Wednesday, September 24, 2008

how i spend my days here

in the morning i rise early (for me, anything before 10 am is EARLY!), greet the sleepy or cheerful hostelers with offers of hot coffee, tea and delicious homemade tart red berry jam on locally baked bread: sour dough, oatmeal and cinnamon.

then i make up beds and scrub toilets. not glamorous by a long shot. lately i've wondered what in hell i'm doing here: i have a master's degree for christ's sake.

but i like it here so much. and my afternoons and evenings are completely free. i lolled about on the lawnchair today reading one of my favorite author's isabel allende, a chilean feminist and award winning novelist.

more later; i had yummy fresh lettuce and organic tomatoes on my california blt (made with locally grown avocadoes) for lunch made by the proprietor and i'm off to another great meal....

a fellow WWOOFer fried up herbed polenta in butter and olive oil and i sauteed veggies the other night so we're having a feast. mmmmmmmmm the polenta was perfectly crunchy on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside.

then we sat around giggling at each other's favorite silly youtube vids. a night well spent. i was looking up recipes for "apple pan dowdy" something my mom used to make, since we have tons of apples here. my mom used to sing a little ditty every time she made it and i thought she'd written it. turns out, it's an old dinah shore song, "shoo fly pie and apple pan dowdy" which i found on youtube!

i really adore the people here. the hostel is run by twin sisters, very hearty big boned cheerful outdoorsy gals, with translucent skin, lots of freckles and beautiful long strawberry blonde hair. they are soft spoken, kind and friendly.

they are also very picky about how things are done and i felt rebuffed when they critiqued my housekeeping but frankly, they are so unfailingly polite and generous and they acknowledge their nitpicking and inconsistencies with a laugh and a self deprecating air, so it's hard to resent them. i manage it though. the first day i spent housecleaning i wanted to quit. the second day i hated it. but this morning i felt like i'd gotten into a little groove.

and the rewards are great.

very great.

the house is absolutely charming - just the kind of house you'd expect a doting grandmother who keeps chicken and dumplings on the stove would have. and they exude a warmth that pervades the house. they have really turned this hostel into a home away from home.

the colors are soothing or cheerily bright. the windows are sunny. the garden is in bloom. there are comfy chairs for the weary traveler everywhere, on the sun soaked lawn, where you can just hear the sea birds and inside, by the big stone fireplace. there are good books for leisure reading and plenty of lamps to read by.

they clean using only bio friendly products (vinegar water and simple green or bioKleen) and recycle all their gray water (what's used in dishwashing and laundry and showers) into the lawns.

and the little town is within walking distance - literally half a block away. it's divided into two friendly sized villages with lots of local shops and restaurants offering slow organic california cuisine matched with locally grown wines. there is more wine grown here than anywhere in the country with the exception of sonoma and napa. there are countless wine tasting tours and vineyards with weekend concerts. there are delightful bakeries, wine and cheese shops, and fabulous blown glass art galleries and even a blacksmith's forgery.

yesterday i walked through the catholic cemetary. the fog misting over the redwoods and the spanish moss dangling from big pines made everything a little eery. there were so many italian names on the headstones, many said "native of switzerland." swiss italians help settle this area. and many of their descendants are here to this day. there is a little catholic shop called "pedro pio's" with statues of saints and mother mary everywhere.

i went to bed late last night, and i'm very tired today. (you try hanging 10 queen size sheets out to dry and lugging a vacuum up and down stairs and climbing up lofts to make beds! it's better than yoga for a work out!)

but i'm happy. there's nothing like the reward of hard physical work, which i haven't done in a long while. and my body feels good.

i'm a confirmed WWOOFer. this life agrees with me for the time being at least. all's well in my little world.

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