04.02.2011 - 14.02.2011 24 °C
After an introduction to the other wwoofers, Peter, Joya, and Catlin, and an extensive tour of Harmony Farm (HF), we sit down with everyone for dinner. Ron and Leanne really promote giving thanks to the food we eat since it all comes from the earth and shouldn't be taken for granted.
In terms of work, Julie gets the assignment of putting together a couple of educational YouTube videos about building a solar shower and making seed propagating pots from newspaper. She also designs an educational flow chart of the water cycle with human influences. Aside from these tasks she upholsters a bench for the wwoofer's cabin by reusing carpet underlay and carpet. I take on the task of building a coat rack from olive wood and a nice piece of reclaimed lumber, and making saw horses from various used materials. We are also quite involved in preparing for Leanne's 50th birthday party this weekend. This includes preparing compost toilets, designing a fire pit, putting together seating for 80 people, preparing food, and gathering bbq's from neighbours. It is going to be an awesome party and everyone can't wait for the weekend.
During our afternoons off work we head to the beach, check out the local artsy markets, and score some good buys at the outlet stores in Otaki. One afternoon we head to Waikanae Wetland Restoration Site and meet John Topliff. Julie came across this intriguing restoration site on the internet before we left home and emailed John to find out if we could help in some way. Being a good-hearted kiwi John invited us strangers into his home and offered to take us on a self-guided tour. John started removing invasive plants and planting trees alongside the river, in the floodplain, and in and around a wetland 35 years ago. He was not asked to do this, he just recognized that it needed to be done and he did it, he did not ask for help and expected no help. Eventually he was recognized for his work, and now that he is elderly the Council has offered to take on the project and continue his good work. John is a very inspirational man and our conversation went from ecology to life and death. This experience will never be forgotten and it made us realize how everything that happens in life happens for a reason. Life is a journey and not everything is in your control. Even so, love the life you live and live the life you love.
Back at HF, the birthday party starts on Friday with a bon-fire. As the fire crackles everyone shares a story, some words of wisdom, or says something special to Leanne. The party continues into Saturday, the highlight being a potluck dinner with a roasted hogget (a juvenile sheep older than 1 year). There are games to play and live music to listen to. Julie and I, and the rest of the wwoofers help throughout the day setting up and cleaning up etc.
Wwoofing at HF has really reinforced the need for each of us to use every resource the earth offers us wisely and not to take anything for granted. For example, by filling a mug with water first and then pouring it into the empty kettle to boil you are not using any more electricity or water than you need. This is a great tip that everyone can easily practice. Our time at HF has also made us realize how much of our 'garbage' can actually be reused. Items we throw away can be used create something else you just have to be creative.
HF was our first time wwoofing with a group of people, which made for great laughs and someone to talk to other than Julie! We met great people from around the globe, each person with their own stories and helpful hints to share. So after ten days at HF it was tough to say goodbye to the new friends we had made.