Final days on the Damali field

I didn’t take too many photos during my last week at Damali, but here are a few:

1 - bighouse
The “big house,” where we would eat our big dinners and where the B&B is.
1 - chickens
In the loft, we kept a bucket for compost. Anything biodegradable (leftover food, etc.) would go into it. Then we’d feed it to the chickens, along with weeds, decomposing plants, etc. We’d also go to the chicken coop whenever we needed eggs, so we got them fresh instead of from the grocery store. That’s Chiara checking on the chickens one day.
1 - blackberries
Closeup shot of blackberries. We harvested these a few times for jam and blackberry (and also for eating).
1 - lavendershop
Damali Lavender Shoppe
1 - labyrinth
Damali labyrinth, where group mediations were held on certain days.
1 - vineyards
1 - gazebo
A gazebo on the property
1 - farmingtools
Always made it a point to leave the loft and head to the fields with a bottle of water and gardening gloves.
1 - fields
Lavender bushes. Not all of the plants were harvested to maintain aesthetics on the property, as well as for U-Pick, where customers can harvest their own lavender and buy the bundle they harvest. Bundles are measured with rings provided to customers at the shop.

In no particular order, here are bullet points of my final week:

Field duty highlights:

  • Weeded the surroundings of fruit trees enclosed in fences in the sheep pen
  • Transfer small lavender plants into bigger, standard-sized pots so they could be sold
  • Chiara and Karolyne got to make blackberry jam and lavender syrup;
  • While they did this, Matteo and I transported sawdust, using wheelbarrows, to and from David’s garden behind and below the big house. That was quite a workout.
  • Weed control for blackberries by laying down cardboard between each plant, then dumping sawdust on it to weigh it down (on this day, Matteo helped me learn how to drive the trailer to and from the sheep pen, where we picked up saw dust)
  • Weeded Fresh Edibles, the garden from where we got all our produce for salad. It belongs to David and Diana, other tenants on the Damali property. They were hosting a tour of the garden the Saturday Andrea and I left, so we cleaned it up for them.
  • Labeled products for the lavender shop
  • Clean up weeds around pathways, including a small set of steps near the chicken coop (see photos below)

Food highlights:

  • A savory, French dish of potatoes boiled in milk (made by Karolyne)
  • Chicken kelaguen (shredded chicken w/green onions, lemon, coconut milk, salt and pepper)
  • Curry dish concocted by Andrea w/leftover chicken kelaguen
  • Carbonara (made by Matteo and Chiara)
  • Salad with beets (fresh from the garden)
  • Last dinner at the big house: chicken, rice, gravy, leafy salad, salad w/beets and carrots; dessert = chocolate cake & oatmeal cookies (made by me)
  • Last dinner at the WWOOFer loft w/Andrea and Karolyne = dull-tasting, soy-based veggie burgers (we found this in the fridge from a former vegetarian WWOOFer), salad, cucumbers, and avocadoes 🙂

Damali WWOOFer highlights:

  • For a couple of nights, we played UNO to wrap up our evenings. Sometimes, Hughes from Cherry Point joined us. It was nice fun, especially when Chiara and Matteo vividly expressed their in-the-moment disappointments (jokingly, of course, when their turns were skipped or when they had to draw cards) through Italian profanities 😛 Many times, the first words you learn in a foreign language (aside from basic greetings) are expletives. So we learned a few of those from Damali’s Italian WWOOFers.
  • We also met Dede and Calin (not sure if I spelled their names correctly), Dave and Marsha’s grandchildren
1 - sawdust
Matteo shoveling sawdust into a wheelbarrow for David’s garden. We arranged a mini line assembly where he would shovel the dust into the wheelbarrow and I would take it down to the garden. Usually by the time he filled one up, I’d be back with an empty one for him to fill.
1 - labels
Labeled lavender products
1 - stonesteps
Before we cleaned this up, there were no stones lining the sides and weeds were prevalent on the left side.
1 -cakecookies
Thin chocolate cake and oatmeal cookies (in the back) for dessert at our final dinner at the big house.

My stay at the lavender farm was filled with new experiences, particularly that of a more communal living situation.

I also learned:

  • a few words in Italian, French, and German
  • to work among bees in lavender plants without swatting them away every half second
  • how to drive a trailer
  • a form of weed control using cardboard and sawdust

I did laundry the evening before heading off to Victoria, but for whatever reason, the dryer didn’t work. So, I had no choice but to stuff damp clothes into my luggage.

The Saturday morning Andrea and I left, Alison dropped us off to our terminals: Andrea was taking a bus near the grocery store Alison and I stopped at when she first picked me up, and I was taking the ferry from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay. I took one last look at Damali the moment we hit the road.

We had all worked on different sections of the farm throughout the week and saw everything up close. But from the road, it looked much greener and I noticed how much cleaner the surroundings of the fruit trees were (because we weeded them).

Andrea was dropped off first, and we said our goodbyes.

I was next.

When I got off at Mill Bay I hugged Alison goodbye, and made my way toward the ferry. As I walked, I thought about how quickly those two weeks had gone by. The terminal was so familiar that it felt as though I was there just two days before.

I paid $7.20CAD, walked onto the boat, and enjoyed the 25-minute ride.

1 - millbayferry
The ferry from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay

With six weeks to go, I was on my way to spending the next two days in the capital of British Columbia.

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