Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's sum up my first month

Ok, so I landed in L.A., couchsurfed at vladucantes' place. I jammed with some backpackers in venice beach. Took the train to Nipomo where Bill Deneen met me and took me back to his place for four of the worst days of my life. I was dropped off at a bus stop with no clue where to go, so I called my next farm, and even though she said she actually couldn't have me at her place at all she let me stay there two days. I took a ride with two other wwoofers who were there up to Big Sur, where i saw lots of gorgeous views and elephant seals. I got a ride to my next farm from two other wwoofers headed that way and we camped out for a day near the beach. Then a whole week at Harmony Hill, full of good clean work and good food. I want more experiences like that. Then to santa cruz and Vincent's place, where I truly felt that I wasn't needed and there was no structure and it was crazy. Now I'm in Lauren's apartment in san Franciso, about to have some pasta and saltines. Tomorrow, Leo and I will play guitar for money, I'll do some farm research, maybe laundry, maybe visit an urban farm. Peace

Headed to San francisco

Things were kind of boring at vincent's place outside Santa cruz. Vincent wasn't there so there weren't any real projects or work. So I was pretty much chilling most of the time. and I didn't even set up my next farm. I'm headed now t San francisco with Leo one of the wwoofers who was with me at vincent's. I'll be couchsurfing in l.a for a week. And I'll call some farms( I promise). Truthfully I had to look into farms extensively so I know what to expect at each place and so I can have good experiences. Leo plays guitar too, so we are play on the streets and maybe make some cash doing it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still hanging out n Santa cruz

Yeah, I thought I would only be at vincent's place a week but I haven't set up my next farm yet. I am gettng a bit lazy but I am going to make some calls tonight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All is well in Santa cruz

Going out tonight with some of the other wwoofers

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On my way to Santa cruz

Well I left Harmony Hills this morning and am now on my way to vincent's place in Santa cruz. I'm pretty sure I'll be fixit fences and other building projects most of the time. This guy does a lot of professional woodworking I had a nice week a harmony hills. I didn't really learn much, cheesemaking, at least the easy cheeses is prety straightforward. And goats seem pretty easy too. You feed them and milk them. But elena is a really nice lady and she is very happy living a more sustainable life than most Americans.

I have to find my next farms, I've gotten lazy about it but I reallyhave to focus if I'm going to have enjoyable experinces.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More thoughts on Harmony Hill

So it's my third day here, and everythings fine. I have a cold but there are worst things than that. And I'm beginning to realize that wwoof hosts like you better if you are commuting to stay a while. I hope I fond a place that I want to stay at long term. A place that has a sense of community and openness and open to new ideas and projects. It's not harmony hills. It's a small property and while I've already seen plenty of stuff that can be improved like her gardens(no mulch?) and more trees needed. But elena is in her fifties with a husband who could care less abut the earth( he's a lawyer). So anyway I'll be leaving in four days or so headed to my next farm.

One cool thing, I picked some chubeza, a weed that also grows in Israel and I put it in scrambled eggs. Everybody loved it. It's called dogweed here in the states and elena is going to use it more often. And. Rode elena's horse today: that was fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On to Harmony Hills

Well I got picked up by acouple of gys who are also headed to my next farm. They wet camping in forest so I stars there last night. It was gorgeuos. It's a goat farm primarily so thought should be cool. Making cheeses. Got to go

Saturday, February 7, 2009


What a day! And it's not even over yet. I'll start from the begginning. So yesterday, the guy who was hosting me in my home took me to a renewable energy forum that was going on in San Luis Obispo. He wanted me to help him hand out to people there an article he wrote about hanging laundry out to dry in the sun which was published in the local paper. There was an expo, a room where a few companies were promoting their services, mostly solar panel companies. And then there was a room where representatives of companies building solar panel farms in the area could explain their projects. I assumed that Bill, my host would ask me to hand out the articles in the expo room, where everybody was walking around talking to each other, and I assumed he would ask me to do this after the presentations.

I was wrong. After the companies presentations, they allowed people in the audience to ask them questions. Of course Bill was the first to raise his hand, though they didn't get to him for a few minutes. I was not sitting next to him I was onthe other side of the room. Most of the questions were like "How will your project effect the native grasses?", things like that. Bill directed his question to the audience. "I want to know why everybody here is so concerned with these solar panels when you can start using solar power right now by hanging your clothes out to dry in the sun? How many people here hang their clothes out to dry? Well I have an article which Daniel, I don't know where he is, he's supposed to be here to help me pass these out. Daniel?" I was mortified. i couldn't believe he was using the Q&A as a public forum to get his articles out. I wasn't going to help him disrupt a well organized event like. But he kept calling my name while everyone was chuckling at this well known local eco-kook. I eventually stood up and held up the articles, so people would know that they could come and get them from me after the presentations were over. But no, he signaled for me to come over and told me to go around the room handng them out. Well I did that. Even as the guy running the forum asked Bill if he had a question for the presenters, which he didn't. After the forum was over, i went over to the guy running the forum and apologized for Bill's interruption. He said it was alright, that everybody knows Bill is "special", and he told me I did a great job, actually a bunch of people said the same thing. I guess everybody though it was entertaining.

Well on the ride home, Bill asked me why I didn't come immediately to him and pass out the articles. I explained to him that we never actually discussed when I would pass the articles out, but I assumed it wouldn't be during the forum itself but rather afterwards in the expo hall, and that when he got up in the middle of the forum using the Q&A section for his own use, I thought that was very inappropriate and rude. He told me that was my opinion. I had called the farm I was supposed to go to next week and left a message asking if it was possible to come early because i was feeling uncomfortable at Bill's place. Well Mary called me back while I was we were in the car heading back to the hostel. She told me that she had all the workers she could use, and that there was no room for me even for next week. I had arranged to stay at her place over three weeks ago.

Later that day, back at the hostel, Bill asked me to empty out wheelbarrows full of water from the gutters onto the ornamental plants around his house. While trying to move the wheelbarrow water spilled out onto his driveway. whn hes saw this he got real mad at me. I apologized and said that it wasn't intentional, but he kept screaming "If I can do it and I'm an old man than you should be able to do it!" I apologized again.

This morning when I woke up , I went into the kitchen and Bill told me "It's time for you to leave". I asked him why, and he told me again that it was time for me to leave. He said that he would drop me off at the bus station in town. Who was I to argue? I was staying in this man's home. What could I do? This man would not listen to me no matter what I had to say. So I packed up and put my stuff in the back of his car. On the way to the bus stop he said , "You asked me why you have to leave. Well, yesterday you were supposed to help me pass out my articles and you didn't do that. And you spilled water all over my driveway." I apologized to him and then told him that I think he really has issues, that even though he's a grumpy old ean he should try to be nice to people, like other people are nice to him.

He had told me a few days before that because of the articles he writes, people know he's a liberal eco-freak and sometimes when they see him, some people give him the finger saying, "fuck you, bill denneen!" When I took my bags out of the back I went to close his passenger door, bent my head in and said, "Hey Bill, I'm sorry to have to say this but, Fuck you!" and closed the door.

I'll admit from the minute he told me I had to leave, I was asking myself what I would do. But I was busy packing and just getting out of there without screaming at this crazy old man. At the bus stop, by myself I was forced to ask myself the question, what am I going to do. Well I called the woman I was supposed to go to next week, who lives nearby, and asked if i could stay the night there. She said ok. And i called my third farm and asked if I could come early. She said I can come tuesday. So now I've got Sunday and Monday to do whatever I want. What a fucking day. When I signed up for WWOOF I never thought something like this would happen. That I would be verbally and emotionally abused then kicked out to the street y a crotchety old hermit. That my next farm would cancel on me after agreeing on it weeks ago. Any way, I'm in a starbucks in San Luis Obispo, 12 miles from the place I'm staying out. I'm thinking about taking a taxi there. though it'll cost some.

I'm pretty depressed right now, but I'm not quitting. I know there are good farm people here on the West coast and I am going to find them. I want to work and help make great things happen, and this one bad experience isn't going to stop me. I'm stubborn. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old McDonald is a freaking nutcase!

On Tuesday I took the train north from Los Angeles to Guadalupe, a little south of San Luis Obispo. There at the train station I was picked up by a guy who looked like father time, in running shorts. His name is Bill Denneen . We're driven back to his hostel by another backpacker who's staying at his place. Anyway it's night tie so I can't see what his property looks like but his house reeks! It's not the two big fat black dogs he has, they're not allowed in the house, but their fifty pound bags of dog food are, right in the kitchen. Anyway, my room stinks too, cause the last hosteler who stayed there made a mess and didn't clean up. So I did which counted as a half-hour of work towards the two and half hours I need to work everyday in exchange for staying here and eating bill's food.

Truthfully, I'm not really sure why this guy advertizes his farm via the WWOOF program. Sure he lives a very sustainable life, he has milking goats, and chickens, and fruit trees and heats his home with harvested wood. But the work has nothing to do with most of those things. So far I've swept, vacuumed etc.(hostel work). Sure I brought in firewood, and squeezed lemons, limes, and oranges, but, I don't know, I guess he's got his own way of doing things and the crotchety old man doesnt have any time for new ideas. He's pretty much ready to die whenever. Sure he gets up at the crack of dawn and does the animal chores, and he goes to his senior nutrition meetings, whatever the hell that is, but he's a bitter, angry old man. He snaps at me every now and then when I ask questions he thinks are stupid.

He used to teach natural sciences, biology, stuff like that. But now he's retired, in his eighties, active in protecting the beaches and other places in the area from development and nuclear power plants and off road vehicles. he writes letters to the local papers, which he then cuts out and sends to other people. I asked him who does he send them to, and he just told me that if i helped him stuff the envolopes, i would find out. I think this guy just loves the smell of his own farts.

I'm trying to se if I can make my way to the next farm earlier than scheduled. This place is really unbearable. It's just me and Bill, the other hosteler left the first morning after suffering from bed bugs.

Also, I haven't left bill's place at all except for a short bike ride around his neighborhood. I asked bill if he knew of any interesting places to go in the area, but he just pointed to a pile of maps, none of which were very helpful.

So to sum things up, my first WWOOFING experience truly sucks, but i'm hopeful that the next farm a retreat center will have more people, and will be more fun.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A day at Venice Beach

It's Basically the reason I'm staying in L.A. at all. I don't really like cities. And this one is huge, filled with tons of people. But I wanted to meet people be out in the sun lying on the grass, so Venice Beach it was. Walking down the strip with venders selling all kinds of stuff, I soon found a grassy area on the side filled with backpackers. I sat down ext to a few and pretty soon we were jamming, me on guitar, another on drum, a violin, and plenty of vocals. It was great. I got a lot of good tips about backpacking. I planned on hitchhiking as much as possible to save money but was worried that people don't really do it anymore here. I got so used to it in Israel. Well one guy said it works but that I should stick to route 1, the coastal highway. That will work out fine, cause as much as possible I'm visiting farms that are relatively close to the coast.

Anyway Venice was awesome, wide open spaces, good tunes, and everybody's a character.I haven't taken any pictures yet, truth is it's going to be hard for me to do it at all. I've gotten so used to just living life and not trying to capture it and bottle it up. Well I'm taking the train today to my first farm. I'll tell you about it next post.

Monday, February 2, 2009

L.A- The City of Brotherly Love

So yeah, I Landed in the city of angels last night. At baggage, a woman suggested that I tie my hoodie around my waist. Rather than wear it it with the backpack. She said It was from experience. So I met my first backpacker/ex-hippie. She wished me luck and told me I'm gonna have a great time.

Well I got out of the airport. And where was I headed? To a complete strangers house. I found someone in l.a that would host me for a couple of days at their place. His name is mike and I found him through a website called . It allows travelers to connect with people willing to host them in their homes all over the world. I heard about it from a friend in Israel who traveled through Europe without ever staying in a hostel because he couchsurfed. It's seriously cool, and cheap!

So I took two had to take two buses to get to mike's place(ha ha). And immediately I felt the erects of los angelian hospitality. The the shuttle driver from the airport finished his shift so I rode the first bus with him and he gave me a v8 and I asked him some questions about l.a. The bus driver only charged me adollar even though the fare is 1.25. I don't know why. Then another guy gave me his day pass cause I guess he was done with it. These "brotherly" gentleman saved me a buck fifty.

Anyway. Mike. Cool kid. 25, music major at Santa monica by day, vampire pirate by night. Seriously, that's his thing dressing up like a pirate and hanging out with his pirate mates. When I got to his place he was in the middle of a mmorpg like wow but not. We talked about my trip a little bit beforei went to sleep(cause I got there really late. Good thing he's a night owl).

Today I'm headed to Venice beach to hang win the hippies and the homeless. And there is also this place called the l.a ecovillage, an urban intentional community that I want to visit as well