Home on the Homestead

State: Maine

Date: May 15th, 2016

I woke up in the Essex woods in Bangor Maine. I took my time breaking camp because I honestly didn’t know what my next move was going to be. I had over a week till I was supposed to meet my friend Christine, but I didn’t think heading to Acadia would be the best place to meet since I knew I had no service out there from my previous trip with Harley. Therefore, I decided to work my way to Belfast. A town closer to Christine and likely cell service.

However, I was craving some warm food and WiFi. But as tight as my budget was, I knew the best option would be McDonald’s. So I worked my way there and found a shortcut on the GPS route to my disadvantage. The shortcut got me to McDonald’s quicker, which wasn’t a good thing, since I’m not a fan of their breakfast and it was to early for the lunch menu. Still I ordered and set to work on updating some stuff online and on a whim decided to check out the workaway.info volunteer opportunities in Maine.

Workaway is a website that has tons of volunteer opportunities throughout the world and while you volunteer, you get free room and board.

I found a lot of awesome options and noticed one that was near the direction I was going. The volunteering was working on a homestead. I applied, packed up my stuff, and then began heading toward Belfast, which took me through downtown Bangor.

My phone vibrated and checked to see that I had an email. It was from workaway. Nyla and John from the homestead had gotten back with me asking if I needed a ride out to their place because I was pretty close. I called them up and they arranged for their neighbor who was already out and about to come pick me up. Her name was Sarah.

Sarah told me she would be a few hours, so if I wanted to explore Bangor some more, I could. We made plans to meet up at the public library and then I was off exploring.

I checked out the Maine University Museum of Art and still don’t get modern art. However, they did have some Picasso and a few interesting pieces I liked. The curator suggested that I should check out the Rock and Art Shop, so naturally I did.

It was a pretty cool place with ROCKS and ART! They also had animals that were stuffed taxidermy style as well as preserved specimens of butterflies and bugs. However, I noticed a brass compass and knew it was meant to be. So I bought it.

After that I headed back to the library and picked up The Long Walk by Stephen King and read it until Sarah came and picked me up.

She was with her daughter Ariel in the brown pick up truck. Ariel got out and introduced herself and helped me put my backpack in the back. When we went to the front of the cab Sarah said “Hi,” and then:

“Yeah, she was saying ‘I hope he’s not fat!'” referring to Ariel as I got in behind her seat in the single cab of the truck and squished in as she put her seat in place.

When we arrived at the homestead I was greeted by Nyla and then John when he paused chasing a goat down. Both were very welcoming and showed me the cabin I’d be staying in. I set my things down and then went out to go help the rest of the day.

My first job was filling in a ditch for an electrical line. I found this hilarious because my first job in Florida was digging a ditch. I then moved a brush pile down a hill to a place where they will have bonfire later in the year.

That night we had dinner of rice, goat cheese, and some different spices I’d never heard of. I learned from John that they had been homesteading for 8 years and for the past 2 years they had been self-sustaining. He told me how they built everything from the ground up and it was just a field when they bought the land.

Now they have a few cabins which they rent out to AirBnB or use for volunteers from Workaway and Woofers (Working on organic farm volunteers).

I also got to meet Kelly, a girl who is staying with them in one of the cabins and is going to school for Adventure Therapy. She is very nice and has helped me with some Yoga pointers and is currently letting me sit and write this in her cabin and steal her WiFi  because the WiFi doesn’t reach my cabin.

Anyways, the following day I finished carrying the rest of the brush piles down the hill with the old timey cart and then cleaned out a chicken coop, which I spread over the compost pile. John told me all about the composting process and gave me a lot of good tips.

So today, happiness is cleaning out chicken poo and learning about composting.

Forever your friend,

~The Outsider

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