Barefoot woofers

The moment I saw them, the crazy little ditty of Harry McClintock rattled through my brain.

Though probably written, sung and popular years before I struggled from my mother’s birth channel, this line in particular, without known reason, stuck strongly in my mind, and I quote: “a barefoot boy with shoes on, stood sitting in the grass.”

Those whom I saw were young ladies, not boys, but they were barefoot and seemed to be enjoying the cool, soft, textured soils under their feet. They were neither standing, nor were they sitting; they were squatting in a position that I, a long time ago, found necessary to forget about. Oh! To be young again!

This brought back memories of a little longer than long ago, when I was a little gaffer, “knee-high to a grasshopper,” as my uncle teasingly expressed it.  From mid-April until well after the early white frosts of September, only tiny barefoot tracks were left across the grass; shoes were simply not worn by children.

This was not unusual for youngsters sporting a rural route address; it was just a sign of the times. Money saved on shoes not worn was usually sufficient to buy a brand-new pair when the coloured leaves came tumbling down later in the fall. Shoes outgrown were welcome hand-me-down gifts to younger siblings or neighbours’ kids of suitable size. Nothing was wasted; from where it came was never questioned. If the shoe fit, you wore it.

The bare feet that I’m talking about belong to a couple of early-20s WWOOFers (from World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), who hailed from different parts of Germany, having met only briefly here in Canada a couple of days before arriving, one after the other, four days apart, here at Westwind Farms.

Having finished the morning barn chores, they had kicked off their high rubber barn boots, slipped on a pair of flip-flops, and headed directly to their goal of the day: weeding the multi-rowed, lengthy carrot patch.

By the time Jenney, my jitney, and I managed to get to their location, unable to do more than sit, chat and watch, it was quite evident, by the growing piles of wilting weeds accumulating beside the rows of tiny seedling carrots, that they well knew what they were doing.

Their flip-flops lay where they tumbled, having been kicked off, upside down, on the soft worked up soils that surrounded. 

There is no possible way of me painting a verbal picture of the number of weeds that can grow in one small area, but the six-inch-wide rows of weedless lacy-leafed carrots are a thing of beauty, a work of art, which no one, and I repeat, no one, can deny.

Believe me, folks, I’ve been there, done that, all through my growing-up years.

Here at Westwind Farms, we are proud to show the gardens that the WWOOFers have helped create. There is no doubt, in my mind, that prayers are being answered, around the world, by the wanderlust of WWOOFers.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins