Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sandhill's sorghum harvest ended today. Overall, the 2008 yield was average, yet the quality was superb—perhaps the best in our 32-year history. So there are a lot of smiles on the farm right now.

Even though we've yet to experience a killing frost, letting the boiler fire die out for the last time is a major marker in our lives. We can exhale. Though there will continue to be garden produce coming in right up until the first freeze, the pace will slacken off. The larders are full and the frost can no longer hurt us much.

• • •
Ordinarily, the rhythm of my life includes October at home for the harvest, followed by November on the road—for community networking and process consulting. It's about as reliable as the coming cold weather. Sometimes the transition is soft, with a week or more of wrapping up at home before I hit the road.

This year, however, the transition will be abrupt. It happens tonight, in fact. As I type this, I'm cooking down my last batch of pepper relish of the year. Tomorrow the agenda setters arrive for the fall meetings of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (for the first time in 22 years, the meetings will be within walking distance—at our neighboring community, Dancing Rabbit, just three miles away). Tomorrow I lay down my homesteading hat, and don my community networker chapeau.

Caroline Estes (Alpha Farm) is already in town (offering two days of consensus and facilitation training in exchnage for lower hosting fees). Tomorrow's arrivals include the rest of the Oversight Committee (which is responsible for drafting the board meeting agenda): Jenny Upton (Shannon Farm), accompanied by her partner and former FIC board member Dan Questenberry; Marty Klaif (also from Shannon); George Caneda (Ganas), with partner Julie Grieve; Harvey Baker (Dunmire Hollow); and Bill Becker, our Treasurer. All of these folks are long-time friends.

For the first time, I will have the pleasure of cooking dinner for my visiting friends in front of an organizational meeting. Although I've known Dan and Caroline for more than 20 years, it will be the first time either of them have been to Sandhill, and I'm looking forward to having them be our guests. With as much traveling as I do, I have the occasion to be hosted by others all the time (indeed, within the last nine months I've stayed overnight at every one of the communities listed in the prior paragraph). It's nice to have the chance to return the favor.

So tonight, after I can the last pints of relish, I'll read through the reports and start crafting the agenda for Thursday's Oversight Committee meeting. It'll be a bit schizophrenic immersing myself in the world of FIC without having left home or changed scenery (I usually have a long car ride or a train trip to serve as a psychic buffer), but I'll figure it out.

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