CEDAR SPRINGS FARM
Our first WWOOFing experience was wonderful. 'WWOOFing' is the Worldwide Working On Organic Farms organization, and it allows people to travel and work on participating farms in exchange for housing and food. It is a wonderful option if you want to stay in an area for a longer time or get a local perspective on an area. Not to mention is makes travel ridiculously cheap. We were stoked to be accepted by Cedar Springs Farm for two weeks while we explored Asheville, NC. The farm was located about 5 minutes outside of West Asheville, and had a slotted barn for us to stay in with a fridge, sink, microwave, and electricity. We couldn't have been more pleased.
The farm was a small homestead with chickens, Guinea foul, dogs and cats, a few garden plots, and permaculture systems. Kelly was our host, and also on the property was her daughter, Anna, and another two families. We worked and dinned with one of the families, Renee, Whitney, and their son for a few of our working days as well.
Each farm has a unique atmosphere, with different accommodations and expectations of their guests. For Ceder Springs Farm, we worked three 6-8 hours days and were provided food for those days, and the other four days were our time. This was a perfect schedule because it allowed for a lot of exploration of Asheville, and it gave us time to complete projects on the property. The weather was all over the place while we were there, but Kelly was flexible and we worked on most of the sunny days. We did spend a few cold days in the green house which was on another farm, literally called 'The Farm' (it is a wedding venue) and that was quite relaxing.
I really enjoyed staying here because I felt like we were apart of a home for a while. It was nice to work in the soil, start and finish tasks, and eat home cooked meals with others in a warm house.
We started our working days around 9:30am with a check in of our mental, physical, and spiritual states to appropriately plan the tasks for the day, and then headed out to what ever those were. Sometimes Kelly worked with us, sometimes we were on our own. I enjoyed working with my hands again, and I dare say it, I actually missed having a job for a bit. To feel useful was wonderful. I mean, don't get me wrong, traveling, having fun, exploring and doing what ever you want all the time is great, but the structure and feeling of usefulness was a nice change.
Some of the projects we did were creating a gravel driveway and patching the dirt road, re-building the compost area, patching the pond, lots of weeding in the gardens, fixing broken light strings, patching the barn roof, re-building garden beds, and transplanting seedlings into bigger pots in the greenhouse.
We learned about permaculture system such as compost toilets (which we used), greywater reclamation, black soldier fly composting, hay coops, and natural pest control. Kelly used the Guinea Fowl as a way to reduce ticks on the property, which I had never thought of. We also used some new tools such as a broadfork, hori-hori, and a half moon hoe.
We also got plenty of time with animals, which always lifts our spirit. Kelly had the cutest family of dogs and cats with such strong personalities. We enjoyed being greeted by Marble, Sadie, or Oscar in the morning while we ate our breakfast on the porch, and throughout the day love from a dog or a cat was never far. Kelly and the others were welcoming and friendly, we shared great conversations and good food, and I would definitely get together with them if we were in the area in the future.
I would absolutely WWOOF again, and this experience actually made me want to do it more than we originally planned. It makes traveling a completely different experience. We hope to find another farm while we are in Vermont or Maine, and I hope it is as pleasant of a stay as this one was.
10/10 would WWOOF again.
Song: Harvest Moon - Neil Young