This is Alline reporting in for Dancing Rabbit. This column features many writers, each of whom writes from his or her own particular perspective. For better or worse, my perspective this time of year is smack dab in the middle of the Milkweed Mercantile kitchen, which will become apparent as you read on. For a wider perspective of the village, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for a different writer next week!
As many of you know, I am a (now humbled) native Californian, transplanted to the rolling hills of Northeastern Missouri sixteen years ago. In San Francisco we can talk about the weather, but with a temperature variance of about 15°F from summer to winter, the conversation is neither long nor interesting. Oh, there might be some rain, and a bit of fog until noon, but otherwise, well, to quote my friend Amy: “Meh.”
But here in the Midwest, it’s a whole ‘nother story. The sky! The clouds! The wind! Whatever else it is, it is never, ever boring. And, of course, what’s a Dancing Rabbit column without a little slice of weather and great big sky?
There was something about the prairie for me—it wasn’t where I had come from, but when I moved there it just took me in and I knew I couldn’t ever stop living under that big sky. — Pam Houston
All of a sudden it feels like fall. It is not yet September, and somehow we’ve avoided the brutal (dare I say inhumane?) scorching days of soaring temperatures and suffocating humidity, and moved right into cool and lovely. The gardens are slowing down, and the Asian pears are already ripe. We’re harvesting apples at Blue Heron Orchard in Canton, MO, and cooking them down to russet-colored apple butter.
In between batches of apple butter, the Mercantile hosted the ladies of Moving On, an organization in Memphis, MO. It was one of the nicest things to happen last week! The group of ten came for lunch, and stayed for a discussion on Dancing Rabbit. It was a delight to see old friends and to meet new ones for the first time. DR member Sharon, who led the discussion, was celebrating her birthday, so we put a candle in her apple crisp (more of those Blue Heron apples!) and all joined in and sang a rousing version of “Happy Birthday.”
On Saturday the 14 non-Rabbit participants in our first Permaculture Design Course began arriving. They join Rabbits Alyssa, Tereza, Dan, Ben and Jennifer, and teachers Bill Wilson from Midwest Permaculture and Rabbit Sharon.
The Milkweed Mercantile is providing all meals for the group during the 8-day course; Nik, Jordan and I are having a great time working with produce grown by friends and neighbors. Alyssa came by with a bowl of absolutely gorgeous red and green okra yesterday; Jordan got to work dipping slices in savory batter and deep-frying them for dinner. While it feels somewhat decadent to fry such fresh and gorgeous veggies, they were soooo delicious. Also on the menu – lots of local zucchini (made into quiche by Nik), tomatoes, zillions of gorgeous red potatoes, and cantaloupes the size of Rhode Island.
But there is more to the Permaculture Design Course than food (hard to believe, eh?). For example, what the heck is permaculture? Simply put, it is a common sense way of looking at the world and its systems, and putting them to use in ways which are beneficial to both the planet and its inhabitants.. Here’s what Bill Wilson has to say about it: “Permaculture looks at life squarely in the face and simply asks the questions: What is? How do things really work? It then lays out multiple paths toward building abundance, security and health into our living systems to benefit humans AND the natural world that sustains all life. It is honest. It is realistic. It is powerful.”
Bill Mollison, one of permaculture’s founders, put it this way: “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” Here at Dancing Rabbit we don’t claim to have any of the answers but happily continue to look for and share solutions.
If you live nearby and want to see more of what we’re up to, live and in person, please put Saturday, September 12th on your calendar. It’s Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage’s Annual Open House, when we present the most in-depth tours of the year, and also host a Village Fair, featuring an abundance of locally made & grown products. Tours will be available from 1:00–4:00 pm, and no reservations are necessary. We hope to see you then!
And in other news, Ma’ikwe Ludwig, Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit’s non-profit outreach and education branch, just headed out for the second part of her 2015 National Speaking Tour, presenting various workshops, as well as her talk “Sustainable is Possible: Creating Low Carbon, High Quality Lives… Together.” If you can’t make it to one of the tour stops (in Denver, Boise, Orlando, and many other cities) you can check out the slick new video of the talk here!
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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.