We welcomed our first WWOOFer in April. WWOOF stands for WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, but is sometimes colloquially named “Willing Weeders on Organic Farms!” WWOOFers volunteer to work on organic farms or gardens in exchange for accommodations and meals. What most WWOOF hosts and volunteers offer is often much more than that simple exchange. Cultural exchanges, language lessons, tours of the surrounding area, discussions about sustainability, philosophy, artistic inspiration, and long-lasting friendship.
Last year, we had a total of 20 amazing people come to WWOOF for us. They accomplished so much that I didn’t think I would need to re-join WWOOF Canada for this year.
But, I volunteered to be one of the host judges on the 2012 WWOOF amateur video contest, and WWOOF Canada gave me a 2-year extension on my membership as an appreciation gift.
First, Joey organized the tool shed. When more than one person is doing yard work, it is critical that the tools be safely put away in the right place after every job. Too much time can be wasted by having to look for tools.
Then Joey and I renovated the side-yard. Last summer, daughter Tess cut eight half-round lengths of cedar for me.
Joey stripped the bark, then D and he installed them as stairs, by spiking them into the ground with 24″ lengths of re-bar.
We re-weeded the whole side-yard (mostly grass), relieved the tire store of eighteen or so used tires to stabilize the slope and serve as planters,
sieved the soil of stones, then added some horse manure and Salish Soil to the tires before planting them with potatoes, zucchini, Hopkins Landing contest pumpkins, corn (first time I have planted corn), and sunflowers.
Whew, all that makes me tired, and that was only the work of one WWOOFer (Joey) and me (with help from D and Tess.)
More weeding and blackberry-pulling in the lower yard.
We filled in and covered the “great depression”. This area has served as the dumping ground for construction waste for us and our next-door neighbours, who were building at the same time. We gathered and stored all the untreated wood to burn in our masonry mass heater. All inert matter, such as stone chips from the rock facing on the house, ceramic tile scraps, chunks of concrete we found on the lot, and various rocks and weeds were dumped into this depression over the past 3.5 years. It was finally time to cover it up. Since it will never be fertile enough to grow anything, nor diggable, we put heavy-duty landscape cloth over the debris, then covered it with 3/4 round stone mulch. Doesn’t it look beachy now?
Much work was done on a slope down by the garden shed. We’d been looking for a use for a bunch of wood pallets, and thought they might serve as a retaining wall for the soil, as well as host some plants, and since strawberry babies were looking for a home, we designed the wall to cuddle some of them into moss nests.
We painted the pallets with a green mis-tint stain ($10 from the ReStore).
Placed sharp lava rocks top and bottom to discourage slugs.
re-locating moss from the rooftop garden to the spaces between the flagstones:
We are very grateful.
linking to these parties:
Mockingbird Hill Cottage’s A Favorite Thing