A Wwoofer’s Tale

Sandy Bradley

Larry Warnberg

Nahcotta Vivero

Five weeks ago this information represented 2 people that I didn’t know and an unfamiliar place. Now these people and this place are a part of me. I fell in love with Sandy and Larry and the lifestyle they live. I decided to spend this year wwoofing so that I could learn how to live more sustainably and grow food organically. I’m chasing the dream of living simply, in a way that will not only benefit me, but my community and the earth. Sandy and Larry showed me that this dream is possible as they allowed me to become a part of their lives. I learned many things throughout my stay, but mostly that the way they live is the way that I want to live.

Nahcotta is a one stop light town. It’s one of those places where you go into the grocery (Jacks) and people know that you’re not from there. It’s a place where you can ride your bike down the road with a cart full of manure trailing behind you and not feel weird. It’s a place where time moves slowly and you could spend your entire day watching the birds fly over the bay and be completely happy. Blackberries are plentiful, the neighbors are friendly and life is good.

My favorite part of the day was dinner. After working a couple of hours, typically in the morning, I’d spend my afternoons studying. Or at least trying to study, my imagination often stole my concentration. I’d be deep in thoughts or dreams and I’d hear the sweet sound of the dinner bell and quickly leave behind whatever it was I was doing. I’d walk upstairs and spend the next hour or two around the dinner table with food that was always local, most of it coming from their garden and wine, the best being what Larry makes and my personal favorite being the blackberry wine. We often had goat cheese that Larry also makes. I could have wine and cheese and be satisfied at that, but an assortment of fresh vegetables always colored our meals. I spent many nights at that table watching the colors of the sky dance through my mind and waiting anxiously for the appearance of the moon. Although the food and wine were some of the best in the world and the view out the window was beautiful, the best part of these meals was the company. It was here that we shared stories about past travels and experiences. These stories opened up windows inside of us so that we could begin to see each other for who we are and what it is that makes us that way. Sandy is an entertainer and often filled the room with laughter and Larry is one of my favorite story tellers and is a master of many trades including compost toilets, oyster farming, carpentry, cheese making, wine making and gardening! Our conversations ranged from talking about poop to bike trips across Europe.

The work I did could hardly be considered work. I fed the goats and turkeys. Sometimes I’d take the goats out to lunch and spend an hour in the field with them as they grazed. I spent a lot of time picking wild blackberries and then turning them into juice for wine and taking the leftovers and making goat treats. I canned some food and made some jam. I worked on a couple of green houses and a cob wall at neighbors homes. I also spent a week helping Sandy prepare for a community dinner that served about 70 people in the community with a meal that was completely local. The purpose of this meal was to show people that food can be grown on the peninsula and that it’s healthy and tastes good! After the dinner Sandy talked about the importance of being able to grow your own food and how there is a network of people in their non-profit Tilth that would be able to help people learn how do this. Sandy mentioned how one neighbor could grow potatoes and beets and another could grow squash, beans and corn and then they could share! I love the way that this meal brought the community together and taught people that in a time where our economy is unstable they could at least find security in knowing that they’ll never be hungry if they grow their own food.

Sandy and Larry have huge hearts, they truly care for the community and the environment and they are very conscious about everything they do-nothing is ever wasted and everything they do makes sense. They truly make you feel appreciated and I feel that I came as a stranger and left as a member of the family. I know that Sandy and Larry will forever be a part of my life. They have truly blessed me and taught me in all they have said and showed me, but mostly in the ways they silently live out each moment of the day. I am thankful for the knowledge and the love they have given me and know that they have left a remarkable imprint on my heart and helped shaped me more into the person I am becoming.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Fran Post said,

    Hi Sandy,
    After meeting Jennifer at Lady of the Lake, I was really impressed by your thoughtfulness in giving her that experience. My husband Dan found you blog online and I am even more impressed by your many activities. As I was looking at your calander I noticed that you plan on attending a Tilth conference in Port Townsend next November. I thought I would write to let you know that we live approximately 20 minutes – on foot – from Fort Worden and have a comfy guestroom with twin beds. We would be delighted if you would like to stay with us during that conference. Sincerely, Fran Post


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