Heaven Must Be Missing Some Angels: Woofer Week, April 17 – 29, 2012

Yeah, heaven must be missing some angels, ‘cuz they appeared on our doorstep a few weeks ago.    And miracles happened.   Seriously.

Woofer Sue, from Australia, wrote to us a few months back, saying she was coming to New Zealand and wanted to woof on similar properties as her own.  Not only was she our age-peer, but she had experience in renovating properties and was a woof host herself.     We thought she’d be great to have.

So we booked her in and decided that we were going to have a ‘mature’ woofer week and set our intentions to find some other age appropriate woofers.    Kathy and Craig soon came to mind – they were new acquaintances whom we’d met twice in the previous six months and both had expressed an interest in coming to see our property and give us a hand.    It just so happened that we bumped into them at last month’s Sally Fallon talk and we asked if they’d be keen to come in April.   They were and we set our minds on a project that they could really, really help us with.

We decided that it was time to tackle our garage and that Kathy and Craig were the folks to help with the mountainous job of clearing it out,  sifting through our stuff, putting up shelving, and organizing it all back into the garage.       Here’s a photo of what the garage had turned into over the last four years – a pile of stuff all crammed on top of one another and very difficult to get to.


Craig’s the kind of guy that can do anything and both he and Kathy were not daunted at all by this project.   Without even waiting for us to get up one morning, they set to the first task of getting everything (well, most everything) out of the garage and onto the drive.


Next,  we inventoried our materials for which Craig could make shelving.   Three sets of the old kitchen cabinets were to go on my side of the garage along with several old bookcases we had stored in the upper garage.   Bruce was to get a wall of shelves made from the amalgam of wooden boxes that were previously also used in the kitchen and upper garage.


Craig was able to get those shelves up and placed within a couple of days.   Oh my gosh, total transformation.  The next daunting task was to get me & Bruce into the garage to figure out where to put things.    We made good progress with my side getting all the gardening and painting paraphernalia and Bruce getting all his tools and random bits and bobs.


Craig helped me organize the garden tools nicely on the wall.   YAY!  No more lost or misplaced tools!


But wait, there’s more.   Heaps of other things happened too.

Sue set about the task of fixing things for us and her primary focus was to strip and repaint the windows of the upper sleepout.   Without even realizing what she was up to, she’d sourced the materials from around the property and busied herself up at the sleepout.    She also did several days of work in the lower garden, digging up tough grass and trenching out a new path which we then weed-matted and mulched.  Because of what she accomplished in the garden, I was then able to tackle some surrounding areas, putting a few dozen seedlings into the ground and mulch heavily for the upcoming cooler months.

Craig and Bruce got busy in the evenings getting revenge on the wasps as I’d gotten stung earlier in the week.   I had now identified four wasp hives, all relatively close to the main house and they needed to be gone.  Period.  Dead.  Bye-bye.    Donned in bee suits and equipped with petrol and torches, they methodically attacked each hive until there were none.   One of the hives had been made in an old enormous tree stump and Craig monitored it for several days to ensure that no rogue wasp would re-settle in it.   As if they could, because Craig ended up burning half the stump away and then pouring concrete into any remaining orifice.   Go Craig!

Kathy, I’d been told, was an incredible artist and friend Amba said I should have her paint something for me.  Voila.   Had an old cement washtub sitting along the back wall of the outbuilding as a planter which I’d wanted to paint up and re-use.   The damn thing weighed a ton and the boys couldn’t lift it, so Craig very cleverly came up with a technique using rollers to glide it along into place on the sunny porch where Kathy could bask and paint.     The piece is really beautiful, though not yet finished.

And then there was the day of felling trees as Kathy and Craig were eager to test out their new chain saws.   Appropriately geared up, they took down a few silver birches and two eucalypts behind the house, one of which fell the wrong way and hit part of the water pipes and guttering to the house.   Whoops!  Luckily no one was hurt and the bits of the house will come right in no time at all.

All that work certainly made us hungry.   So we feasted.  Every day.   Fresh salmon from the pier,  foraging for mussels, roasts from our organic cow in the freezer.   Veggies galore and cheesecake made by Craig.

The week was so pleasurable and we worked hard and laughed alot.  It was hard to believe that nine days had come and gone as we were all enjoying our time together.  We didn’t entirely finish the garage or the art piece and there’s still more trees to come down, so we’re expecting Craig and Kathy to come back again in June.   There’s no telling what else we’ll get up to!

Thank you Sue, Kathy, and Craig for a truly miraculous week!