Sneaky for a Good Cause: A Dancing Rabbit Update

 Mae's new paper crane mobile gets a fair share of onlookers. Photo by Katherine.

Mae’s new paper crane mobile gets a fair share of onlookers. Photo by Katherine.

Brrr! The temperature has dropped again and ol’ Jack Frost is nipping at my rapidly typing fingertips. I have just lit the first fire of the day in my house, which has yet to take hold and warm the tiny space. Luckily my furry heater Henry is cozying up under the covers and keeping our paws warm during a mid-day dog nap. Howdy folks, Katherine here to give you the local weather report and then some in this week’s article.

The “ick“ has been making the rounds in the community passing from child to parent to friend in the form of a lovely hacking cough, slight fever, and ever so eloquent runny nose. Laundry lines are full as we save some trees and blow our noses on whatever makeshift hankies come our way. I was ever so lucky to find a very soft shirt in the communal fabric bin that I then ripped into several rags for such a noble purpose as “catching my nose” (because it was running).

The tinctures are flowing around town and Rae has been such a sweetheart to give Sparky and I a jar of what we are calling firewater. This particular mix is a ferment with garlic, habanero peppers, and pure magic that will make the esophagus burn (in a really good way) and the sinuses clear. This week I have been offering shots to people for healing and this burning liquid sure wasn’t tequila!

An inability to fall asleep because of said cough led to an evening apothecary run and the discovery of some outdoor flurry action. While it seemed to be only about a quarter of an inch snowfall, it is still quite nice for this Rabbit to see some white on the earth instead of the mud that has been gracing our village for the past week.

The sun has been shining beautifully and warming our passive solar houses as well as the ground, to bring about a nice sludge tracked in just about everywhere. My house is not a shoes-off kind of place but I did take to wiping Henry’s feet before letting him jump up on the bed with me. Alas, once again, the mud is frozen and he’s back to just tracking in slush.

Wintertime in the village usually means puzzle time in the common house! This week’s entertainment has been a 1500 piece (“minus 4,” according to the handwriting on the box) image of over 300 idioms and proverbs. Two tables have been appropriated for this endeavor and have been safe from the common house clean teams for going on a week now. Conveniently placed in the Great Room, puzzlers are able to sit in on meetings or enjoy the chorus of Song Circle while leisurely building the scene piece by piece.

It is super fun to see the picture grow, and we laugh with one other as we figure out if that piece goes with the sky or the river. Althea, at just 6, seems to be our youngest puzzler and is getting way better at not forcing in pieces at her will. It’s a good thing that she’s not listening to Caleb who says that he can make any piece fit with just a trim from a good pair of scissors.

As my own personal ick subsides, I am breathing a bit easier today for quite a different reason. For the last month I have been keeping a very big secret from one of my closest friends and sub-community mates, Mae. I have been sending out emails without her knowing, and having quiet conversations in the halls all to the tune of “shhh…”

What could I possibly need to keep so hush-hush from a gal that I tell practically everything to? Her surprise baby shower, of course! It was awesome to be sneaky for a good cause and we totally pulled it off so that she had no clue what she was walking into. The tri-communities were all represented as we crowded the Milkweed Mercantile and awaited her arrival. Luckily she had gone to town so I knew that she would not be showing up to the “staff meeting” early. When she did walk in, all yelled, “surprise!” and happily she did not go into an early labor.

Cob made about a million animal-shaped cookies, from dinosaurs and kangaroos, to bears and lions, accompanied by baby carriages, flowers and mushrooms. Alline provided yummy carrot cupcakes and I kept the chip and salsa bowls plentiful. Mae was able to sit and relax with friends (after the initial shock wore off) as we nibbled on treats and enjoyed each other’s company.

Thomas was the ever-amazing emcee for the baby-naming portion of the party, which involved a chalkboard, imagination, and a lot of laughs. Participants wrote up our favorite names for the new little Critter and we voted for each with the applause-o-meter. We whittled down about 100 names to the top 20, from 20 to the top five, and from the top five to Momma Mae having final say.

While no contracts were signed and this seems to be in no way binding, we did decide as a community that the lil’ tyke would from now on be known as Fern, Otis, or Wolf (obviously we went for a feminine, masculine, and gender neutral title). Psst, just between us, I’m pretty sure that after all of the shenanigans I heard Uncle Kurt say that no matter what, he is going to call this kid Puddin’.

A new baby in our midst is ever so exciting and we are less than a month out from cloth diapers and sleepless nights. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am a strong proponent of this sentiment. I love hanging out with our youth and experiencing them as they learn our world and come into their own as beings. I have been around some of these kids since they were three-ish/four and now the oldest of that flock, Aurelia, is turning ten this year!

Our precocious little group never ceases to amaze and I am proud to know that their generation will someday be the caretakers of our earth. Now don’t get me wrong, they definitely have their moments of attitude that already have me thinking, “ugh, teenagers”, but fortunately the amount of smiling and helpful tendencies greatly outweigh the eye-rolling and foot dragging that I have also experienced.

Well folks, the fire has really taken off and my fingers seem to have thawed and warmed enough to scratch behind Henry’s ears without so much as a whimper (from either of us). While the temperature outside hovers around a balmy two degrees tonight, I do believe there will be a bit of cuddling going on in this doghouse. Until next time, keep warm, be well, and thanks for readin’!

Puzzle Update: completed! And 6 pieces missing 🙂

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Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us  (dancingrabbitaticdotorg)  .