Grace Wu

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Goodbye Hollandale!

It’s been a very exciting 3 weeks in Hollandale. I’ve really enjoyed being around all these animals and learning about the hard work that goes into farming. I’m amazed at how Ann, who is in her 70s, works to care for her animals, driving large tractors and machinery. She has a large garden, where she donates most of the produce to people in need.

At the farm, I had some daily chores. After getting up in the morning, I would feed the kittens and clean out the litter boxes. Then I would feed some of the horses oats and refill their water barrels. Every time Wrench, the horse who had to get her teeth pulled, would see me, she would grunt loudly because she knew I would give her a treat or be bringing her oats. Horses LOVE oats. They will knock you over trying to get to them. It was great to build a relationship with some of the horses. I would brush Richard or Wrench and spray them with fly spray. (side note: one thing I didn’t realize about living in the country: so many bugs and bug bites!) Once, I was kneeling down to pet a cat that had wandered into Richard’s pen, and he walked over and bowled me over. Ann said it was because he was jealous I was petting the cat!

I’d help Ann put up fences where necessary, weed the garden, and cleaned out part of the barn. I would also help Ann with her Air BnB property. There are a few horses there as well as miniature horses and a llama. I’d feed and water them, feed the cats and throw some hay over the fence for the horses. There’s also a garden at that house, although by the time I had gotten there, some of the weeds had taken over.

I learned a little bit about farming from Ryan, Ann’s son. He explained how they spent $35,000 (!!!) just to plant the seeds in the ground. They are growing corn and soybeans because those crops make the most money. The corn will be used to make ethanol. Ryan also told me about the custom harvesting business he had with his dad. They would rent the large combines and tow them from farm to farm as well as two trailers for them and their crew to live in. They would be gone 6 months out of the year harvesting all over the states. You can see some of their harvesting videos here. So fascinating to watch.

I’m already missing all the animals I met here, from the horses (each with their own personality), the many barn cats, the dogs, and even the llama! Wherever I end up moving, I will definitely need some pets, starting with a dog and a cat! 😀