The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


When my stepson, Rory, told me he was getting into “wwoofing,” I feared he was about to launch into a tale of some dark, sordid and sad sexual deviance I’d rather not know about. Fortunately it turned out to be unrelated to “dogging” in any way.

It transpired that wwoofing is an entirely legitimate, alternative way to get food in your belly and a roof over your head in return for committing a few days of your time each week to helping out on whatever project is required.

WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

For the past 9 months now, Rory has been living and working on an eco-village/farm project overlooking Loch Tay in the central highlands of Scotland, and earlier this week we went up to see him.

If you feel possessions and money are over-rated, there is something quite attractive about this kind of living. Of course in the society we live in, it's almost impossible to live with no money at all, so he's about to head down to Kent with a friend to do apple picking for a few weeks to earn enough to then travel on to another wwoofing project, possibly in mainland Europe.

We're really proud of him.

Rogan, Meg, Maggie and Rory with Loch Tay in the background

Rory raised the piglets from birth and nurtured the sow through illness. He now refuses to eat pork

It was an emotional time for all when we had to leave


dbs said...

Fantastic. It reminds me of my youth growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. We had this pig that used to like to sprawl on our front step. I couldn't eat our pig either.

Attila The Mom said...

What a gorgeous family you have!

Carole said...

I think Rory is to be commended to work on an organic farm, although I feel a little sad he won't ever eat bacon again.

Great experience I should imagine. But it seems like a lot of effort for just room and board. Still, very cool.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Sounds great. I explored organisations like this, but they were no where near so organised and expansive.

Fay's Too said...

Wonderful! I'm proud of him, too.

savannah said...

what a marvelous experience! beautiful picture, sugar, everyone looks so happy and content. well done! xoxoxox

Eryl Shields said...

Your family has such marvellous hair.

I do think it's great how some young people can find alternative ways to live these days, they seem so open to experience and must learn so much.

Pat said...

And the view is free! I hope Kent can live up to those heavenly surroundings and that he doesn't miss the pigs too much.
Although he's your stepson there does seem to be a family likeness.

mapstew said...

Good lad Rory. A lovely family picture, Rogan is getting more like you each time I see a new picture of him.

Ron Tipton said...

Such clear air in your Scotland. Do you have any smog? Look at the smiles on their faces. That is genuine. Great picture.

litzi said...

Hi Kim,
Wwoofing sounds very much akin to the hippie communes that were prevalent in my youth, with the notion that everyone pitch in to create a sustainable existence. Sex, drugs and rock and roll were a large part of the scene and procrastination in getting chores done was de rigueur.

The pictures look quite bucolic and tranquil. How wonderful that you were able to visit Rory and see firsthand an alternative lifestyle.

udderinggoat said...

Awesome! I WWOOF'd in Canada (ahem 18 yrs ago). It's a great experience.I'm full blown veggie now! Kudos to Rory!

Roschelle said...

Wwoofing...interesting concept. I'm glad he's doing something great and that he's enjoying himself.

Anonymous said...

So interesting! And a beautiful picture of your family (- you of course). He is in an exciting phase of life!

Mary Witzl said...

Wwoofing sounds great -- like something I'd happily do myself. Some of the best experiences I can remember involve picking fruit or vegetables. It's terribly hard work, but there's something about it that's so wonderful. Especially when it rains and you finish for the day...

I love the fact that your stepson won't eat meat now that he's raised pigs!

Hotcakes said...

awww man, your so lucky to have been on blogs of note. lol

Falak said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience.Something I'd like to do when I'm done studying...someday..

Reading Teacher said...

I recently went to the Farmer's Market. I live on an island surrounded by water - I guess like you. This is the first time I bought fish from local fisherman. Very humbling. I admire your step-son's devotion to such a worthy cause. Thank you for sharing his story and making me aware of WWOOF!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like good fun a learning experience and maybe a little work.

TalesNTypos said...

Kim, even I feel proud. I may even be close to shedding a lil tear.

I'm pleased for you.

Jayne Martin said...

Beautiful area, beautiful, happy family. I think it's so sweet that Rory refuses to eat pork now.

Kim Ayres said...

That's odd! I answered these last night and this morning the answer's aren't here. Fortunately they arrived in my inbox so I can paste them in again...

DBS - I would guess that after a while it would feel as odd as eating the family dog...

Attila - thank you :)

Carole - I don't think he's expected to work full time for room and board, but I also think it varies from place to place as to whether you are expected to do the equivalent of 2 days or up to 5 days work for your keep

Aoife - There are opportunities all over the world with this one

Fay - :)

Savannah - we were all really happy to meet up again :)

Eryl - Rory basically has Maggie's hair, only his isn't grey yet. Holly also has the same hair, but you'd never know because she spends an hour every morning and an hour every evening with hair-straighteners. What's odd, though is her other sister, Layla also spends a similar amount of time with hair-straighteners and her hair is virtually straight anyway.

Pat - unsurprisingly less likeness to me, but you can see the relationship with Rogan.

Mapstew - particularly noticable if you look at the pic of me aged 16 in the post "If the face fits, wear it"

Ron - so long as you steer clear of the cities in Scotland, the air tends to be a very high quality :)

Litzi - I didn't want to ask him about the sex, drugs and rock and roll, especially in front of his mother and younger siblings...

Udderinggoat - aha! Someone who knows what I'm talking about!

Roschelle - he's certainly a million times happier than when he was stuck in a job he despised

Starrlife - thank you :)

Mary - I think he still eats all other meats, just not pork :)

Hotcakes - if you go back and read my posts about it, you'll find the fame was just fleeting :)

Falak - with your bed and food taken care of, it means you can make a little money go a long way - ideal when you're a student :)

Reading Teacher - Farmer's markets are great places - good food at good prices and a minimal carbon footprint :)

Allen - I think that about sums it up :)

Adila - :)

Jayne - it is a lovely place there :)

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