After I left uni, I went WWOOFing for a couple weeks. So that’s volunteering on an organic farm in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
The one I went to had like a billion different things going on:
- macadamia nut orchard
- avocado orchard
- horses (the big one kept jumping the fence into the little pony’s area to eat her grass…)
- chickens (fresh eggs!)
- turkeys (they perch on the fence at night!)
- a dog (Sam the bearded collie)
- other fruit trees like lemon, persimmon, orange and guava
- vegetable garden including beets and yams and taro (taro is like potato but much richer)
- native tree plantings between pastures (matai, kauri, karaka, rewa rewa, pohutukawa, totara and kahikatea)
I was the only WWOOFer there at that time, and I stayed in a little shack/hut/cottage thing near the main house.
I learned oodles of things from Chris, the farmer.
- how to herd sheep (it mostly involves just opening the gate and letting them run through but sometimes you have to do a little zigzag chase/clap/yell thing)
- purpose of shelter belts (treelines planted between the pastures to shelter them from wind)
- why not to plant bamboo in shelter belts (it keeps sending up shoots on the wrong side of the fence…)
- how to sort through yams (and cook them too!)
- how to identify native New Zealand trees
- how to shear a sheep (or at least part of one)
- how to sort wool into different quality grades
- the latest gossip on a local travel agent who had been neglecting to actually book flights for people…
- how to plant grass
You could even see Mt Taranaki from some of the pastures!