Woofers are coming. We made arrangements last February for two young men from Belgium to visit us for a week or so and we have not had any confirmation until yesterday. But, it’s on! They are on their way.
Woofers arriving means another town shopping day a week ahead of normal schedule. But that’s OK – I need more welding wire anyway.
The biggest challenge for us is to line up work for them to do – that they can actually do. Right now, most of my chores are a cut-above ordinary chores in terms of skills required and complexity of the project. I am deep into the solar array upgrade including welding the frame, re-wiring, adding panels and trimming trees around the site. All these things are more significant chores than wood-gathering or garden-work. And even wood gathering is a more complex chore than gardening due to the use of winches, highlines, chainsaws and splitters.
We don’t want our Woofers getting hurt.
Woofers are a crapshoot. Some of them are capable and strong and keen and generally competent at whatever they do. But some aren’t. Some are simply out of their element. You don’t know what you have until they arrive. If those under-skilled ones are pleasant and help with the dishes and cooking, it is still considered a successful visit. But then there are the ones who really want to ‘try’ but, when doing so, scare the hell out of me. Those young keeners are gonna bleed. You have to watch them like hawks. With the trauma-tempters, we try to encourage them to do more kayaking and oyster collecting. And dishes. It usually works out.
And therein lies a bit of irony: the better I get at what I have to do, the more complex my chores become and the less valuable the unskilled help is. If I ever get good at anything, there may be a lack of Woofers in our future but, at my skills building rate to date, we won’t have that much to worry about for awhile. Still, I am finding that I have fewer simple, grunt-work chores and more ‘rocket-science’ tasks (to my mind, anyway – like welding) and so the Woofers are having to work a bit more on their own. Collecting sea-weed is a typical Woofer chore now. Getting dirt for the garden. But, in the beginning of this OTG adventure, they might have been hands-on with building a shed or cement work.
I confess that – for me – cement work and Woofing are made for each other. I hate cement work. I only have about five or six small sites to pour (15 bags) but if they are any good, they will be mixing bags of Reddi-mix and forming cement pads while I continue to do work on the frame. That would be great!
Keep your fingers crossed.