Sunflower River has our first wwoofer. Her name is Brandy, and she’s on her way through Albuquerque home to Florida, after a summer working at Earth Mountain Farm in the mountains of southern Colorado. She’ll be with us through Thursday. She’s hitching home, so if you are heading out to Mabon on Thursday and have room for one more person in your car, she could use a ride as far as Tijeras.

as a host farm, you agree to provide room and board in exchange for labor, and volunteers can call you out of the blue and ask to come work on your farm. “room” can consist of “we have room to camp,” so that’s how we set ours up. happily, we have another month of decent camping weather left before it gets inhospitable till April. and we’re one of two wwoof farms in Albuquerque itself (though when you include Santa Fe, there are dozens to choose from), and of the two, we have the most flexibility of things to do, and amount of time people can stay (a day, a week, a month? it’s okay with us). Brandy chose us because we sounded different from a lot of the other listings, and she liked the sound of “lbgt friendly, pagan community.” When Alan left this morning, Brandy was dealing with our brushpile, something that’s become an impediment to the next large project: the vehicle bridge over the acequia.

We also have an unofficial intern, who found us through www.ic.org, named Kay. she’s in her 70s, supremely self-reliant, and needs to be in Abq for a while to have a custom hearing aid fitted. she wasn’t able to get an appointment with her audiologist until a week or so from now, so she’ll probably be with us another few weeks. she has been weeding–everything. it’s amazing. the whole garden, the fence line along Mr. Hill’s house, the front parking area. She asked yesterday what else she can weed, so she may work this week on the barnyard, or the open area around the yurt, or the south fence of the garden. She’s been camping in the backyard long enough now to have sorted out the rhythm of the place. weeding and raking appear to suit her; she has chosen those tasks and done an incredible job of clearing up our backyard, around the house, on her own initiative.

look at this:

I know you’ve never seen it that tidy, because I’ve never seen it that tidy! Kay observed that we have been moving from large project to large project, leaving a dozen small projects in the wake of each one, that gradually get cleared up, and she took on yard & garden clean-up.

Speaking of large projects, we have electricity in the barn! and, specifically, we have lights! decided we needed proper lighting out there, so she bought shop lights for us, and Lionel finished the wiring–four electrical outlets, and real lights that turn on with a switch. very classy. it’s phenomenal.

and and i finished one small trailing project, and started another–we fixed the back livestock gate so it shuts properly. no more rolling a stump in front of it so the dog can’t get out. then we started setting up the laundry line. we only got partway along with that one, but it is at least begun, which is progress. soon the dog will be too big to escape that gap in the back gate anyhow, but there’s right-now to think about, and people camping in the wayback, so we actually did it right.

here’s our growing girl:

harvest is coming in, such as it is. lots of tomatoes, enough cucumbers that those feel successful. lots of okra, which is pretty good if it goes instantly from garden to the fry pan. and it’s a lovely plant. chard. a few zuchs here and there. enough pototoes for two meals: loose soil is coming for next year. that’s what everything needs: loose, organic-matter-filled soil. that’s my fall/winter project.

the lovely okra:

and at long last, sunflowers.

Jerusalem artichokes, specifically.