Hello again from Ted at Dancing Rabbit with all of this week’s news.
Despite the oppressive heat, life continued apace here in the past
week. Various people could be seen doing rain dances throughout the
week, including Aurelia, who has been dancing to the slightest
suggestion of a beat or tune since about age six months. As I write
it seems to have paid off, with soothing rain falling today at
intervals, and somewhat cooler weather predicted for the week to come.
In the absence of any rain until today, the hauling of water for
garden irrigation seemed to be among the primary occupations on farm.
There are various forms of rainwater catchment here at Dancing
Rabbit. The common house and several other buildings have barrels set
up to collect rainwater from downspouts, often taking the first rain
that falls, which has the most particulate matter being washed out
of the gutters, before the rest is allowed to fill cisterns where
they exist. In Ironweed garden we also have 10 barrels set up for
irrigation, and we fill them by siphoning from the rain barrels at
Ted & Sara’s and Tamar’s houses, or from Ted & Sara’s cistern when
the barrel supply runs out. But for those without rainwater
catchment, five gallon buckets hauled from the pond in carts seem to
work just fine.
We’ve seen our first tomato hornworms in the garden this week, sure
sign that summer has nearly arrived. Last year we saw only a handful
in our garden, and though we can hope for similar good fortune this
season, we won’t be letting our guard down. Our first tomatoes look
as though they will start showing color within a few days, and we’re
busily training them up on their trellises and pinching side shoots.
Salad season has sadly reached its end with the heat and lack of
rain, so we’re in maintenance mode until the summer fruits start
ripening in earnest, though raspberries and peas are keeping our
garden interest piqued in the meantime. The Milkweed work exchangers
began joining Ironweed’s thrice-weekly harvest mornings this week,
and gardens in general seem to be serving as social settings more
than ever this year, which I love.
Wednesday evening the ongoing 80’s film series continued with a
showing of Weird Science, which was well attended. The third and
final installment arrives this week with The Breakfast Club. In more
active entertainment, Dan, Claire and Diane, the Milkweed work
exchangers, are collaborating in music making as well as construction
and gardening, and adding much to the annual summer bloom of social
energy at DR. Thursday evening some of that energy went into
celebrating Nathan’s and Kim’s (a Red Earth neighbor) birthdays with
dancing and other revelry in the common house. We’re sad to bid
farewell to two of our three remaining visitors as this new week
begins, but excited to welcome Toby, a visitor from the UK who, while
he has visited DR a number of times going back to 2001 or so, is just
now making the leap to ask for residency. That makes five new adult
and three new child residents this season, with a number of visitor
sessions yet to come. Here’s to growth!
With the imminent sale of member Dan Steinicke’s house, which will
soon be home to an arriving family of five, Tom and Tereza are
converting Bluestem kitchen into a living space. Step one in that
process was to decommission the building as a kitchen to allow for
various alterations prior to the move-in, which meant that after a
fruitful collaboration of nearly three years, "Blueweed" came to an
end, and Ironweed eating cooperative had to find a new home.
Following a celebratory farewell dinner Thursday evening, we spent
most of Friday sorting out which dishes, spices, canned goods and
assorted other bits belonged originally to whom, and then packing up
most of those items to store until Ironweed is ready to move into its
own home kitchen, hopefully this fall. It was tiring and a bit sad
to see the kitchen empty out, but Ironweeders have been welcomed into
Sunflower, the common house food coop, which, at 16 members (and many
more during full visitor weeks), begins to approach in size the
former Cattail food coop most rabbits ate in for many years. There’s
quite a bustle at mealtimes, but each member only has to cook every
10 days or so, while having most meals prepared for them the rest of
the time, so it is a fine bargain. And with Tom already beginning
work on Bluestem, it won’t be looking like an empty husk for long.
Friday afternoon a number of rabbits departed for Kirksville to take
part in the third monthly Critical Mass bike ride, which we later
heard was well attended. John, a participant from Kirksville who’d
visited DR a couple times before, returned with the group to visit
for a few days, staying long enough to play ultimate frisbee with us
this morning. That’s always a boost, since our game-playing
population varies significantly from week to week with travel,
scheduling conflicts, weather and the occasional injury making for a
wildly fluctuating playing population.
Aurelia produced a wonderful Father’s Day present for me on Sunday.
While feeding her small chunks of banana, I found my finger running
across something hard and rough on her heretofore very smooth lower
gums– her first tooth! New horizons of solid food now appear before
us, and Sara and I had to share the news with everyone we saw or
talked to, including our own fathers. Happy Day to all you fathers out there.
As this new week begins, I’m pleased to report that the
several-times-delayed start of Milkweed Mercantile construction has
begun! The folks from Horst arrived this morning with a backhoe, and
by lunch time had dug an impressively large and deep hole which will
soon take shape as the basement-cum-DR storm shelter of the new
building. Those of us who’ve been building (or want to build) with
earth oohed and aahed at the prodigious piles of beautiful clay
accumulating next to the hole, while the gardeners among us savored
the sight of a fine new mountain of topsoil.
Sadly, the start of the construction process also spurred further
consideration of the health of our stately elm tree, which, after
serving as a community icon and sheltering shade since Dancing
Rabbit’s earliest days, is now showing increasing signs of succumbing
entirely to Dutch Elm Disease (we’d already done some surgery earlier
this year to remove some limbs that had died last year). With dieback
visible on all remaining limbs now, and a new structure soon to rise
under one side of it, we’ve now agreed it is best to bring it down.
We’ll gather to celebrate its life and importance to us on Tuesday,
then Thursday bring our saws and ropes to do the deed. The
possibility of perching a tree house atop the remaining trunk has
been tossed about, so our beloved elm may yet live on in other form,
but it will be long remembered in its former glory.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community practicing
ecological sustainability in Rutledge, MO. We offer tours on 2nd and
4th Saturdays of the month at 1pm. The next will be June 23rd. Please
call us at (660) 883-5511 to let us know you plan to attend. For more
information about Dancing Rabbit, please see our website at
www.dancingrabbit.org, or come join one of our tours.