Friday, December 30, 2016

Ode To A Wwoofer A Photographic Account - Part Two

Since I've been practicing gratitude, all sorts of good things have come my way. The frog key ring and cat playing bookmark for example!

I have to recommend the wwoof system. If you're growing crops, vegetables or fruit organically or producing organic products there is a whole world wide website that connects travelers who want to come and help and learn. I have hosted quite a few wwoofers over the last 4 years. I must say I have loved every one. (That is apart from one who I loved at the time, from Reunion Island, but afterwards realized that she wasn't actually sound but no harm done).
Such a major mission, emptying the compost bin, flattening the ground and moving it and the leaf mould crate into situ. That was before debrambling the whole growing area perimeter

I learnt from my most recent visitors, Jordi and Ester, that there are only 7 vegan wwoof hosts in Ireland. They said they would only volunteer for a vegan operation. This was already like me and my Christmas shopping. I only want to buy things that are made ethically. I realized that I have never spent any length of time with really likeminded people before...making this 6 weeks perhaps the happiest I've ever spent at Harmony Hall.

I really loved their presence and it saved the day at times.  Jordi literally sorted out everything. It was funny to consider that at my place, he was the strong man but at the community garden, I am the strong one, called upon to dig, carry or cut carpet (don't ask!) Still, between us, I realized that everything really is possible and everything was solvable. That energy has been left around the house as a major legacy.

Having eaten the best apples ever we walked a few of the dogs at PAWS shelter. Other animal advocacy involved attending an Empy The Pounds parade, to promote adopting. We also translated a powerful and brilliant short story he wrote, that I am allowed to share and will do in another post of its own.   

The wwoofers also understood the extent of problems for animals, from strays to laboratories to farms and beyond. This was handy as I was already facing into the 2016 dog shelter tender problems. But perhaps I'll write in a separate blog about what's happening there. Suffice to say, public money in Ireland is not reaching the organizations that are accountable, skilled or interested in the task in hand.
The money goes to private companies who can prove they can extort further money from the contract, via exploiting the socially challenged group of people or animals they're enlisted to take care of.

To win the dog shelter tender, the applicant has to show that they already have two similar financial contracts. To try and attract that sort of money, the first idea we had was to do videos of the pigs, like Ester the Wonder Pig has done and raised hundreds of thousands towards a sanctuary. 

This was our first! 
Funny Pig Interview Video

In practical terms, Jordi achieved more in a few weeks than I could have imagined. Possibly a low point, although he didn't show it, was fitting a new catflap twice in 2 weeks (this is what happens if pigs come to the door and feel they should be able to come in too.

Front door with 6th catflap broken off by pesky pigs and gale force breeze blowing through

Low wall extension made from the exact amount of blocks I had around, with special door way for cats and dogs - modeled here by Gizmo

This was designed and built within a couple of days of their departure. One day it will be plastered in the ivory K-rend like the house and maybe some perspex on top or pallet planters as a sheltered growing space.

But it's already lovely with a little love heart door stop, set in concrete and two lots of hooks to deter persistent snouts

So many sunny autumn days to spend time with the menagerie

What a labour of love. One statement was 'To do that willow you need 3kg of passions' which was an entertaining angle from where I eventually realized he had said 'patience'

There was always time to say hello to the animals tucked into the hedge for sheltered sunbathing

The whole 250m or so fully woven, including arches!

I never dreamed I'd get the windows sanded, undercoated, glossed and cleaned inside and out this year!

I took several pictures as the whole house was tinged pink with the sunset. This also has the horse box in, in Magic's paddock. This was another incredible dream come true. I pictured a bale of hay in there for Magic to nibble away on ad lib. But the bale was 10 inches too big. Then we pulled and sawed off 10 inches only to have it expand another 10 inches. Three whole hours at least at sub zero temperatures and after nightfall. Surely above and beyond the call of duty!

I can't get past the geometry and vibration of this place on evenings like that

Empty The Pounds Parade

Just before the temperatures dropped, the infrared heat lamp and all the other outdoor bulbs were installed!

Risking life and limb to paint the whole height of the stairwell. There had been two giant knobs that could be distinctly made out over the stairs and over the office - where the new stove's back boiler had over flowed. I felt there was a definite symbollocks to them as I had so many problems getting the stove installed and now the place is pristine and warm and Stanley functioning perfectly! Closer and closer we get to self sufficiency. What a Godsend Jordi was.
And I'm not joking when I say that he was sent by God! He actually found God when he was here and forgave us all our sins. Does it get anymore Christmassy than that?!

I have forgotten to mention loads of daily help and laughs and great meals but all I can say is, if you're trying to do something positive and environmental, join the wwoof website as a host. It is the way forward!

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