First 2 Weeks of WWOOFing & the LWW Experiment (1-14th June, 2009)

This WWOOFing business sure brought with it a series of surprises.

For one, our first WWOOFing hosts appeared to be extremely wealthy, on an idealic plot of land with views out to the ocean and Vancouver Island. I mean, this place was stunning! I don’t know what I expected…obviously farms that were a bit less opulent? Did I mention they had a pool and a tennis court?

Not only that, we had commenced WWOOFing at the perfect time of year – well into Spring, with the heat of the summer showing its promise.

We felt so blessed, and counted each of our blessings every day. It was such a pleasure to get up in the morning with the rising of the sun; fill our tums with a hearty and healthy breakfast and spend the day in the sunshine immersed in nature. How different from the office life this was! The only question that came to us was: why oh why had we not done this earlier? However, it mattered not; because here we were, soaking up the sunshine with our hands in the dirt, surrounded by the bounties of nature. There was nowhere else we’d rather be.

Each day started pretty much the same: we rose with the sun, trundled up to the main house for breakfast with our hosts; then met with the ‘garden manager’ for our duties for the day.

We would start work around 8.00am; joined the whole family at 1pm for lunch; then worked another hour or two, with the rest of the afternoon off. We then shared a delectable evening meal with the family once more before enjoying the evening at our leisure…which quite often included many a wine and a laugh before bed. Oh yes – our hosts made their own wine from their vineyard! So there was always an abundance.

On that point, when we first decided to do the LWW Experiment, I worried how I would manage without the nectar from the gods. You see, I am quite a wine lover; and there were not many an evening when I would not enjoy at least one glass of wine with dinner. This journey then brought with it a challenge – or so I thought. I would not have imagined that my desire was so powerful that I would create a steady flow of the delectable ascended grape!

Not only the lovely home made wine was enjoyable; the meals at this place were also wonderful. The family were vegetarian (which we found with most WWOOF hosts) and we soon discovered that vegetarians did not eat lettuce leaves at every meal, and not much else – as we for some reason were lead to believe. In fact, we were constantly amazed at the meals we consumed that were absent of meat (bar some chicken or fish now and then). There was not a day that we felt short changed with our meal or not completely satisfied. Vegetarian meals were awesome!

The first two weeks on the farm went by quite quickly; and very pleasantly. We were kept busy with tasks such as:

-          weeding beds and planting over 100 green beans, red beans and peas

-          potting around 150 tomatoes (4 different species) to be grown in the greenhouse

-          learning to drive the gaitor (like a golf cart for a farm – loads of fun)

-          planting around 180 broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, lettuce, beans and  golden squash in mini pots

-          Weeding the garlic, parsley and sage patch

-          Clearing a mammoth section of garden beds that were overcome by a jungle of weeds

live without work full time vacation

Planting veggies in seedling trays

live without work full time vacation

Weeding the garlic, parsley & sage patch

live without work full time vacation

BF with the gator

 

live without work full time vacation

Loading the gator with weeds for the compost pile

As the family got to know us better, we were then tasked with other duties such as:

-          Administration (me)

-          Cooking (me)

-          Fence fixing (BF)

-          Floor laying (BF)

-          General handyman work (BF)

 

live without work full time vacation

BF fixing the fence

So during the week we just enjoyed the relaxing farm life, and doing our chores. However, on weekends, we would go exploring.

The first weekend that arrived, we donned our hiking boots and went hiking around the island. We wandered down to the nearest beach. Although it was too cool for swimming, it was quite lovely; and we were soon distracted by the discovery of a swing!  We had discovered swings before we started the LWW Experiment, when we were exploring Vancouver; and they became a new ‘thing’ for us. They symbolised freedom and child-like fun, and it became a ritual – that whenever we came across a swing; we would join forces with it to do what it was designed to do. More on the joy of swings in a later post!

live without work full time vacation

Finding my inner child on a swing on Bowen Island

After the beach (and swing) we walked down to the town centre of Bowen Island. This was quite a hike but it was such a lovely day and there was excitement in the air – we were on an expedition!

The town of Bowen Island, Snug Cove, is simply gorgeous – a great reflection of its name! A cute little place with little artsy farsty shops, a small convenience store, some restaurants and a lovely park and boardwalk alongside the Marina where the boats moor.

live without work full time vacation

Beautiful Snug Cove

live without work full time vacation

The bay at Snug Cove

We spent our time stalking baby Canadian geese, enjoying the views from Snug Cove across to Horseshoe Bay. We also took a hike up the steep hill overlooking the Marina and had a bite to eat on a rock, enjoying the views.

live without work full time vacation

Stalking baby Canadian geese

Our first two weeks of our LWW Experiment were so far well above our expectations (although it was hard to have any, as we had no idea what we were in for!). We started to see a life that we could have together some day in the far future, similar to this one we were experiencing with our hosts. We also made the decision that we loved Canada and did not want to rush through the country and be forced to leave when BF’s tourist visa was expired. We therefore started getting our papers together to apply for Canadian residency.

However, after two weeks in this amazing place we started to realise that we were at a cross roads: we could either stay here all summer; or we could move on and see as much as we could of Canada whilst the summer lasted. Although we loved it here, we were feeling if we didn’t make a move soon we may never. So it was time to think about moving on.

 

EMAIL TO MUM

3 June 2013

Hi Ma!

Wow, I’m exhausted.  I knew it was going to be tough until my body gets used to it, especially after working behind a desk for so long and not much exercise.

The place we are staying at is stunning and the people are realy lovely.  I think I told you we were invited to a colleague’s place for a party on the weekend then we start work on the Monday.  We had the best weekend with the loveliest people and the most beautiful scenery!  So much fun and we’ve made really great friends and contacts for down the track!

The farm we’re on is a woman who is originally Australian.  She’s lost her husband (she’s 54) and is living here with her Dad, who’s in his 80′s and lost his wife, her brother (not sure of age and background), a friend who helps out on the farm and a Phillipino house maid.  Oh, and then there are the 9 dogs!  They’re all gorgeous and all sorts of breeds from poodle to blue cattle dog!  The cattle dog is blind and fat and very old but somehow gets around.  We have just been warned not to startle him and to run if you hear the warning growl!  We’re falling in love with a beautiful dog that looks a bit like a white golden retriever but is some other breed.  It was treated badly so a bit shy but she’s getting used to us now.  There’s also a beautiful beagle who is a little Houdini so we have to be careful when we let him off the leash.

Day one was great, but hard.  We potted about 150 tomato plants (4 varieties), weeded three garden beds and planted green beans, red beans and peas.  Planted 180 veggie seeds (pak choi, della rossa lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and squash).  We then mowed the lawn in front of one of the guest houses and weeded the parsley, garlic and sage garden.

Day 2 (today) we were both feeling quite stiff, but we were ready to get back into it.  We were assigned a garden down the back of the property (which is about 10 acres) to weed and mow and prepare for planting.  It is a huge job and took all day just to do one section because it hadn’t been touched since last summer as not much grows in winter.  We have the use of a little gaiter (like a four wheeler but with a little tray on the back for carrying loads).  We were very pleased with ourselves with the section we weeded today.

We have our own ensuite room in one of the guest houses which is very comfortable and awesome views.

We have been fed amazingly – they are mostly vegetarian but the food is to die for.  And boy do we appreciate it after all the hard work!

Its going to take the poor little bod a while to adjust to this kind of work but it really is so beautiful and so nice to be outdoors, doing the work at our own pace.  We’re here for two weeks and if we feel like a bit longer we’ll extend the stay.  I’m sure if we get stuck into a project we won’t want to leave it half way through.  There is plenty to do around here and we’re learning a lot and getting ideas of how to do things for when we eventually decide to stay in one place for a while!

Ok, I will get going now and quickly put some photos up, then I have to go up to the house for dinner time.

Love you heaps and heaps and stay tuned for more updates!

xoxoxoxo

 

EMAIL TO MUM

6 June 2013

Hi Ma,

I must admit, we are really enjoying this.  The weather had been amazing – getting up to 30 degrees, which our hosts have been saying is quite unheard of for this time of year.  It’s so nice to feel our bodies working for a change, to feel so relaxed after a hard day’s work, and to come in to a delicious meal all prepared and ready for us.  We feel spoilt!

The farm is more of a private farm, although they are preparing a crop of veggies to sell this year and see how that goes.

The last couple of days we have been working on the bottom veggie patch and it is taking a while.  It’s getting too hot in the afternoons to stay down there so we’ve been doing more relaxing jobs in the shade in the afternoons, or cleaning out the grape drums ready for use for when they prepare the grapes for this year’s batch of wine.

Well, nearly dinner time, I’ll quickly put some pics up then we’ll head up to the main house for a lovely meal and conversation.

Love you heaps!!

xoxo

 

EMAIL TO MUM

8 June 2013
I have a favour to ask of you.  We are preparing our application for residency here in Canada and require some birthdates etc from you:

  • your year of birth
  • Dad’s year of birth
  • Steve’s year of birth
  • Debbie’s date of birth

We are going to submit the application in a week or so and at least then it may be processed by the end of the year and will give Jay an extension on his current visa.

Well, loads to do today (Sunday) before we get back into another work week. Playing a little tennis later too, and maybe taking dip in the pool.  I’ll put up some more pics on Facebook from the last few days.

Love you heaps!

xoxo

 

EMAIL TO MUM

9 June 2013

Things are great here on Bowen Island.  They really want us to stay all summer but I think we’re going to head off to our next destination in another week or two.  Bowen Island is pretty small and doesn’t take too long to see it all!

Glad you liked the photos.  I must admit I’m seeing you more and more in me in photos too.  I was also looking at some of the old photos Dad had put up on his facebook, some with you with your long straight dark hair and I can definitely see the resemblance.  I guess it was harder to tell when I was blonde and wore make up!

We are feeling that it is almost time to move on.  We really want to see all of Vancouver Island and its surrounding islands whilst it is still good weather.  I think we have until about September before it starts getting cool again.  We really are spoilt here, and we know we won’t always be as lucky as we have been here.  The people are just lovely – they all have such a great sense of humour and sense of fun.  Our meal times are great because we all sit together and joke around and have some more serious conversations too.

We haven’t been spending money at all, except one day where we stretched about $3.50 to buy ourselves some lunch.  We will be scrimping as much as possible when we do need to spend money so that we always have some back up money if we ever get stuck.  We figure the only time we’ll need to spend really is travelling between each farm, so our money should last us a long time.  We have payment holidays on our major bills so we don’t have to worry about paying those for three months.  I have still been making a couple of sales on my business and am getting a little bit more enthusiasm for it again now that I don’t have a day job and have more time on my hands.

We have put the feelers out to a couple of places in and around Vancouver Island so just need to make one of them concrete so we have a next destination.  We are actually quite eager to camp as well, and may take a couple of days to do that before we start at the next place.

Almost dinner time here (yummy!) so will take a shower and get freshened up.  I’m still quite grotty after tree lopping and weeding today but wanted to reply to you before I did anything else!

Love you so much!  xoxo

 

 

 

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