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.

1 comment:

  1. BEAUTIFUL story of your year.What a great experience it must be to spend time on your farm and with your family. So much learning,excellent!!
    My husband Rick and I loved our visit to Joybilee farm. Also thank you for our new angora bunnies;)They are beautiful and so gentle. Excited for first angora fiber to work with.
    Thank you for such a wonderful post,informative and fun to read.
    ~God Bless