Real-Life WWOOFING: The Tools
We arrived with our van in a northern region of Germany, since it was the easiest way to be near the harbor where Mork needed to be for shipment to Canada.
It’s not really a touristic region, even if it’s near the North Sea. We were pretty desperate to find a place where we could relax a bit and organize our departure to the ‘other side of the pond.’ We then thought about WWOOFing, because we’ve mentioned it to a lot of people we’ve met on the road.
It’s a “non-digital” possibility for traveling cheaply. But we’ve never actually had this experience fully, with the exception of helping Sarah in Sicily out with her garden.
We jumped into this new experience and we’ve stayed more than a month in Umweltstation Iffens. At first we stayed in our van, and then for the last two weeks in a nice and cozy cottage. We woke up with the rooster crowing, worked and witnessed beautiful sunsets almost daily. We had the opportunity to get our hands dirty, helping out with everyday life on a farm.
If you’re interested in experiencing something similar, here’s some good advice on which kind of jobs you can do on a farm- and which tools you might need to use.
GLOVES: Always wear a pair. It’s really important when working on a farm to be safe, especially for your hands.
BASIC TOOLS: You’ll usually find a good workshop with many tools on any farm. For some of the jobs I did here, I had to use basic tools for fixing, hammering, tidying and more.
LAWNMOWER: Grass, especially in the summertime, grows quickly. A weekly job on a farm is taking care of it. With a lawnmower, you make sure you wear the proper protection for hands, eyes and ears. And of course wear a nice pair of working boots.
RAKE: Another fundamental tool on a farm. After cutting the grass, you also need to collect it. On some farms, they also use it to feed the animals.
PITCHFORK: This is a useful tool, especially if you have to collect a lot of grass that needs to be dumped. Using this tool saves you a lot of back pain.
WHEELBARROW: You’ll make a lot of mileage with it on a farm. From grass to wood, it helps you transport pretty much everything from place to place. Remember to leave it in a vertical position when you’re finished, so rain won’t pool inside.
PICKAXE: If the farm you’re staying at needs you to do dig in the ground, this will become your best friend. It’s easy to use and very practical. Remember to wear gloves (to avoid calluses) and boots.
HOE: Another friendly tool if your job requires you to dig and work the earth. It’s also really useful for cleaning stone paths from growing weeds.
SHOVEL: It depends on the farm you decide to spend your time, but a shovel is always be useful for a lot of work.
AXE: Most farms need wood to be self-sustainable in the winter, and wood needs to be cut. You’ll also need a wedge for cutting big trunks. Most of all: be very, very careful with it.
CHAINSAW: Speaking of wood, a chainsaw comes in really handy. From taking down trees to wood cutting for repairs. Wear a nice pair of working glasses and ask for special trousers.
CIRCULAR SAW: A really scary tool, but it’s useful, especially for renovating parts of the farm.
GARDENING TOOLS: If the farm has a garden, for you”ll need these tools to rid it of weeds and keep it tidy.
SCHNEIDGIRAFFE: In German, it means “cutting Giraffe. If the farm needs to get rid of weeds that grow in between a cobblestone path, this tool is ace.
SHEARS: For when you need to cut off some branches or trim a hedge, this is the tool for you.
BROOM & DUSTPAN: It might be obvious, but when you finish a job it’s a must to clean up the mess behind you.
MEASURING TAPE & RUBBER HAMMER: If the farm needs repairs to be done, for sure you’ll need these tools. For measuring the wooden piece you need to create, for example, or putting in new stones for a path in the garden.
DRILL: It’s always useful to have wooden, metal or cement drill bits. Wear your gloves and protection glasses.
PINCERS: Some of the work you might need to deal with, iron grids for example, this is the tool you need to use.
SCREEDRIVER: Believe me, one day I had to screw more than 200 screws in, and without it I’d still be there!
PAINT BRUSHES: You’ll find out that life on a farm isn’t only about working the land, but many times repairs have to be done indoors, too.
HANDS AND BRAIN: Your hands are the most powerful tool of all time. But it’s the combination with your brain that make them even more. What I’m trying to say here is: think before doing a job on a farm.
Usually, a WWOOFing farm is insured for accidents that happen. But it’s always better to check if you’re able to do a job before you do it. If not, don’t be shy in asking for help.
If you want to know more about WWOOFing, and which web pages provide info about it, you can check our resources page.
And if you are interested in Iffens in particular, take a couple of minutes and watch this video we did highlighting this beautiful place.
We want to thanks: Bärbel, Wolfgang, Martina, Manlio and Mathilda for the great time we had at Iffens. And a special thanks to Manlio for all these pictures.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Have you tried Wwoofing? What was your experience? Your pluses/minuses? If you have any questions or tips, please comment below!