Squash Picking in the Canadian Desert..

Trip Start Jul 03, 2012
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Trip End Dec 16, 2012


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Where I stayed
Sleeping Lady Organic Farm
What I did
Butternut Squash
Penticton

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This week passed by very quickly. I had some pleasant evenings with a friend Charlotte who I met at the hostel; watching the new Batman movie, making banana pancakes and also going to see Monty Python at the free open air cinema in Stanley Park.

On Saturday I attended a theatre improvisation drop-in class. It was lots of fun, filled with big personalities. I enjoyed the class but became a little frustrated at the apparent language barrier i.e Op shop, Lemonade, and even Tambourine was a challenge.

Time in Vancouver was drawing to a close and the next stage of my journey was about to begin... As my lovely man would not be arriving until September I had find something to occupy my time for the next 3 weeks... Traditional temp work was had not yet been forthcoming and my budget was starting to strain. It was incredibly stressful to be looking for work for such a short period of time. Fortunately I joined Help X online and was offered work on a farm in exchange for board and food. Otherwise known as Woofing!
 
At the end of the week I packed my bags, and in the morning headed to pacific terminal station to catch the 6am Greyhound bus to Osoyoos, a town which I could not pronounce but was soon to become much more familiar with. I grabbed a burger at the McDonalds and a friendly but ecentric middle aged guy in a stained business suit started chatting to me. He was told me he regularly came to this bus station to study chemistry (it was 5:00am in the morning).

After a long 8 1/2 hour journey I was welcomed by the heat of an Osoyoos Summer. My hosts had told me they could pick me up but when then had not arrived after 20mins I wondered if I had made a mistake coming all this way to the middle of nowhere! Osoyoos is a popular tourist destination for Canadians. It is hot and dry, however it has a beautiful lake which is popular for swimming, fishing boating and water sports. The lake creates an oasis of green within a harsh, dusty mountain terrain.

I decided to call my host family and they answered and said they would come to meet me. However, 2 mins later I received a call that the car had gone into town and I could run down to the traffic lights and flag down a cherry coloured SUV. In a mad dash I bolted with my suitcase and was actually lucky enough to catch them as they stopped at the lights. I got some strange looks from the passengers until I explained who I was!

Before I knew it I was flying down the highway again two French girls, a German girl, and a boy from Scotland. We stopped for some food at the supermarket and then into a cherry field to pick (or steal, depending how you look at it) cherries. Arriving back at the farm I we walked into a large open plan living room which housed about 8 people. It was complete with an full kitchen, X-box, gym equipment, couches, stereo and perhaps unsurprisingly was housing all the boys in the group. I had the choice of a bed in the main house, or a private room in a shack out the back. The opportunity for privacy was too tempting after 7 weeks in dorm rooms so I chose the shack!!

The first day we woke for breakfast at 6:30am and then headed out to the squash field to pick some pumpkins. I won't lie, picking squash in the blazing sun and heat is very hard hard work! We carried large heavy buckets to hold the squash and emptied them into the crates when full. We all got told off when the farmer saw one of the boys dumping the squash into the crates - Speed was not was not the goal, we needed be careful and gentle and try not to damage the crop as when walking. We got a few lectures of different things that day and although we being scolded I appreciated it because it gave us a break from picking!

After work I went for a swim in the beautiful river to cool off. The French girls like cooking and are good cooks so we have had nice meals and there is always plenty of food. I've had to get used to the bugs, snakes, spiders, frogs and apparently someone has seen a small brown bear out there too! Even in the heat I can't leave my door open at night. I startled a snake sitting on the back porch yesterday and today I checked my shoes for spiders and found a baby frog! The drop dunny is also hard to get used to, but as long as there are no snakes on the toilet I will cope! 
 
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