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WWOOFers who visited us in 2005

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During February of 2005, our first WWOOF visitors came to us from the USA; Iain from Maine & Todd from Philadelphia. There skill in woodwork was useful in creation of henhouse partitions & fittings. Todd also made a fine door for the henhouse & Ian made a small kitchen work-surface which still renders good service.
The day the wall came down. Todd was on the rope, pulling hard. Ian was on standby with a 1st aid kit! In addition to demolition, they also helped with clearance of brambles, clearance of woodland & preparation of fence posts & holes. Demolition work here is all but finished; the work is now rather in construction.
They were here during some of the rudest winter weather when the pipes froze. This was no discouragement for the 5-day pilgrimage they made to Lourdes, using very humble footwear & camping en-route. They are also remembered for rescuing a neighbour's dog; the owner has since become a good friend & a frequent customer for eggs.

Feedback from Ian & Todd
Our 2nd WWOOF guest during April of 2005 was Renske from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She was a student in Environmental Science; while expecting to deal mainly with theoretical issues from an office desk, sh couldn't resist some hands-on experience & chose us as her 1st WWOOF hosts. As chance was, she gained much experience in woodwork, preparing perches for the hens, and otherwise in jointing up the straining posts for the great deer fence. She will be remembered for invaluable inspiration in a method for driving fence posts; the origin of a 3+1/2 metre tripod.

Feedback from Renske
Annette comes from Rostock in Germany; she stayed with us during May 2005, when our 6-week old hens arrived. The hens brought a lot of work with them, & plenty of trouble containing them. They hardly needed their laying boxes at that age, but Annette helped us with all such things. There was much labour in erecting the great deer fence, necessary to protect the red oak & black walnut seedlings which we re-potted together.

Feedback from Anette
Katie came to us all the way from Kyabram in Australia. During the month of June 2005, she helped with yet more fencing work, but also with planting out of seedling trees. This was a critical time for us when we finally gained admission into french officialdom; we became agriculteurs. Katie was a very keen language learner; we practiced verb conjugations while loading compost to improve the soil. Even after this tiring work, Katie was usually still fit for a run on forest footpaths. She is pictured here with the neighbour Michel, who keeps his sheep on our land.

Feedback from Katie
As luck would have it for me, re-gaining running form with Katie came in useful when Kevin arrived during July 2005. He pushed me round all my favorite circuits in record time. Kevin was a student in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon, USA. We did lots of construction work together including the filling-in of a wall section, for which we were both debutantes. The other significant project embarked upon was the feed-siloes for the hens.

Feedback from Kevin
Barry & Julie were our first British WWOOFers, from Nottingham in England. In August Of 2005 they helped us notably with the creation of an egg storage room. The first step for this was to create a small stud wall to close off a bay in the porcherie. France was but a brief stop on their way to Scotland where they hoped to find land on which to build; much of their spare time was spent designing this ideal home.

Feedback from Barry and Julie
It is not normally possible to have more than one WWOOFer here at once; when Jude & Ben asked to stay, we had already booked Jana in, but since they were happy to stay in their camper van, we ended up with 3 helpers for 2 weeks during October 2005. They all worked on the same jobs, but Ben took on an especially hard task pouring a concrete ramp entering the garage. Ben is pictured (middle) with Jana (left) and myself in Frederic's Irish pub.

Feedback from Ben
Of course there are tea breaks! Our projects during October focused on improved facilities for the hens; construction of the egg storage room plus a small isolation enclosure. Jana later took over daily chores with the hens: feeding, cleaning, watering and collecting eggs.

Feedback from Jana
During October we began to stock firewood for the winter. This proved efficient working as a team. Then there is the cutting which Jude helped with; she is pictured here taking a dig at the 'STOVE REF'. In their spare time, Jude, Ben and Jana explored local forest walks, but also took on my challenge to traverse the Cagire. A dawn start and a dusky finish framed this scenic outing with epic 10-hour duration.

Feedback from Jude
Marie Helene is the only WWOOFer to have brought with her a son, a dog and a cat! She was the first genuine French person to WWOOF for us, and we much appreciated her keen-ness to correct our imperfect french. Once an itinerant shepherd working high in the Pyrenees, she now leads a split life between France and Spain, between family, and adventure which recently took her as far as Croatia to look after ailing vultures. Marie Helene first stayed with us during November 2005, but has returned several times since.

Feedback from Marie Helene
Coming from the suburbs of Toulouse, Tanguy was the most local WWOOF visitor we have ever had. His visit coincided with my absence in January 2006, and so Karen was especially glad of his help. As Tanguy was especially conscientous in care of animal life, the hens by turn must also have been especially glad of his help. His green ethic was considerably stronger than ours and we respected that, even if it meant he did no washing up. Even a hot drink was an extravegance to Tanguy, so we could never make him the excuse to put the kettle on!

Feedback from Tanguy