Thursday, June 18, 2009


Joybilee Farm is a WWOOF host farm specializing in fiber art and fiber farming. We have our second wwoofer with us now. WWOOF stands for "world wide opportunities on Organic Farms". It works like this: A host farm signs up with WWOOF Canada and their farm is listed on the WWOOF Canada site with a description of the farm and the expectations of the host family. WWOOFers looking for a farm placement can search for the criteria that are most important to them -- vegetarian ok -- sheep -- gardens. When a WWOOFer finds a host farm that looks appealing, they contact the host and see if there is an opening at a time that's convenient for the WWOOFer. If there is a match, the host has a WWOOFer coming.

Once the WWOOfer arrives, the host family picks them up at the bus depot, provides them with accommodation and meals in exchange for 6 hours of work 5 1/2 days a week. And the WWOOFer learns by doing things around the farm -- in our case that means caring for fiber animals and dye plants, plus using our extensive fiberarts library, videos and hands on fiber learning.

Our first wwoofer, Jessica, left on Saturday, after helping us set up for an artisan market in Grand Forks. We miss you, Jessica.

Jessica is at the end of her second year, med school and a knitter. She came to Joybilee Farm to learn more about spinning, dyeing and raising fiber animals.

She saw a new born, still wet, cria. She learned to sort fleece, how to tell a good fleece from a weak fleece, how to wash a fleece, how to spindle spin and how to spin on a spinning wheel. Plus lots about woad and natural indigo. Jessica was my assistant at the indigo dye workshop with the Rumpelstiltskin guild a week ago.

While she was here she spun 2 skeins of yarn and plied them. She dyed roving with natural indigo and created a shibori picture. Plus she helped me weed willows and garden beds, she helped me skirt fleece. She helped clean out the rabbit barn. And she explained covalent bonds to Sarah and helped her understand why reduced indigo has a negative charge on the Oxygen atom.

I am still seeing things around the farm that she did without waiting to be asked. I noticed this morning that she started mulching around the apple trees -- my job for today. Thanks, Jessica for all your hard work and cheerfulness. We hope you come back some day.

Kati is here now, from Mexico. Kati is a graduate of Emily Carr in Vancouver with an emphasis in Fiber Art. She is more interested in natural dyes than in spinning. Kati has been weeding the linen plot this week and caring for the angora rabbits. Yesterday she learned how to pluck an angora bunny and watched the Maiwa video "In Search of Lost Colour". Kati will have a successful career in the fiberarts. Her plans are to go back to her family home in Mexico and begin growing natural dyes, including cochineal. Awesome!

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