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The Good, the Wet and the Rooster - Wwoofing at Cape Trib

Written by Alison Gotts
Published in Earth Garden - June/August 1995
 

This is our second year as WWOOF hosts and we wonder how we ever did without them. We run a commercial permaculture orchard at Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland, where we grow Mangosteens, Salaks, Breadfruit, Soursop, Rollinia, Abiu, Black Sapote, Mamey Sapote, Rambai, Rambutan and lots other fruit.

Two wwoofers for a week is like a whirlwind going through the place - hundreds of jobs get done, the place is spruced up, great dinners are cooked and a good time is had by all. It is always interesting to see how others perceive us and we look forward to reading their comments in our guest book. Here are some selected comments, from them, and us:

"Your hospitality has been superb. We didn't expect muffins and croissants for breakfast, champagne and soursop ice-cream" - Trish and Del, USA.

(Our apologies to other WWOOF hosts - we didn't mean to raise the ante! Trish and Del were with us at a time of celebration. Do they think we eat like this all the time?)

"And all the spiders. My God, I've never seen so many spiders in one house." - Sharon, the Netherlands.

(What do other people have in their houses, then?)

"After my experience with the Whipper-snipper I might consider not to finish my university application after and just rely on a career in Denmark, whipper-snipping all the pine trees. It sure was fun."
- Rebecca, Denmark.

(Her parents will kill us - we've turned Rebecca into an environmental activist.)

"What a life! Fighting off weeds, green ants, mozzies, march flies, pythons, rats - you name it. It's been a true wet tropics experience."
- Daren and Lyn, England.

(And it didn't even rain that week! They had it easy.)

"Digby: Do you know where the tenth duckling is?
Alison: Did you check for pythons?
Pythons: Mmmmmmmmmm....duckk a l'orange...my favourite!"
- Janet and Nanda, the Netherlands

(The python-proof duckhouse only works if you shut the door before dark. Otherwise the python is waiting inside when you put the ducks to bed. Duck dinner comes to those who wait.)

"The python that dropped in at teatime was a lucky experience. Fighting off the rooster made me feel down on the farm." - Fina and Bryce, Spain.

(The rooster always susses out the wwoofers and attacks when they least expect it. When they leave, even the meekest wwoofer is ready to take him on, so he starts to behave himself - until the next unsuspecting wwoofer appears.)

"In spite of being stung by a swarm of wasps, being attacked by the rooster, losing my good watch, and having four rats in the caravan (this was all on Day One), I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here." - Syth, Scotland

(And amazingly, Syth survived with us for seven days.)

"I particularly enjoyed chopping down banana trees (must be the aggressive part in me!) and learning some things about bananas that I didn't know before." - Susan, Scotland

(It's amazing what wwoofers don't know about bananas - machetes, banana trees and an enthusiastic wwoofer are a volatile mix when they go into the orchard to trim the bananas.)

"In ten days we've heard the chook chorus at 4:00 am, eaten pawpaws before the ducks could, been taken for a walk by Jess (our Rottweiler), created new ice-cream flavours - banana and soursop was a hit at the market, and experienced lots of rain." - Pierre and Caroline, Melbourne

Wwoofers taught us...

Having wwoofers around has taught us a lot about ourselves. We found to our amazement that we really do enjoy playing host and making people feel at home. And because of this we are now considering starting a 'Bed and Breakfast' business on the far. The rave reviews our soursop ice-cream always receives from wwoofers has encouraged us to consdier producing it commercially.

Each wwoofer leaves us their parents' address and an invitation for us to visit. In another year or so, we should have enough addresses to consider a world trip, staying with all the wwoofers' mums and dads, who, it turns out are about the same age as us.

Enriched

We have been really enriched through wwoofing and would encourage other organic farms to join the scheme. We only take wwoofers for two weeks out of every month, to allow us some personal space. Otherwise because of our location, we would have wall-to-wall wwoofers during the dry season.

The caravan is gradually being reclaimed by the rainforest and we are planning to build a cottage to replace it. Oh for a wwoofer who's a stonemason! We live in hope that one a wwoofer with a degree in civil engineering will walk through the gate, because we need to build a bridge across the creek. The other skils on our wwoofer wish-list include a landscape designer to construct a flowing water garden, a dam builder, a worm specialist..... the list just gets longer!

 

 

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Last updated November 6, 2014