WWOOFing in Japoonvale

  • From: Cairns, Australie
  • To: Innisfail, Australie
  • Distance: 88km

We just left Kate & Stuart’s where we wwoofed for the last few days.

Since we started this adventure, we really love WWOOFing because is gives us the opporutnity to meet some very intersting people which taught us a lot of different things. This time, the experience was once again tremendously interesting because Kate & Stuart are amazing people!

It’s going to be tough to explain everything with only a few words but we’ll do our best!

Amazing people!

Kate & Stuart, a couple in their 60’s, are artists. They live on many different things like selling made out of fibers from which Stuart has some kind of gift! He can recreate some fiber patterns just by looking at pictures! They sold some of them as pieces of art for collectioneurs and museum, or in the street as simple fiber baskets. We even had the chance to have a handcrafting lesson during which we made or own hat out of a coconut tree leef.

During all of our conversations, we figured out that they travelled a lot around the world as street artists, selling for instance “the smallest kites in the world!”. They also often work with aborigenal communities to teach them how to make basket or more generally how to weave fibers.

To describe how uncommun their lifes are, we could also tell you how they setteld in the 80’s, on a 4 hectares property in Japoonvale, North Queensland. Nothing unusual so far… but what is unsual is the fact that before they built their house on this property, they lived almost 10 years in a tree house (with their children) next to the river runnning at the bottom of their property.

An incredible house!

Nowadays, they live in a big and beautiful house they built with their hands and some recycled materials. This house has (like Trudie and Tony) the specificity to be a very open house… which means no windows. In a area like the far north of Queensland, it seems a bit surprising for us because from what we know there are a few interesting wild animals in the area (venomous snakes, spiders, possums, rats, etc.). Kate and Stuart didn’t really try to hide us the truth… In fact, they told us that a bat was usually staying in our room and that a few rats used to come at night too… and also that a few snakes were living in the house. Which happened to be very true when we saw a snake skin hanging from a beam in the living room the next morning. To be honest we were a bit frightened for the first night but eventually we got used to it!

WWOOFers vs wild

Regarding our WWOOFing job, we helped them clearing their jungle garden! So we did a lot of weeding, cutting, pruning, prepared the soil for Kate’s veggie garden, etc. That wasn’t easy because when we arrived, the rainforest was covering what used to be there garden. We used cane knifes, matiks, forks, etc. to clear all of this. That was fun!

It might not sounds like lot of fun for you, but in fact it was just great! We really enjoyed Kate and Stuart’s company, their generosity, their amazing stories, all the delicious veggies and tropical fruits, the swimms in the river at the bottom of the property… A great WWOOFing that made us think a lot about our modern western way of living.

Hunting Cassowaries

Last funny story of this adventure: this morning at 7am, we have been waken up by the telephone. It was the neighboor calling us to come and see the cassowary in her garden! Still a bit asleep, we are running to the neighbour’s garden. The good thing is she’s living very close to Kate & Stuart’s. Unfortunately, she’s living on the other side of the river… so we had to cross the river. Refreshing! Of course, once there, the wassowary was gone… But luckily we got the chance to spot it on our way back: a big female cassowary, impressive! That will be our reward for our morning run!

It is now time to catch our train to the outback! Once again thank you very much Kate & Stuart for your hospitality.

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