Hey. I’m Dylan, I’ve been on 3 retreats before volunteering for the Wales retreat. I was really looking forward to learning more about the farming lifestyle because my family wants to start a homestead.
Being a volunteer doesn’t feel much different then just being a participant, but it comes with more responsibilities like being in charge of the medical kit, for example.Our journey to the wonderful Troed y Rhiw farm in Wales started in Dublin, Ireland where we picked everyone up at the airport and headed to our B&B. It was really exciting meeting everyone. Although they were all pretty tired from their flights, we still had a great time getting to know each other.
Then we went on to play some hilarious improv/ice breaker games the next day, followed by having our last processed meal for the next 3 weeks. The next morning we began our long trip to Wales, which took us about 9 hours on a taxi, ferry, train and bus!Arriving at the farm was incredible! We got set up in our tepee which was our home during the retreat. At our first farm dinner (something we all came to love pretty quickly), we had food fresh from the farm to our table.
The next day was our first full day on the farm, and we got the grand tour. After showing us around we spent the rest of the day picking onions and potatoes with our awesome host, Nathan.The next few days were full of education and adventure. We went to the farmers market to see how our potatoes and all the other veggies were selling. Then our roundhouse building master, Oak, brought us to see the house he built where he lives.It was a beautiful walk that took us into the woods to his community Tyr Ispidal – which means Spirit Land in Welsh. While we were there we saw a few different roundhouses like something out of Lord Of The Rings. It had a huge circle shaped window, and a little wood burning oven to stay warm.
It was informative to see what our round house might look like when its finished.That night we had our first session with the captivating storyteller Peter Stevenson, who told us some of the Welsh folk tales. One of them was a story about a little girl playing with fairies in one of the fields of this very farm.We had an early start each day to get working on the roundhouse. We started with the footing. The footing is made up of big rocks and stumps that we set half in the ground to make them all level. This was the start of the foundation for the house and also the start of some really great team work.Everyone got right into the spirit and started working together. By the end of the first day of construction we learned a lot and were tired, but we saved energy to hear a sustainability talk by 17 year Huw Richards. You can find his Youtube channel here.