Today, August 18th the hot summer sun is somewhat muted by smoke drifting in from a large wild fire to the north. It rose a large red disc this morning and still is orange now at mid-day. Today is also the first day in a month that I have not had the company of WWOOF-USA helpers. So much has been accomplished while sharing great food and laughter. For three weeks now we have been offering the abundance from the garden and trees at the Plymouth Farmer's Market. We have been busy weeding, watering,and managing insects. We have been eating extremely fresh (just picked) and local (out back) making colorful salads, sauces, pies, smoothies, and even de-hydrated kale and squash chips. Most importantly the compost pile is organized and the collection of the new pile is half way complete! Here is a gathering of images from the past few weeks: August 5th some of the staff from Taste arrived for visit and tour: Preparing squash for de-hydrator: So many beets and tomatoes fixed so many ways. Yum! Before they departed Joey & Libby had helped clear and relocate the old compost pile and set up the new collecting area. I was overjoyed. And within one day of their departure two very enthusiastic Ecology majors from UC Santa Barbara arrived to help me in the annual gathering of cow dung. A daunting task turned into fun with these two bundles of energy and curiosity. The are a few bulls in the herd but the majority are lactating cows with their calves. This makes for the most wonderful dung as these cows are truly happy free ranging. I had an outbreak of aphids in the peppers and eggplants so released a unit of lady beetles (most people call them "lady bugs") but they are really beetles and hopefully they will get things back in balance. Lauren and Stephanie also helped as did Joey and Libby remove second growth green grapes, bottom suckers, and dry leaves out of Betty's vineyard. Of course picking blackberries was essential too. Each evening we would pick and create wonderful meals and in the morning after watering we would head up the road to fill the trailer and the pick up with more from the cows.