breaking the rules

We have been hosting people here since we arrived ourselves. in the earliest years those guests were predominantly family and close friends. we offered nothing but clean air, a cool creek for a dip on a hot summer’s day, the freshest food and plenty, i mean plenty, of hard work. as the years passed more and more folks wanted to come here and we began our apprenticeship program. we have welcomed short and long visitors from around the world into our little hollow, we have worked alongside so many people and we have learned a lot. i dare not try to record all the lessons here, for there are so many. instead, i am going to talk about one of our cardinal rules and why we just had to break it, just this once.


we take winters off from hosting. we work so hard during those long summer months, in the fields and integrating visitors into the farm. winter becomes much needed family time, one of reflection and time indoors. so, what does one do when one gets this kind of email on an early december day?

Greetings, My name is Caryn and I’m travelling south from Canada. I’ve been a wwoof host for many years (Smoothwater of Temagami)and now it’s my turn to wwoof. I understand what you are doing with your farm/lifestyle/community work. I have many skills that you may enjoy: culinary, bee keeping, equine massage, gardening, education to name a few. I’m living in my truck camper with two wonderful cats and I’m towing one horse. All I ask is for a good place for my mare, and some miles to ride her. I’m not sure we’re a good fit. But it doesn’t hurt to inquire. What are your thoughts? Best wishes, Caryn

obviously, we break our cardinal rule. clearly we have to meet this person.  for those of you embarking on a rural life, especially those that have left a more urban reality, sometimes you miss the diversity, the exposure. for us, to address that limitation of rural life, we try always to bring as much of that to our home as possible.  with so many interesting qualities, we assured our guest that we could accommodate her and her horse.


when she arrived with the above rig, we questioned our sanity. i am sure Caryn did as well. but after a couple hours of problem solving, tricky driving maneuvers and a great team effort we got our guests settled in their temporary camp here at our farm.


after dark we shared a meal and stories. today, the sun shone for the first time in a long while.  we were all thrilled for the companionship, for the extra set of hands working in the solar warmed high tunnel, and the simple added delight of a new friend.  sometimes, just once in a while, breaking your own rules is a good thing.




6 thoughts on “breaking the rules

  1. You’re good people. We had often thought of doing something similar … but always found too many reasons not to. Now, in hindsight … and when it’s too late … we are sorry that we did not invite others onto the farm to share in our hard work and our abundance. We realize now, and would have at the time I suppose, if we had stopped to think about it, that we know lots of stuff about lots of stuff. It would have been nice to pass along some of the knowledge gained over the years. Ah well, what is it they say about hindsight? You’re doing a good thing … keep it up … even if it means breaking the rules every so often. D

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