To fill the gap in the blog, this is an update on my last 4 months in Central and Southern California encapsulated into one post. This is difficult as I had so many cool experiences and different WWOOFING opportunities. Because of this I spent more time on farms than on my bike! Here’s a brief update on the farms I worked:
Shanti permaculture farm, Occidental.
Elizabeth owned this beautiful property which was 80 miles North of San Francisco in Sonoma County. She practiced permaculture, which she used to grow veg for her own consumption and the WWOOfers that passed through. For the uninitiated Permaculture farming is centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. Paul Wheaton explains permaculture as “a more symbiotic relationship with nature so I can be lazier” which describes one of the benefits perfectly.
As well as working in the garden I had the oppurtunity to use power tools to make planter boxes, benches and a top bar bee hive. It was great learning about this more natural method of bee keeping.
Dare to dream, Lompoc.
This family owned farm is situated 6 miles West of Lompoc in Santa Barbara county. Jeremy and Megan had escaped the city life to have a go at farming. The farm specializes in raising backyard chickens, handcrafted chicken coops and selling eggs & local CSA produce. They opened up the farm to about 10 WWOOFERS at a time to share their experience. This made it a really fun place to be. We all worked together on the daily jobs and had lots of free time to explore the area and hang out at the beach.
Super Bee rescue, Carpinteria.
Nick the beekeeper specializes in high, difficult and complicated honeybee Rescues in the Santa Barbara area. This was one of the the coolest WWOOFING experiences. These bees would have been exterminated without Nick and his wonderful passion. His motto is “save the world, one bee at a time”. As a WWOOFER I got to ride with Nick to his calls and help rescue bees from trees and rooftops where they had swarmed or had made unwanted residency. I felt like a super hero. I learnt so much in the two weeks i spent there and got to look in so many hives and make honey.
Chandelier Springs, Valley Centre
This farm was owned by Doug and his son Spencer. It was a huge property surrounded by hills. It felt like a WWOOFERS paradise, a huge playground with so many projects. These included building an earthship, sauna, pizza oven and hoop houses. It was fun getting back to basics with no electricity. We cooked every meal on an open fire. I could sadly only spend 2 weeks here as my 6 month visa was expiring. My friend Arran is writing a great blog about wwoofing and he goes a lot into the details. Well worth a look if you are interested in farming Wwoofingwithaaran.com
I had a blast riding between all the farms and there was quite a cycling community down the coast through Big Sur which was one of my favourite sections of the ride, despite the hills! I also took a side trip to Joshua tree park which was magical. One of the craziest places I have experienced and the stars where the best that I have seen.
Such an amazing 6 Months in America. Now in Mexico and about to ride a desert. Will post about it soon and I will not leave it as late as this post. Happy December.