For the past few weeks, Taylor and I have been living and working on Blue Heron Farm as Wwoofers. For the month of December, we are house sitting for our neighbors, who are away visiting family. Built by an old farmer, the house is cute and cozy, although, quirky and simple, in lack of traditional comforts. Fortunately, Taylor and I are used to living without things like plumbing and heat.
The kitchen has a separate entrance and no heat, so cooking in the morning and night is chilly. I usually wear a hat and parka until the stove warms the room. The kitchen is colorful with Christmas lights and mason jars full of spices and pickling vegetables.
The sink water comes from a well, but with no plumbing, the water drains into a bucket under the sink. Once or twice a day we empty the bucket into the compost pile behind the house. To avoid this chore, we use as little water as possible. Never before have I truly seen how much water I use. Rather than it disappear into a pipe never to be seen or heard from again, we are constantly reminded of the waste by the sound of the water spilling into the bucket, like a mini water fall. The amount used over washing a single fork is startling enough to make anyone curtail water use.
I never thought I’d be taking outdoor showers in December. The outdoor shower is attached to the house, and leaving the warm water upon finishing is difficult. I scurry into the house shaking every time.
With a hatchet and a stump, we make kindling for the wood stove that keeps the house warm overnight. The outhouse around back is full, so our neighbors let us use their bathroom instead.
Now that we have our own place and buy our own groceries, we aren’t Wwoofers anymore. Just a couple with a house. We found jobs at the Carolina Brewery in town, so bringing in a little money is helpful. I’m happy we are in charge of our own schedules.
The Carolina Brewery bustles with sports fans at the bar and families in the dining room. After my shift, returning to our quiet home makes me appreciate it that much more. I like being able to enter that high energy world and also being able to leave it. Since we don’t have Wifi, our lives are internetless (to make posts I either go to a neighbors or use Wifi at the Brewery.) Our free time is spent talking by the wood stove, drinking beer, playing music, reading, taking care of the cat, Willy, and the chickens in the circle garden (There are five chickens, and every morning and night we let them in and out of their coop. They are excellent egg layers, lending one to four a day.)
Taylor and I work for our neighbors in exchange for a meal or pay. Recently, we built a bridge for Barbara so she can drive her golf cart to the pond. We are also helping another neighbor make a vegetable garden in his front lawn. It’s all about finding ways, here and there, to use the land, the natural resources, reducing waste, while eating well and doing good for others.