Life on the Farm: substance abuse and sweat

07-07-08 10:30

Nice and settled in now, you’ve been here for a week. And what have you discovered? You have landed yourself with the two biggest hippies you’ve ever met–Marlene and Douglas. It’s not just that they live up in the hills, burning vegetable oil for fuel and relying on solar and wind power for their other energy needs. It’s not that they grow a lot of their own food and host elaborate yoga retreats… no, no. You have never met two 50-something-year-olds who talk MORE about drugs than these two.

It started off with an allusion to shrooms growing all over the place. Then Marlene pointed into a shadow wooded area and remarked that it was amazing to go in there on mushrooms. Then Douglas and his friend Angus started talking openly about all the dope they smoke, the coke they blow, and the the MDMA they got their hands on. Marlene walks into the room, where you are sitting alone with Douglass, looking guilty over the plate of cookies you both had bombed on, and the state of the kitchen. You basically looked like two stoners with a bad case of the munchies.

”Are you on drugs?” she asked in her serious sweet Belgian accent.
Douglas: ”Us? No. None. Have you got any?’
Marlene: ”No, I haven’t got any.”
Douglas: ”I could really go for some coke right now.”
Marlene:”Have you got any coke?! Where is it!?”
Douglas: ”No, I haven’t got any coke.” He looks at you. ”Have you got any?”
Maria: ”No. Gee whiz. Sorry. Fresh out.”
Marlene: ”Now you’ve got me wanting drugs!”
Douglas: ”You really haven’t got any?”
Douglas: ”Let’s go up to Neil’s room.” [Neil = their 23-year-old son, who has been gone the whole week]. ”We’re bound to find some up there.”

You didn’t tell them that, yes, in fact Niel did have drugs. Oh well.

Douglas sat you down one evening and asked you everything you’d done/tried. That was a fun conversation. Spent the next three hours swapping stories. It felt a little weird explaining to this rather ‘seasoned’ hippie (with hair like Einstein) what various substances actually were, let alone what the trip was like. He, in turn, delivered some hilarious anecdotes that start out like: ”This one time, we got the pigs absolutely loaded,” or ”When I was really high, walking along with the wolf we used to have…”

Sunday morning, Douglas rolls into the kitchen looking (and smelling) absolutely wrecked. His daughter Jane laughs at him. ”Some night, Dad?” He says nothing. He later tells you that he spent the whole night with Angus smoking loads of dope, drinking, and blowing through a mountain of coke. Marlene was out getting trashed at the pub. And you, of course, are envious that these two adults have a far better social life than you and Jane. Perhaps, now that you’re in their little trust tree (Angus passed you the joint this evening, which was a lovely gesture–though not your favorite–and both he and Douglas laughed at you when you revealed that you had no idea they were growing ENORMOUS marijuana plants on the premises. ”How in GOD’S NAME did you miss them!?” Honestly, Maria, how DID you miss them? They are enormous, right smack in the middle of the greenhouse) they’ll invite you along next time. Or didn’t they already? You were asked to get loaded with them, but were napping during the invite and turned it down in your sleep–stone wall building is exhausting.

There are a few giant pot leaves laying in a pile on the table next to your cup of tea. That’s just… amusing.

Marlene is out of town now, and it’s just you and Douglas in the house. You sit around for hours at night, and he pokes fun at you for how much you eat. Basically, he’s never met anyone who eats more than you do, which is all at once a point or pride and a sore spot. Embarrassing to be on your third plate while everyone is stuffed. But for fuck’s sake, you’re doing a good 4 hours a day of shoveling on top of whatever workout you’re doing. Anyway, last night you and Douglas sat around the computer and watched workout videos on Youtube all night long–your nerdy favorite past time as a trainer.

Next thing you know, today Douglas pulls out some scaffolding and you two build a jungle gym out of it. This is, by far, the best gift you’ve ever received–and it only took five minutes to put together. Four-sided, with all different kinds of bar heights for pullups, dips, incline/decline pushups. This blows open your possibilities for staying in shape now.

Yesterday’s workout = shovel a wheelbarrow full of topsoil>run it up the hill to the new garden you dug>wrestle the fucker down the stairs>dump>leave wheelbarrow and run up to a large stone boulder>12 reps of boulder dead lift>then 10 reps of single leg Arnold-press with smaller stone, each arm>get wheelbarrow and return downhill to original digging spot> drop down for 30 pushups> flip over for 30 V-ups.
Repeated sequence until you ran out of topsoil. 5 times.
Jane’s husband, Deaglan, walked outside while you were balancing on one foot, in the rain, holding a giant rock in one hand over your head like a complete jackass. ”I don’t want to know…”

Other things you managed to include in your regime since moving in: core workout of 2 x (15” yoga headstand on forearms, 15” yoga headstand on palms, 15 isometric rocking chairs, 15 obliques V-ups on each side, 30 knee-to-elbows in elbow plank, 15 palms-to-elbows).

Your bed is in the attic, accessed by a dangerously steep ladder which opens into basically a giant square-cut hole in the floor. Every time you go up to your room, you brace your palms on each side of the hole and bang out a few dips. Also, you use their two-step staircase to do power pushups, incline pushups, ”med ball” pushups, single leg squats…

All in all, there’s plenty to work with, and you’re pretty damn tired as a result.

Tomorrow, you get to spend your day cutting sleepers for the new garden you dug, breaking down pallets of wood, and hoovering the swimming pond–which, after stepping into it for a few minutes, left your feet COVERED in leeches. Little leeches. But nasty, nonetheless.

Categories: Ireland, Parties, Self-Improvement, Workaway/Wwoof | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: