My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

This article is about My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm.  Last week I posted an article about Wwopfing, what it was and some of the experiences that others had on the farm. This week I’m going to talk about my experience on the farm.  The first picture below is a view of the farm area from the top of the hill where we were working.  It’s a beautiful country view.

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm - ViewFomTheTop

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

I worked on a farm called Elisha’s Springs Farm in WV. A company called PermaEthos operates on the farm and they offer training, consulting, and community farming. The job description that I signed up for is listed below and was taken from the PermaEthos web site. http://permaethos.com/wwopfer-application/

  • As a PermaEthos Wwopfer you will work for the Tenant farms and the steward of the farm. A wwopfer has the opportunity to observe and be involved with the development of a PermaEthos farm which is under the guidance and consult of world leading permaculture experts.
  • My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

    My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

    You need to be able to lift heavy items multiple times a day. We ask for four hours a day of work for an assigned tenant farmer and then you are free to do as you please.

  • Wwopfers are provided with room and board.
  • Wwopfers have a great opportunity to get a feel for the farm and advance to an element partner position and become a business partner with PermaEthos.

As I mentioned in my last article about Wwopfing, I took a week’s vacation in the spring to go and Wwopf and also a long weekend in early summer to Wwopf.

While the average workday for a Wwopfer is 4 hours, that was not the case when I was there. We all worked twelve to fourteen hours a day, but I knew about the long days before I arrived. In April we were digging several thousand feet of swale on a mountainside. The swale had to be completed before the weekend because we had twenty volunteers coming to plant 5000 plants into the swale and on some other steep slopes.

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm Swale1

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

I knew what a swale was (a ditch on contour (future blog post)) from my permaculture training. Actually I knew most of what we were doing, but it was book smarts and not actual implementation. As a Wwopfer I got the chance to implement the principles I had learned and pick up all kinds of new skills. I became very proficient with the laser level and had several new calluses and blisters caused by a Rogue Hoe that I wrote about two weeks ago. I also got experience with a JIM-GEM KBC Bar, which is basically a spike on a poke intended to plant bare root trees really fast (a few blisters on this tool as well).

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm Swale2

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

The real learning from a practical standpoint for me was dealing with the animals. The daily chores involved taking care of the animals before we got into anything else. This included feeding and watering the chickens, ducks, cats, cows, rabbits, and pigs. We also went to a neighboring farm and picked up horse manure on a daily basis to add it to the compost pile. I learned a lot about how much I still don’t know about the farm animals 🙂  I have pictures of some of the animals I worked with at the bottom of this blog post.

I assisted in building three portable green houses that I wrote an article about last week. I did more filming of the project than building, but still learned a lot. I dug a few drainage ditches trying to alleviate the mud pits from the spring rain.

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

Oh, and there was electric fence. I was zapped by 6000 volts for the first time since leaving the military. I was repairing electric fence and forgot to turn it off once when I was repairing a break. Didn’t take long to figure out that it was still on and why the pigs respect that wire. I had the fence tester in the picture with me, but I just didn’t use it that time.

I learned how to troubleshoot electric fence and learned that they have solar charged electric fence controller for places where there is not electric. I bought one of those units the week I arrived back home to keep the deer out of my nursery stock.  I bought the tester as well to try and save myself from another jolt.

I could continue writing for several more pages on the lessons learned on Elisha’s Spring Farm. The key takeaway from this article is that Wwopfing can be a completely educational and fun experience. You can meet other hard working volunteers working by your side and great Tenant Farmers and Farm Owners. I know that everyone I had contact with were great people and willing to help others.

I highly recommend Wwopfing to anyone with a desire to learn and I believe that Elisha’s Spring Farm is a great place to do it.

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My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm Chicken

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm Ducks

My Experience Wwopfing Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm

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