Three weeks ago my family and I went down to 台中 Taichung to celebrate Mother’s Day. My aunt signed us up for a fun DIY day at 葵海休閒農場 Kwai Hai Leisure Farm where we got to cook our own food in a kiln and decorate wooden fridge magnets. Taiwan has many these types of places where they plan a day of DIY activities for big groups of people to do. It’s a great way to get out of house on the weekends, do something different, and not have to worry about what to bring and what to eat. The farm had everything prepared for us so we just had to show up and follow their instructions for a good time!
We arrived early in the morning and there were already many families building fires, taking photos and enjoying themselves. Our first task was to build a fire in the kiln by picking thin pieces of wood from a big pile of wood in the back. It became hard to breathe while picking wood because of all the smoke blowing into our faces from the already lit fires, but we pulled through. Did I mention how incredibly hot it was that day? The sun was shining bright and not a single cloud could be seen in the sky.
After carrying a bunch of wood back to our kiln, the men of our group started building the fire because let’s be honest, I don’t know how to build a fire. I tried to help but I think I ended up being more in the way. Eventually we got the fire going. Then we split up into two groups so that one group washed the sweet potatoes and wrapped eggs in newspaper, while the other group went to fill up two buckets of mud to seal the kiln.
Like a traditional Taiwanese, my aunt said, “Girls wash the produce and boys go get the mud!” but I was not having any of it. I was more interested in getting down and dirty with the mud, so I volunteered. We had to step into the mud to soften it up but luckily others were there before us so they did most of the hard work for us. The moment I put one foot into the mud I started sinking. The mud went almost up to my knees! My cousin’s husband and I like to poke fun at each other so when he saw me sinking in the mud, he purposely tried to push me down even deeper into the mud and eventually held onto me to keep balance even though I was much smaller than him. We didn’t want to get our hands all muddy so we tried scooping the mud into the buckets with our feet. That was my leg workout for the day because damn, mud is heavy!
After carrying two buckets of mud back to our kiln, it was time to seal the kiln with the mud after putting our sweet potatoes, eggs, and chicken drumsticks in. Once we put a metal lid on top of the kiln, we sealed the top completely as well as the side where we built the fire.
While we waited for our food to cook, they gave us farm-themed wooden shapes to color and glue together to create fridge magnets. This is where my perfectionist personality came in because even though my design was pretty simple, I was the last one to finish. I chose a windmill to color and ended up drawing vines and roses on my windmill. I think I spent more than 60% of my time coloring a blue gradient for the background.
By the time we were done decorating our fridge magnets our food was done! Yay because we were famished by then. We used crowbars to pull the mud off the kiln which by then was hardened from the heat of the fire. After pulling all our food out of the kiln it was time to eat! They brought over some glutinous rice to complement the rest of our food which was so delicious!
The last activity of the day was going down to the beach during low tide to catch some tiny baby crabs. Only a few of us went down to check it out because it was so hot out and many of us didn’t have the right shoes that could get dirty. I was smart and brought flip flops so I went down to check out all the crabs crawling around and pooping everywhere. My brother and I decided to stack some rocks for fun which turned out really cool.
As we were leaving, the owners of the farm told us there was a bed of sunflowers in the front where we were allowed to pick and bring home. My cousins went over to do a little photoshoot with the sunflowers. It was pretty obnoxious but a lot of fun!
Overall, it was a fun experience. I would definitely recommend this place to you and anyone else looking for a family activity that’s inexpensive and lots of fun!