Our first Workaway host is in Moone, county Kildare of Ireland with Karl and Jenny and their five children (4 of which are only home on some weekends as they attend boarding school). The standard work week with the Matuschka's would involve working from 9:00-13:00 taking a one hour lunch break (where we would enjoy amazing soups of Jenny's creation) and then returning to work for an hour from 14:00-15:00. Conveniently we worked it out with Karl that we could instead work longer days, closer to 7.5 hours in order to schedule our work week with our two weekends together as a four day block so we could get more out of our days away from the farm, since we decided to travel all the way across the country (a three hour drive).
During our stay on the Matuschka homestead we worked on a variety of projects while living on the 160 acres along with; 40 dairy cows, 6 chickens, 2 horses, 1 Connemara pony, 2 German shepherds, 1 dachshund, and a few hives full of thriving honey bees. Most of our hours were spent weeding dandelions, blackberries and bishops head out of the garden plots and when we finished those we worked on some driveway edging. When our sunshine luck had run out we were lucky enough to be offered a job refinishing their beautiful 20 year old dining table, made from a fallen Cedar.
After two weeks we have had many great conversations with Jenny and Karl, learned a lot about the schooling system, country and farming practices (Karl is a second generation daily farmer hailing from. Germany). Every time I learn more about their education system I become more curious. In their last year high school students take a test known as leaving certs, which seems to be similar to our SAT system, but if catastrophe strikes and you miss the test you must repeat the entire year, no excuses, no exceptions. So bizarre as we can retake ours many times if need be. Even more incredulous the score they get can guarantee them a place in the university program they chose, based on the demand and average of the previous years scores. We have such a more well rounded system, with the important college essay that could completely sway a college applicant's acceptance.
The Matuschka's beautiful homestead from the 1750's sitting on 160 acres of land
Homemade honey, yummmm