I am quite a solitary person, and although we were hosting Wwoofers for just 1 week at a time, having a relative stranger full time in your life was quite exhausting. We do provide a separate building for the Wwoofers, but when they arrive alone, we want them also to feel part of the family, but cooking and heating separately all have a cost. It was our Romanian Wwoofer who suggested that instead of waiting for the Wwoofers to find us and host them one at a time, we should put an urgent request on the site with specific dates for specific tasks and host a group for 2 weeks. So we did. Within 3 days we had 10 offers of help for 2 weeks in Februay/March. Some not so practical as they maybe had not read the dates we required or wanted to stay too long. It was at the time the new Wwoof website was launched and my chosen 4 were a result of their patience with the glitches, a friendly approach and enthusiasm for the project. A Canadian, a French couple and an English lad.
My 2nd exciting discovery was the No Dig Organic Home and Garden Book by Charles Dowding.
This was a revelation. No fights with weeds, no constant hoeing, NO DIGGING!! just tons of lovely bulky manure and brown cardboard. I became obsessed, stopping in the dead of night to pick up cardboard left by the side of the road or near recycling bins. I become a connoisseur of Midden Heaps. Dry and layered or decomposed and squelchy. I was happy to collect from any. Layering like a strange lasagne, those weeds were going to be suffocated into submission.
And so with a variety of abilities and life skills The Fabulous Four, worked initially in strange Cumbrian February sunshine and then in very usual Cumbrian Rain, to tame the old chicken run, and renovate the hen house (more bulky manure) chop back the devouring perennials, remove weeds from the cobbles (by hand), move and use the 10 year old household compost to fill buckets ready for planting, move paving slabs from the lawn, create paths, fill bags and bags and more bags with manure and layer it with cardboard and when rain truly stopped play, to process wool ready for dying. The only thing we have not yet done is plant some seeds.
They worked and lived together, sometimes we all ate together, sometimes I cooked and sometimes they did. Everybody had companionship and their own space. It was a perfect arrangement, and new bonds and friendships made. It felt more like a university field trip than a working party.