Hi there,

Tuesday we were in Annapolis, a really beautiful town near Washington, D.C. My job was not just to enjoy but also to drive the car. Yes, that sounds very easy, but for Monika and me this was difficult and a bit stressful. Monika´s part was to drive us to the big shopping mall in Annapolis. We had a GPS and a map with information from Maggie with us, luckily. Because without them we would maybe be in Washington, D.C. or somewhere else. After two hours driving we were at the mall. All of us were really curious about the different shops. We found some great new clothes and the food was also very delicious. 

Then I had to prove my driving skills, because our next destination was the city of Annapolis. It was really difficult driving even with the GPS to find the right way, but luckily my navigator Verena could find the correct way.


I have to mention Verena was the best navigator I ever had. In Annapolis there are a lot of cars and the streets are really narrow. We found a parking lot at the harbour and we decided to eat ice cream. During the break I calmed down. The hardest part was to leave the city and to find the right way to the highway. I drove along streets with five lanes, a big highway beyond what I've driven before. I had to concentrate the whole time and that was very exhausting. I am not used to driving a big car like Maggie and Jim's Dodge Caravan. In general the cars in the USA are bigger than the cars in Austria and some people drive really fast.


I am now a better driver and I expect the roads in Austria will no longer be a problem for me. It was a great experience but I was really happy and relieved to be at Woodlawn again.

--- Lisa Neundlinger

PS Maybe I will write again about my encounter with a wasp after working in the vineyard Thursday!

The Privilege to Attend St. Peter Claver Church

Hey, there! Last Sunday we were privileged to experience a service in the St. Peter Claver Church. We went there because we were curious about the differences between Austrian and American churches. And we have to say, we were absolutely surprised, but in a positive way! As this church is an African Catholic Church, there was a gospel choir. With their stunning songs they made the service very lively. So did the priest, who told some jokes during the sermon. 


The people there were very friendly and conveyed to us a warm and hearty welcome. It was definitely a good decision to go there!


-Verena Lederbauer 

The Life of a Chesapeake Bay Fisherman

Hi guys!

Today we had a little change in our plans, as we went crabbing instead of wallpapering.

Together with fisherman Phil Langley ( we went out on the water very early in the morning with his boat Lisa S.

He showed us how he crabs. It was fascinating, because most of us have never done crabbing before. We boated from cage to cage and it was very exciting to see how many crabs were in the cages.

A Slack Team selfie including Captain Phil Langley, Lisa, Jana, TIna, Monika and Verena.

A Slack Team selfie including Captain Phil Langley, Lisa, Jana, TIna, Monika and Verena.

Phil taught us many things; how to hold a crab so it won’t claw you. or how you can identify the sex of a crab.

Tina shows us how to hold a crab --- and not get clawed!

Tina shows us how to hold a crab --- and not get clawed!

We also saw some other animals including fish and shrimp. Further, we were allowed to steer the boat! 

We had a lot of fun, as Phil was joking around all the time.

Captain Phil prepares the steam pot. Yeah, let's eat some crabs!

Captain Phil prepares the steam pot. Yeah, let's eat some crabs!

After the fishing trip, we decided to eat some of the crabs, so we seasoned them, steamed them in a big cooking pot and ate them. They were very good, but we had some difficulty opening them as this is a bit of a procedure, so Phil and his wife had to help us.

A bit of Old Bay Seasoning and life is good!

A bit of Old Bay Seasoning and life is good!

Phil’s wife got us some snacks, too. Both were really kind and we also had a great conversation with them.

Thank you two for having us! We learned so many new things, it was really nice!  


---  Jana, Lisa, Monika, Tina & Verena, Slack Farm Austria Team 2018

Verena & Friends...

Hey, my name is Verena and I’m one of the seven Austrian trainees this year. This is my second practical training in a foreign country. Last year I interned in Sweden for fourteen weeks, together with Elisabeth. We were at a dairy farm with about 200 diary cows, a lot of calves and many heifers. Our tasks included milking the cows and caring for calves, including feeding them and refreshing their boxes. The calves were extremely cute and funny, as well as curious and a little bit clumsy.

A cute little calf and me. 

A cute little calf and me. 

We cleaned the cowshed regularly, put the heifers out to new pastures, did gardening work as well as construction work as the family was building a new barn during the time we were in residence. On occasion we cooked Austrian dishes for the family we lived with or baked cakes for our co-workers, who seemed to be addicted to sweets. But our main duties were outside in the barn. 


The cows were milked three times a day, once in the morning, once in the evening and once in the middle of the day. For the milking in the morning we had to get up very early at about 4am --- which was pretty hard in the beginning as you might imagine, but we got used to it. At the end of our practical training we were quite good at milking cows and completed our work faster, too. 


In general, we had to work a lot which was often extremely exhausting, but we also gained many new skills and learned a lot – not only about farming but also about the country and the people. Our leisure time was spent either outside in the beautiful Swedish countryside or visiting cities like Stockholm or Göteborg. 


It was an amazing time there, which I talk about often because I really enjoyed it, even though the farm schedule was grueling. 

I love to create beautiful memories as I did there.

This is the reason I’m very grateful to be here in Maryland now. And I’m already very curious about the work in the vineyard and everything else we will do here. I´m really looking forward to the next 4 weeks and hope to see many new things and places, get new skills and learn as much as I did on my last internship. 


--- Verena 


The Flight to Dulles International Airport... seems a long time ago.

Hi there, we are Lisa and Tina!

We started our trip to America at eight o´clock from Upper Austria.

First we drove to the airport at Munich. It takes three hours. When we arrived at  the airport we checked in.



After four hours sitting in the plane we were in Reykjavik, Iceland. At Reykjavik we were a little bit stressed because there were a lot of people and we couldn't easily locate our gate. Luckily there were many friendly and helpful people who showed us to the gate.


After the chaotic search we sat happily in the Icelandair plane and flew straight ahead to Washington, DC,  Dulles Airport, for six hours. We were happy that we arrived without any complications and lucky our baggage arrived, too.

Jim picked us up at the international gate and brought us to Woodlawn. The time in the car with Jim passed quickly because we talked about God and the world.

Our first impression of the farms was very positive and we are curious about the four weeks at Maggie, Jim and Tucker's place. 

--- Tina Reitermayr and Lisa Neundlinger, Slack Farms Austria Intern Team


First Workday Impressions

We woke up early in the morning with jet lag on the one hand and excitement on the other. With the first step out of the door, we were surprised by the high morning temperature. But we didn't think it could get much hotter. 

When we arrived at Jubilee Farm, the sister farm to our residence at Woodlawn, our task was to weed the extensive gardens. In the beginning, as with all ventures, it went well; the sun rose as did our effort. At our first break, a very tasty, cold and refreshing beverage was served --- iced tea. Delicious.

Klara pulling weeds, more weeds, and more weeds. 

Klara pulling weeds, more weeds, and more weeds. 

The expression "many hands make light work" is clearly not just a saying. We've experienced the result of work and reward. And what was our reward for our amazing work --- weeding 1/2 acre of gardens in one day? We got to go kayaking.

Maggie showed us how to kayak through Blake Creek and back to the head waters. She guided us through the still waters until we arrived at the beaver huts. The beavers were too shy to show themselves, but we saw a Terrapin turtle and several herons. 

Jana is on the left; Lisa Neundlinger is on the right.

Jana is on the left; Lisa Neundlinger is on the right.

This is a Maryland Terrapin, an endangered turtle species. He is sunning on a beaver log.

This is a Maryland Terrapin, an endangered turtle species. He is sunning on a beaver log.

Amazingly, we didn't even capsize. All in all, it was a great first day of work and we are excited about many more experiences to come.

--- Jana Adali and Klara Lobmayr,  Slack Farm Austria Team 2018


We Were Asked to Choose a Book....

and each of us have responded with a response from our readings.  The Library at Woodlawn was the source for our books and I chose a book about the Cottage Gardens. We have been working today to restructure the "cottage gardens" at Jubilee Farm.  The pictures below say it all: love the plants you work with and don't be afraid  to shape them and the landscape they inhabit. 

Here I am with Tina reshaping the eponymous by the pool. 

Here I am with Tina reshaping the eponymous by the pool. 


In my readings I learned that the Cottage Garden has a rural charm and can be used in town, city or country. Its ambience  looks like an orderly chaos unplanned and overgrown; you will need to shape it if you like order (see pictures below). You have in the cottage garden more different types of flowers than in a conventional garden. Colors are mixed and many cottage gardens consider water in the form of pumps or ponds. 

Here is the euonymous Tina and I pruned. 

Here is the euonymous Tina and I pruned. 

 Flowers are at the front of cottage gardens and vegetables, too, if you know how to incorporate them. Traditional cottage gardens have wild and fruiting trees; whatever you love in the garden, structure it so you get many different effects with the plants you love. For example, structure  areas for tall plants, formal hedges, rustic fencing, climbers or fruit trees. A garden is so much more interesting to walk around if it has a theme. A traditional cottage garden feature is to use edging materials to outline paths with low-growing plants to invite you in to an area.

Arches, garden seats, arbours, gravel or brick paths give the garden a typically rural deal.  Arches are ideal features for linking different parts of the garden, and different sorts of climbing plants like roses and clematis look pretty over an arch. Seats situated at the end of a walk, or in a niche in the hedge also look enticing and beautiful.

Today we also painted the front stoop of the Jubilee Farm house. This is where our friends, Maggie O'Brien and Jim Grube, live. We repaired the wood steps, leveled them, reset them into the brick walkway, and here we are finishing the painting with a few patches to go. 



--- Lisa Neundlinger, 2018 Slack Farms Austrian Intern

Monika's Internship in Finland


My name is Monika, I'm one of the Austrian trainees and I will tell you something about my internship from last year in Finland. I was in the middle of Finland on a diary farm for 14 weeks with about 150 cows, 140 cattle, some calves and one bull.


I am from an agriculture farm without any animals, so I decided to do my internship on a dairy-farm to get experience with this kind of farm work. It was a good decision, because I gained a lot of new experiences. I learned how to milk cows with the help of a milking robot and how to feed calves. I also learned a lot about the Finnish way of life. For example, I got an insight into the typical finish Sauna–culture and participated in a hunt. I also experienced the bright night skies, because in Scandinavia the sun doesn`t go down in the summer.  I also visited other parts of Finland. 


Finland is called “The land of thousand lakes”, and I confirm it. On every corner is another lake and around the lakes, the people have their small summer-cottages to spend their holidays in in a silent area. Finland has also a lot of woods and the inhabitants like it to collect the tasteful berries, mushrooms and herbs and use it in the kitchen to prepare food. And when you are “lucky”, then you can see elks, bears or rabbits in the finish nature. But especially in the northern of Finland, you are able to see a lot of Reindeers directly on the streets or in the cities.


In Finland were a lot of differences to Austria, but all in all, I learnt a lot, enjoyed the summer and I`m able to look back to a really, really great time. And now I am looking forward to a nice time in Maryland to collect impressions of the American way of life.


--- Monika Friedl

Elisabeth's Practical Training in Sweden

 Practical training in Sweden

Hi, my name is Elisabeth, I’m an Austrian student and spend my internship this year at Woodlawn Farm. Last year I did my internship together with my friend Verena. We were in Sweden on a dairy cow farm named Botans Lantbruk. The farm was located nearly 300km from Stockholm in a region called Rättvik.

Here I am with the Swedish flag.

Here I am with the Swedish flag.


  Our bosses Kristina and Bengt own the big farm with around 200 milking cows and a lot of calves and heifers, too. They have two girls, Josefin (21) and Mikaela (19) and one son whose name is Fredrick (17). The farm is one of the three biggest farms in this region of Sweden. 


 The cows were milked three times a day in a big milking carousel. We also fed the calves and cleaned up the barn. While we were spending our time at Botans Lantbruk, a new barn was built, so we helped the workers there, too. For example we painted the wall in the new barn. 


 The work was sometimes a little bit hard but we learned a lot of new things and it was very funny to work together with some Swedish workers. Now we know how to manage a barn with a lot of cows and how to milk with a milking carousel. 


In our free time we spent five days in Stockholm and in Göteborg. On each trip we did a little sightseeing tour, went shopping and spent one day in a fun fair. 



Verena and I enjoyed the 14 weeks in Sweden very much and we got to know a lot of very friendly people. It was a great experience for us. After this amazing time we especially missed the workers, the work and the delicious food of Kristina. 


 Before we went back home, we spent one week in the north of Norway in Tromsö. There we went hiking and shopping and we relaxed. One night we saw the beautiful polar lights which were quite amazing. 









Yesterday our interns arrived...

Yesterday our interns arrived and here they are from left to right Lisa, Tina, Klara, Jana, Monika, Verena and Elisabeth. The picture above was taken in Austria. The picture below is where they will be working this week, helping us to tend the vineyards. To the upper right is a peak at the pool, where they might be resting after a day of pruning and trellising.  

Welcome Tina, Lisa, Monika, Elizabeth, Jana, Klara & Verena.  Verena has already saved the beagle who ran away.  --- Maggie O'Brien


Welcome to our 2018 Elmberg Interns who join us for the month of July

The Elmberg tradition of training is quite remarkable.  The learning instinct of these young women is enviable; they are hard workers and eager to acquire new skills. 

In addition to gardening and vineyard maintenance, we will make sure they enjoy a bit of Maryland summertime fun: kayaking, swimming, crabbing and fishing as well as sight-seeing. They will provide the posts this summer and it will keep them busy and sharpen their English skills. Read some of the posts below for an insight in to past interns' humorous takes on American life.

Thanks to Christina Allen for bringing these student interns to our attention.

--- Maggie O'Brien

Greetings from Jubilee Farm! It has been a long and chaotic last few weeks here on the farm so forgive me for not posting anything until now. While things have not exactly slowed down, it finally seems like most of the machines are working, the barns are looking ship shape, and the wine is bottled and ready to sell.

It is hard to imagine that just over six weeks ago we had not harvested the grapes or even held a single wedding at Jubilee. Oh how times have changed.    

Save for  incessant rain showers at both Jubilee and Woodlawn on Saturday - thanks Matthew, things were seamless and pleasant. The new mower arrived early last week and oh boy is she a beauty. Let me just tell you this is not you're father’s John Deere push mower. With a six foot deck and zero degree turning the grounds at both Jubilee and Woodlawn are looking tighter than ever.

It has been a huge advantage having all the machines working especially since the days are starting to get shorter and the evenings chillier!  

I am signing off for now - feel free to come by. You might catch us kicking around the hacky sack or on the slackline, but most likely you'll just have to try some Slack Tide Blanc and watch us work!

Cheers! Angus

Sunset over the water at Woodlawn Farm 

Sunset over the water at Woodlawn Farm 




Angus Viebranz mastering the farm activities

Angus joined us just as Rita Trommelschlaeger and Viki Hoetzendorfer were leaving the US to return to HBLA Elmberg in Linz, Austria.  Rita spent last summer in Denmark and Viki was in Ireland. Now they can add Washington, D.C., New York City, and Jubilee and Woodlawn Farms to their travel notes.  We miss them both.

Angus is in a gap year from Middlebury College and since he comes from a family of creative sorts who bridge the business and non-profit worlds quite readily, he agreed to continue the blog this fall.  Stay tuned for more from Angus.  He and I are both hoping to learn the craft of the single skull this fall --- from the resident expert Tuck.  Cool day today so the thought of gliding the waters on the creek is enticing.

We all love our little notes from Rita and Viki and mine is right here on my desk. Thanks Rita and Viki!



The hardest part..

After our fancy trip to New York we had the hardest part of our practical training... saying good bye. It is never easy to leave a place you like especially when there a people who became your friends. It's impossible to discribe how much fun we had there and sometimes we just thought about how much luck we had to meet these kind, crazy, sweet and relaxed Americans and we recommend a practical training there for everyone.


Dear Maggie & Jim, Brandon, Tucker, David, Tobi and the other farmworkers we met,

it was such a wonderful time with you and we will never forget that. We wrote little "Thank you"-letters for you lovlies so we can say thanks to each of you because everyone did so much for us. We are very grateful to met you guys.



Don't forget us and all the best,


Ocean City

Today we startet at 6am and drove to Ocean City with David because we really wanted to see a typical american beach. After 4 hours- drive we arrived there and the first impressions were awesome! There was a little city with very nice shops and immediately beside that there was the sandy beach- just beautiful! At first we walked along the Boardwalk and then we did a little bit of souvenier-shopping. After that we went to the beach and we had a super-chilly, sandy and salty afternoon. At the end we went into a little fun park and took a ride on the ghost train and David and Viki hadn't enough so they took a ride on a hardcore fast ball. (See on pictures). All in all it was a funny and chilly day and we enjoyed it very, very much.


Searching for some adventure

Today we did a little bit of weeding and after that we had a little swim in the pool. And then we wanted to take a bike-tour but the cycle tyres were flat so we decided to go for a little walk. Rita always wanted to know where a special path which we always see on the way to Jubilee Farm leads to, so we decided to walk around that area. On our way we saw a path wich was busted,  some parts of a car like seats and doors and an american hunters seat. So we had much fun on our trip and it was like a little discovering adventure for us.


We visted Alexandria

Today we visited Alexandria with David (who else?). Alexandria is an older, but a very beautiful city and there are many tourists. After walking around and doing a little bit of shopping we went on a boat tour to National Harbour and that was veeeeeery beautiful. At first we went in a huge candy shop and than we took a ride on the Ferris Wheel (David was a little bit scared, haha!). After that wonderful day we went backand we were at Jubilee Farm at 1:30 am.

Painting has to be done

Today we did lots of painting. We finished the whole cottage because we started painting a few days ago with Tucker, Brandon and David. We worked the whole day and now the cottage looks brandnew! After that we hoovered the floor and the deed was done!


Washington D.C is calling!

Today we had the pleasure to drive to Washington D.C with our bro David. We drove with the car to the next Metro Station and took a train to the city. The first impressions were awesome. We always knew that Washington must be beautiful like many cities but it really is much much more beautiful than any other cities we have ever seen! And we recomend it to everybody in the world, because it is not just the city which is so nice, no there are so many friendly and kind people and the food is delicous! That was such a wonderful day at the capital of the United States.

Day after Wedding

Every sunday is kind of stressful at Woodlawn. There are many rooms to be done because of the wedding guests who slept in them. So every morning we start with cleaning the bathrooms, puting the bedlinens on, and preparing the whole room for the next guests. And in the afternoon there is always a wine tasting as we wrote a blog before. So our sunday is much more stressfull than the sunday of many other people.