aurelia eclipsecrop

Eclipse Adventures (Pt. 2): A Dancing Rabbit Update

I’m sitting outdoors just under the tall overhang outside our kitchen’s west door. Thunder rumbles in the west, suggesting perhaps a third round of thunderstorms for the day. Tall, rangy sunflowers in bloom and the surrounding oak trees all drip quietly with the remainder of the most recent deluge. Lest I forget, my rooster Rodrigo just came to stand five feet away in the chicken yard and start crowing the presence of his flock just to one side. Boy, can he project.

Ted here with this week’s news from Dancing Rabbit. I’m still landing back at home here, having just returned from several weeks out east in Maine with Aurelia and much of my family, just in time for the eclipse and then my brother and his family visiting Dancing Rabbit for the first time. My mom came out too just to witness it, and just left yesterday.

More thunder to the south now, getting closer. I’m much reminded of the dire conditions in southeast Texas just now, with rainfall and flooding I can only imagine. We sit atop a hill here in the village, so generalized flooding is not a concern; but I expect we’d have some massive erosion at the least if we ever saw two feet of rainfall in a couple day’s time. Sending thoughts of resilience your way, Texas.

Gazing upside down into the eclipse. Photo by Ted.

The eclipse last week, for those of you that saw it, needs no words from me, but for those of you that didn’t (including friends here at DR who were rained out for the partial showing), I was maybe most surprised by the emotional aspect of the brief experience of totality. I found myself shivering, with giddy laughter spilling out as I whirled to take in the 360 degree dusk and then stood gaping at the spectacle of the muted orb in the sky. I was grateful to be able to see it without hindrance, despite a few clouds that blew through in the ten minutes prior- the only previous opportunity I remember, when I’d just moved to Maryland in the middle of 3rd grade, it was a dreary rainy day that just got still dimmer.

There was quite an exodus of tri-communities folks for the event, with people spread out into various parties in dispersed locations a couple hours south, followed by quite a few meeting up for a couple nights’ camping down at Meramec State Park. I was sad to miss the camping, but did head down to Columbia for the night before with Aurelia, Tereza, and former member Jan who’d come down from Michigan.

As it happened, the morning of the eclipse day I phoned my brother Duncan to coordinate meeting up after the event to travel home together, only to find that his family and other friends from out east were all at a winery 12 miles from where we were. We packed up and went out to join them there before it started, and it was that much better to be with more family and friends.

My own week then consisted of touring the village and visiting with my family, and it was with great pleasure as it had been so long we’d been trying to get them out here for a visit. Every time a friend or family member visits for the first time, I see the village with fresh eyes. My brother and I have talked about what we do here and what we could do here many a late night while I visited him over the years, and to be with him finally walking around in the village was priceless.

Elsewhere in the village this week I saw Kyle at work on the second floor of Critter Kitchen, heard Thomas thumping on one thing or another in his workshop most days, and witnessed Rae and Aaron preparing Woodhenge for a major finish plaster party coming next week, as well as a little drone filming over their way.

Sara has been bringing in steady harvests of pole beans and tomatoes that have made it through the dry times, and I’ve begun digging out potatoes, most of which died out in the last dry spell. Despite the short season, I’m pleased with the harvest I’m bringing in. Potatoes are undoubtedly the greatest concentration of calories for our coop that we grow on site. Our warm-season shiitake logs have been busily producing after these recent showers, and we’ve managed to get some mushrooms and tomatoes dehydrated for leaner times. Masses of small peaches hang on the tree in Ironweed courtyard.

The goat coop has just welcomed a fifth family to our ranks, the Boths, and is moving into active planning for the foundation of a new barn. Piers go in this fall after site leveling, and then we’ll be accumulating materials over the winter to be ready for a barn raising in spring. Once there is a barn, we are likely to go for that Jersey cow we flirted with getting last month. We’ll also have a proper dairy room and I’ll need to be looking for bigger cheese equipment.

Javi left for Spokane, Washington to join a wildfire crew mustering there to help with the heavy fire scene out west. We are proud to send our finest to help, and also sad to give him up on the Ultimate field, goat milking rotation, and path mowing, among the many other things he does. We also bid adieu to Hassan’s work exchanger Marge, who is soon to commence a bicycle ride from Canada south to Argentina, but she left behind a number of grateful recipients of her body work offerings. Sara was glad of the attention, despite some aches afterward!

This weekend the community welcomed Ina and Achim from ZEGG community in Germany to do a training on the Zegg Forum, a group process developed there to bring community members closer and clear emotional hurdles. I did not feel able to participate, with family here and having just returned from a month away, but all those I spoke with who attended said it was really valuable, and I’m glad that I will benefit from their participation down the line.

As summer turns slowly to fall, we’re working on getting our kim chee crops in the ground (daikon radish, Chinese cabbage, scallions), as well as some turnips and a last round of carrots and beets. The women’s visitor session starts in a week, and the Permaculture course later in September. Then it is just a few days until our 20th anniversary reunion! Maybe October will slow down a little…

Here’s hoping your late summer harvest is full of bounty and numerous mild, lingering afternoons with both good work and some leisure.

We look forward to hosting any of you who haven’t made it out to see us yet this year (and even if you have) at our upcoming Open House on Saturday, September 9th, so save the date. We’ll have free tours every half hour between 1 & 4 pm, as well as a village fair with local offerings and plenty of information about our work. Most importantly, we love the connections we make when you visit us. See you then!


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.

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