Author Archives: yarrow

Harvest Festival

Hope to see you all at the Harvest Festival on Monday!

yes that’s Monday — it’s labor day! 1-6pm at Sunflower River

Pie contest! bring a pie! sweet or savory, any kind. judging promptly at 2pm. glass or pyrex (clear) pans preferred for the judging.

Potluck! bring a dish to share!

Farm Tours!

Music! bring instruments and your dancing self!

Bobbing for Apples!

Horseshoes!

Kid friendly — but please leave your dogs at home!

We’re located at 6909 Isleta Blvd SW — please use the wooden SOUTH gate (it’ll be the open one), and stay on the paths! the gathering will be in the green-belt as usual — head west up the path, and keep going west until you reach the people.

Remember we are a working farm; paths are narrow and uneven, and if it rains, things get very muddy. Please dress appropriately.

see you Monday!

Last of the Wall Days

We’re about to finish building the very last piece of our epic Earthbag Wall — which one of my neighbors refers to as the Great Wall of Los Padillas, we’ve been working on it so long!

the last construction day will be this Saturday, August 13th, from 10-6. come on down! this is your last chance to learn or participate in this satisfying and environmentally friendly construction method at Sunflower River — and we could really use and would greatly appreciate more help for the work day!

we’ll have plaster days, to put 3 coats of stucco on the wall, starting after the Harvest Festival.

if you need directions, email me at yarrow@sunflowerriver.org.

hope to see you saturday!

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Harvest Festival!

You are invited to the Sunflower River Harvest Festival

Sunflower River is turning nine years old! Help us celebrate by coming to our Harvest Festival!

Monday, Sept 5th (Labor Day), 1-6pm.

Potluck
Pie-Baking Contest
Music
Games
Farm tours

Mark your calendars and invite your friends!
Plan to bring a potluck dish, musical instruments, and your most celebratory self!

We’ll send another announcement as the date gets closer. If you need directions, email me at yarrow@sunflowerriver.org. Carpooling is encouraged.

See you there!

Kat, Jenny, Tristan, Rev, Alan & Gawain
Sunflower River

spring! and, um, summer. ish.

i have so much to update! spring is charging along at full force, as are the preparations for the summer solstice festival.

the garden is growing beautifully again this spring:
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and so are the grasshoppers:
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After the ravages the grasshoppers visited upon us last year, we were not thrilled to begin seeing thousands of them this year. So we have put down many pounds of organic, grasshopper-specific pesticide called NoloBait. The grasshoppers eat it, and it makes them sterile, so each successive generation is much smaller than the previous one. This should slow down the rate at which they eat every living thing on our farm.

Elliott’s cute, but he just can’t keep up. He spends too much time eating the bok choy, and admiring himself in reflective surfaces such as the french doors, and blue cars. Blue cars are his favorite.
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The field, now in its second year of growing cover crops (wheat and clover) to crowd out the sunflowers and such, is looking pretty spectacular. We decided not to run any chickens on it this year, which will give the plants more of a chance to get established.
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and for the first time, the flood irrigation in the green belt area can fully surround all our little water-starved orchard trees! This has been a long time coming, and has involved many kinds of miscommunications and setbacks, which probably deserves a full post that I don’t have time to write. In any case, I was thrilled to watch the honeysuckle apple tree get four inches deep in water when we flooded last weekend.
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With Summer LongDance moving to Sunflower River, dance ground/ fire circle infrastructure is a major project this month. We made good headway on shaping the space last weekend.

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Though there’s plenty more work to do — if you’re interested in getting in on that, join us on June 4th or 12th for our work parties!

Meanwhile, the tree that fell over last spring is growing new trees from itself:
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It’ll be ready to fall on another car in about 50 years.

and here’s this month’s gratuitous kitty pic: Tybalt inside the wall.
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around the farm

signs of spring:
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one of our new projects this year, is that Jenny is starting a kid’s homeschool/ farm group. they have their own garden bed, to work in from start to finish — all the way from soil to harvest!
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rain-chain
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last year, we selected our annual laying flock from a breed of hens (Black Australorps) that are known for not slowing down over winter. and sure enough, they did not slow down this winter!
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a barred rock hen, asking me why exactly i’m not letting her out to tear up and eat the tender shoots of fresh spring greens just beginning to come up in all the gardens
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turkey tom
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ice monsters in the aquaponics tanks are becoming infrequent, as the nights and days both warm into spring
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the apricots are blooming.

and the kitties, of course, enjoying all this lovely sunshine.
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getting ready for spring, which is already here

We spent the weekend work-partying for Ostara. the project du jour was to rescue the ritual ground from the bunch grasses which had taken over. in the last couple years, we’ve largely left the ritual ground unmaintained, which has had the effect of allowing the big bunch grasses to grow all the way across it. This stuff is easily 3′ tall when full-grown, and grows in tough clumps up to 2-3′ across.

So a whole bunch of really awesome people came over and we dug and dug and dug. and then we put the grass through a post-process — shaking the dirt off it, so we can re-level the ritual ground, breaking off the long stems for straw, and composting the root matter.

the weather was brilliantly cooperative, and we had glorious bright warm sunshine all day, February notwithstanding.

in the beginning
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making progress
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almost there
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Tybalt, helping. he’s a helper.
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done!
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well, done with digging anyway. next, raking!
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and processing the resulting giant pile of dug-up grasses. we’re still working on that one, and could really use some help!
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much gratitude to Sammy, Morgan, Amber & Azreal, Terra, Dharma, Meggie, and everybody else who came out to help! We would not be what we are but for your love and assistance.

we’ve got another Ostara-prep work party on Friday the 18th! We’d love a hand finishing up– we’ve got to finish processing this grass, and rake the ritual gruond level so that nobody breaks an ankle on the uneven ground, and do a bunch of tidying all over the property, and rake leaves. if you can help, please come on down on the 18th! we’ll get started about 10 a.m.

the quickening

and then i didn’t post anything for three months. oops. life has been a little full, here, and not entirely with farm-related matters. i will aim to get a new photo post up soon!

meanwhile the farm has had a quiet, productive winter. we’ve had one excellent intern all winter, and we’ve kept moving steadily on small and medium sized projects, saving the big things for warmer weather. winter was almost as wet as fall, with several snowstorms. only in the last few weeks has it really begun to dry out, and now we are all crackling with static electricity, and i keep hoping it will rain again. back to normal, in other words.

in this warm february thaw, we’re gearing up for spring planting. Sarah has tilled a good layer of finished poultry compost into the whole garden. Jenny and i are organizing lists of garden tasks, balancing the general needs of the natural cycles we engage with, plants and birds, against the needs of our social and spiritual cycles, the quickening from Imbolc to Ostara and our upcoming Ostara festival.

towards that end, we have a couple public work parties coming up, and we could very much use a hand! the first is February 27th, 10-5, and the second is March 18th, also probably 10-5. On February 27th, we’ll be clearing bunchgrass from the large ritual ground, which it has rather taken over, as well as tending to the basins of the orchard trees around the large ritual ground. We’ll also rake all the winter leaves out of the acequia, and move the leaves over to a compost pile. While this is going on, we’ll have a crew running a small chipper, chipping up sticks into mulch to mulch the large ritual ground. Any leftover mulch will go to mulch the fire circle out back, in preparation for our Summer Solstice event later this year.

On the 18th, we’ll finish up any ritual area prep that didn’t get done, as well as setting up the potluck area for the feast, and cleaning the entire property before the guests arrive. this tends to include a lot of raking leaves, picking up trash, cleaning up the trails, and things like that.

If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you there!

seasonal change

we’ve had a long wet autumn, to match our wet summer. it’s the most colorful autumn i’ve ever seen here; the extremely slow descent into cooler temperatures really allowed the trees to bring out their reds and oranges all over town. our native cottonwoods, however, did two things: the Rio Grande cottonwoods turned gold for a moment and then rapidly bronzed, and the Mountain cottonwoods that surround the house (a hybrid variety) are still green, though there are yellow leaves falling from invisible places in the canopy every day.

gold for one hot minute:
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lots of rain:
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some truly spectacular sunsets (taken from off University Blvd, a few miles from our house)
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SO much rain
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also, we grew a lot of duckweed by accident in the back pond:
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rain on tomatoes:
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October 30th in the garden. these are tomatoes. they are all, every one, taller than me.
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for the first time ever, we grew figs! that is, our fig tree, now about 3 years old, produced a bunch of figs! they were *delicious.*
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We didn’t get our first frost until well into November, but then we got a few days of it, and it’s supposed to get down to 19* tonight. the garden is put to bed, everybody is mulched, all the irrigation systems disconnected for the winter. our two excellent November interns, Maia & Sarah, are busy moving chicken compost into the garden, where it can finish curing for the winter in the soil.

frost on the tomatoes:
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mysterious yellow leaves, falling from the still-extremely-green canopy, surround my oddly-diagonal sunbathing cat.
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this is the blog of apologizing for not making enough blog posts

i aim to post here roughly once a month; apparently I can’t quite manage that this year. too much time goes by and the idea feels larger than it really is, because there is more to catch up on. and of course, there’s other stuff going on, that slows me down. maybe i can make up for it with a couple smaller updates.

so first of all, the wall! we aaaaaaaaalllllmost finished it. as in, to 100% completion. as it stands, we have the east face to complete the final thin finish-coat of plaster on. however, it is entirely stable (and then some! it’s way more done than i originally thought we’d accomplish!) to survive the winter unscathed, and we are very proud of how good it looks and how well it matches the house. this is the best piece of wall we’ve ever built. we learned things! and applied them!

if you want to get in on earthbagging at Sunflower River, next summer might well be your last chance: we will build the final segment of the security wall then.

July:
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November:
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finishing the interior finish-coat:
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we installed some rockin’ gates from Groff Lumber, too.
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i don’t know about you, but i sure am proud of us. and pleased to live behind this wall!