Road Ends WWOOF/Help Xchange


Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith - that's us - live on a property called Road Ends in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, Australia. We regularly have WWOOFers ("Willing Workers On Organic Farms") and HelpXers - mostly young, mostly from overseas - to stay.

This page contains information for WWOOFers/HelpXers thinking of coming here as well as a collection of some of the things (the nice things!) that WWOOFers/HelpXers have written in our WWOOF book.



WWOOF | Help Exchange | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
for a comprehensive report on and information about WWOOF, click here
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee



Us

We are a couple of old (late-60s) twin brothers working together on various projects (songs, cantatas, operas, videos, audio-visual pieces etc).

Peter, who was Professor
of Constitutional Law
at the University of Hong Kong
when he resigned in 1999,
writes the words.

Peter Wesley-Smith

Martin, who used to be Director
of the Electronic Music Studio
at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music,
provides the music.

This is him with Jarrah:
(he's the one on the left)

Martin Wesley-Smith

We also put on concerts, film nights etc, mainly to raise money for projects in East Timor through local group The Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership. 2010 saw The Eighth Annual Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Festival (for information on the previous year's festival, click here); 2006 saw a concert by soprano Annalisa Kerrigan, with Jennifer Hoy (violin) and Genevieve Lang (harp) (details here). In January 2008 we put on SHE (Seven Harp Ensemble): seven women playing seven concert harps. Between these and other projects we look after the beautiful property on which we are privileged to live. See the printed program of a 2013 concert/film night here.

If you are vegetarian/vegan/whatever, please let us know in advance. Ditto if you have particular food dislikes. If you are uncomfortable living with two men, please WWOOF/HelpX elsewhere ....

telephone: [61] (0)2 4465 1299; e: Martin, Peter; www: Martin, Peter; Martin's blog; snail: PO Box 6159 Kangaroo Valley NSW 2577 Australia; physical address: 270 Green Valley Rd, Beaumont NSW 2577; a Facebook group: WWOOF - the Wesley-Smith Family; Martin on Facebook

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Road Ends

left:
Hong Kong WWOOFer
Pinky, at the front
gate, January 2009



right:
The dam paddock,
next to the house,
in early Spring

"Road Ends" was the sign on the gate when we arrived here, so rather than pay for a new sign we decided to call the property that. It's where the road ends, where all roads end, a beautiful, quiet, peaceful haven, a respite from the worries of the world, a garden of Eden that if it had broadband, and didn't have leeches, ticks and snakes, would truly be called Paradise!

Road Ends is 172 acres of, mostly, heavily-wooded steep hillside. We currently have two horses (Jarrah and Macca), five ducks plus lots of native ducks, a male alpaca (Janet - don't ask), several chooks, a dog called Fuffle and until Jan 1 2011 a donkey called Wally). We have a vegetable garden, but cannot be called a "farm". We try to do things organically wherever possible.

WWOOF/HelpXers generally work for 4-6 hours per day in return for bed and board. We try to offer a range of work options, which might include clearing lantana (an environmental woody weed), weeding, gardening, collecting horse shit, feeding the animals, domestic work, bottling beer, cooking ... and so on.

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Kangaroo Valley

"is one of only seven landlocked valleys in the world and the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It has an abundance of wildlife including wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, and lyrebirds. Green and lush for most of the year, it has areas of rainforest and rich escarpments as backdrops of incredible beauty." (see here)

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how to get here

If coming from Sydney, probably the best way is to catch a train from Central Station to Bomaderry (Nowra) on the South Coast line. For the timetable, click here. On the drop-down menu "Select a line" select "South Coast Line". On the drop-down menu "Select a direction" select "Central to Bomaderry (Nowra) or Port Kembla". Note that you will need to change trains, usually at either Dapto or Kiama. Call us and let us know what time your train will arrive - one of us will pick you up at Bomaderry (Nowra) station. Sit on the left of the train (better view).

There are also bus services from Sydney and other places. If you are driving, call [02 4465 1299] or email for detailed directions.

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news

Mon August 25 2014: We have just said farewell to Chinese WWOOFers Catherine (on the left of the photo) and Panny. They come from Guangzhu. Click the photo to see them with Peter.

They wrote in our WWOOFer book (excerpts):

Peter, thank you for taking us to see the breath-taking waterfall, kangaroos and wombats. They are very amazing animals!!! CUTE!!! And thank you for teaching us a lot of things such as how to use a vacuum, how to plant potatoes (hope you can see them grow), and how to PRUNE! And thank you for your delicious Hunan and Court cuisine!
Martin, thank you very much for delicious meals! You are the best chief! I should try to learn how to cook Sichuan Prawn! They are too nice for two real Chinese!.
There are so many beautiful animals live in Road Ends. Fish sleeps with us for two nights, she's so pretty and friendly, we love her very much!
Happy time is always flying and we feel sad to leave ...

Mon June 2 2014: This morning French HelpXers Brice & Anne-Laure continued on their journey after spending a week with us. They wrote (excerpt):

"We shared with you perfect evenings: sharing beers in front of the fireplace, comfortable fireplace, and after all these succulent dishes. You are really great cooks! Bon appetite ... Moreover, we could discover your life and also the Australian wildlife (Yes, in Kangaroo Valley there are many kangaroos! Thank you Martin to have revealed us this famous place). Thank you Peter to have made discover us this wonderful place called "the creek". We would like to do a special kiss to Fish, our little mascot who covered us of hugs. Thank you for all ..."

Sarah & Kim (see previous entry, below) sent us a photo one of them had taken here of a red-bellied black snake. There were two: a small one that would curl up in the sun in a favourite spot in the garden, and this one, much bigger. These snakes are very gentle, and will not attack you unless you are aggressive towards them. What's more, they eat baby brown snakes and keep tiger snakes away, so we're happy to have them here. So far we haven't lost a single WWOOFer or HelpXer to snake-bite!

Now that it's Winter here, our snakes are hibernating - we don't expect to see another one till Spring. This month is lyre-bird mating time, when their extraordinary calls are at their best.

Fri May 16 2014: Farewell German WWOOFers Sarah (left) and Kim (right). Kim wrote in our WWOOFer book:

We came to Kangaroo Valley one time, we were picked up at the Moss Vale station - it was so fine!
When we arrived in Kangaroo Valley, a deep rumble starts in the belly.
Every day we got delicious food, from day to day we had a brilliant mood!
Whether veggie, meat, half raw fish or rice, the meals were always absolutely nice!
The highlight: We saw a poison snake the first time, so thank you for the stay and we hope you enjoyed the rhyme.

Thanks, Kim. Sarah wrote: "A HUGE thank you for the lovely time at Kangaroo Valley at your home! We enjoyed working, eating, drinking wine and beer, sleeping in the bed (heating blankets!) and watching the Eurovision Song Contest! :) ..."

Before they came, we had a visit from ex-WWOOFer Maggie and some friends of hers. In this photo, Maggie is on the left.

Fri April 04 2014: After an uncharacteristically long break, we recently welcomed Swedish WWOOFers Sara and Louise (left and right in the photo at left). See them here with Martin. They told us they didn't like snakes - but they kept finding them, including a couple of red-bellied blacks and a python that liked to sun itself in a peach tree in our covered vegetable garden. When we realised that it couldn't get out of the garden (it had eaten a couple of rats and could no longer fit through the chicken wire fence), we called a local snake-catcher, Julian, to remove and release it. Check it out here, here and here.

They wrote: "You won't see any snakes since they obviously just showed up to see us. Might have been the same with the leeches. Can you kill them all before we come here next time? Would appreciate it, thank YOU!"

Here's another shot of them. And here they are with Peter.

Mon Jan 20 2014: We bid au revoir to sushi chef Kaori (left), from Nagasaki & Kyoto, and Japanese language teacher Nanae (right), from Nagoya. Here's an extract from what they wrote in our bulging WWOOFer book:

"Thank you for having us as wwoofers. We had a great time with you!! We experienced lots of new things. You took us to see heaps of kangaroos and we saw wombats for the first time ... Meals are awesome every day ... (they) are very new to us and all of them are amazing!! Wines which you gave us every days were very nice so that Kaori has never refused to have another glass of wine ... During this stay we always feel happy ... We are gonna miss you, your lovely friends we met, fish, horses, ducks, birds and Kangaroo Valley. Thank you for everything!!"

We loved having them here (as we do most WWOOFers and Help-Xers!) and were sorry to see them go. They did some great work in the garden and made us delicious sushi. Aaaaaah ....

Those who helped us plant the covered garden will be pleased to know that it's now yielding lots of vegies to feed hungry W/HX mouths ...

Wed Dec 11: In recent times we've enjoyed hosting Ionel from France, Ali & Victoria from the U.S. of A, Rebekah & Tara from Yorkshire, England, Lykke from Denmark, Rémy from France and Linda from Germany. Click on the photos at right to see larger versions (we don't, unfortunately, have photos of all those mentioned). Ali & Victoria wrote, in part: "(You) have made our first wwoofing experience very memorable. After both being leeched, we're proud to be able to officially call ourselves wwoofers." Linda (excerpt): "THANKS for patiently explaining all the rules of the (amazing!) game of Cricket to a clueless German girl (fingers crossed for Australia to win back the Ashes!) ... THANKS for showing me some of the cutest (wombats & kangaroos) and some of the nastiest (leeches!) animals Australia has to offer! ... I will miss all that, those peaceful days, playing with your super lovely yet very hyperactive dog Fish who always kept us company. I enjoyed every single minute I stayed at your place and wish I could have stayed longer ..."

Victoria & Ali

Lykke

Linda & Rémy

Our brother Rob was here recently from Darwin. He has now returned home. While he was here he completed his account of going into East Timor in 1999 after the Indonesian invaders had withdrawn. He put it up on Scribd as an on-line book called 117 Days in East Timor. Check it out here.

Mon Oct 21 2013:

This morning we had a visit from a beautiful diamond python (Morelia spilota).

Sun Oct 20 2013:

We said goodbye this morning to Heather, who went to a WWOOF host near Bargo. That's between here and Sydney, close to where a major bushfire is currently burning (we've been assured, however, that she is in no danger). See photos of her, taken this morning, here and here.

Wed Oct 16 2013:
German WWOOFer Thomas left this morning. Yesterday he set up his camera to take the shot at left, which shows Peter, Martin, English WWOOFer Heather, Thomas and our brother Rob (click on the photo to see a larger version). Heather is here for a few more days before moving on.

On Oct 5 we put on a concert/film night in Kangaroo Valley Hall featuring songs plus old silent movies with live piano accompaniment. One of the highlights was an audio-visual poem - Albert's Air - written by Peter. The show was a fundraiser for our local East Timor group. To see the on-line version of the printed program see here. Excerpts from emails received after the show include: "Thank you so much for a very enjoyable night ... I loved the variety ... lots of it made me laugh ... a great night enjoyed by all ..."; "Arguably the best yet seen in the Valley"; "We really enjoyed the show last night, lots of variety, lots of laughs and heaps of talent"

Tues Sept 17 2013:
It has been a long time between drinks: the winter months see very little WWOOFer and HelpX activity. But now it's Spring, and we've just said goodbye to our first visitors of the new season: Danish WWOOFers Kat and Anna (left and right in the photo). Just when a bloke is thinking that not even the arrival of Spring can lift the gloom brought about by the recent Conservative victory in Australia's federal elections, suddenly two gorgeous rays of sunshine lift his spirits and all is well with the world! Mind you, they can be cheeky: they wrote in our WWOOFer book "Your sense of humour is almost as good and refined as ours". They also wrote that we had excellent skills in "Laughing with us and sometimes at us". They are on their way to Queensland, where Kat is hoping to find "a surfer dude" - some young layabout is about to find all his dreams coming true.

Anna & Kat had been looking forward to meeting our alpaca Janet, not realizing that we gave him ("Janet" was a male) to an alpaca farm last April. A few weeks ago we contacted the farm to see how he was getting on. The news was not good: Janet, who had been put with a bunch of female alpacas, had such a good time after a lifetime of deprivation that the effort proved too much. He lay down and died, a smile on his lips.

Kat'n'Anna came with us to dinner at next-door-neighbour Don's place, where they persuaded us all to play a silly game called something like "Margrethe Skal". They must have long boring winters in Denmark ...

Tues May 27 2013:
Martin has recently been in Famagusta, North Cyprus, putting on a concert of some of his audio-visual pieces at a conference on "Island Dynamics". The program included pieces about Timor-Leste, Iraq and West Papua. On the way back he briefly stopped in Hong Kong for a reunion dinner with students who had been in his 1995 class at HKU (see here). Unfortunately there wasn't time to contact Hong Kong ex-WWOOFers. Next time!

About three weeks ago we hosted some guest musicians, including harpist Alice Giles, who were performing at the Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival. Alice included a piece of Martin's in her Alice in Antarctica program for which Martin did sound and projections. Cellist David Pereira played Martin's Jerrinja Song.

The names and photographs of many of our ex-WWOOFers and ex-Help-Xers are not recorded here. Of Spanish WWOOFer Mar, for example, who was here in 2006 - those are recent shots of her on the right. A medico who studied at the Facultad Medicina, Universidad Complutense Madrid, she's currently living in Senegal. If anyone else who has been here reads this and would like to be represented, please send a note about what you've been doing, and a photo, to x@wesley-smith.info. We will find space on this page for you.

Mon April 22 2013:
Left: Peter with French Help Xers Olivier and Marine, who did a great job while here. They wrote: "Such a pleasure to have spent this week in your little piece of Paradise! We won't forget this great experience ... Take care of the nicest dog of the world, Fish."

Right: the last photo we will see of our alpaca Janet, who has gone to live on a farm near Goulburn with 187 other alpacas. If you click on the photo you will see that Janet - now named Jimbo - has been shorn (at last!). We were sad to see him go, and we miss him, but have to admit that we're not properly set up here to give an alpaca the care it needs.

It's getting cold here - but our chimney is being re-built so we can't at the moment light a fire to warm us. It should be fixed on Thursday.

After Marine & Olivier left here, they posted a "review" on the Help X website. Excerpt:

We've spent 1 week in Kangaroo valley with Peter and Martin. we miss them! It's a beautiful place to stay, a piece of Paradise. Thanks to them, we have seen a lot of kangaroos, wombats, parrots etc.. and we have discovered amazing landscapes ... After few hours of work (not hard at all), it's always a pleasure to share interesting conversation with good food. Their friends are also friendly. We got a friend too. Fish the dog. She is lovely, a good company when we were working and always asking either huges or playing. Helpers, it's a place to do!

Sun April 7 2013:
l to r: Isabel and Manu, from France, who wrote: "We spend a wonderful week with you ..."; Jeannine and Stephane from Austria, who wrote: "Thank you for everything, it was a fabulous time! We will miss you - we are sure you guys will miss us too!" (see a more recent photo of Jeannine here); and an Old Salt goes fishing. Unfortunately the fish in the Shoalhaven River at Greenwell Point showed no inclination to leave it. Martin recently organised a variety concert in Kangaroo Valley to raise funds for a local bloke - Hugh Sinclair - who six months or so ago broke his leg and hasn't been able to work since.

Fri Jan 18 2013: Our three recent Chinese WWOOFers Yanxiang, Yilin and Yinan left before they had the opportunity to write in our visitors' book. Yinan wrote today with the following:

Volunteering at Road Ends is a once in a lifetime experience that I shall never forget. On the first night, when Peter picked us up from train station, one wallaby and three wombats greeted us happily. There are two bully horses who rob the alpaca Janna of her food everyday, many chicken and ducks, and our dear friend Ghoti whose name is pronounced as Fish, the beautiful labrador who is enthusiastic about ball catching game. Peter and Martin are very nice people, they always talked about political issues at dinner, which is very enlightening. We also met Annie, a family friend of theirs, and Robert, who just moved to Kangaroo Valley. Working was fun, including feeding animals, washing dishes, weeding, removing horse dung, and planting vegetables. These could be useful skills to live in the countryside, which I have seriously taken into consideration. Martin is a good cook, and we were very well fed, even indulged with white wine at every dinner. Honestly I've never seen such spectacular view as Kangaroo Valley. On the last day when driving to the train station, there was a heavy fog obscuring the lower half of the mountain, like solid wind, or liquid light, under which are hundreds of cattle wandering lazily on the vast green field, composing a poem that is worth reading, rereading, and reading again.

Thank you, Yinan. Beautiful!

Wed Jan 16 2013: We have had some remarkable WWOOFers/HelpXers here over the years. One is the charming, beautiful and talented Frenchwoman Marine Dn, who came here in June 2008. After Kangaroo Valley she went to China, learnt to speak Mandarin, and has now established herself as a singer in China of, mostly, Chinese songs. There's a photo of her here singing on Chinese television.
Sat Jan 12 2013: Our longest-surviving duck, Colin, is a pretty disgraceful duck: he tries to hump any female duck, wild or domestic, that happens to pass by. A few months ago a neighbour gave us a duck that that I assumed was male, for I never saw Colin try to have his way with him, even though they quickly became great friends. Imagine our surprise, therefore, when Edwin, as we called the new duck, laid nine eggs and started sitting on them! Edwin had suddenly become Edwina. Last Thursday she introduced us to five ducklings - click on the photos at left to see larger photos of them. The cool dude on the right is Janet, our alpaca (CLICK), in a photographic portrait taken today. Meanwhile, our six baby chicks are growing up fast - we'll soon be able to tell the boys from the girls ... We've recently been enduring hot temperatures and so-called catastrophic fire danger. Fortunately there have been no fires near us.
Dec 28 2012: Recent guests have included the eight people above. Left to right: Alexia, Géo & Stéphane from France, Germans Chantal & Jana, and Yinan, Yanxiang & Yilin from China via Singapore. Géo & Stéphane have teamed up with Ophélie & Richard in Sydney, and are planning to travel together. In the meantime, Martin's vocal group The Thirsty Night Singers has done its last performance. After five and a half years together, it felt time to call it quits, especially as we were losing two sopranos for which there were no obvious replacements. See a photo of the group after its final gig here (Martin is fourth from right).
Nov 18 2012: Recent WWOOFer/HelpX guests have included Ophélie and Richard (left), from France. Click on the photo to see them with Emma from Taiwan, who wrote: "Hows going? ... I had good time with everyone! ... If there any else Taiwanese ask wwoofing, please hire them! Taiwanese has can-do attitude and easygoing personality. Miss you all, the alpaca and Fish."

Other guests have included Hendrik from Germany, right, and, next to him, three French HelpXers Charlotte, Marie and Anne-Gael. For the past few weeks we've also had our brother Rob here from Darwin.

Sept 19 2012: It's Spring here, and we're starting to get WWOOFers and HelpXers again after a long cold winter. Most recent have been two French people: Alice (right), who was here in August, and Thomas (left), who rode off on his motorbike a couple of days ago (click on the photos for larger images). Alice did various things, including washing windows, while Thomas worked hard in many areas. He also cooked us a delicious quiche.

Yesterday we lost a chook - Chuck - to a fox, then two new 18-week-old pullets escaped from the pen, never to be seen again. This on a day when Peter had taken young rooster Frank to the Nowra Wildlife Park and left him there. So in one day we lost four fowl: Frank, his Auntie Chuck, and two newbies who at the beginning of the day hadn't even arrived here yet. Aaaaah, the perils of animal management ....

We're now busy getting ready for The Tenth Annual Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Show - see the poster for this event here. Martin's vocal group The Thirsty Night Singers is getting ready for the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival, which, sadly, will see one of its last performances (two members are leaving at the end of the year).

March 05 2012: We've recently had a couple of WWOOFers here: Marie, who's French, and Isabel, who's American. That's Isabel at left [Marie: send us a photo of yourself and we will post it here]. At the end of her stay she revealed that she was in fact Agent Rittenberg sent here by the CIA to claim Kangaroo Valley as US territory, specifically the land known as "Road Ends". But we'd corrupted her: she now believed that the USA "does not deserve such happiness" and hence had withdrawn from her mission here. She left us to go to Sydney to await instructions from the local CIA Chief.

We have a new dog! Meet, at right, Fuffle (click on her photo to see a larger shot of her with Peter). She's about two years old, we think, a Labrador with a bit of something else, and very sweet and good-natured. Her full name is Cur Fuffle. It's a Chinese name, so her given name, Fuffle, follows her family name, Cur (her maternal greatgrandfather used to belong to Sir John). She is also known, by some, as Fish, which I think is stupid (for a start we have fish in the dam, so when I say "I'm going to feed the fish", Fuff gets all excited, thinking it's dinner time). She was rescued from Death Row at a pound in Sydney by a woman who then passed her on to us. [later: her name is now ... Fish.]

December 12 2011: At left, l to r: Sonia, Christophe, Peter, Martin, Ben and Maribelle. Click on the photo for a larger view. At right, l to r: Malin, Julia & Anna.

We are currently enjoying having Australian WWOOFer Kobi and Korean WWOOFer Alex here. Like several recent WWOOFers, Alex is an excellent cook, with Korean sushi on the menu tomorrow night. Maribelle cooked an excellent Coq à la Bière (Drunk Rooster), while Sonia & Christophe, both pastry chefs, came up with some exquisite chocolate confections.

December 11 2011: At right, l to r: Peter with Jonas, Maike and Samira. They wrote: "Our first WWOOFing experience couldn't have been a more pleasant one ..." Samira is a musician who plays piano & cello. One night, when Martin's vocal group The Thirsty Night Singers was rehearsing without one of their sopranos, Samira sat in and sight-read the soprano parts: brilliant! After them came Anna, Julia and Malin, from Sweden (photo coming soon), who wrote "Amazing food and surrounded by beautiful nature. Thank you for taking us to the zoo and Fitzroy Falls and last but not least the great performance in the bar" (the Thirsties sang two brackets one night in the Kangaroo Valley pub). We then had four WWOOFers/Help-Xers from France: Ben, Christophe, Maribelle and Sonia ("We saw our first wombat around your house and beautiful parrots and birds ... This week was our first wwoofing and it will remain in our memory!!!"). They've all done some great work, both inside (we've had a lot of rain lately) and outside, with the vegetable garden never looking so good. Click on the photo for a larger view.
November 10 2011: Last Sunday our old dog Flash died. Click on the photo at left to see a larger version of him at Road Ends (photo taken earlier this year). He had been blind (cataracts) for several months, and had crippling arthritis, but seemed generally to enjoy his life. On Saturday, however, he wasn't interested in his dinner (he who loved his dinner - and breakfast and lunch and any snack he could find - so much). On Sunday he was in physical pain, couldn't move his back legs, and was still not eating anything. His tail, however, still gave a lazy thump of welcome to anyone enquiring after his welfare. But it was clear, after we discussed his situation with a local veterinary surgeon, that his system had started shutting down. He was 11 1/2 years old, which is just about the maximum for a big dog, and he was not going to get any better, so we reluctantly decided that the time had come for an injection that would end his suffering ... Flash was a magnificent animal greatly loved by family, friends, WWOOFers and all others who got to know him. He has been an essential part of the character of Road Ends since we chose him - a skinny, neglected puppy - at the local pound and gave him a good home. He will be hard to replace. Farewell, fearless old friend.

Our most recent WWOOFers have been Jonas, Maike and Samira, all from Germany and all lovely people and good workers. Unfortunately I can't post a photo of them 'cos I don't have any - am waiting for one of 'em to send me one. [later: we've found one - see above]

October 5 2011: In June we had the pleasure of hosting French HelpX-ers Domitille and Sébastien, who wrote "we have never ate as well as at your home". Most of the ensuing Winter was WWOOFer-free. Then we hosted four young German WWOOFers, including Max, Ann-Katrin (?) & Sophie. This was not a success: apparently basic WWOOFers' rights include unlimited access to the internet and helping yourself to beer in the fridge. I hadn't known this before. We have a slow, expensive satellite connection to the internet, and we have to be careful using it so as to minimise exra charges. We're happy for WWOOFers to use our connection for email, but not for downloading large image files or chatting to friends and family overseas on Skype. But this was not good enough for our WWOOFers, who, clearly pissed off, left as soon as they could.
April 27 2011: Nikki and Bianca, left, have now continued on their journey after spending Easter with us. On Saturday we all went to the annual Easter market at Burrawang, a beautiful Southern Highlands hall not far from here.
Meanwhile, time is running out, I'm afraid, for our old dog Flash (right - click on the photo to see a larger shot taken a few years ago by Swedish WWOOFer Anneli Thunell): he's arthritic, finding it difficult, sometimes painful, to walk, and he's rapidly going blind from cataracts - it's distressing watching him bumping into things. He has been - still is - a magnificent friend. Many people - family, friends, WWOOFers etc - love him dearly, and will be almost as devastated as we will be when the end comes ...

We've just finished a vocal piece - there is a time ... - about anthropogenic global warming. It will be performed by a cappella vocal group The Song Company at the Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival the weekend after next. Martin's currently working on new musical arrangements of 1. some children's songs for a festival coming up in Townsville, and 2. some cabaret songs for a local performer.

April 21 2011: Last month we had Dutch boy WWOOFers Marti and Joeri. They wrote (excerpt): "It was our first time WWOOF-ing, and we are off to a good start! We have seen wallabies, a wombat and a tarantula, although I wasn't thrilled about that last one (especially the second time I met him, when he was on the shower curtain). The cooking was great, I never thought beef-cheeks could taste so good. Every day at six we would laugh at the daily ritual of the animals, the horses eating each other's food only to start on the alpaca's food after that, who would spit on them for doing so ..."

We then had French WWOOFers Alexandra and Emilie (left - click on the photo to see the big picture, with Martin (left) and Peter). They moved on yesterday after writing in our WWOOFer book (excerpts): "We spent all our energy to transform your jungle into a beautiful vegetable garden ... We hope you will not have cold this winter now 'wood girl' is gone ... Because you love to cook, we tried to make a recipe on internet (called) 'Chooks, sauce, leeches and scales of python' ... as promised, within 20 years, we will send our children in your home in wwoofing ..." Click here for another shot.

On Sunday they were joined by Pommy sheilas - I mean, English WWOOFers - Bianca and Nikki.

March 6 2011: We recently enjoyed having a French Help-Xer and three German WWOOFers here at the same time:

Céline

Yuki, Mirko & Jorg (click on photo to see larger version)

Yuki looking a bit green (click)

Céline wrote: "Merci beaucoup à tous les deux pour votre accueil, je me suis sentie très vite à l'aise! Kangaroo Valley est un très bel endroit! Merci pour nous avoir amené près des chutes d'eau, elles sont magnifiques! Vous avez tous deux un sens de l'humour que j'ai vraiment apprécié! Vous avez une expérience impressionnante avec les wwofeurs et je vous félicite pour cette patience et cette opportunité que vous donnez aux woofeurs de vivre pour quelques instants dans un si belle endroit!"

After a hot wet summer we're now moving into Autumn. We are fortunate not to have been affected by the floods, fires, cyclones etc that have recently devastated other parts of Australia.

January 3 2011: Sad news: on New Year's Day we found that our donkey, Wally, had died. There was no obvious cause of death. A friend of ours, who's an ex-veterinary surgeon, wrote: "Poor Wally!!! Sudden death - could be snake bite if he showed absolutely no other symptoms, maybe acute heat stress, acute abdominal crisis or it's possible something internal was simmering away with no obvious clinical signs ..." Yesterday Dave came up with his earth-mover, dug a deep hole, and pushed dear old Wally into it. RIP, old buddy.

Condolences have been pouring in on facebook, including many from ex-WWOOFers: "Rest in Peace Wally" (Jesse Huppenbauer), "Miss him" (Jennifer Tang), "Sorry to hear that! very sad, miss him! :(" (Olivia Cheng), "Oh no wally! I'm really sorry!" (Anne Kriens) and "So sorry to hear that...Thinking of you... xxx love Anneli with family" (Anneli Thunell).

In November and December we both went to Chicago for the American theatrical premiere of a musical we wrote - Boojum! - that was first peformed in 1986. It was a great success, with a dozen or so enthusiastic reviews. Our names might not be up in lights, but they did feature on a Chicago street banner (click to see whole banner):

left: some of the cast of the
Chicago production (click)

for more photos from the show,
click here, here, here, here,
here and here

Later: Since then we've enjoyed having several WWOOFers, including Cynthia, from the USA, who stayed with us over Christmas, Katrin and Steffi from Germany, and Lella from Italy. After she left us, Cynthia house-sat for a while a friend's apartment in Sydney. As her blog tells us, she's now having adventures in other parts of Australia.

Cynthia

Steffi, Martin, Katrin, Peter & Lella (click on photo to see larger version)

Jesse, Linda & Juri

Sandra & Philippe

Greta & Leonie

November 9 2010: Haven't maintained this site for a long time - my apologies! In the past few months we've had various WWOOFers and HelpXers here, including those above. Others, too, including Natsuko, but we don't have photos - please send us a photo so you too can be included here!

Martin's had the all-clear from his oncologist. Peter has recently been in Hong Kong and Macau. And we're both about to go to Chicago for a production - by Chicago Opera Vanguard and Caffeine Theatre - of our music theatre piece Boojum! (about Lewis Carroll). First performed at the 1986 Adelaide Festival of Arts, attended by the Queen of England (!), it has had several concert performances since then by amateur groups in Australia and America but not, till now, another fully-staged theatrical production. Critics have raved about this work: "Boojum! is ... a major achievement. There has been nothing to touch its combination of scale and spontaneity in the Australian choral repertory ... its range of styles, which includes several parodies, is very wide ... racy brilliance ... two choral refrains of surpassing dignity and beauty" (Roger Covell in The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 14 1988) and "(this) 'light-hearted but deadly-serious choral fantasy' ... (the authors) have fashioned an irresistible contemporary musical snark hunt ... experience this grand entertainment ..." (from Fanfare, "The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors", USA, p99, Vol 16, No. 5, May/June 1993). For more information, click on the production graphic at the right.

May 2010: Recent WWOOFers have included Lalage from England, Irene from Germany, Petra & Hanna (left) from Sweden, Linda from Taiwan, and Jesse & Juri from Germany. Excerpts from Petra's & Hanna's entry in our WWOOFer book:

We came here as two inexperienced wwoofers who only knew Australia as beaches, hot surfer guys, goon, bed bugs and some garlic-peeling. After spending these weeks in your beautiful and peaceful valley we learned so much more about Australia and life itself ...
It's hard to put down in words how grateful we are ... that you have been taking care of us as your own daughters (yeah let's say daughters, not grandaughters, Peter!). It's been so great to have two real men around, to have proper food and grown up conversations.
Thank you for giving us the first real feeling of home for our first time in this faraway country where even the sun goes in the wrong direction ...

Not long after Sheila died, Martin had an operation in hospital. He's now doing well on chemotherapy, and has an excellent prognosis.

February 06 2010: Our old Mum Sheila died yesterday, peacefully, at home, in a beautiful place. She was one of Nature's finest creations, popular with everyone, including WWOOFers. She was 93. We documented the final six months of her long life here.

January 07 2010: Haven't updated this for ages - have been busy ... Since we last blogged, our 93-year-old Mum, Sheila, has had another heart attack and is now bed-bound. Flash was bitten by a snake but has recovered OK. We now have another caravan to provide extra accommodation, and we've put in a 75,000 litre water tank to supply water for the new garden and for use in a bushfire (touch wood). In December, Martin's choir performed in Canberra. Recent WWOOFers have included Daniela and Daniela from Germany, Elizabeth from Luxembourg, Alexandra from France, Esther from Switzerland, and Amy Jo (pictured, left) from South Korea. Esther and Amy spent Christmas with us and Martin's family. Here is some of what Amy wrote in our WWOOFer book:

I am very lucky to meet Sheila :) You are my new grandma if you accept me :)
I hope you have getting better and still have good life with your good sons ... I have learned a lot of things from you.
Ann, Alice and Olivia ... I'm very lucky to meet you, guys. They are so kind, funny and have a great personality. Thank you everything! ... never to forget here, kangaroo valley my second home, a place dear to my heart. I love you, Martin Peter and Sheila ... I will remember here forever in my life.

August 09 2009: Today we said goodbye to English WWOOFer Daniel Bullivant, who's a barber and an amateur juggler, and our first Polish WWOOFer Ania Balicka. It's winter here, and cold, and we haven't had a lot of WWOOFers, but in recent times we've enjoyed nurses from Hong Kong Kat, Vicky and Man Yin, German nurse Nadine, and South Korean electrical engineering student and amateur magician Jason. We've had our brother Rob here from Darwin; together we've built a covered garden and chook pen (lots of gardening work for future WWOOFers!). Our 93-year-old Mum, Sheila, was recently in hospital with heart troubles - but she has made an amazing recovery and is back home with us. For information, click here. On Friday, barber Daniel gave her a haircut. Italian ex-WWOOFer Marco visited yesterday to say goodbye - he's going back home in a week or so. It was his birthday yesterday - and Daniel's tomorrow - so we drank champagne and had a celebratory dinner (another couple of dishes from our current favourite cook-book: "660 Indian Curries").

March 20 2009: Yesterday we said au revoir to delightful Japanese WWOOFer Hinako (left), who was with us for about ten days. She plays a small guitar (a "guitarlele"), and she sings, beautifully, and she made us some of the most delicious sushi we've ever had!

March 04 2009: We recently 'ad four young female French WWOOFers 'ere, which was delightful except that two of them - Gwendoline & Yamina - went back to Sydney after two nights in order to retrieve a passport, or something, saying that they would be coming straight back. They didn't. In the meantime we 'ad several other requests from WWOOFers that we 'ad to turn down because we were keeping two places 'open, I mean open. I was not 'appy, of course: all Gwen and Yamina 'ad to do was keep us informed so that we knew what was going on. Not 'ard. The other two, Caroline & Marie, fitted in well and did some good work, including shovelling up 'orse merde (and donkey merde and alpaca merde).

Another thing: if you want to come 'ere, please let us know if you're a vegetarian or not when you call or email. There's no problem if you are, but it's good to know beforehand so that we can get in the food we're gonna need (I went shopping before the French femmes came, only to find that three of them were vegetarians and that we didn't 'ave enough vegetables etc for complete meals).

February 01 2009: left: German ex-WWOOFer Denise, who is currently studying in Cambridge, England. Click on the photo to see her with good-looking boyfriend Marc. She wrote:

Well, I am in the final spurt with my studies. I am writing my dissertation at the moment and in May - thanks god - I will finish!!!!!

We had a great time with Italian WWOOFers Marco and Elia, and French WWOOFer Virginie, who all did excellent work (I'll post a photo of the two handsome boys as soon I'm sent a good one). It was very hot here, so they would get up early, do three or four hours of work, then go with Olivia to one of the beautiful beaches on Jervis Bay. Sometimes they would do some extra work in the evening, when it had cooled down a bit. Since they left, we've been very busy, so we haven't had any more WWOOFers. There's someone booked in for late February.

Martin's done a website for next Saturday's concert - see here.

January 12 2009: left: French ex-WWOOFer Marine, who was here in June last year but till now hadn't scored a mention on this page. This morning she sent a message on Facebook: "i hope everything is doing well in kangaroo valley, i do often think about this nice period!! all my love to evryone!!! xxoo". Marine is now learning Chinese.

If any other ex-WWOOFer can't find him/herself here, get in touch!

Talking of Facebook, there's a group there called WWOOF - the Wesley-Smith Family, set up by Jennifer Tang. Check it out here.

January 10 2009: Our Christmas was hectic, with Martin's family here. His daughter Olivia has come back again, bringing with her her friend Jack (a female lawyer from Sydney). After Christmas we hosted Hong Kong WWOOFer Pinky, then French WWOOFers Mael and Charlene. Virginie has come back, and two Italian boy WWOOFers, Marco and Elia, have arrived. Last night and tonight we ate fresh oysters and pipis that Olivia and Virginie collected at a beach in Jervis Bay. Martin's working on music for a concert in Kangaroo Valley on February 7. Lots happening here!

December 16 2008: German WWOOFers Sabine, Ramona and Svenja (pictured, left, with Virginie) left this morning to go fruit-picking near Albury. Ramona wrote: "I hate the rule that WWOOFers are allowed to stay for only one week!" Svenja: "Thank you guys again very much for the amazing time I had with all the good food and all the parties ..." Sabine: "Thank you for the great time. It was a very good experience!!!" They wrote us a farewell poem, of which this is the last stanza:
Now we have to leave, which makes us sad.
But if we come back we hope you are glad.
You all gave us such a good time,
For that we wrote you this rhyme.
Not up there with Shakespeare's Sonnets, perhaps, but greatly appreciated!

December 5 2008: Things are back to normal here. We've just had French WWOOFers Matthieu and Romain, currently have French WWOOFer Virginie, tomorrow German WWOOFer Svenja is coming, and on Monday we're expecting two more. See, at right, Virginie, Romain, Sheila and Matthieu. Click on the photo to see a larger shot of Romain and Virginie (256KB).

Our donkey, Wally, has an abcess on one of his legs, requiring a poultice that has to be changed daily, and regular injections. He's gonna be OK.

Martin has just bought a chook house, and has acquired three chooks! He was thrown off a ride-on mower recently and now has two broken ribs.

Before leaving Darwin recently, Rob and Peter went fishing. Click on the photo of Peter at left, or click here, to see a couple of the fish (barramundi) they caught (224KB).

October 31 2008: We've been out of action for a few months now: firstly, there were very few WWOOFers around during the winter months; secondly, our brother Rob (pictured, left, in his garden in Darwin), had a fall in early September resulting in serious head injuries and requiring Martin and Sheila to be there with him. And Peter is currently away, lecturing in Macau.

Rob has largely recovered, both physically and mentally. Martin has been chronicling his recovery - see here.

We'll be taking WWOOFers again in mid to late November, possibly not till December.

July 13 2008: Here, on the left, are Sheila and Peter with Yen and Alice.

Last Friday, Martin drove Peter, Jennifer and Nicola to the airport (Peter has gone to London to do some research on a topic for a seminar he's planning to give in Macau later this year, and Jen'n'Nicky were meeting a friend).

Jen'n'Nicky have given TIPS FOR THOSE WHO EASILY FEEL COLD:
Flash will be the best guide. He knows where the warmest place is. However, you will soon find this is in vain 'cause Flash won't let you intrude that territory. Does that matter? We can feel warmth everywhere here at Road Ends." Aaaaaaaah ....

Jennifer has set up an open Facebook group called WWOOF - The Wesley-Smith Family. Check it out!

July 6 2008: We've had Hong Kong WWOOFers Alex (left) and Vivian (right) here. They have now been replaced by two more Hong Kong WWOOFers: Jen and Nicky.

Alex'n'Viv wrote in our WWOOFer book: "to 'Shela': You are the most beautiful, charming, attractive lady that we have ever seen! Peter and Martin are so bloody lucky to be your son! You warm our heart in those cold nights. Australia is a damn beautiful place, but not as beautiful as your smiles!" Also: "to 'Peter': It was extremely impressive that you were the 'Dean of Faculty of Law of Hong Kong University'! And it is extremely impressive that you gave up the position and salary to go back to Australia for the organic farm! We both think that it was a waste! But when we saw what are you doing for the east timor and the way you live, we found that you are having a more meaningful life than the rich people! You are not only good at the field you studied, but also very strong in those garden work! And you also got a sense of humer. So how come you have no Girl Friend now? HA HA. We think you can have a beautiful Girl Friend easily!"

June 24 2008: Today Alice and Yien from Hong Kong arrived to WWOOF for a few days. Their first dinner here was one for twelve people: themselves plus we three (Martin, Peter and Sheila), a couple of Kangaroo Valley friends, three members of the percussion group Synergy, sound designer Bob Scott and European percussionist Fritz Hauser (the musicians have been at Bundanon - an artists' residence near here - preparing for a concert in Sydney on this coming Friday and Saturday nights).

Good news: as far as we can tell, Wally has now completely recovered from the problem with his hoof. Go Wally!

Have just come across this shot (left) of Swedish WWOOFer and Facebook friend Anneli, who was here with fellow Swedish WWOOFer Lillemor in 2004. I wrote on her wall. She replied: "Lilli and me actually talked quite recently about our stay at your wonderful place. How we got to drink homebrewed beer, fantastic dinners and how much fun we had together. :) Friends like to hear that we stayed with real aussies and not just at hostels. :)" And she told us that she's about to become a Mum for the first time. Go Anneli!

Angela and Nicky, writing in our WWOOFer book (excerpts): "To: Wesley-Smith family, Peter, Martin, Sheila, Flash ... We love you! And we love Kangaroo Valley ... It is a fantastic time to stay here with you in your lovely place. We hope you would enjoy the Chinese dishes & we love the Aus dishes cooked by you ..."

WWOOF | Help Exchange | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee

June 8 2008: It's winter time here, and cold - we've not had a lot of WWOOFers looking for somewhere to stay (although we're currently hosting Angela and Nicky from Hong Kong).

For those who know and love Wally, our donkey, the bad news is that he's not well at the moment, requiring daily shots of penicillin and doses of painkillers for his left rear hoof, which appears to have foundered. The good news is that he's likely to recover, but only after a period of forced exercise and a severely applied diet ... later: He's a lot better today (June 12), and is able to walk (well, hobble). Foundering can be caused by being too fat, so we've put him in a pen to try to limit his food intake. He's not, as you can imagine, happy about this: loud hee-haws are regularly resounding through the valley ... poor old Wally ...

Peter and Martin were both recently in Hong Kong, Peter to attend the premiere production of his play Ho Chi Minh in Hong Kong and Martin to provide music and audio-visual sequences for it. It went well. We're both preparing for a concert we're putting on in Kangaroo Valley Hall on June 27 featuring vocal jazz quartet The Idea of North (for details, see www.wesley-smith.info/TION.html).

We recently heard from WWOOFer Denise, who wrote "I have just thought about you and so I am writing you a little email to see whats going on in Kangaroo Valley." Nice. Look left: here she is with boyfriend Marc on the back of a camel in Dubai.

January 8 2008: This - left - is part of a Christmas card received from Marianne & Daniel, lovely Swedish WWOOFers. Marianne sent us the sheet music of Gabriella's Song, which will be performed at a concert (seven harpists!) in Kangaroo Valley that Martin is currently organising. later: the concert, and the song, was a great success. The harp ensemble (SHE) subsequently toured to Canberra, Temora and Narrandera, with a repertoire that included the song and a piece Peter and Martin wrote for them called Seven Widows at the Gates of Sugamo.

We've recently received other cards and emails, including one from Danish WWOOFer Louise, who at 23 describes herself as "old"! Now a medical student, she was here four years ago with her friend Rebekka, who is studying to become a "health care analyser" - someone who looks at general health issues such as the "development of fatness in society". We wish she would look at the "development of canine fatness in Kangaroo Valley", with particular reference to Flash, whose figure these days is a little on the portly side ...

December 31 2007: Have just received the photo on the left from French WWOOFers Franck & Robin. Left to right: Franck, Head WWOOFer Sheila, Robin, Martin & Peter.

While they were here, Franck & Robin met German WWOOFer Louisa, who was WWOOFing somewhere else in Kangaroo Valley. She came over for dinner. Next night, she invited them for dinner. Now they're hanging out together, with several of Louisa's girlfriends, in Sydney. Looks like they're gonna have a very happy new year!

We had a lovely Christmas here with Martin's kids Jed, Olivia & Alice, Jed's wife Sally and their kids Oskar & Bassy, Alice's boyfriend David, Martin's ex-wife Ann, and German WWOOFer Melanie, who wrote (extracts):

After a very bad experience in wwoofing ... I was very excited about what kind of people you could be and I was a little bit afraid BUT it was the very best thing I could do. I'd never thought that my Christmas in Australia would be the best I've had since years! ... The Christmas days with the Family were AMAZING! ...

It's currently hot here. On days like today we work just early mornings and late afternoons ...

WWOOF | Help Exchange | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee

December 20 2007: We've had not one, not two, not even three but FOUR French WWOOfers here recently. In ten years we only ever had two; then suddenly we had four all at the same time. It has been a delight having them. First there were Chloe and Yannick (pictured left), then we added Franck and Robin. All good workers, all great fun. MORE PLEASE!

Have just received an electronic Christmas card from German WWOOFer Denise:

Dear Peter and Martin,

I wish you with all my heart a merry, merry christmas and a happy new year!!

I hope you are both well and still satisfied and happy in sweet kangaroo valley? I often think about my time with you and then I start watching all my pictures and get sentimental... :-(

.......

I am looking to hear from you both!!!

Many hugs and lots of love to both of you!!! I miss you!!!

A happy Christmas and new year to Denise and all our WWOOFers. It has been pure pleasure working with and getting to know every one of you!

December 01 2007: We currently have here our first WWOOFer for months: Shellen from Taiwan (that's her on the left). She has been working in the garden as well as cooking us some delicious Taiwanese meals. She's an excellent worker and a delightful person.

Our old Mum, Sheila, is now living with us, which has cut down the accommodation we have for WWOOFers - but we're building an extension to the house, so in a few months' time we'll have plenty of room again.

Martin recently put on the Fifth Annual Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Festival, which was a great success. We're now starting work on a concert on January 27 2008 by an ensemble of seven female harpists! See here.

A friend of ours, Bloss, who is the mother of Nick, the tenor in the fabulous vocal quartet The Idea of North, told me the other day that the group recently did a concert in Leipzig. Nick chatted to a woman who was working with a local a cappella group called Armacord. She said she'd once been to Australia and stayed in Kangaroo Valley. "I know a couple of people who live there," said Nick, "- name of Wesley-Smith". "They're the people I stayed with!", she said. Small world, huh? That's her - Anna-Lena Rodewald - on the right.

In the past week or so we've had over seven inches of rain! The dam and the tanks are full, and everything's growing like crazy. What's more, last night Australian voters threw out the ruling Liberal Party-National Party Coalition that has been led by Prime Minister John Howard for the past 11 1/2 years - it has been a good week ....

Anna-Lena in 2001


July 27 2007: No WWOOFer news! We haven't had any helpers here for several months now, partly because there have not been very many around due to the cold weather and partly because we've both been too busy to be able to look after them. Peter left this morning for a couple of days in Hong Kong before going on to London to spend a couple of weeks in the Public Records Office doing some research. Martin was in Perth doing some concerts, including a major retrospective of his political works (some - e.g. Quito - with words by Peter). On his way back he stopped off in Adelaide to help our old Mum Sheila as she prepares to pack up the old family home and move over here to live with us. The animals are all well. Martin's daughter Olivia is currently living here. He has several fundraising concerts coming up, including one with the Musical Director of Hamburg Opera, Simone Young (an ex-student of his). Plans are being made for the final movie in the Dirty Dan trilogy, to have its glittering première on October 27 ....


WWOOF | Help Exchange | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee


April 6 2007: Have been scanning photos ... here are some favourite WWOOFers from the past:

German WWOOFer Philipp

French WWOOFer Mirrie

Bavarian WWOOFer Chris

German WWOOFer Maren

April 5 2007: and some recent ones:

German WWOOFer Charlotte

Hong Kong WWOOFers Janis, Katie, Olivia & Wing, with Peter

Danish WWOOFer Julie

Japanese WWOOFer Shoko

March 14 2007: Introducing ... JANET, FIFI and WALLY:

Janet is a male alpaca who arrived last Monday. How come he has a girl's name, then? We don't know! It's the name he was given when he was just a little alpaca. Fifi is a young Kelpie bitch who turned up just before Christmas, skinny and hungry after having lived in the bush for weeks, possibly longer. She's now officially ours. She rounds up Janet, who then chases her away. [later: tragically, at the beginning of May 2007, Fifi died from tick bites. She had been a much-adored member of the Road Ends community.] Wally? Well, Wally's just Wally. He's the little guy who keeps getting pushed around by Janet and the horses but who keeps coming back for more. When Janet gets the shits with him, and spits at him, Wally stands there, blinking, great green globs of gooze sliding down his face ... [later: on Jan 1 2011, Wally, too, checked out. We miss him a lot.]


WWOOF | Help Exchange | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee


March 8 2007: Recently a few WWOOFers have arranged to come here but haven't shown up - NOT GOOD! Very off-pissing ...

Fifi has been de-sexed, de-wormed etc and is now a permanent member of the household. And we're just about to take delivery of an alpaca!

A few weeks ago, most of New South Wales was in drought. Even Kangaroo Valley, which in most droughts is a green oasis, was starting to look brown and bare. But then: RAIN! In the last month we've had over 500mm (about twenty inches). Dams and tanks are full, and the creeks are flowing ... beautiful!


February 1 2007: We've had some lovely WWOOFers lately. One of them, Alexandra Höhr, from Germany, sang in the choir for a local Australia Day concert! The concert, which we produced, which featured soprano, choir, harp & violin, and which raised money for projects in East Timor, was a great success in every way. Alexandra wrote: "It was so awesome that I was able to sing in the choir because you know 'Music was my first love'. The concert was amazing. Something I never ever thought of when I came here to work on the 'farm'. I met so many interesting and friendly people in the valley that makes it even harder to leave and step into something uncertain ..." [read more here]

Just before Christmas a new dog, Fifi, arrived. She's still a puppy, so is still into biting and chewing things, but she's pretty adorable and very popular with guests.


January 14 2007: Martin's busy organising a concert in Kangaroo Valley Hall on January 26 (Australia Day) and rehearsing a choir that will be singing his arrangement of Eric Bogle's classic Australian song And the Band Played "Waltzing Matilda". For information, click here.


December 19 2006: Received a Christmas card from Austrian WWOOFers Hanna and Suki, featuring this photo:

"It's been two years now since we were in Australia,
but we still remember the good times we had."


December 5 2006: American WWOOFer Amy wrote (December 3 2006) to say that she is now back in the States after working in England:

I ... have learned one major lesson traveling around the world ...
It's not WHERE you are, it's WHO you're with.
And my friends, I was with some amazing people in the little village of Woodstock, England.
People who have made me proud of the human race, and more hopeful for it.
Beautiful people so comical and caring my jaw needs to be rewired from all the laughing and smiles ...

November 20 2006: Peter was recently in Europe and South East Asia, where he renewed his acquaintance with several WWOOFers in Berlin, Hamburg, Florence and Hong Kong, including:

WWOOFer Shane in Florence, Sept 2006

WWOOFer Karolina in Hong Kong, Oct 2006

November 20 2006: A couple of changes to the animal population: our remaining gander is now living happily with half a dozen other geese at the other end of the road. And Popocatepetl, or Pop or Popo for short, has gone back to the farm from which she came - she's now gradually getting used to the fact that she's not a dog and can sleep no more on a couch on a verandah but must sleep in a paddock, like other sheep ...

Recent WWOOFers have included 20-y-o Charlotte from Germany and 26-y-o Asako from Japan.

October 3 2006: Anyone who keeps animals one must get used to the fact that every now and then a favourite animal is going to die. We regularly lose ducks and geese to foxes despite our efforts to keep them safe. A couple of months ago we found our old horse Fargo lying on the track, dead. This was sad, but he was 37 years old, which is longer than horses normally live, so it was easy enough to accept. Not so easy was the recent death of Fidie, a beautiful "Australian Shepherd" bitch, who apparently ate something vile that caused an infection that started closing down her body systems. She was eight years old, so was deprived of several good happy years. One of our last two ganders died recently, too, apparently after discovering its head and its neck no longer connected, which occurred not long after it had killed one of our ducks ...

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from our WWOOFer/HelpXer book:

from Anne, from Germany, received August 9 2007:

a donkey which thinks it's a horse ...

Hey mates,

finally the time has come, to leave the wonderful country Australia. But not just my backpack is full of stuff, my mind is full with great memories from my 11 month in OZ. This email is to thank all you guys for giving me this great laughs, drinking nights and a little fun at work - as far as someone can have fun during Cheesing, Picking or Pruning...

Let's start at the beginning. Thanks to Martin, you made my first week in OZ very enjoyable, my first wwoofing farm, with a sheep which thinks it's a dog, a donkey which thinks it's a horse and all these other lovely animals. Even that i didn't see Kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley (excepted on my dinner plat, of course), it was a fantastic week or so with you and Flash, thanks for being so polite with my english and showing me around in the nature (thanks for the Wombat safari :-) )

My 2nd wwoofing farm was also great, even if i still don't like olives, did i have a fantastic time and enjoyed working with you guys. I saw my first kangaroo (i mean my first 100 or 1000 kangaroos) and had my first Aussie barbie! Grampians a wonderful place to live and you can find everything just around the corner (haha).

With a strange tourguide and a fantastic group was it time for me to go on an Outbacktour, threw the middle of nowhere. Without real showers, a vehicle which broke down, sleeping in swags, far to much kangaroo bone collecting and walking and climbing. But all in all a great experience, which i will never, ever forget. A big kiss to my A-team...

But after a couple of month spending a lot of money, was it time, to work. I came to the Fruitshack, after a big shock did i recover the meaning from the endless messages on the toiletwalls. I found "heaven" on earth. I mean OK, i could have missed the Cheese factory, but now i know, what it means to hurry up!#?

Where i had the "heaven" on earth in Leeton, did i find the "hell" on earth in Mildura. Probably the worst place i ever stayed in. But after we screwed Vicky and Russel, we had a good time in our fantastic Caravan park with a clean kitchen and a fridge which worked. Picking grapes is probably not my favorite job and i still got difficulties, to see the difference between red and green, but who cares?!?

In Harvey, on the other side of OZ was it time, to bulit the straightest Sheep fence, sheeps (and Graham) ever saw. Here i learned to drive a traktor and worked in the smelliest place ever (never ever ever ever ever smell rotten onions (it's even worse than cheese)). It was a long time that someone said KID to me, but Barb was like a mother to us, wasn't she?!?

Now i reallly got the fealing, i just worked in Australia, but yeah, after a few problems with our car, good bless it, was money short and we reenterd the Fruitshack family. Even with different people and different weather (fuck was it cold) the fruitshack spirit was still alive... And i enjoyed it, not for a long time, but a good time...

Finally to my little sunshine Marion. Who, cared and travelled with me nearly the whole time and didn't kill me (even though you killed the car...) thanks for making me laugh and drink! My trip wouldn't have been that much fun without you and your great Aussie accent.

And all the other guys whom i met on the way. Thanks for all the good memories!!!!!

OK, before i start crying, hope i'll see you all again some time, in OZ, Germany or where ever in the world you are. If you come to Germany your welcome to drop me a line. You know, i live near Frankfurt, the city with the big airport. And don't forget the Oktoberfest '07!!!!!!!!

Lots of love and hugs

Anne
XXX

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from Alexandra Höhr (nearly 21), from Germany, 2007:

Alex's Road Ends slide show

excerpts:

Well, Peter & Martin it's "time to say Good-Bye" after 12 days in Kangaroo Valley which should be renamed into Wombat Valley. It was a very spontaneous idea to come here but I am glad I did it and I am happy that it worked out.

Thankx so much for having me here.

Thanx for the delicious meals and "the best ice-cream in the world"

"Thank you for the music"
and thank you 4 everything I cannot think of right now.

I thought you were a gay couple

When I first read in the Wwoofing Book your names I thought you were a gay-couple and I wouldn't have to worry about anything. As it seem so I was wrong about the gay-part.

"The [first] morning I w[o]ke up, before I put on my make-up" I went weeding on the road and I was a lonely wwoofer. But the next day after we saw the movie "As It Is In Heaven" we picked up Jan and we were making beer the next day just before Peter picked up the two Korean girls Bum Hee & Sook Yeung ... Even on Sunday we had to work! ... We went weeding at the hill and it was so hot that we were melting "like ice in the sunshine" ... And then Peter made Jan very happy bt telling us we were going to the beach (Jan was dreaming of that since she arrived) We all enjoyed the beach trip because "Girls just wanna have fun". I got quiete scared when I saw this Stingray laying on the ocean ground though! and in world record time I was out of the water again. Glad we found Fifi again ...

That night our two Koreans were cooking for the first time and their kimbab look way better than my attempt of a pavelover ... Unfortunately Bum Hee and Sook Yeong had to go back to Sydney and so they missed out on the Chinese Dinner and Jan's Birthday on the 24th (she got 24) and we had everything that you need for a good Birthday Party: baloons, candels, cheesecake & lasagne. The next day I was a lonely Wwoofer again but with the mission to save the concert on Friday. It was so awesome that I was able to sing in the choir because you know "Music was my first love". The concert was amazing. Something I never ever thought of when I came here to work on the "farm". I met so many interesting and friendly people in the valley that makes it even harder to leave and step into something uncertain ...

Peter: Thanks for letting me be lazy and go to the beach with Olivia and Jack.
I think it was quiete funny that you asked me if there was something you had to buy.
PS: and I do think you look like a professor.

Flash: Thank you for protecting me from Fifi and from those mean dogs in TV - didn't matter if they were real dogs or cartoon dogs.

Fifi!: Thanks for being so entertaining, bvut you really should stop jumping at, biting and licking people ...

I hope you will got a lot of wwoofers especially in the colder months so they can work more. I also hope we stay in touch and that one or even both come and visit me in Heidelberg!

PS: Do I get onto the wwoofer page now? [NO (Editor)]

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from Anne (20) and Danni (19), both from Germany, 2006:

Thank you for the great time here in the middle of "nowhere", with so much fun, great nature, crazy animals and beautiful birds.

Every day you cooked us delicious meals - especially the nettle soup with own-picked-up nettles!

We want to thank Flash for protecting us against the unfriendly, moan gander. Popo, the sheep, who thinks she is a dog, maked us every time smiling. She was the biggest challenge for us, because she didn't want her bottle milk from us. Only with tricks and much patience we could convience her to take one bottle from us.

Every dinner it was funny to us the pepper and salt celler. Especially Bolly was fascinated about it. About Bolly we have to say that he seemed like a absentminded Professor. But he is a very great guy, who makes us laughing every time. With his attemptions to speak German and his knowledge about old German musicers whose names we never heard before.

Martin, it was always interesting to listen to your stories and knowledge about Kangaroo Valley (without kangaroos), the nature, animals like leeches, ticks, spiders, snakes and all the other animals which lives in Kangaroo Valley. It is a great thing to WWOOF on your farm, which we would recommend to all other WWOOFers!

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from Donna and Tanya, both about 19, from Germany, 2006:

... never been so well fed in our lives

We want to say a big THANK YOU for letting us come and stay with you in your beautiful house! It was lovely getting to know you, your dogs, your sheep, your horses & your goose. As well as the company, the food was excellent. We have never been so well fed in our lives.

We thoroughly enjoyed the weeding & the planting as well as pickling & the beer making.

Good luck with the mulching & the film trilogy.

Thanks again.

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from Wendee, early 20s, from Hong Kong, 2006:

happy + unforgettable time

THANK YOU very much for giving me a chance to be here for 11 days. This is a happy + unforgettable time to stay in Kangaroo Valley (such as pickin' grapes + my shoes are full of leeches + re-new verandah & fertilizating plants etc ...) And I'm very glad to meet Tricky Sheila (I love her dessert rhumbara) + Smart Rob (well ... he asked me to call him like this ... haha)

All of U are very nice to me ... as I'm a good girl who loves HOT WATER instead of wine ....

Happy + Funny + Warm = Wesley-Smith Family

Wish all of U including Flash + Fidi) have a wonderful life in the future ... and I really enjoyed the days in Australia, so if one day I come back again, please don't reject me ... or if you come to HK remember to find me ... I'm sure I can introduce many girls to U ... as Sheila wants more grandchildren ... (hehe ...)

Wishing Sheila has a happi 90 yrs Birthday and Flash ... get well soon!!!

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from Daniel and Marianne, mid 20s, from Sweden, 2006:

Just about to leave your beautiful place and the amazing hospitality you two have given us.

You are two men with enormous hearts and minds. It has been a pleasure to see your impressive works and projects as well as having the daily conversations about the problems of the world today.

Too bad that we didn't have more time to spend together. It would have been great to be able to help you out a bit more and cook more VEGAN dinners for you ...

VIVA EAST TIMOR!

Best wishes with everything.

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from Mun, early 20s, from South Korea, 2006:

Thank you ...

You give me beautiful memories and experience. Many thing was my first time, you know, pelican, wombat, concert, sedition, kangaroo meat, making beer, and cooking "DAK JIM". It was sad that I can't understand what you said. So I'll be back for it. Could you wait for me?

take care ... bye ... see you again ...

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from Friday, early 20s, from Hong Kong, 2006:

Find Me A Cute GUY! For God sake!

Well ... it's me again. I keep writing in this wwoof book again. The cheeky Hong Kong girl comes back for cute guys. However, what she saw in this two weeks were Peter, Martin, flash, Fidi, and Peter, Martin, flash, Fidi etc. There is no cute guys at all ... (you've only got me a Japanese girl! Although she is nice, japanese boy is also nice) I know that Peter and Martin think that they are cute enough for me ... (well, don't think too much .... Let's jump to another topic). There are a few remarkable events. First of all, I need to mention about the BLUE CHEESE problems. As I think you guys know what I'm talking about ... so you know ... ha ha I'm quite happy to throw all your stuff in the fridge (Martin ... pls don't buy too much before you check the Blue Cheese Fridge. Peter! Stop him!!)

Second, thanks for turning me into an alcoholic. It was terrible to get drunk ... But the problem is I start drinking again on the next day.

Third, the Tennis Brain Wash is successful. I can't believe I kept watching tennis until 1:00am (although I know nothing about tennis, but I really enjoy that ...).

Fourth, thanks for giving me a Men from Mars-Women from Venus workshop. I've known more about this affairs which hopefully helps me to find a cute guy in the future.

Fifth, I'll always remember the "Friday's Path" in your backyard. Also the "Min & Friday's Rock" ...

Sixth, I met a lot of incredible people who are all really nice (some are with long legs ... good body shape ...)

Seventh, there is no doubt that I'm fatter than before ... That is all you guys' fault!!! (ice cream, beer, chips, chocolate, chup chup)

Living with two men for two weeks is a challenge for me. Still, feeling much different from the last time I've been here. (Let's work! Explore!) I'm so cheeky that I felt like I've been living here for long time. Therefore ... I decided to clean up your fridge, stop you guys from buying things, start controlling your life ... etc. I know that you guys must had a hard time. But I had great FUN (sorry) ... I learnt a lot and inspired me in different way. You guys are just like really really close friends of mine. I can talk about any topics with you. I like here, feeling much respected, and much much freedom here ...

Peter, thanks for exploring the tracks with me. Yes, it's all my fault, don't stop your bush cutter's work. Keep on going! I hope I can see a lovely, clear, backyard, the extention of your house for wwoofers, and the use of your exercise machine on the lavender BEFORE I DIE ....

PS Also I hope I can see you find a woman who doesn't need you before I die too ...

I love interviewing you, your answers are always surprising me.

Martin, you are my darling (Don't be jealous, Peter, if I call you darling I'm sure you won't feel good about it - you're not that kind of person). I admire you talent, your masterpieces are great! Thanks for giving me the chance for exploring artistic area. Also, thanks for music sharing ... I always feel your great Passion on music and the weaken groups in the world. Don't worry, there are always Good, longlegs girls waiting for you. You are still Young (in heart) and at least 10 mins younger than Peter - you got the chance.

Friday's Guide lines for Wwoofers in the future include:

*If you find that Peter didn't take a nap one day, take him to the Doctor, that means he is not feeling well.

*If Martin gives you a charming smile with a cup of wine, be careful this is the first step for you to turn into alcoholic.

*If you open the fridge, you will always find Blue Cheese, so don't let them to buy any blue cheese any more.

*If you find there is a piece of bread on the kitchen table for two days or more, don't worry, because Peter is planning to feed the fish, but you just don't know when will this plan start.

*If there is any girls who are lovely and young coming for dinner, it is common to see these Wesleys brothers become a little bit nervous. Please vacuum the floor and tidy the untidy house a little bit, that will make them calm.

*If Peter forgets to collect his washing or he crashes into someone's car, "Remember it's wwoofer's fault", let him blame on you so he can feel much better.

It would be really cheeky to come back here for the third time ... But ... I'm a cheeky girl, so who knows what will happen.

You guys are too fancy about H.K. Girls, so if we can't see here we'll always have a chance to meet in H.K. Last, but Not LEAST, Find Me A Cute GUY! For God sake!

It's easy to come back but HARD TO LEAVE! TAKE CARE MY BUDDIES!


Travelling 5 and 1/2 months in Oz, I've been visiting nine farms. Here is the only place that I've stayed so long (3 weeks in total) and visited so many times (3 times in total). It was really lovely to live with two lovely gentlemen ... I love here and the reason why I came back again and again is: I've never been to a farm which makes me feel so comfortable and relax. I don't know how to describe or explain the feelings but everytime when I came back here, I'll be more confident about myself. I always have a lot of brainstormings when I'm here ...

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Our very first WWOOFer,
Jennifer Kroeger:


about us | about Road Ends | about Kangaroo Valley | how to get here | news
from the WWOOFer book: Alex | Anne & Danni | Daniel'n'Marianne | Donna & Tanya | Friday | Mun | Wendee
email: Martin Wesley-Smith, Peter Wesley-Smith
enquiries: WWOOF@wesley-smith.info
page updated August 25 2014

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