A day in the Life of a Spannocchia Intern

A lot of people have been asking what it is that I do all day at the farm, so in this post I’ll give you a rundown of a typical day for us interns, and in the next post I’ll describe more specifically my job in Animali.

Work starts at 8, so I get up at 7 and make coffee, then I go outside Pulcinelli house (where we interns live) to check my email on my phone. Often times, there is at least one cat milling about, and it will purr and crawl all over me (which, let’s be honest, is all I really want in life) while I try to both give it the affection it desires while also taking selfies to send to my cat-obsessed family (no good ones yet). A few days ago I gave one cat, Layla, a pat of butter in exchange for what I hope is her eternal devotion—so far, so good.

Layla

Layla

I alternate with my fellow animali intern Luke so that every other day I get the slop buckets from the three kitchens at Spannocchia so that we can feed the slop to the pigs in the morning—last week the pigs got an entire loaf of focaccia, oh to be an Italian pig!) All the interns and supervisors meet at “Il Muro” (The Wall, behind Pulcinelli) at 8 am to go over any daily announcements, and soon after we go to our respective jobs. As I mentioned, I work in Animali with Luke, and our supervisor is Giulio who is great. There is also the Orto, which is the vegetable garden, where Julia and Philip work under Carmen, and Tutto Fare, which is the vineyard and olive groves and general farm maintence stuff, where Molly, Coulson, and Lena work under Moreno.

Pulcinelli, where we live

Pulcinelli, where we live

rom here, we work with our supervisors until 1 pm, when all the interns go back to Pulcinelli house for lunch, which is cooked by two of the interns who left morning work an hour early to prepare lunch. The second week was my week to cook lunch for everyone with Luke. We generally build off the previous day’s leftovers, and are allotted some vegetables from the farm to work with. Like all communal kitchens, the cookware we have to work with is crap, but we are getting used to it (what I wouldn’t give for a good cast iron, though.) It can be a bit stressful to work lunch—we are already tired and hungry from the morning, and then immediately have to think of a meal to make for ten people and then make it, all in less than an hour. But it’s generally not too hard, and everyone is complementary and appreciative even though the food isn't too exciting.

After lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we go back to work from 2 to 5. On Mondays and Thursdays we have Italian class for an hour right after lunch, and then the afternoon free. On Thursday after Italian there is an optional trip to Rosia, the town that we’re in, to go to the big supermarket there. On Fridays, we either have a field trip (last week we went to Siena for the day) or a group project that takes all day. Saturdays and Sundays are free except for weekend chores, which are to keep the caldaia (wood-burning furnace that gives us hot water) up and running, and to feed the animals. Animali weekend chores require feeding in the morning and closing up pens in the evening, but again—more on that in the next post.

Every evening except Sundays, and perhaps some Saturdays, we are strongly encouraged to attend wine on the terrace (yes, I know, isn’t this unreal?) and watch the sun set. So from 7 to 7:30, we drink the wine made at Spannocchia and schmooze with the guests; I love this part. The people that come to Spannocchia are both interesting and interested in what we do at the farm. Just last week, I met a woman who also grew up in Weston, went to 9th grade at Weston High, and then went to Concord Academy for 10th-12th grade—just like me! So even when I miss home, sometimes home will come to me.

The terrace on the left

The terrace on the left

Schmoozing: it's part of the job

Schmoozing: it's part of the job

From 7:30 to around 9, we have a meal with all the interns and guests that have chosen to attend. Graziella and Pietrina cook delicious traditional Tuscan fare every night, and we have more time to talk with the guests. Like lunch duty, every week two interns help with dinner service, and this coming week Luke and I will be the servers. Usually there is no group meal Saturdays. Wednesdays alternate between Nostra Cena, a slightly fancier meal with an extra course, and Pizza Night, where we use the wood-burning stone pizza oven to create pizza—I'll have a whole post about this at some point in the future.

When it's nice weather, we have dinner outside here

When it's nice weather, we have dinner outside here

After dinner, we are free, and we’ll usually head back to Pulcinelli to hang out in the kitchen, watch a movie, and occasionally remove an oversized spider that may have decided to take up residence in one of the bedrooms (sweet dreams, interns.) It’s been a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. Next time I’ll write about my animali duties!