Wwoof! Wwoof! Wwoof!

That’s not Foxy, our house dog, my constant companion, expressing her canine opinion – it’s just me, in a goofy mood, wanting to let you know of an organization that we recently became aware of and have had quite favourable success.

It is not a new organization, but is new to us, and is apparently quite popular worldwide. WWOOF is the internet connection for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOF is an exchange of food and lodging – in return for volunteer help – linking volunteers with organic farms in whatever country they choose to explore.

 West Wind Farms is knee-deep in the direction of organic farming by raising pasture-fed animals, black cattle, heritage Berkshire hogs, meat chickens, fresh eggs and Boer meat goats, in large open fields with humane, well-ventilated housing.

As well, in addition to the larger-than-average kitchen garden, are gardens two, three and four, each in numerical number larger than the one before, with combined acreage exceeding, I’m sure, their number. It became apparent that help was definitely needed. Acquiring WWOOFers to aid seemed to be the most logical economic answer.

We tried it once – a couple from France, who came early in April. As snow still clung in most of the hollows, they helped gather eggs, feed the chickens and bed the animals, and during their two-week stay, they became familiar with all morning and evening chores. During the day, their first week they finished the planting of just short of 100 greater-than-head-height pine, spruce and tamarack trees that we had moved from Fergus and grown in large pots in a proposed garden area.

They also cleaned up a considerable number of trees that were torn from their roots by the tornado five years previous. Chain saws could be heard singing their savage song while burning brush crackled in the frosty air, adding hand warming warmth to a portable radio’s selection of snappy tunes. Their two-week stay passed in a flash.

We tried it twice – two chaps from Belgium who, in their first week, diligently tackled, with chains assisted by the persistent tugging of our big John Deere tractor, the pulling out of stumps and the digging out of some tremendous-sized boulders that needed to be removed from the centre of a field newly introduced to the plough.

The following three weeks were spent doing a.m. and p.m. chores: cleaning stalls, picking stones from the proposed gardens, and helping to plant the crops that needed to be planted early: peas, beans, corn, carrots and potatoes – not necessarily in that order.

And three times we tried it – this time with a young man from Germany. His four weeks lapped by three the time spent by the WWOOFers from Belgium. Language was not a problem as they all spoke the basics of English quite well. Here, again and again, it was morning and evening chores, picking humongous heaps of fist-sized stones from the gardens, weeding and preparing the soil for planting.

His two-week term ended with the transplanting of the plants started in the house from seed and transferred to a temporary front porch greenhouse to harden off. These included the cabbage and kale family, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and other assorted vegetables.

In a nutshell, Westwind Farms could not be more pleased with the willing help, so far received, from the WWOOFers.

There was an overall feeling that they worked with you, not for you. It was a pleasure having them stay with us.

Perhaps our paths will cross again.

Take care, ’cause we care,





Barrie Hopkins