GOATS - no milk yet though

Trip Start Jul 22, 2010
Trip End Nov 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Pulicaro - Agritourismo

Flag of Italy  , Latium,
Thursday, August 19, 2010

8/8 - 8/16:  WWOOF Farm #2 - Pulicaro Agritourismo nestled in the hills between the regions of Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria.  They have goats - in fact, they have 3 goats and one just had 2 babies!  An Agritourismo is a B&B which also has a farm and they may offer a restaurant where their goods from the farm are produced.  It is a very popular concept here in Italy.  

This farm has been rather easygoing - we work 5-7 hours each week day.  We are sleeping at a small apartment about 3 miles away, so each morning someone picks us up for 7:30, eat breakfast, we feed the animals - rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, dogs and cats, then do whatever needs to be done - eat lunch at around 1, then we have off til about 6 and then feed all the animals again and work on whatever else til dinner at around 8:30, then eat dinner around 9. Things move slowly here so by the time dinner is done and dishes are put up and we return to the apartment it is about 11 or so.  One day we just pulled weeds, other days we reorganized and cleaned a big shed where they plan to build in a restaurant this fall. Other days we picked plums, then washed and removed the pits so they could make jams.  We would pick veggies like zucchini, cucumbers, lots of tomatoes, some eggplant and onions and lettuce.  We helped cut the onion, zucchini and tomatoes to make the vegetables that they would cook in the wood oven and "can" for sale.   These people are soooo sweet and friendly.  They run a B&B, sell organic veggies, eggs, meat, olive oil, jams and beans.  I can see how much work they have done over the last 5 years of owning it and i am also able to see their vision of where they plan to go...step by step is the motto.  I wish i could stay here longer than the week i was able to arrange - i feel like i really want to help them realize their dreams.

Let's talk about food for a minute.  Most of us in America assume the food in Italy will be just outstanding no matter what we eat and where we go.  Thus far on this trip i have found the food to be rather average.  Well, except for that 1 restaurant in in Orveito that i still have not told you about.  Anyway - here is a peek at a typical diet here in the countryside:
Breakfast:  Dry toast with jam or pastries or sweet breads (they call cake) or tarts plain yogurt and juice, coffee and/or tea.  Oh, and Cornflakes - everyday, cornflakes.
Lunch:  Pasta (everyday) with a little bit of some kind of sauce which always has an olive oil base, usually garlic and then perhaps a little bit of eggplant or chili pepper or rosemary.  Of course, i grate fresh framaggio (cheese) over the pasta too.  After that, a ton of bland crusty italian (white) bread with olive oil and (the best) balsamic vinegar and perhaps 3-4 fresh tomatoes with more olive oil and balsamic.  Maybe a little salad after that.  Hopefully a sip of coffee** and another bite of something sweet.
Dinner:  Protein - either some type of meat or eggs, more bread and tomatoes.  We ate at local festivals 2 nights - one served pork ribs and the other served Chingiali (wild boar).  We also ordered in some very good pizza.  Many of our meals were shared with friends who stayed at Pulicaro (the B&B), so we got to meet even more Italians and hear even more great stories.  Thank you Francesca and your husband who's name, i am still embarrassed to admit, i cannot pronounce.  Thank you also to Anrea and Silvia for your company and warmth.  
There is not much variety in this diet, but there are a lot of starches and carbs.  I felt like i wanted more fruits and veggies.  They explained that this is a typical diet for the country folks who work on farms.  Foods will vary depending on location within Italy too - so, it will be interesting to see what we eat at the farm in Southern Italy!  I think more fish and veggies, but we will see by the sea.

Chiara (pronounced key-ara) and Marco are so sweet. They talk about politics and the local issues they have to fight for and what they are concerned about with mass production versus smaller organic farms, they talk about the challenges and blessings of owning this amazing agritourismo, along with many other interesting topics.  They are curious people who are very willing to learn about other customs and languages and i am very happy to say they understand and speak English rather well.  It is fun teaching each other new words. Another leading character here is Marco's cousin Pasquali; a hard worker who many times leads the WWOOF crew as Marco is very busy with many places to go each day and Chiara tends to the B&B part of the business, checking in/out guests, internet bookings, cleaning, cooking and bookwork.  Pasquali is soon to turn a ripe old age of 26, yet, he is very responsible and dedicated to the success of Pulicaro.  He lives here, in the small space where Marco and Chiara live attached to the B&B.  I believe he also gets paid for his work too.  He seems very satisfied with his job, even though he originally started his college career in Architecture (like a few others in this family).  He is very knowledgable about the animals and the many varieties of vegetation they work with here.  He has been a great extra in this story - so sweet!

The other WWOOFers and i are teaching this family English - parses like, "busting my balls" and "sassy" and "Rico Suave" (even though that is latin) were some of the favorites.

GOATS - i got to name one of the baby goats!!!  You will never guess what name came to me!!! MARIPOSA (butterfly) - because of my personal experiences with it during this journey and also because the cutest little female baby has a patch of white hair on her forehead that is in the shape of a butterfly.  Perfecto!  So even though these are not milking goats - it is my first sighting....let's keep our eyes peeled and maybe the next farm will have some milking goats.

Things we learn along the way...Did you know...
  • fruit trees/vegetables should be picked only when the trees are dry?  If we picked fruit after a rain, it is nt good for the tree - if i understood correctly it is because fungus will grow on the tree where the fruit is picked.

  • rabbits really do have majorly fast sex - when the male is finished after about 2-4 seconds (literally) he orgasms and basically falls over and off the female.  (SEE VIDEO) Unlike human males, the male rabbit apparently does not require a nap and a sandwich before hitting it again.  

  • zucchinis have flowers?  It's true and they are edible.  The female flower is found at the opposite end of the zucchini from where it attaches to the stem.  There is also a male flower that resides at the end of just a stem; these can be cut because there will be no zucchini growing from there.  Tuscan's use this flower in their pasta and i also saw it use as part of a topping on pizza.  Delicious.
Due to train schedules not meeting bus schedules, I was not able to make a reasonable plan for traveling from Pulicaro to my next farm.  In typical Marco and Chiara fashion, they make lemonaide from lemons and said they would drive me there and make a day trip out of it since they had not yet been to the the main town, Spoleto, which is nearest to the farm (25 minutes).  I cannot believe they took time out of their very busy days to do this - it was an incredibly generous offer and gesture.  So - Marco, Chiara and their 3 WWOOFers all piled into the Fiat and drove about 1 hour, 45 mins to Spoleto where we checked out some churches and walked through yet another charming town.  We enjoyed lunch together and then they drove me (in the opposite direction of their farm) to my next farm.  The road off where the next farm is located includes about a 1 kilometer walk down a rocky steep path to get to the farm so - on top of all the generosity of driving all this way - Marco (and Dave) insisted on walking me and my heavy luggage all the way to the next farm.  So i hugged Amy and Chaira goodbye at the car.  Where I was reminded this is not goodbye but rather see you again soon.  I had already been invited back to to Pulicaro! WOW - these people are really something special.  I called Marco my hero as we parted ways at the next step on this adventure...and, please note - there is no internet access at this farm so it will probably not be until early september until you receive another update......lots of love til then!  Ciao!

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Ken Volpp on

What a beautiful farm and it sounds like absolutely lovely people! So glad your adventure is going well. I must admit as I sit here in a cubicle - I'm super jealous! Take care honey!

Deedles on

Yes, Kristen - you may bring MARIPOSA home with you! She's adorable and so are you! Lovin' your stories and adventures. Keep learnin', livin' and lovin'! D


Your vidio narration could use a little work. But other than that everything is pretty cool. I really enjoy the pics of the local towns and streetlife. The "twister" game board apron is real nice too.

Boo on

Love your updates! Great photos and videos. Puts us right there with you. I think I have blisters from all the weeding! Love ya!

Westie on

Kristin - I so admire you taking a big step to follow your dreams. We all need to do that and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures! If you want great food while in Tuscany at a great fixed price (including endless wine) go to Mimmi's in Mercatale. I am not kidding - it is incredible and all home cooked by Mama in the kitchen. Give her a round of applause!

Sooz on

Bongiorno Kristen....Love trekking with you throughout Italia and I love little Mariposa. Why Mariposa and not Farfalla?? Just curious my fiend. Have some pizza and wine for me.....can' wait for your next entry!! We miss you!

rohrerbot on

LOVE IT!!! Hope you are enjoying ever minute. Love you...me:)

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