The Gallery

WWOOFers who visited us in 2006



January 2006: recieved an email from Michael requesting to stay, but asking "Must I really camp?!" Thus, a mistake was discovered in the WWOOF directory. He travelled from Bremen in Germany to be with us for the month of February; happy to verify the comfort of our sheltered caravan. At this time, he helped with preparation of the vegetable garden, the erection of a small fence, the repair of a crumbling stone wall plus daily care of the hens. He is pictured fixing up a new tool handle. Michael was a keen athletic type who took his biking seriously, attracted especially by the cols which see passage from the Tour de France.

Feedback from Michael
Beyond Good and Evil. That was the trademark of Samuel Bowles from Bristol in England; could he work for us during June 2006? Well, I just had to find out what that philosophical statement was all about, so he duly arrived. He helped us with watering, weeding, small DIY projects, and quite unforgetably, the extraction of sheep manure from Michel's byre. Thats a valuable resource for our vegetable growing, and it announced its value by the strenth of its odour! We couldn't help Samuel with his need to play the piano, but this worked out well for our neighbour Frederic who was tickled to hear strains of Chopin and Rachmaninov as he worked at home.

Feedback from Samuel
We don't generally encourage people to come here for less than two weeks, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Beth already had a busy schedule but was eager to share interest in trees and self-sufficiency, so she stopped off briefly during July 2006. She helped us with potting-up, planting-out, weeding and most notably, translation for the commercial pages of our website. Such ability comes naturally for a Canadian from the region of Quebec. We shared her excitement for the ownership of a parcel of forest out on the eastern seaboard, open to wandering bears, wolves and moose; not forgetting the resident beaver which has dammed the mountain stream!

Feedback from Beth
Marian contacted us from Westport on the west coast of Ireland; could she visit during Easter 2006? We were already booked up, so it was during July 2006 that she eventually came. She helped us with watering, potting-up and planting-out, but her forté was childcare. Dealings with her own grand-children as well as years as a teacher had equipped her for this; Rohan especially benefitted from her attentions. We assured her that ragondin (which frequent the river banks) are vegetarian, but even the summer heatwave would not drive her to our local river pool; otherwise she coped well with sightings of rats and snakes. Thats just how it is in the country!

Feedback from Marian
Born in Detroit, USA. Travelled in Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay and Brazil. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Turkey. Morocco, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali. India. Where would you logically go after all that lot? Izaut de l'Hotel of course! And afterwards? The Netherlands and Belgium. Stephanie is our best travelled helper, at the age of just 20! She came to us in August 2006 and helped with the hens, woodwork, and nursery work, quickly acquiring the skill of cleaning plum-stones for future planting. Her education encouraged her to travel, collecting credits in different countries; much of her leisure was spent agonising over the next stage, a term in St Petersburg, Russia?

Feedback from Stephanie
Chris came from southern England and stayed with us in September of 2006. He was a dab-hand with the axe, quickly splitting the wood stacked high to the roof, visible behind; apart from which, his chainsaw training proved useful to us. He also helped us assemble a new set of hen perches and otherwise with the daily hen-care. His passion for deer stalking often took him wandering in the forest, or waiting motionless at a good viewpoint. That hunting instinct was put to advantage in nightly raids to exterminate rats in the henhouse; which was while our kittens were yet too small to pose any threat. Chris was our first visiting WWOOFer to come out climbing, helping me discover the region's crags.

Feedback from Chris
Did you ever see a meaner shadow cast by a more genial fellow?! Few will have the privilege of helping us with our house foundations, for that stage is nearly complete. Ethan took this work in his stride, along with mixing concrete and brick-laying. He came to us during October 2006 from Connecticut in the USA, on a tour which also included Wales, Ireland, the Netherlands and Czekia. As an accomplished canoeist he might well have preferred to be out on the sea in his spare time, but here settled for climbing which helped discover more of the region's crags. Equally memorable will be our discovery of the Gouaillou cave together; stooping in tight passages, breaking into reverberant vaults or groping the stalacmites. Excitement enough, without meeting a bear head-on; we later heard the rumour that a passing bear had holed up in those chambers!

Feedback from Ethan
When a request comes for a 3-day stay at short notice, we are rarely in a position to oblige. Julie and Jonathon's email was one such, and it was almost ignored; however, a quick look at their travel blog made it evident that we had much in common, and we invited them to stay until Jack arrived. The one task which they notably helped us with was our first maize harvest; to gather the cobs and remove the husky covers ready for storage. A 3-day stay can be valuable to us, but more so was the possibility that these friends return in February.

Feedback from Jonathon in Feb2007
Jack visited during October from Wales, or Payes de Galles as they say here. He helped us with hen-care, tree planting and general veg garden maintenance. In his spare time Jack strolled the countryside looking for characterful bits of wood; then back at base, out came his knife to whittle them into curious and intricate shapes. Polygons, chain-links, chains, or lizards, turtles and other fauna were amongst his repertoire. He made music using a guitar, a Hawaiian reed-flute, or a conch shell, and when not doing, he shared appreciation of new music with us daily. Did you know that King Crimson and Pink Floyd both rank as 'progressive rock' ? OK we're talking of a past epoch, nearly; Jack introduced us to contemporary samples from the Icelandic group Sigur Ros.

Feedback from Jack
J-B finally scorned air-travel. He cycle-toured down through the Iberian peninsula, Morocco, The Sahara and Mauritania. Plotted the rejuvenation of mangrove swamps in Senegal. Powered through his return passage with pannier loads which finally crushed the wheel bearings. His timely arrival in December chez nous had him suffer just one night of frosty camping. Then he set about analysing our farming practice in the most studious fashion; during breakfast, while working, after work and at supper time. Dedication and application. Some long way back, Jean-Baptiste was at home in Normandy, where he schooled for his BTS in organic farming. Someday, he'll probably return to start his own farm, but till then, he's content to observe at a safe distance. Happy, Jean Bati? Yeeah!

Feedback from Jean-Baptiste