carved into the steps of the mud brick studio -
aren't they adorable?
Over the past few years Andrew and Gina have made a very happy home on Andrew's beautiful family farm in the Chittering Valley, and they are now eager to share their space with like-minded folks. A big part of this is their mud brick art studio currently in progress, which you can read about here.
But their vision is about so much more than that.
It's about their recycled pallet WWOOFer camp that will double as eco-friendly housing for folks who take classes at the art studio, or who attend a music festival at the farm, or who visit again a few years after their WWOOF gig to see how much the farm has changed (hint, hint). We spent many a morning pulling pallets apart and removing nails, and Patrick helped build lumber shelves to neatly store all the wood.
collect free pallets
use Andrew's homemade lever to pry them apart,
then pull out the nails
then pull out the nails
turn the pallets into this lumber yard
and stack it all here
(We hear that the WWOOFer camp's communal kitchen/bathroom facilities - made from an old water tank, of course - are already underway and now that the wood is sorted and stored, we're sure that the camp will be finished in no time.)
It's about their organic vegetable garden and orange orchard that they generously share with their guests.
best with peanut butter on sandwiches!
don't forget the capsicum!
best for mashed "potatoes" and ridiculous photo ops!
It's about the eco-stay that they've envisioned, where you will be able to watch the sheep meander across your lawn in the morning, take an art class at the studio in the afternoon, and enjoy a glass of wine with the beautiful sunset or moonrise in the evenings.
(the next one will be tiki themed)
(panels slide out for easy rearranging
and occasionally moving ginormous compost bins into the garden)
when picking up WWOOFers at the train station
Most importantly, it's about their positive energy. Andrew and Gina welcomed us with open arms. They appreciated our efforts. They were hilarious - the 12-14 hours we spent with them each day flew by. They listened to our stories and our ideas and shared theirs in return. They asked us what we wanted to learn and made sure we got the opportunity to learn it. They respected our choice to participate (or not) in their "pasture to plate" approach with a few of their sheep, and they treated the sheep incredibly humanely during this activity. Their approach to "home" and life in general was really an inspiration and they have given us countless ideas for our next life back in Oregon.
Andrew's mom Ann lives about a half kilometer away on the property and she epitomized the same positive attitude - sharing stories and meals while we helped her bottle feed her rescued joeys, prune her hydroponic tomatoes, shear the sheep... and set things on fire. (What IS IT with farmers and their fires?) We hope we have her spirit when we are 78.
more than makes up for no weeding
We spent our last few days in Nepal frantically searching for a WWOOF opportunity near our pre-arranged mid-October WWOOF gig in the Swan Valley just outside of Perth. Gina replied to our email inquiry the same day, saying "as it happens we do have a space, right in the dates you have asked for. Great eh?"
"Great eh?" has officially become the understatement of the year.
Andrew, Gina, Patrick and Jen
Thank you Andrew, Gina and Ann! Good luck with your future projects and we'll see you again someday, somewhere in the world!