new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Volunteers that make you go Hmm!  RSS feed

 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1255
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our school gets a lot of volunteers. Most of them are wonderful, but a few are pretty funny, though only in retrospect. Please share your own volunteer stories below!

+++++++++++
On 04/01/17 3:54 AM, Chaitanya B... <cb...89@gmail.com> wrote:

Respected sir,
I Chaitanya B... from Mumbai, Maharashtra. I would like to be part of your SECMOL school. [blah blah blah] Sir please I would like to grant you the permission for joining your school.
Thank You.
Yours Regards, 

On 12/01/17 6:19 PM, SECMOL Campus wrote:
Hi Chaitanya,
If you are interested in volunteering at SECMOL, please read the information about it on our website and contact us again.
Thank you,
Rebecca Norman (Volunteer Coordinator)
SECMOL P.O. Box 4, Leh, Ladakh, J&K 194101 India
secmol.org, Facebook: SECMOL - Ladakh
+91-1982-226...
Mobile +91-962...

Two months later, on my WhatsApp: (Number must have been found in my email signature)

Hey I had emailed you earlier for SECMOL school

I want to know a brief information

Please can you help me out

Hey I want to be part of your school

I'm Chaitanya from Mumbai


Did you read the information about volunteering on our website?

Yes

I want to be volunteering

So what should I do

And what are my requirements

Hey please ma'am I want to be in your school


Did you fill the form?

No

Might have filled. Don't remember sorry


No, I didn't receive it.

Okay fine. Then I will fill it.

Okay, but no more volunteer vacancies until October.

Okay

Ma'am but can you just tell me

How exactly it works


The first requirement is to read the page where we took the trouble to write all that.

Okay

Ma'am but I want to know about volunteering

Like how it works does we get any certificate for social cause


Please read the volunteering page!

Okay

Ma'am what do you do in the school


Can I tell you to fuck off now?

Volunteer co-ordinator. Sometimes teacher.


Ohhh great. so you belong from Ladhak

I have lived in Ladakh 25 years

Ohhh great. And ma'am what education have you done

Are you fucking kidding me!

Sorry I'm busy now


okay fine ma'am.

But Ma'am can I get the website again. so that I can have a look. Requirements for volunteering.


You have already failed the first requirement.

Google


Yah I'm doing that

But Ma'am website


(...)

thank you Ma'am for corporation. I will look for more information thank you

+++++++++++

Varun wrote that he wanted to come and volunteer for six months, the whole winter. He had a computer business in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, would like to run our computer class, and wanted to stay in Ladakh for the non-tourist season. Upon arrival, he spent each day going in to town to get a SIM card, etc.

He said “Don’t ask me to teach maths or science. I purchased my degree from Bombay University for Rs 60,000.”

He came back falling down drunk every afternoon, and after 4 days left on mutual understanding. He said he’d come back in the daytimes to volunteer but of course he didn’t.

He stayed in town for a month or so, and kept asking for our bank account info so he could send a donation, but we made excuses not to give it.

He broke his arm by accidentally tying his own shoelaces together in a bar. Then he asked to borrow some money, so we refunded the overpayment he’d insisted on making at the beginning. Eventually he disappeared.

Was it an elaborate confidence game, or just a hopeless drunk hoping to escape from his problems in remote Ladakh?

+++++++++++

Then there’s the sad saga of Shri Satananand, in loose white clothing and a flowing white beard. Oh, such an erudite accent, but our students couldn’t stand him because every day he’d look at their government textbook and instead of helping them read, he’d rant about the atrocious standards of Indian textbooks: “Look at this! Our country will never get anywhere! Can you imagine, if Oxford or Cambridge had published this? Oh, this country will never progress at this rate.”

He refused to tell us his real name, and complained of his family’s cloying Tamil Brahmin values. He had never eaten anything not cooked by his mother or wife, and then after he retired and his wife died, he had decided to become a sanyasin, though he was not religious in the slightest. At SECMOL he would only eat what was made by our cook. On the cook’s day off when students were cooking, he would say “Oh but I have always fasted on Saturdays.” And the next week if students were cooking on Sunday instead, he’d say “Oh but I have always fasted on Sundays! It’s a life-long habit, you see.”

On weekdays he would sit in the kitchen, carefully and slowly helping to chop vegetables, one by one, while discoursing on how this country will never get anywhere: “Look at the execrable quality of that product right there: it’s shameful!”

He wanted to just volunteer somewhere and be taken care of, but he couldn’t fit in anywhere because no place was up to his standards. Last I heard he was at a missionary school, but I’m sure he didn’t stay there long, either.

+++++++++++

Santosh wanted to volunteer for two years. I should have noticed that he didn’t fill in the emergency contact details.

After a few days, he said he had to go to his best friend’s wedding in Delhi and would be back in 4 days. Well, after a week he hadn’t shown up and then started phoning all of us SECMOL staff asking if we could send him money because his wallet and phone had been stolen in Delhi. We wondered if all his friends and family knew better than to lend him money... So we each said no, and I guess he was offended because he came back to Ladakh and had someone take his bags to town and never came to our school again.

Last I heard he said he was setting up an event management company, and I saw posters for a music festival that was charging for tickets. It fizzled out and disappeared before the date came.

+++++++++++

Date:  Sun, 29 May 2016 17:30
From:  Dee... <b...sha...@gmail.com>
To:  ...@secmol.org
Subj:

Hey I wanna a part of this. Trip..

That’s the whole email.

+++++++++++
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hilarious! 
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4146
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, Rebecca, thank you! 

As you know, we have stories, too.

We had one guy show up, sure that with hard work and the good fresh air of Montana, he could go cold turkey from smoking. Oh, and later we found out he'd been on heroin, too.

He didn't last more than one day.

I'll try to circle back with some other stories later.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4146
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a story that I want to get off my chest.

A lovely visitor/volunteer was here with a young daughter. Some baby birds fell out of the nest. The daughter tried ("tried"?) to put them back in the nest and ended up carrying them around for a day and half, feeding them, holding them, giving them to others to hold. Handling them a lot.

At first there were four baby birds. Then one escaped in one of our cabins (where they were staying).

We don't know if the bird is still in there. Some where...probably dead.

The following morning, the remaining three baby birds were dead.

When the visitors left, they left the cardboard box of dead baby birds, outside, next to our office door.

What?!

With many acres here, and lots of places to return the poor things to nature (whether as an easy treat for another critter or the soil), why, oh why did they leave the poor dead things for us to do something with?

Somehow, I can't imagine being a guest somewhere and leaving dead animals for them to deal with at the end of my stay.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1255
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A volunteer who was over 70 found that her ATM card stopped working (she hadn’t told her bank she was travelling to India). Some American stranger in the ATM lent her $150 and she borrowed $300 from a college student volunteer. Then she borrowed $150 from a couple who were volunteering here, but when they wouldn’t lend her another $150 she turned cold towards them. (Note: It’s not easy to spend more than $150 in this small town).

Once she got back home, she tried to send the money to the couple but inserted an extra letter in their PayPal ID so it got lost. (They'd emailed her the correct PayPal ID so all she had to do was copy-paste it, and it is unclear why she fiddled with the spelling.) When they pointed out her mistake, she sent the email below. Shocked, they forwarded it to me:

Hello. After much deliberation and consulting with various factions here around this whole situation that has unfolded with my good intentions of paying you back money you obviously resented my asking for in the first place ,the stars have aligned themselves that by sheer accident in my trying to make good with you down to dollars and cents including ATM fees I somehow accidentally sent the money to my angel from the ATM machine instead ...he demonstrated the true spirit of Buddhism with compassion ,generosity of spirit ,didn't even have to ask him but trusting handed me money so as a reward for his good spirit he got your money instead plus the money he received before ,never questioning the 8 $ difference with exchange rate or ATM fees .He is a struggling musician ,violinist in your fair city and am sure you would want him to have this money . I did try through PayPal to correct this but they told me it was too late to reverse him getting the money. It was a definite message he was meant to get this money as fair in the scheme of things .
I know you will reflect on this and agree from the overall spirit of Secmol this is the right decision .. Happy further travels .
End of this dialogue
Sarah

Oh. My. God! Is she a travelling scammer, or is it the beginnings of dementia?
Note: she didn’t actually send the extra money to her ATM Angel, she sent it to a non-functional PayPal ID. I sent a carefully worded email to her, cc’ing her son, who we had as her emergency contact:

Hi Sarah (and Robert),
I recently heard there was some confusion about you paying back the people you had borrowed money from in Ladakh. I heard that you had sent the money for Rachel to somebody else on PayPal and considered that a done deal so you won't pay her back now? I don't think you would do that, so I hope the message I got was garbled in the grapevine.
I think maybe you find technology daunting... I'm copying your son on this email, hoping that maybe he can help you figure out how to do these transfers. (Thank you Robert!)

And then she goddam well sent it to them properly! Phew!


(Of course, I've changed all the names in my volunteer stories here)
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1469
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorta a volunteer story. Someone tried to hire himself for a job that didn't exist.

I was working a themed event, 3 and a half days (Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, a legal holiday). I sold jewelry and other items I made, and I occasionally took a few items of my artist friends on consignment to fill out the table. One friend did the most lovely art on smallish flattish roundish stones. I had several of the latest crop here and there for fillers. Late Saturday afternoon, a fellow walks up, looks at the stuff on display, fixes on her best piece of rockpainting and becomes agitated. He DEMANDS to know where my shop/studio is. (all my cards give how to get ahold of me, I'm from another town and lived where zoning was strict, so nobody EVER got to visit my in-house workshop-no address). Why? He announced that Tuesday morning he was showing up at my studio to paint rocks for $8 an hour! (minimum wage was $5). I told him I had no job openings. At all. He told me that if I was paying someone to paint rocks he could paint rocks for me. I tried to explain that those were on consignment, I didn't pay anyone to paint them. He insisted he was showing up Tuesday. I explained I was an hour and a half away from this town. He told me that I had to give him a $1000 advance to move. I tried to tell him no. I wouldn't tell him where my studio was, I wasn't going to hire him, I had no jobs available, and I didn't pay anyone to paint those rocks. He also mentioned he'd been looking for work for a month somewhere in there... uh huh. Someone at another booth sent to the front desk/ticket booth and the event organizer showed up to hear him trying to bully me for a) where my studio was located, b) the thousand buck advance c) $8 an hour, and d) he WAS GOING TO BE THERE TUESDAY MORNING TO PAINT ROCKS BECAUSE IF I WAS PAYING SOMEONE ELSE TO PAINT ROCKS HE COULD TOO. Organizer got two more from the front and the fellow was firmly escorted OUT.

I could sympathize with he was probably couch surfing or even sleeping outdoors and it was getting to the cold time of the year, but. I had no signs out saying I had a job opening, I didn't mention anything of the sort. He just suddenly informed me I was hiring him, for how much, and what he'd be doing and get paid for it!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4146
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rebecca, wow! SO excellent that you were able to get her to send the money she borrowed!  I cannot believe the crazy she used in trying to dodge that one - uff!

Deb, what a crazy guy - wow again! Some people are quite cray-cray.

We are in such a great groove right now, with such excellent workshop participants that I'm feeling really good about things right now.

AMAZING volunteers have sent and sewed cushions for the PDC - WOW! (Wow, in a good way!)

 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1255
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, man, Deb, that's incredible! This random guy announces you're going to pay him?! Wow.

Happy to hear the lab has all good participants now!

We've got another live one. Thank god, she's leaving tonight! She had answered the question "Do you have any food or health issues we should know about?" With "No food or health issues." And then when she arrived she was like "Oh, your water is from a deep bore-well? I can't drink hard water, so I can't drink your water or eat food cooked here." I pointed out that our water is NOT hard, and it's cleaner than any water she's ever had in her home city. She was like, "Oh it's okay, I'll buy mineral water and bring cornflakes." And she said she would "take the bottles back."

Sheest! Here we've got the cleanest, coldest, most delicious water in the goddam country and she's gonna buy bottled water?! And then she proceeded to bring and boil packets of ramen noodles every day. I couldn't stand it, I was losing sleep thinking about her and her goddam bottled water. One day she said she'd gone down to the Indus next to our school and was shocked by the garbage along the river. So I said, "When you dump things in the bins in town, you do realise there's no proper garbage system in Ladakh, and they just dump it in an empty valley above town, right? So half of your bottles will just come back here. So, have you bought a bag to take your bottles back to Bombay with you?" And then I held it in for a few more days, but today I was like "Where do you think they get the water to fill those bottles with? Rain-water? Rivers or lakes? It's bore-well water, you realise that, don't you?"

Thank god she's leaving tonight, because I've run out of shit to say to her and next time I'd just start strangling her, I swear!

(We've had lots of fabulous volunteers in the past two months though -- skilled teachers from various cities of India who are volunteering to teach here during their vacations; Ginette from an organisation called Purple Lily, who did wonderful workshops on confidence and financial literacy for our students, and lively other vols from Thailand, Mongolia, Mexico, and other places. But I like venting here
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I enjoyed reading about the craziness of people who show up to "help".  A few years ago I had my turn with volunteers, and I thought "Oh I can't remember all the details and I am too tired to write it all out in an amusing way.  Then I remembered I had written about it for my writing class.  I cut off th eintro telling what WWOOFers are, and why I registered as a wwoof host farm,so it kind of has a rough start, but :

Judith came to me in May of 2010,  A German woman of 23 just having finished a winter internship in Michigan, or was it Minnesota, a cold wet northern M place.  Her luggage weighed more than she did, a tiny thing, a 90 pound powerhouse.   This woman planted with precision, counting the seeds that went into the holes, carefully measuring distances and depths.  She helped build fences, and would have wrestled the rented Billy Goat, a walk behind field mower.  The orchard needed mowing before the apricots ripened, and the Billy Goat was not available, needed repairs.  Judith said, "What about a scythe?".

I ordered one from the hardware store, and while we waited, we searched you tube videos to get some idea how to use it.  It was not the prettiest job ever, but Judith got the orchard mowed.  We played hooky together, hiking in Arches National Park, and visiting my friend Jane's off grid house 2000 feet above Collbran, Colorado.  Judith went to yoga with me 2 times a week, and when I had what I hope is the worst Farm Stay guest ever, our eyes met with knowing glances at his outrageously rude and intrusive behavior.  Her support sustained me through three days with terrible Todd. 

Judith only stayed 2 weeks.  Not long enough for either of us, but her visa would expire soon and she was to meet her boyfriend who was flying in to Las Vegas.  They had 3 weeks in which they planned to rent a car, tour the west, and find mountains to climb.  They wanted to climb granite, basalt and gniess, having primarily limestone in the parts of Europe where they climb. 

One day not long before she left, Judith asked me if I would be offended if she offered to mop the floor.  OFFENDED?  I would love her forever, so she gave me  parting gifts of a clean floor, and a traditional Bavarian dinner of mushroom dumplings, which her grandmother had taught her to make, and early one morning I took her to the bus depot where we hugged good bye.

Judith was not my first volunteer.  I told you of her first because I wanted to start with something wonderful.  My first volunteers cancelled two days before they were to arrive.  I had planned around their presence, saving work I would otherwise have done myself, shopped for groceries, worried about how it would go. 

Next were Garrett and Rachel, and oh the stories to be told about them.  From the deep south, they wanted to stay the whole growing season.   They wanted to see the things they planted mature, and they said they wanted to learn subsistence farming,could they have meant sustainable?  Though my preferred length of stay for volunteers 1-3 weeks, I had agreed.  They arrived.  Within 24 hours Rachel confided in me, in a soft voice, putting her hand on my forearm,  looking into my eyes, "we just went off our psych medications", as in, cold turkey, they took their last pills yesterday.

YIKES thought I, 20 years a psychiatric nurse, that's waaay  more than I bargained for.  They would leave each afternoon and return in the evening, Rachel's pupils dilated, big as saucers.  Apparently it was only their prescription drugs they had quit.

Rachel confided she had wept in the local health food store for the people of her home town, who did not have access to all the wonderful products.  Let me tell you, I only shop there because there is no other option.   I fondly remember the Sundrop Grocery, and I know of some other very fine natural grocers in Madison, Olympia, San Luis Obispo, and I do not mean the big name box stores who sell primarily green washed conventionally produced food- like -substances labeled "all natural", so I could not really share her reverence for the market where she wept. 

When they used honey, they poured it from the jar, letting it run over the threads, stringing it down the side of the jar, making a sticky gooey mess all the way onto the table.  I asked them to use a spoon, wait for no streamers. 

My fine textile napkins developed dark stains.  I showed them rags and napkins and dish towels, and asked for them to use rags for clean up, and save the towels for drying clean things, save the napkins for table use.

"We are adults, and we are used to doing what we want" was the response.

In my absence, Garrett and Rachel turned 3,000 onion plants, the ones the no show volunteers were to have planted into 500.  "This is all of them." they claimed.
They had tired of planting and thrown 2500 onion plants away. 

I should have watched them closer, I thought.

Rachel decided not to cut any more of the dry grass we needed for the earthen floor we were mixing and installing, hid out in her room.  It seemed it would be easier to cut it myself than to sort that one out.  When I tried start the mower, it mysteriously no longer worked.  Garrett offered to check into it and discovered that oil in the air filter was blocking the air intake.  Without the filter it would run just fine.  Then Rachel remembered that, for an undisclosed reason,  she had turned the thing upside down and "Maybe that's when it got in there".

I watched from an upstairs window as Garret would pull a single weed, then holding it at arms length would walk 50 yards to place it in a pile, then return to get one more weed, make another trip to the weed pile, all the while using one hand to hold his cell phone to his ear..  I provided him with a new strategy, pull the weeds, pile them in place, then move the whole pile.

Garrett had reported that he preferred to carry buckets of dirt rather than use the dolly, wheelbarrow, or tractor.  One day we were working together and I asked him to go get the tractor.  After a time he returned with the bad news that the tractor would not start.  I assumed it was a matter of the battery, thought we would need to jump start it.    This man who claimed to be a mechanical genius said he wasn't sure...... and so I went to get the tractor.

I mounted the tractor and just to see for myself, went through the motions of starting it.  I depressed the clutch, turned the key, which was suddenly half a key in my hand.  Garrett made a sudden look of awe, of dumb struck amazement and wonder, said "Maybe a pair of needle nose pliers?" fetched the pliers from the garage and removed the piece of key which remained in the ignition.

I was not impressed.  What bothered me most was the willful deceit.  He must have planned exactly what he would say when I discovered the problem which had led him to claim to love moving 80 pound buckets of soil by hand.  He had been using the tractor, and simply decided not to use it anymore.  Said he really just liked carrying heavy buckets.

"You know Garrett, I know what metal fatigue feels like, and that is not what I felt when I turned the key."

To his way of thinking, I was calling him a liar, and the next morning, with the car packed, they informed me they would be leaving.  Probably a good idea.

Judith came after Garrett and Rachel, and restored my faith in the possible benefits of WWOOFers at Canyon Wren Farm.

And after Judith, came Amy.  It was early June when returned from California where I had attended my uncle's memorial service.  Amy was to arrive the next day.  What I did not expect was how early she would arrive.

I had arrived home in the late afternoon, thought I would go to the grocery store in the morning, stock up.  I was having my breakfast when the phone rang.  Amy was not in Denver, she was just across town, where she had spent the night, she had breakfasted, and was ready for directions to the farm.

She arrived shortly.  After greetings, and showing her to her room, we went out to weed.  Like Judith, this girl was ready to DO something.  We chatted as we crawled between rows of tomatoes, weeding on hands and knees.  I showed Amy what to remove and what to leave.  Meanwhile I was thinking, "I never made it to the grocery store.  Everything in the house has been there at least 2 weeks!  What ever are we going to have for lunch?" 

I began to make a pile of the amaranth, purslane, and lambs quarters, we were pulling, sorting out all unknowns and inedibles,  grasses and early bind weed.  When lunch time came, we took our culinary weeds to the house and had a frittata.  We still laugh together about the first meal we shared.

When Amy went to fix the flat tires that Garrett had claimed to have fixed, she found the inner tubes had long slashes in them where he must have caught them between the rim and the pry bar he used as a lever.  That must have been why he did not use the dolly or wheelbarrow to move the dirt we needed.  I cannot remember what other Garrett surprises Amy discovered while here, but we laughed often and she would beg me to tell her Garret and Rachel stories.

Amy stayed all summer.  Her parents came to visit her here, to try to understand better why she was not getting on with a career plan or grad school, or anything they could recognize or understand as a viable option towards a  suitable future.  She had never used a shovel, never used a lawn mower, never had a cat or a dog or a gerbil or a pet other than her sister's goldfish.  She loved it here, worked hard, and loved to keep busy.  She also went to yoga twice a week with me.  People at yoga still ask about her.  She took off on adventures to see her boyfriend in the navy in Chicago.  Together we saw the arrivals and departures of Gabriel from France, Nick and Alexi from Portland.  Amy minded the farm solo while I went to Africa for a month, giving me an opportunity to stay with my daughter at her Peace Corps assignment site on a remote mountain top in Senegal, West Africa.

"Your so called daughter," Amy liked to tease, "I've never seen her." The last week in October, Amy went home to spend some time with her family.

The 2011 season I had another Garrett, but this time his name was Richard.  He chopped out my conspicuously marked apricot seedling research.  He told me he knew how to build, and I showed him the tools and the materials, explained what I needed, asked him if he understood.  Judging by what he "built" he had misrepresented his understanding and skill level.  He used, and destroyed the materials I had set aside, telling him they were for another project.  He really truly cut the middle out of a long board to get a short piece, then needed a long piece.

I wonder sometimes, what do these kids think.  What do they think is going to happen, when someone asks them to do something they have said they can do?    Wouldn't be easier to just tell the truth?

Ah well, if at 25, it is the first time he hasn't been able to bluff his way through something, then it comes not a moment too soon.  Richard and Brittany left me a note while I was off at my yoga class, they had decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

I am always filled with anticipation when a new volunteer is scheduled to arrive.  We have always corresponded and agreed on what the person will do while here.   I am willing to believe that the person has accurately reported his willingness, attitude, skills, and am SO EXCITED about the progress that will be made in fulfillment of some facet of my dream.

Christophe said he was an engineer.  In my experience an engineer's training lies in understanding the properties and tolerances of various materials, as conductors or insulators, or their load bearing abilities, tensile, shear or compressive strengths, or for chemical or molecular or mechanical engineers, they know the specifics and limits of something, and they know those limits well.  That's what engineers do. 
Christophe had agreed to help me build the cob wall for my greenhouse.  I explained the role of each ingredient in the simple sand, clay, water, straw mix, and told him the exact proportions necessary for the most durable mix.  Batch after bad batch he mixed, patiently I again explained the role of each ingredient and the need for neither too little nor too much.  5 days he mixed bad batches, then said to me, "You really think the amount of clay is important?"

I had a pile of top soil which I discovered he was using rather than dig sand.  "You really think it matters?"

Again I discovered him using the topsoil.  "I thought we agreed not to use the topsoil in the mix"

"I am only using one bucket of topsoil to two buckets of sand.  I thought it would be a good compromise"

Compromising the durability of my building for his ease and convenience?

Christophe was reassigned to weeding.  He left not long after.  On the day I was to take him to the bus depot, he left before I woke, leaving me a note on the table.  That was my third note on the table.

In late October, I was looking forward to Marie.  At 19, she had just finished the German equivalent of high school.  She was to arrive the day before Halloween, had agreed to stay with me 8 to 10 days, and then stay and  work a few days with my friend Jane at her home in an Aspen grove at 8500 feet.  Out of the work I had said would be needed in late October, she chose to clean house.

Can you imagine?  If a person cleaned 6 hours a day for a 10 days, how clean the place would be?  Everything done all at the same time?  Clean windows, no cobwebs, floors mopped, shelves wiped, bathrooms squeaky clean?  Oven, windowsills, piano?  Wash and rehang the curtains?  The slip covers?  Re seal the shower grout?

I was SO EXCITED.
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1469
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:

In late October, I was looking forward to Marie.  At 19, she had just finished the German equivalent of high school.  She was to arrive the day before Halloween, had agreed to stay with me 8 to 10 days, and then stay and  work a few days with my friend Jane at her home in an Aspen grove at 8500 feet.  Out of the work I had said would be needed in late October, she chose to clean house.

Can you imagine?  If a person cleaned 6 hours a day for a 10 days, how clean the place would be?  Everything done all at the same time?  Clean windows, no cobwebs, floors mopped, shelves wiped, bathrooms squeaky clean?  Oven, windowsills, piano?  Wash and rehang the curtains?  The slip covers?  Re seal the shower grout?

I was SO EXCITED.


And then? AND THEN  
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chuckles .....
On my iPad now, need more of a key board to tell of her stay
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6695
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And then, I butted in, to break the suspense.

I moved two people into my cabin, who were supposed to do a variety of things. They were to put in two hours per month, in exchange for living there. They couldn't find that kind of time. What they did find, was every stray item that was put on the side of the road for free. They gathered several truck loads of this stuff, left it outside during the winter deluge and after I kicked them out, there was lots of junk to dispose of.

Not one useful thing was ever done.

They shit on the side of the road.

They vandalized the cabin, when they left.

A baby was produced.

I found out later, that they would hide in the bush whenever I arrived. I thought I was just missing them each time.

I found them here, when I ran an ad in the woofer section.

They returned to the United States, which I'm glad of, since I wouldn't want to be responsible for the long term drain on the public purse.

They left evidence indicating that welfare was collected in Washington State, during their entire 20 months at my place.

There were some improvements made to the cabin. All we're done by my good tenant Randy, in an attempt to help them get started.

Edit--- One day, they were burning firewood supplied by Randy in the wood stove that Randy installed, when he told the baby "no, it's hot," as it toddled toward the stove.  " We're not raising him with the word, no," he was informed.😞
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1469
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I remember learning HOT as an infant and they'd tell me that pretty glowing thing was HOT and I'd scream in frustration, (stop using that word, I want to touch it, stop telling me that word I WANT TO TOUCH IT) No has nothing to do with it. Those people are going to have a snowflake... sigh. Probably with a really good injury.

I had someone that owed me money (tried to help them out). They suggested they could work it off. Fine, I make my own art stuff, I could use someone to repeat-string and copy earrings (make one they make one to match) (repeat-string, I lay out/set up the pattern and someone else copies it to the correct length). NOPE. Okay, I offered to take them to some of my suppliers, let them buy wholesale under my tax number, they could make what they wanted and I would take it on consignment. Meaning, their own money for supplies and no guarantee it'd sell. NOPE (they drooled almost as they looked at my raw stock)..they wanted me to pay them by the hour to make what they wanted, from my stuff. May I also point out that the quality of their work wasn't as good as it needed to be?  Finally, pay them by the hour to stick prepurchased stencils on glassware and use crème-etch to frost the glass. Or put the cost of the finished product (the price I had to pay for it to exist) to about twice what I could get for it retail. I countered with, I drew onto the glass with a marker then used a handheld dremel with diamond bit to frost the glass. The wail 'But I can't draw!!!' The calm reply 'But I Can.'  Tried to work booth, had numerous problems with them including them wanting to set up to do some stuff on my nickel. That were also against the event rules. No. You are being paid to be "booth babe" you do what I want. And you don't do stuff that will get me punted.

It got a lot messier than that but that is the 'volunteering' part.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Talk about going "hmmm". I posted the sequel to my story this morning.  Now I see it is not here, and I am saying "Hmmmmmmm" and wondering where I DID post it. All I cansay is finders keepers!  It's around here somewhere.
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
gardener
Posts: 325
Location: Wisconsin, USA Zone 4b-5a
68
books cat dog toxin-ectomy urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Talk about going "hmmm". I posted the sequel to my story this morning.  Now I see it is not here, and I am saying "Hmmmmmmm" and wondering where I DID post it. All I cansay is finders keepers!  It's around here somewhere.


If you go up to the top of the page and click on "My Posts" it should be there. If not, I'm guessing it either didn't save or got deleted.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow,that was a lot easier than going to the history on my browser.   Thanks very much.

Turns out it did not post, maybe because I moved on and closed the window before it was done "thinking".  more hmmmmmm,but at least I know I get to tell the story again.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was excited before Marie arrived, and I thought perhaps a person could guess that I had set myself up once again.  Marie was another miscreant looking for a free ride.  She had misrepresented her willingness to work.  Further she had met a young man during the few days she had spent in Denver on the way to my place.  She went early to Jane's place. It is an hour's drive from her place to mine, and Jane was in town.  Marie went with her, and was to return to my house to work for me.

Jane asked her to dust/wipe/clean the interior log walls of her home.  Jane told her that it was better to dust from the top down, than the bottom up, but Marie went from bottom to top and then cleaned up the dirt she loosened on the way up, and cleaned  from top to bottom.  Jane and I were pretty surprised at that and had a good laugh over it.  I have forgotten what else happened there at Jane's, but it was more of the same.  When I called about coming to pick her up, Jane said she had already left.  Jane had been making a trip to town for a doctor appointment, and Marie got a ride with her to the train or bus. She headed back to Denver (presumably to get laid again-- "all indications were").

She contacted me a few weeks later, saying she had left a few things at my place and wondered if I would send them to her.  She made no mention of postage, and as it happened, the postage question was moot.  I had thrown out her dirty laundry weeks prior. 
 
Tyler Miller
Posts: 115
Location: Trapper Creek, AK (3a)
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:When the visitors left, they left the cardboard box of dead baby birds, outside, next to our office door.

What?!

With many acres here, and lots of places to return the poor things to nature (whether as an easy treat for another critter or the soil), why, oh why did they leave the poor dead things for us to do something with?

Somehow, I can't imagine being a guest somewhere and leaving dead animals for them to deal with at the end of my stay.

Maybe they were secretly shapeshifting cat people?


Thanks for the amusing stories. My brother has had good luck with getting people to volunteer. My mom rents a couple cabins, and my brother has a big garden and an outdoor kitchen next to them. Many of the renters see the garden and him working and come out to help.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!