Found: One Passport Photo

“So what other places do I have to clean out?” I asked myself.  I have been on a mission to pare down my belongings and I try to do something towards that goal each day.  I opened a cabinet.  Besides being the storage space for my pajamas (which I wasn’t interested in paring down at the moment) I knew the other things in there needed to be sorted through. And that’s when I spotted it.  The burgundy photo box I thought was stored somewhere in my parents barn.  Turns out, it was in my house all along.

Why is this photo box so important?  Yes, it holds all sorts of moments captured on film.  But memories are not what I’ve been seeking.  I was on the hunt for a passport-sized photo.  You know how you only need one for your passport, but when you go to have the picture taken they give you at least four?  I hung onto those extras figuring I’d need them at some point.  And I was right.  To apply for the list of Italian farms that are looking for volunteers, I need to send a passport-sized photo.  On my long list of steps to get to Italy was to apply for that list.   But to get any task accomplished, one must break it down into its individual steps.  So my first step was to find that burgundy photo box.

Upon finding it, it took me no time at all to apply for the list.  I filled out the on-line application, paid the membership fee, and then scanned and sent my photo.  Isn’t wonderful we can do all of this electronically?

So there it is.  Another in a long list of steps checked off.  Within four days I will have access to a list of over 200 Italian farms looking for volunteers.  The next task?  To figure out on what kind of farm I’d like to work.  Do I want there to be animals?  Or just vegetables?  Or olives?  Or grapes? What other tasks do I want to be a part of?  And the bigger question – the one I still have no answer to:  In which part of Italy would I like to spend March and April, 2012?  (Suggestions welcome.)

Farming & Facebook

Today, I found a good use for Facebook.  I know, I know – there are lots of you out there who can’t imagine living without it.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve often wondered what I’d miss if I closed my facebook account.  I can’t say the list was too long.

I would not miss Farmville for sure.  I couldn’t care less about the crops on your fictional farm.  Probably because when I have an interest in farming, I go volunteer on an actual real-live one. I know plenty of you don’t care to do that, or don’t think you could.  To each her own.  But a fictional farm just doesn’t do it for me.  That’s why I’m feeding my farm fix by WWOOFing in Italy next spring.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m getting rid of most of what I own and living “on the road” for a year as of 7/7/11.  Part of my year will be spent in Italy working on organic farms in exchange for room and board.  That’s why I spent a week at Sisters Hill Farm this past summer – to see if I could hack farm work. Well, turns out I can.

Here’s the first dilemma: where in Italy do I want to farm?  The country has over 200 farms that take WWOOFers.  By joining WWOOF Italy, I get a list of these places with a short description of the farm, the work, and the accommodations.  But how much can you really know about a place just on a short description?  You don’t pick a surgeon by his bio on the internet.  Nor do you pick a farm this way.  In both cases, you want personal recommendations.  But how do I get those when most everyone in my life never heard of WWOOFing until I told them about it?

This is where facebook comes in.  Today I found a page for those of us that are planning to WWOOF in Italy! On this page, I can say when I’m going and what I’d like to do, and other WWOOFers can recommend farms I might like.  Here I thought I’d have to spend hours searching the internet for people’s WWOOFing experiences, but with facebook I now have access to over 500 people who can help me find just what I’m looking for.  Thank you, facebook.  I’ll be keeping my account.