English Lucy, American Matt and German Christine who was 20 and the closest to my own age.

The Bed and Breakfast was beautiful and old, which unfortunately meant that a lot of the showers and sinks etc. were breaking, however, apart from that, the rooms were each individualised and really really beautiful. The first room I got to stay in was called Raven, it was white with dark wood furniture and a hot tub instead of a bath or shower.

My job would start at 9 am, I would go downstairs and start cleaning the kitchen with Christine. Once all the guests had finished breakfast, we could clean the dining room too before taking a break at 10am to eat our own breakfast. After breakfast, we would start helping Angelina (the mexican cleaning lady) to clean all the rooms, make the beds and -once again- clean the toilets.

Somewhere between 13.00 and 15.00 we would be finished with the work load and the rest of the day would be free. Fort Bragg is a very small coastal town. The coast line there is extremely beautiful and wild looking. However, there isn't that much to do there.

A little house I found in the streets of Fort Bragg
We went to the Cinema twice (on the two Cheap Tuesdays that I was there) - the first time to see World War Z (a Zombie movie with Brad Pitt) and then The Heat (Comedy Cop movie with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy) both were extremely good movies although, not being a big Zombie fan, I definitively prefered The Heat.

During one of our daily cleaning sessions, Christine and I found a $3 tip in one of the rooms, which inspired us to make a short film called The Cleaning Lady. We shot it within 30 minutes and after finishing our chores, we edited it within an hour. I personally think it's one of my best films so far and I am really proud of the way it turned out especially because it was so spontaneous and unplanned!

Here is the think: The Cleaning Lady

Christine and I
After this experience, and after Christine and I realised our very similar interests, we started creating ideas for other short films. This led to two more short films, following on from the original The Cleaning Lady and becoming The Cleaning Ladies as a three part series!

The Cleaning Ladies - "Diva"
The Cleaning Ladies - "Mine"

After shooting the final, Taylor Swift inspired short film, it was time for me to leave Fort Bragg (The owner of the B&B was returning from a holiday that weekend and all the workawayers were leaving around the same time). Once again, I had used workaway website to find myself another place to stay for the two weeks before I had plans to return to Mill Valley and go to Lake Tahoe with Rachel, Iman and their friends.

I got on the only bus leaving Fort Bragg per day (leaving at 7.05am) and took it for 3 hours, all the way to Santa Rosa through some lovely scenery including the famous Redwood trees! This experience has really rekindled my love and passion for making films and I am really hoping this kind of thing continues throughout my University experience... I really am considering making Film Production my final career choice.
Matt, me and Christine
Enough of the deep stuff,
Speak soon,
Lucy xxo

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Mill Valley

I was only supposed to stay with Rachel for the weekend, but I ended up having such a great time that I stayed a whole extra week.

We went shopping all over San Francisco, and I spent way too much but I can't bring myself to regret it!

Nachos for lunch - yummy!
Rachel's mum (Also called Lucy) showed me around Mill Valley, including a trip to the richest part of town. Damn those houses were big! She told me a story about one of the families that lives there, and how each kid has their own floor... forget a room, here have a whole floor to yourself!

Oh and here's some proof of all the lovely things I bought, including the best Jeans ever, which have a little secret message hidden in them. Google Lucky Brand Jeans if you wanna know! I felt, after that particular spree, that I was living the real life movie-America, just like I'd always secretly wanted. (Hasn't every girl whose watched movies like Legally Blonde and Clueless?)

Anyway, as well as shopping, I spent some time with people roughly my age, doing ordinary teenage things, in their hometown. It was nice to be part of a group again, to gossip etc. - the kind of things you can't do when you travel alone/constantly meet new people.

One of my favourite days was when we went to see the sunset standing in a place the locals call "Sunset". It over looks Stinson Beach (a place we'd gone to previously) and a whole load of rolling hills. I went with Rachel, Alaina, Claire and Jerb or Justin and my camera battery died after 2 photos so thanks Alaina for letting me take about 500 photos on your phone! Here are a few of my favourites:

A Sunday later than planned, Lucy and Delaine (Rachel's parents) drove me to my next Workaway experience in Fort Bragg. Along the way we stopped off at a Vineyard and ate a lovely meal. The Vineyard belonged to a famous movie director (Francis Ford Coppola) and had lots of photos and props from all his movies which was pretty cool.

Sorry that it has taken soo long to update my blog, but I guess it's getting so close to the end of my entire Gap Year that I feel like... if I update my blog, that's it, it's over, but if I leave it, then my journey will continue ;)

Bye for now!
Lucy from around the world