Wwoofing in Olmué, Chile

We spent two weeks volunteering on a small farm in the mountains around Olmué (a village outside of Santiago). The owner had built the house himself, learning about the process while he went along. His aim, as he frequently told us, is to become self-sufficient and live ‘outside the system’.

Oh yeah, we didn’t have Internet.

After a tough first morning learning the ropes, the rest of the two weeks were spent house-sitting while the owner worked with his wife at their pizzeria in town.

on the way to the farm

It’s an indication of how social media has become ingrained in my life that I automatically began formulating facebook status updates, knowing full well I couldn’t post them. Instead they became a sort of distilled journal about life on the farm.

Day 1
Things I learned today: 1. Hand-making wine involves A LOT OF wasps 2. I’m not allergic to wasp stings

Day 2
Disconcertingly woken in the night by second earthquake in as many days: 6.3 causes no damage, but does rattle the house quite a bit.

Day 3
Limited ingredients mean I have to be more ‘creative’: beet root fried rice, anyone?


Day 4
Must remember not to walk near the goats unless it’s feeding time – they headbutt the door so violently I’m afraid they’ll break it.

Day 5
No matter how many times you rinse old wine bottles with water and grit, at a certain point you have to agree any leftover residue will be a ‘flavour enhancer’.

Day 6
Home-made wine is starting to taste like home-made vinegar.


Day 7
Figured out how to play DVDs! Paul Giamatti double bill with Win Win and Barney’s Version. The rest are trashy action movies.

Day 8
After a week in the wilderness, we went into town today. So happy to see fresh veg, email, beer (in that order)!!!

Day 9
Jon just found a huge, half-dead spider…in his trousers…the ones he’s wearing.

Day 10
Water pump broken. If it comes down to it, it’s us over the animals.

Water pump fixed. Turns out it just wasn’t plugged in.


Day 11
Mist surrounds the farm and rain drips everywhere; we’re living inside a cloud!

Day 12
You know it’s cold when you can see your breath inside the house and water stays icy even though it’s been out of the fridge for hours.

Day 13
Seeing the dogs eat horse shit and slobber all over each other reminds me why I’ve never been a dog person.

Day 14
Saw a guy who walks around town espousing on politics; he believes he’s the real president of Chile, and the other is an imposter.


Volunteering arranged through WorkAway.

7 thoughts on “Wwoofing in Olmué, Chile

  1. Dogs are actually great!
    At least, I am absolutely crazy about them.
    It depends a lot on what kind of dog one has, I suppose.
    But well, everyone has their own “likes and dislikes.”
    I remeber the dog I had in my family. (His name is Happy.)
    He was one the native species in the land of Taiwan.
    Happy was jet black, sleek and the king in the neighborhood.
    He was also very intelligent and obedient.
    He would wait for us at the doorway of shops or any other place that does not admit dogs.
    (For any period of time, unmoving.)
    (Often scaring other guests because a big black dog is sitting guard at the entrance!)
    As to intelligent……
    My father is a dentist, as you probably know, and Happy sits on the back staircase of the clinic.
    Usually, he is quiet, but sometimes, out of the blue, he starts barking furiously.
    As we later found out, the patients Happy barks at are always notoriously difficult to deal with.
    That’s intelligent!
    (The tense is not incorrect. He died a few years ago.)

    • You’re certainly right about it depending on the individual dog. I used to be quite scared of dogs when I was young. Then I grew out of being scared and slowly I was able to tolerate them. Now, I’d say there are some dogs I quite like (in fact I’d even admit to missing Sera who was the friendliest, most well-behaved dog on the farm). But I’d never want a dog myself as they’re too much work to train and look after.

  2. Pingback: What we learned from farm-sitting | Strolling South America

  3. I love the format of this post – facebook status updates can really say a lot. Similar to tweets, I suppose, though I´m not an expert in social media.

  4. Pingback: Workers of the World #10 | The Working Traveller

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