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WWOOFers who visited us in 2007

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A lot of folks visit us because they want to learn French. For Thérèse the converse applied; she was on her way to Finland, where the useful common language is English. She came to us from Rodez in France for two weeks in January. Thérèse pruned our black-currant bushes, prepared coffrages for the foundations, and started assembling chicken transport cages with selected hazel sticks. Many of our visitors have climbed the Cagire, but none have braved a night up there; Thérèse was un-ruffled by the vagrant Pyrenean bears, in fact she was at home in the wild. She otherwise spent her spare time playing the flute, or observing birdlife during shorter walks out.

Feedback from Thérèse
After the brief visit in Nov 2006, Jonathon returned alone to work with us in February; Julie had returned ahead of schedule. We shared the passion of timber frame construction during this period, and Jonathon worked on the first timbers for our new house, producing more than a dozen braces for use in the roof structure. He helped transplant some black walnuts, set up some cold frames, pose new shelves, and repair a leaking roof gable. He was on one occasion asked to help clean out the chicken house, but to make good of his talent, he worked mostly on construction projects. In his spare time we discussed timber choice: douglas, cedar or chestnut; mortise and tenon joinery and the selection of tools.

Feedback from Jonathon
We're getting more and more folk like Jackson, fortunately! Students of nature, rural life and reality. People who accept that down-sizing and autonomy necessitate hard work. He came to us from Colorado in the USA, via England where he had worked in London. During June 2007, he applied himself diligently to tasks such as supporting tomatoes, foundation work, or weeding young trees. Out of work, Jackson keenly grasped the opportunity to rock-climb; he moved up from indoor walls to big cliffs with measured confidence. He departed us for a quick foray into Spain before the big home return, and some serious decisions concerning continued education.

Feedback from Jackson
Excepting all generalisation, Jim and Gnaire (nigh-ree) waited until they were approaching their 50's before starting to WWOOF! A large garden and orchard in the town had become too small, and they were warming to an urban exit and some kind of organic production of a larger scale. That was set to be north of Auckland in New Zealand; a mild temperate climate where one can produce avocadoes or even bananas (yes, I'm jealous!). Their stay was sadly foreshortened by the death of Jim's father (RIP), but while here, they took on tree weeding, terrace clearing and the potato harvest; the practice and the methodology. I am confident they will work out efficient land management with such application.

Feedback from Jim & Gnaire
Sedentary lifestyle had limited shelf-life for Hugue, who quit his office job to explore rural living. His first WWWOOF in the Ariége mountains had him herding goats and sheep at 800m. For December he forsook this to learn about trees and chickens with us, before the allure of the forest cabin eventually reclaimed him for the spring lambing season.

While with us Hugue prepared wood for the stove, looked after the hens, made jam, cleared debris and tree stumps from 'the hazel room' and spread gravel in our yard. He shared our home, we shared his music. He took tips from us on tree care, and we took his health tips. It was a good exchange, thats what WWOOF is all about. Apart from the working hours, we shared recreational time enjoyably together both running and climbing.

Feedback from Hugue