Karen texted me over the weekend. She’d be out of town for a day, would I like to borrow her woofers? Great workers, the text read, can build things, fencing, you name it.
Really? Free labor and they know carpentry? The list of unfinished projects that lurks in the back of my mind suddenly started making its way onto paper.
Woofers (technically WWOOFers) are volunteers who, for room and board, will come and work on your farm for a few weeks or longer. The organization, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, started in Europe but has spread through all fifty States. Woofing is a popular way to travel cheap and gain experience for a lot of younger people.
Karen, who owns Georgiatown Farm, relies on woofers throughout the year. Her woofers, depending on their skills, feed animals, process poultry, castrate hogs or build fencing. The list of needs is endless, so is the challenge of finding the right help.
Her offer couldn’t have come at a better a time. The second intern, who had committed to stay through September, decided to move on this past weekend and my feelings towards the ‘millenial’ generation was running a little thin. Finding a young person with real life skills and a solid work ethic seemed to be too much to ask.
Rue and Phil arrived Monday morning. In a few short hours, working steady through the rain, they put a new roof on the chicken coop, fixed the axel of another coop, and tore apart an old composting bin. They used the tools I had and made due when ‘the right tools’ were lacking.
At lunch we sat on the porch and talked, as peers, about farming. Phil is on an odyssey to woof in all 50 states. Rue, a young but accomplished carpenter, wants to get exposed to the more wrenching aspects of working with animals, to see if she really wants to raise livestock.
I’m wise enough to know that a few hours doesn’t tell you if the person has what it takes to stick it out. But those woofers gave me hope again that there are young people out there, with the skill and the hunger to be farmers. Thank you Phil and Rue, you gave me more than just a good day’s work. Woof on!
I’d love to hear about woofing experiences from others ~ do you know someone who has woofed? What worked for you in a woofing experience? Thanks in advance.