Our 8th Grade’s Experiences on the Farm
Our Work and Travel program gave us the opportunity to learn more about the Lindhof, an experimental farm belonging to the University of Kiel. We took a train and a taxi and in about four hours we reached Castle Noer, which offered us full board for five days and four nights. The Baltic Sea was only a twenty minute walk away, and of course everyone went swimming. We were excited and full of anticipation, because three exciting farm days with six hours of “farm work” lay ahead of us.
We walked 3.5 km through a forest every day and explored all of the Lindhof on the first day. The children fed pigs and prepared a mud bath for them. Without hesitation the pigs jumped right in and you could literally see how much they were enjoying it.
The children also studied the crop yield: How much bread can be made using the yield of one square meter of a field? To do this, they harvested the grain in a small area (20*20cm2), counted the grains, weighed them and extrapolated the data to one square metre. The result was that one square metre yields about one kilogram of flour, equivalent to 1-2 loaves of bread. That’s how you learn math in real life and in the great outdoors it’s much more fun than the classroom.
Afterwards we fed chickens and collected eggs. We also learned how much floor space a chicken is given in conventional farming. In the past, the floor space in a chicken’s cage was only the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Nowadays, a chicken in conventional agriculture is only entitled to 25% more space than an A4 sheet. We all found this quite shocking.
The next day we got up at 4am, because at 5:30 we had to milk the cows. We also fed the calves and we were able to taste milk fresh from the cow. There was even a milk test with 5 other types of milk. We made butter, ground grains, baked our own rolls and made herbal salt. You would hardly believe how delicious fresh herbal salt with homemade butter tastes on homemade rolls.
Afterwards there was a short introduction to beekeeping.
At lunch time we walked back to the accommodation and fell into a farmer‘s coma. That’s the actual name for a midday nap in the countryside and we now know it’s called that for a good reason!
Later we went to the beach and marvelled at the beautiful sunset.
On the last day at the Lindhof we were allowed to give names to two newborn calves. We christened them Milko and Theo.
Then we found out what a Sisyphus-like job it is to pick weeds in an oat field. The weeds were actually beautiful cornflowers, but we soon threw in the towel.
We also learned how to plant potatoes and were instructed in soil science. We got to know how a potato sorting machine works, we built bee hotels and made seed bombs to throw on barren areas in the city. Everybody liked that. Above all, we spent a long time studying the differences between conventional and organic farming.
On our last evening we had a barbecue at the castle to celebrate a great trip. On our way home we decided to walk about 9 km to the train station. Whose idea was this actually?
We had great, varied days full of activities that we had never done before and we learned a lot about life in the countryside and on a farm. It was especially great and also important that we could experience everything with our own senses and try it out ourselves. We will not forget these experiences very quickly.
Mrs. Dufft and Dr. Dennhardt with 8th grade