Our accommodation had a lot of space and we appreciated that, despite the rats that had parties on the ceiling. Thankfully one of their cats (Smuglin) decided she likes us a lot and often hunted in the room. She also liked snoozing on our bed when we weren't there...
Our rat hunter.
If you wanted a hot shower, you had to make a fire in the donkey, which is basically a small geyser with a fireplace under it. My mom enjoyed this a lot as she could burn almost everything in it, despite the challenge that wood had to be cut to the right size to fit into the fireplace. The appreciation we have now for things such as warm water (out of a tap), a bathroom, an electric stove and cupboard doors that work is amazing.
My brothers and my dad enjoyed the Instant Oat packets we had for breakfast (which Jerry buys in bulk for the animals). When we weren't having them for breakfast we were picking out the small chocolates when opening them for the animals. This was entertaining for a while.
Overall, the food was delicious and we had many different dishes such as fried rice and vegetables, soup, pork roast, chicken pie, pork pie, baked pasta and vegetables with cheese, giant omelletes, and pancakes. You had to be willing to 'go without' though.... If there are no apples, there are no apples. If there are no bananas, no bananas. If avocados are out of season, they are out of season! There was always a very sociable, relaxed and comfortable atmosphere while a variety of subjects were discussed. We learnt that "good food is hard work".
Another thing we learnt was that we didn't have a lot of time to ourselves, as it took a lot more hours not necessarily working, but socializing, cooking, and being around other people than we thought. You can't really do a lot of other stuff when in such a setup. For example, our school in the afternoons was a big challenge as we learned that for physical hard work you have to be work-fit, which we weren't. The result was sleeping like logs and being really unmotivated to do school, or go jogging.We did enjoy the diversity of our work though.
Another important (and not as pleasant) lesson was that weather has an enormous effect on the atmosphere of a place. Our expectation probably has something to do with it as well. In Potch, by October it is full summer, and we went to Byrne Valley with that in mind. Instead, we got constant cold weather, rain, drizzle, and clouds. The plant growth love it as one can see from the flowers blooming everywhere, but we didn't enjoy it as much.
Finally, we learned that there are a lot of things we know nothing about. If you really understand this, I think your life would be a lot easier.
Ps. Remember to check Parents' Thoughts, Elna's Musings and The Boys' Corner now and then; we haven't forgotten about them!