I woke this morning at 9am, brushed my teeth, splashed some cold water on my face, and left the hostel to find a bus. I did a little searching yesterday, and managed to find a route that took me in the remote vicinity of a farm that I had contacted about volunteering for this week. I only had about a 1/2 mile walk to get to the stop, and then another mile after the bus dropped me off. The weather wasn't too bad: hot, but a little overcast.
As I approached the farm, I followed a roadrunner (New Mexico's state bird) to the area where they were working. But, like the cartoon, he was to fast to capture on my camera.
Deb, one of only two full-time farmers on staff, told me that a good deal of the veggies from the farm go to the public schools. She explained that the city is very supportive of the local farmers. After a brief introduction to the farm, she put me to work shoveling ditches for the ditch irrigation system, so the newly planted rows of tomatoes didn't flood. The work wasn't too bad, but the heat was oppressive. My shirt was soaked through within several minutes.
Afterward, me and an intern were put to work building rows of trellises for the tall bean and tomato plants. This was done by hand-sinking old pieces of re-bar into the hard soil, one after another, after another. Then, we had to line them all with a sort of chicken wire. The task took up most of the rest of the day, and I was pretty dog-tired at the day's end. I topped the experience off with a wonderful interview with Deb, and a walking tour through the gorgeous surrounding farmland (150 acres in all, right in the middle of the city), overlooked by the Sandia Mountains, and this thing: It really creeped me out as I approached it, until I realized that it was not alive. This walk, of course, was about a mile in the opposite direction of my bus stop, but I didn't want to pass it up.
By the time I did actually make it to bus stop, I was feeling a bit dehydrated, not to mention that my muscles were achy from lugging the re-bar down the rows, and forcing them all a couple feet into the soil: a task that took with it several chunks of skin from my hands.
When I finally arrived back at the hostel, this was about all I had the energy to do.
Finally, after I lost my wireless signal mid-game, I managed to take a shower and gather up my dirty laundry. My t-shirts were smelling a bit ripe. I walked across the street and read as I did my laundry. I love doing laundry. Seriously. I think it is one of the best places to people watch, besides a mall, that is, with a cup of black coffee and some chocolate. But, on behalf of the laundromat, a mall never smells like dryer sheets.
After laundry, I walked to the Marble Brewing Co. for a microbrew and a late dinner. The walk was a little longer than I expected, but was made incredibly pleasant through the unexpected desert shower. If you haven't experienced this before, I hope you are able to soon. Rain at 80 degrees, the thick and dusty, pungent aroma, and the shifty night skies. It was fabulous. In fact, so was the IPA and Chama Chili at MBC. Though, I decided to go with the growler of red ale this evening. I sampled it and was floored: surprisingly light, with a sweet malty flavor, light hops and very-well carbonated. A great desert rain ale. Man, I need to pour myself another glass. Seriously, hold on.
Ok. So, after taking in my beer, dinner, and an Orlando victory over LA, I decided to walk back, though much, much slower than my walk to MBC. The giant chunks of tender sirloin in the Chama chili were slowing me down a bit.
Back at the hostel, I hung out a bit in the lounge with a few folks and talked. I met a guy that is staying here who is also being funded for a writing project, though his project seems to have much more of the vital elements to it, such as clarity, functionality, and reasonable goals. He was awarded a fellowship to write an article on changes in immigration laws and has been interviewing the Albuquerque suits for the article. It really sounded fascinating, and we may hang out tomorrow evening.
Other than that, I think I am going to try to do some hiking tomorrow. There are so many beautiful mountains around here, and I want to walk on them.
So, I think that is all for now. Sorry I didn't have any photos of a roadrunner. I will try harder tomorrow. Meep, meep.