We got the keys to our house Sunday eve and have spent the majority of waking time there, ever since. While it’s still empty (’til tomorrow; cross fingers, no rain), we’ve jumped right into gardening, pulling out four trailer-loads of wisteria vine. I love wisteria–and there’s plenty left–but it’s too much of a good thing. I suspect it was planted ~1900, and it’s huge…hearty…and ev-ery-where. We uncovered stone steps, hidden hosta, a delicate flowering tree (to be identified), and a large rhododendron. I’ll have more (and hopefully better) pictures in my next post, how I’m engaging…blissfully!…lately.
For any sore gardeners out there, this and this and especially this helped soothe the muscles.
Okay. On to that tidbit from my *last* post!
It hasn’t escaped me that my dreaming…and maybe yours…has downshifted, you could say, the past couple years. (Reality. Sigh.)
I’ve noticed, though, I’ve started dreaming again. About places and spaces beyond a few hours’ car ride. That itch to meet up with my brother in Prague has returned. The dream of bringing E. to Honduras, to visit her dear friend, Ivanna, is forming. Not to the point of shopping for airfare–yet. But —
— dreaming’s coming back. And I’m glad for that.
At the end of a walk a few days ago, I stopped to catch up with our cottage neighbors. They told me about their nephew, Adam, 23, a college grad from Ohio. After letting go of a Naval dream, he’s heading to Hawaii next week, where he’ll be living on a farm for the next couple years. In exchange for room + board, he’ll learn the ins + outs of ecological farming, organic gardening, and its role in the sustainability movement.
(That’s Monday-Thursday. He’s got Friday, Saturday, Sunday to himself, and he’s thinking wait staff for cash, surfing for fun.)
This is WWOOF. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, ‘linking people who are passionate about healthy food, healthy living and a healthy planet’. It’s a cultural and educational exchange program on 5 continents…in more than 130 countries…with 1,549 organic farm hosts in the United States, alone. (A $40 membership fee grants you access to community database and unlimited matches for the year. Here’s the list of destinations. Buckle up!)
Not everyone has to engage like Adam. You can ‘WWOOF’ for a matter of days…weeks…or months. You can WWOOF no matter your age: ‘Anyone under the age of 18 must travel with a parent or legal guardian. There is no upper age limit for WWOOFing and many farmers welcome the maturity older WWOOFers bring.’ Among the work WWOOFers do: beekeeping, creating straw houses, growing vegetables, tending to wine vineyards, caring for animals. (And more.)
I was eager to share this with Troy (who’s worked with organic dairy farmers since 2002 and is always interested in best farming practice.) While I was thinking about his farms + farmers, he went to what’s possible for us, in the second half of our lives.
Palm to forehead!
Your primary passion might be sustainable farming. OR maybe you love to travel…immerse in other cultures…you’re game for contributing time + energy in exchange for a unique (+ cost-effective) travel experience that also matches your values.
Curious? (I am!) Here’s a good place to start.
First – congrats on those keys and the treasures you’re unearthing! Second – I’m starting to think more about engaging closer to home (volunteering, time with family) … I’m at a much different point in my life and find that sleeping in my own bed is a comfort!
After 2+ months of sleeping in not-my-own bed, I can certainly appreciate that, Mary!!
Oooh, keeping my fingers crossed that the weather cooperates for the move!
I’m a ways off from thinking about what to do in the second half of my life (well, maybe not THAT far off), but this opportunity sounds like such a rewarding one! I’m not sure that farming is something I could do for a long period of time, but the opportunity to help out for a short period certainly is appealing. Something to file away for later!
Funny you should say that–the first title I had for this post was Something for my Tickler File! 🙂
You sound so much happier now, that move was what you needed. Good to have big dreams. I’m not ready for them yet, but who knows what the future might bring.
I think one of the neat things about the organization is that I could travel 65 miles from home or across the globe….could spend 3 days or 3 months… talk. Big dream or not *as* big dream…:)