Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Spring and Summer 2010 Wwoofers

17 young people wwoofed at Joybilee Farm this summer.  The first 3 arrived at the end of March and the last one left last Wednesday.  Wow!

Wwoofer are people who sign up under the wwoof (willing workers on organic farms) program to help on a farm in exchange for room and board in order to learn some of the unique things that each organic farm in the program has to offer.  At Joybilee Farm we offer animal husbandry (that includes cleaning up, feeding, and milking), cheese making, soap making, herbal rememdies (harvest and creation), organic gardening in a mountain climate, linen production and processing, natural dyes, wool, mohair, angora -- harvesting, processing, spinning, weaving and felt making, craft marketing and tourism experience.  We hope each of our wwoofers will learn to prepare fleece for spinning or felting and take home a project that they created themselves from the fleece. Many of our wwoofers come to Joybilee Farm at a cross road in their life, searching for a better vocational fit and their Joybilee Farm experience helps confirm the direction for their journey.

Please meet our wwoofers for Spring and Summer 2010.  Each is unique in their experience and personality and it was a joy sharing our lives with them:

Kelly (Australia) arrived just a few days after Paco, David and Cedric (Quebec).  She had a degree in fashion design and wanted to learn more about using natural dyes.  She came the day before Good Friday and left on Saturday of Easter Weekend, after deciding that wwoofing wasn't for her. It seems that Joybilee Farm in April wasn't a good fit for her.

Paco, David and Cedric stayed for 6 weeks and helped immensely.  They cleaned out all the barns to get ready for lambing/kidding which began in May this year.  Steve came at the beginning of May and the 4 of them built a wood shed using pine logs off the property and recycled roofing from the collapsed hay shed, which they dismantled to salvage timbers and roofing.  They were full of energy and had superb rhythm - -lots of music in their souls.  They also helped with Spring shearing.  When the first goat kids and lambs started coming it was a magical time for these guys.  All four guys did some spinning on drop spindles.  Their biggest joy was learning to cook vegetarian for themselves.

Paco, Cedric, Steve and David with the wood shed they built

While the guys were here our septic system failed and the guys learned about the workings of a septic field and helped us lay a brand new field with a better design than the old field.  They also saw our community in action as our neighbor came over with his back hoe and dug the new field and helped to lay the pipes.  At a cost to us of less than $1,000 we had a brand new septic system put in place, thanks to kind neighbors and our wwoofers who helped with the fine digging work.

Melinda (South Africa) came just as the guys were getting ready to leave.  Melinda was full of energy and determination and we loved getting to know her.  She helped with lambing/kidding, and especially worked at getting the garden planted.  Melinda was into dogs and dog sledding, and she learned how to spin dog hair and create one of a kind fiber art with the yarn.  The World cup of soccer meant that Melinda had to get home to Durban earlier than planned.
Melinda with her dog hair yarn

Paula arrived a few days after Melinda left.  Paula is a weaver and she helped us put a blanket warp on the floor loom and wove off the first blanket.  (Its still sitting in the finishing basket waiting for a quiet day.) We did lots of felting with Paula and dyeing with both low impact chemical and natural dyes.  Paula learned how to make her own gluten free tortillas while she was here and renewed her love of weaving.  Paula also helped with planting the garden -- and we had a wonderful harvest of broccoli (best ever) thanks to Paula's help with planting and weeding.
Paula renewing her love of weaving

A couple of days after we said goodbye to Paula, Damien and Fiona (Ireland) arrived.  They were a very shy couple and were hard to get to know.  They weren't interested in spinning, weaving or felting and were content to put in their helping time and disappear for the rest of the day.  They were tired most of the time -- possibly due to their vegetarian diets.   Fiona helped weed the linen bed -- a major but extremely essential task in June.  And Damien helped us get the garden ready for the photography club that came by on the July long weekend.  Since Damien was a professional photographer, we thought that the opportunity would be a delight for him, but he shied away from meeting other professional photographers -- too bad.  Unfortunately a black bear freaked them out and they left after only 5 days, preferring to stay in a motel rather than at Joybilee Farm where the bear might be lurking.  After they left we weren't bothered by the bear again, although there are several bears that live in the vicinity.

Matt Shaffer arrived on the bus that Damien and Fiona left on.  Matt was an engineer in water and gas and while he was here the water line broke.  He didn't want to ply his trade here, though, so we got the help of our neighbors to redesign the water line to prevent another occurrence.  Matt met the bear a few times on his hikes with the dogs but it ran away when it saw him.  Matt learned to spin and wove a scarf for himself before he left.

Lori (Israel) came during Matt's stay.  Lori only stayed two nights.  Lori was looking for something and it wasn't here.  Apparently it wasn't in Nelson either, as she left the next farm after only one night, too.  Lori did some felting while she was here and helped me clean up the Cottage Industry carder to get it ready for the next batch of fleece, as well as weeding the asparagus bed.

Heike and Aki with their golden rod dyed and felted scarves
The day after Matt left, Aki (Japan) arrrived and a few days later Heike (Germany).  Aki and Heike were beams of sunshine in our world and a huge help with all our work.  We were delighted that they included Joybilee Farm in their travel to Canada.  They met when Heike arrived at the farm but it seemed like they had known each other for decades.  Aki and Heike felt like part of our family in just a few hours of their arrival.  They tried to learn to spin but to talk to each other they had to speak English (their second language).  Since it was too difficult to spin and converse at the same time, we decided to do some felting instead.  Each of them felted a scarf from Sapphire's fleece and then dyed it with golden rod, which we harvested together.  Wowzers!  Those scarves were just beautiful.

Heike helped clean the wool picker -- and I was in awe with how clean it was when she was finished.  Aki helped in the garden, in the soap making, in the moisturizer making and in the felting.  It was just amazing to me how much Heike and Aki accomplished in the short time they were here.  The linen festival happened while Aki and Heike were here and they had a blast helping out.

Masumi (Japan) and Sasha (BC) arrived just a few days after the girls left.  Masumi struggled with her english and she felt awkward but persevered.  Thankfully Sasha was an experienced ESL teacher so that helped out immensely.  Masumi and Sasha helped us with the linen harvest.  And we felted quite a bit.  Sasha was an experienced felter and made the most wonderful works of art with her felting.  She spun yarn (she already knew how to spin) and wove a gorgeous scarf on the Ashford Knitters loom.  She liked it so much she bought a loom to take home.
Sasha in the linen field that she helped to harvest.

While Sasha was still with us, Marie and Pierre (France) arrived.  Marie and Pierre won our hearts in just a few hours of their arrival, with their cheerful enthusiasm and honest conversation.  It was amazing to me how each of our wwoofers came to us with the skills that we needed most during their stay -- as if their stay at Joybilee Farm was planned by God before they arrived.  Marie has a Master's degree in Cultural Tourism and while they were at Joybilee Farm there was a tourism workshop which we attended, with her.  Pierre is a fabulous cabinet maker and designer and was able to take a picture and turn it into a work of functional art -- our new flax break.  Pierre repaired gates, doors, and cabinets -- all those irritating repair jobs that Robin couldn't seem to get to.  Marie helped with felting -- Spa Bars and toys, with packaging soaps and moisturizers, with weeding and thinning carrots, but her biggest contribution was the tourism marketing suggestions that she made.   We were able to put some of it into use immediately when Story & Co. came to the farm as part of the community branding exercise.  And Pierre's flax break will save us hours of time in processing our abundant flax harvest -- besides giving us much joy by its beauty.  I fondle its smooth lines every time I pass it.
Marie and Pierre with the beautiful flax break.

Amy came just a few days after Marie and Pierre left.  Amy learned to card wool on the Ashford Wild Carder, spin a wild yarn and weave on the Ashford Knitters Loom -- all in order to help us at the Rock Creek Fair.  Her constant smile and enthusiasm for learning were contagious.  And she too, felt like one of the family before she left.
Amy with her handspun and woven scarf.

I've learned so much from each of our wwoofers -- even the ones that didn't stay very long.  Thank you for investing time in Joybilee Farm and sharing in our spring and summer.  We are richer for the experience of getting to know you.  And its made me want to travel to some other places to meet you again.  Its caused me to appreciate even more the wonderful peace, climate, and community that we have here at Joybilee Farm and in Greenwood.  There's no other place in the world quite like this one -- pure, good tasting mountain spring water, clean air, natural beauty, warm friendships, mountains, creeks, and historical turn of the century architecture, gold rush history, wild life, and abundant natural dye sources, and the perfect climate for growing wool, mohair, angora and linen.  Even if frost does comes before the end of August every year.

Thanks for the memories.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Academics of Craft and sustainability.

Making Futures: the crafts in the context of emerging global sustainability agendas, a conference at the Plymouth College of Art (UK), in Sept. 2009.

The papers presented at this conference are available for free download  

Many interesting  perspectives on globalization, craft, culture and sustainability.  If you are of an academic bent you will find it a valuable resource.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

City of Grand Forks recognizes Arts and Culture Contributions

Last night Robin and Chris Dalziel of Joybilee Farm were awarded a Certificate of Merit by the City of Grand Forks,  for their tireless volunteer contributions to the well being of the Community of the City of Grand Forks.  Robin and Chris have worked as volunteers over the years on the Grand Forks Farmer's Market, the Boundary Artisan Association, the Canada Day Artisan Market and the Art Gallery's 25th Anniversary Artisan Market.  One significant contribution was the liason with the Columbia Basin Culture Tour to have the Boundary Region included in the 2010 Culture Tour as a Pilot project.  "If you need something accomplished in Arts and Culture the Dalziels are the people to talk to."

12 certificates were awarded at the award ceremony that took place at the Grand Forks Art Gallery on Wednesday night.  Robin and Chris were one of only two couples recognized together, for their contribution, one of only two awards given for a contribution to Arts and Culture, and the only volunteers who reside in the West Boundary region, rather than near the City of Grand Forks.

Robin and Chris Dalziel receive the award from City Councillor, Chris Moslin
Thank you to Dawsha Hunt (Grand Forks Tourist Information Centre),Wendy Butterfield (GF Art Gallery and Heritage Centre -- Gallery 2) and Cher Wyrs (Councillor, City of Grand Forks) for your nomination and support.  It was a great encouragement to us to be recognized by the City of Grand Forks, since we live outside the City.  It demonstrates the desire of the City of Grand Forks to be inclusive of the rest of the Boundary Region, working together to build a better region.

There were 12 other recipients recognized for the extensive and tireless volunteerism on such projects as the Economic Development Committee, The Transition House, Habitat for Humanity, Music in the Park, and the Grand Forks Solar City Project. 

The Boundary Region is a great place to live. 

Amy is a spinner and a weaver

Amy was our wwoofer for part of September. She came to us from Minnesota with a BS degree in Business (Fashion design and merchandising). Amy learned how to prepare wool for spinning, how to spin yarn, how to weave on a rigid heddle loom.
Amy's first spinning

Amy entered her first ever skein of yarn in the Novelty Yarn section of the Rock Creek Fair last weekend and won first place. Wonderful work, Amy.

Amy weaving on the 30 cm. Ashford Knitter's Loom
She then took the yarn and warped up the Ashford Knitters Loom and wove a beautiful golden rod dyed scarf. There isn't another scarf like that one any where in the world!

There isn't another scarf like this one!

Amy was a huge help on the farm taking care of the chickens and helping with the goats, sheep and llamas. She also helped us package natural dyes and goat's milk soaps to get ready for the fair last weekend.

At the fair, Amy demonstrated the new Ashford Wild Carder, and the Ashford Kiwi Spinning Wheel and helped with the Indigo Dye demonstrations.  Amy, your tremendous help was very appreciated.  And your beautiful smile lit up our days while you were at Joybilee Farm.
Michelle, our wwoofer in Sept 2009 with her scarf

At the Rock Creek Fair, Michelle (Alberta), our wwoofer from last year's Fall Fair, came by the booth to say hello.  Good to see you, Michelle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I-cord knitter made from Lego

This is really SWEET! Although not very practical. It looks like something a homeschooler would dream up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rock Creek Fair Weekend

Joybilee Farm will be closed today and Saturday for the Rock Creek Fair.  My big job today is to pack up the studio/store and get everything to the Fair Ground then set up for the Fair tomorrow -- opening at 7am. 

I'm looking forward to connecting with so many friends and demonstrating Indigo dyeing to the crowds at 2pm on Saturday and 12 Noon on Sunday.
Indigo Dyed Weaving

Kiwi as a lamb feeding on Donder
Kiwi will be going with us to the Fair along with Iota, a black angora kid, and Amethyst (a lilac French Angora rabbit).  Kiwi's been to school and the art gallery as well as the science fair so lots of kids have met him before.

Kiwi today.
Maybe I'll see you at the Fair.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rainbow Rovings

This week the dye pots have been going in earnest -- Ashford low impact acid dyes not natural dyes -- for rainbow rovings in fine wool, and tussah silk.  I thought at the time that I was getting heaps of dyeing done, but when it was dried and packaged it didn't look like as much as I thought it was. 

Now there is fresh stock of all the wool roving colourways and most of the silk roving colourways.  4 kgs. of wool and 3 kgs. of silk.  And its just in time for the Rock Creek Fair on Saturday and Sunday.  My friend Karen always comes by in the first hours of the Fair to dig through the dyed rovings for her felt work and rustic decor.  So Karen this is for you.

Wool Roving in Circus, Circus
This will be our 7th year at the Rock Creek Fair.  We are in our usual spot by the Sheep barns with a huge demo tent plus our modest vendor tent.  At 2pm on Saturday and at 12 Noon on Sunday you can participate in a hands on Indigo Dye Demonstration.

Lynnette with her Silk Charmeuse, Indigo dyed scarf -- Beautiful!

Dye blanks will be available for sale for a modest fee ($3 for cotton fat quarters to $15 for a silk charmeuse scarf ready-to-dye).  Its a great time to make some gifts for your friends and family -- while someone else has to clean up the mess.  We'll have a table with string, buttons, elastics and clamps ready for your creativity and a vat to play in .  Kiwi (last year's bottle lamb) will be with us along with Iota (This year's bottle goat) and Amethyst (a bottle bunny -- our first). 

Kiwi, last year's bottle lamb

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Your work matters to God

I'm reading, Your work matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks (NavPress, 1987).  Sherman and Hendricks discuss a biblical view of work and offer insights into working for the Greater Glory of God in the secular world.

It is a refreshing book.  A renewal of the Great Reform theology on the place of work in the Kingdom of God.  Nothing is secular to God.  He is concerned with feeding, clothing and sheltering each person -- the poor as well as the rich.  When we join him in His work of providing for the needs of people and prospering our communities we are engaged in a sacred task, as much as the professional pastor is engaged in a sacred task.  90% of the church works to meet the physical needs of people and part of that task is meeting the spiritual needs as well through friendship, caring and compassion. (I John 3:17, 18.)

When we prayerfully made the decision to leave the workforce and move away from the city to Joybilee Farm to create our living with our hands, a Baptist Pastor told us that we were outside of God's will because the job of all Christians was to earn as much money as possible to support the work of the professional pastor.  "NOT!",  my heart said.  At the time Robin, my hubby, was engaged in full time Christian service, teaching accounting at a Christian University for a pittance in comparison to what his salary would be at a secular university.  He was working 60 hours or more a week and teaching 4 upper level accounting courses.  When he resigned from teaching it was a relief.  My children actually saw their father during daylight hours.

The university pay scale rewarded the professional ministers at the top with 6 digit salaries -- the president, vice presidents and theologians.  Those engaged in teaching business were told that they were sacrificing to equip the saints for the work of the kingdom and they should be content.  Because the important work was being done by the pastors, university presidents, theologians, and missionaries.  The job of business was to support the real work of the Kingdom of God...and equip students, who would one day be alumni, to make as much money as possible.  "NOT!"

According to my Bible, God is concerned about the work we accomplish with our hands as much as he is concerned for the salvation of the lost and the temporal needs of widows and orphans. Sherman and Hendricks' book gives a biblical examination of the double tier view of secular or sacred work prevalent in the church today, that places more value on the work of pastors, evangelists and missionaries, a middle value on the helping professionals -- counselors, medical professionals, teachers, and much less value on business, and agricultural work and the least value on artistic work.  This book calls the church back to the biblical and reformed view of all work as a sacred call from God -- good works that God has prepared in advance for you to walk in.

Although this book is 20 years old there is a movement in the larger Christian church today to value and affirm Businessmen and women in their calling and to equip them to bring the good news to the poor and needy.  

This book is an affirmation of God's call to work for the other 90% of us.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pierre Pflieger and the Flax Break

2010 Flax Harvest -- Ilona on the left and Hermes on the Right.

Pierre Pflieger and his artisan flax break

Pierre and Marie (France) Robin and Sarah (Joybilee Farm)
Wwoofers, Pierre and Marie came to us from France.  Pierre is a cabinet maker and Marie has her master's degree in Heritage and Cultural Tourism -- a perfect pair for Joybilee Farm.  Marie learned to needle felt and wet felt while she helped us in the garden, and the kitchen and got to know the animals.  She had many very good ideas to help us promote Joybilee Farm as a tourist destination, too.  We will be implementing some of these ideas very soon.

Pierre's expertise as a wood worker and furniture designer was put to good use designing a beautiful artisan flax break.  Pierre used scrap wood that he found in Robin's workshop and used his expert alchemy to transform it into a beautiful tool that will be a joy to use for many years.  We are so excited about this because the bottle neck in our flax processing has been the breaking process -- which with our first flax break was slow and painful.  With this new flax break -- not only is the process much more efficient and quicker but it is even pleasureable.  Beautiful tools make the work seem like play.

Thank you, Pierre and Marie, we so very much enjoyed getting to know you. Our gates and doors are mended thanks to you.  Our appetites are satisfied and our hearts are richer for your friendship.  Your upbeat attitudes were inspiring for us and we have new ideas to make Joybilee Farm a better attraction for tourists and fiber artists.  If you are a wwoofer host and you have a chance to welcome Marie and Pierre to your farm -- don't hesitate for a second -- you will be so much richer for the experience of knowing them.

Pierre will be selling the woodworking plans for this beautiful artisan flax break soon -- in English, French or German.  Contact Pierre if you'd like to order them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dog Attack again

My neighbor's Rottweiler again attacked my herd.  This time he chewed the backside right off of a my best registered dairy goat.  The brave goat walked with the herd all the back to the house, almost a km.  Her tail was chewed off.  She no longer had a vulva, only 1/3rd of her rectum was left and she could no longer pee. 
But she came all the way home and had a bowl of grain.  She only cried once while the vet examined her.  What a brave and faithful animal.

But it was impossible to help her and so she was mercifully put down. 

At times like this God's strength is the power that demands that we continue to 'love our neighbor as ourselves' and it is his loving strength that enables us to obey his commands.  I need that strength today.  I cannot do it by myself.

The dog will most likely be relocated to a home away from livestock.  I hope he doesn't harm a child next.  But he will not be coming back here, the neighbor promised.  The very wealthy neighbor has promised to pay for our loss.  But what about the loss of milk, the loss of companionship?  He just said he was losing his dog, too.  Just because he did not take him through obedience training.  I feel sorry for the dog.  Dogs need proper training, not foolish owners.

We have cougars, bears, lynx, bob cat, coyote, wolf and have never lost an animal to predators (except for a few poultry), but this untrained rottweiler has attacked twice in 4 months.  Why does the neighbor not keep him on a leash as he promised he would? 

Good bye Netty Betty.  You were a very special friend.  We will miss you.