The camp was organised by the Melbourne Waldorf Farm School. They are a group of Steiner connected people who are in the process of organising a Steiner special school. It would be the first of its kind in Australia.
The vision is for the school to operate as a working farm and incorporate residential housing for elderly folk as well as people with disabilities. I love the concept. They are creating a place that is useful and where everyone would be involved in a very real way regardless of ability. The way I believe the world should be.
There were opportunities for Buddy to experience new activities as well as felting and music and singing for all of us. Buddy's sisters had the opportunity to part from him and each other while playing, and to meet many other children with disabilities. Pumpkin announced on the way home that she would like to work with people with disabilities when she grows up (because they are so nice).
Hubby was left at home, as usual, to care for the animals. It's the only way the children and I have been able to go anywhere over the last couple of years. He gets up early for work to put animals in paddocks and stays up late milking, feeding, watering, and locking up. I was beginning to feel as though we could never go away as a family again.
A friend, who was aware of our situation, organised a three day beach trip for us and
We organised self feeders for the chooks (I usually feed mash) so that feed and water only needed to be checked and filled if low. We made up the daily feeds for the goats in ziplock bags - yes, I know shouldn't use plastic but I was desperate to make it easy! The goats' feeds are individualised so we labelled each bag and labelled the pens. We even wrote a brief descriptor above each pen in case the naughty girls took advantage of inexperienced carers and swapped pens. We labelled food containers and the receptacle (an old dishwasher put to new use) where we keep first aid equipment and minerals.
Our evening helper came over to learn to milk and be shown the ropes. Goats' hay feeders filled, chooks locked up, goats up from paddock, buckets and washing water organised, goats milked and fed, milk strained and buckets washed ready for the next day. She was very enthusiastic and made me feel comfortable about asking her to take the task on.
We only had one hiccough while we were away. I wasn't clear enough with the days I needed help and there was a morning when the animals weren't let out. A lesson to me for next time - specify exact days!
All in all, I think we organised the care of our farm fairly well. If you are in a similar situation, don't be scared to ask. There are probably people out there that would be happy to help you. Make it as easy as you can by taking notice as you go about your chores. You'll think of ways to simplify your system for inexperienced helpers. Make sure you prepare anything that you can in advance and make sure that you leave a contact number.
I'm sure, one day, we will be asked to provide reciprocal care and my friends will be comfortable to ask me seeing as they have already cared for our animals. It's lovely to be able to walk away from the daily grind every now and again and well worth the effort of organising the carers.