We had 3 weeks of Autumn School Holidays in October... and we had fun ;)
Our biggest adventure was Schlaf Im Stroh - we slept in straw on a farm :D
There are farms here in Switzerland which have turned their upstairs barn space into little sleeping areas, filled with straw and you can book a night or two or three or more for a sleepover. They do groups too. There are some farms which have more child-friendly things to do than others. But overall i think they are all quite good. They are also organised - as you would expect from the Swiss - check out this official website.
We stayed at the Erlebnishof Hatti. So it turned out that we were the only guests for the night that we chose - it was a Sunday night, apparently most people come either during the weekdays or else from Friday to Sunday morning. Very few actually stay Sunday night till Monday morning.
The one downside to this whole adventure was that Walter could only stay with us for the night and then he had to go back to work very early the next morning and didn't get to stay for the morning's activities.
There is soooo much to share from this adventure...
We arrived on the farm about 5.30pm on Sunday evening and were welcomed by the farmer's wife and told to make ourselves at home and that the farmer would be back from the fields in about half hour and we can help out around the farm.
We started small... playing with the many many bunnies they have...
Here's what the farm looks like:
There was also a lovely view:
Then we got to work helping the farmer. Here Tobias is pouring out feed for the sheep.
Then we helped to herd the goats back to their stalls - actually these animals are really quite smart, the moment you open the gate to the field, they start running up the hill to their stalls cos they know what awaits... Food! ;)
Here Walter & Tobias are laying out bread for the horses in their stall... i did not know they would eat stale bread and the farmer says it makes it more interesting for them if we spread it around a bit.
We then watched the farmer feed the pigs - i never knew how violent pigs can be when it comes to getting their share of food. i also did not know that they liked soured milk.
Then came the part where i was slightly afraid... i have always been slightly afraid of birds/fowls with sharp beaks... i have always worried about being pecked by those very pointed beaks! Not as scary as i imagined. Unless you are food, they are really not interested in you. So we went to feed the chickens.
The farmer also showed us where they laid the eggs - they had these big boxes where they put a whole lot of what looked like wheat kernels to me. The chickens lay them in there, hiding them among the kernels. It was really very fun reaching in and searching for the eggs. It was even more exciting when the eggs are freshly laid and they still feel warm. We got to feed chickens & pick eggs both that evening and the next morning. That evening all the chickens were rushing to the feed we threw out for them so none of them were sitting on their eggs. But in the morning there were a couple who weren't interested in the feed. Tobias went up to one of them and said in Swiss German, 'We are not going to hurt you. Please may we have your egg.' Then he reached in slowly and took the topmost egg. Soooo cute!
Tobias also got first hand experience at milking the sheep. This farmer did not keep cows but he had sheep so he produced... well, the sheep produced the milk and the farmer collected it. Here Tobias was putting feed to keep the sheep happy while being milked.
Then he was allowed to help prepare the pumps.
The farmer even let him try his hand at attaching the pump to the sheep's udders.
By then it was quite late. And we still haven't had our dinner. So we said good night to the farmer and went to have our packed dinner which we brought with us. Father and son had a game of table soccer before bedtime.
This is where we slept.
OOooh, before i forget, the farmer was so very nice and gave us 3 boxes of eggs to take home - 18 fresh farm eggs!!
It was a cold night and we all wished we had brought more to wear to sleep but we survived - next time we know.
i heard the farmer get up and start his day at about 5.30am in the morning - Wow! being a farmer sure means long days - 5.30am till at least 8.30pm if not longer. But we were visitors so we stayed in bed. Tobias was a little sad that he missed the morning milking as that is when they milked the goats as well.
But he got to do something even better. He brushed down a horse.
It was a cold and rainy day. It had started raining the night before and kept on raining that whole Monday - it was light rain but it just didn't stop.
Then he got to ride on the horse. We rode (well he rode and myself and the farm assistant walked beside him) to the farm down the road which had Lamas and Alpacas. Very cute.
Then back to the farm again.
Just before we left the farmer let Tobias ride with him in the little sewage truck (it did not smell cos it's all contained) as he needed to drive it out to clean the sewage from the outdoor toilets they had installed.
Then it was byebye.
Tobias loved it soooo much that he has asked to go back again but this time for two nights instead of just one!
We certainly will be going back - anyone like to join us?