Hi friends! This is Alline writing from Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
First, of course, I am compelled to discuss the weather. The big news is that the sun finally came out! Great rejoicing was heard throughout the land. The garden beds previously despaired over have now dried out. Some tomato plants survived, although many did not.
Zillions of bulbs of garlic have been harvested, and are drying on picnic tables and in rafters all over the village. As a first-time garlic farmer, I found the harvesting directions a bit challenging. “Do not water garlic for four or five days before harvesting,” the book said. Since we were in the middle of a storm front that was dumping inches of water on our gardens every single day I feared that that wasn’t going to happen until October.
Another casualty of too much rain was the Big Bike Ride Across Missouri, aka the Big BAM. We were very disappointed, not only for ourselves and the town of Rutledge but for the riders and organizers who put so much time and thought into the week.
For those who are reading this somewhere other than Northeast Missouri, Big BAM was an inaugural event modeled on Iowa’s RAGBRAI. The Big BAM ride started on the western side of Missouri, and the last day’s 80-mile route was to bring 1,200 cyclists through Dancing Rabbit, Rutledge, and then on to Quincy, Illinois, where the ride ended.
Unfortunately, we were inundated with rain of Noah-like proportions. Three and four inches fell in a single hour, and our soil and rivers and tributaries had no time to catch up. All roads leading into Dancing Rabbit, except Highway 15 from the north, were flooded and closed. Unfortunately, this was a bicycling and not a kayaking event, and we were, as the saying goes, up a creek.
The good news is that the Big BAM/DR crew did an amazing job preparing for the day, and the village looks beautiful! Thanks to Dee, Illly, Rae, Nik, Lucas, Brett, Kyle, and Oliver for all of their prep work! (My apologies to anyone I may have missed!)
Here on the edge of the prairie wildflowers are abundant and changing every day. The monarda (bee balm) is blooming, and the milkweed buds are ready to burst into flowers any day now. The asters are gathering their forces for bright purple mayhem, and the black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers are adding bright accents to garden beds and fields alike.
The Milkweed Mercantile’s new button bush (cephalanthus occidentalis) is exploding with the goofiest, Martian-looking “flowers.” Purchased last fall at a St. Louis nursery in a section that I thought said “Missouri natives, 3’ tall, 3’ wide” I had forgotten what it was; I am grateful that I accidentally put it in a spot with ample room to support its eventual 10’ spread. Since it started blooming, sprigs of buttonbush have been added to every guest-room bouquet that we create.
In other news Ma’ikwe’s friend Eric McEuan came for a visit and presented a well-received concert on Saturday. He posted this on Facebook (I learn more about my home on FB than I do walking around the village!), and wanted to share his impressions:
“I came out to this place in rural Missouri to see Ma’ikwe, and to learn from the ways the people here do community. And it’s a lovely thing. A mixture of independence from the advertising-driven consumption machine (which is driving us all towards destruction) and interdependence – of the humans, the ecosystem, the local economy – making life work through relationship with one another. I know it has its challenges, but I’ll keep quoting Ma’ikwe on this: what they’re up to here is “sustainable life that doesn’t suck.”
The Mercantile held a Yoga Retreat over the July 4th weekend. Our massage therapist, Sandy, is also a certified yoga instructor, so she did double duty. Yoga instructor/massage therapist Cathy Rasmussen of Jefferson City taught two classes, as did our own Kassandra Brown. Bob gave the group a fabulous tour, and Nathan led a meditation class. There was a lot of convivial conversation; it was a quiet and contemplative way to spend what is often a loud and noisy holiday. Not only did participants get to refine their yoga skills and make new friends, they learned about life at Dancing Rabbit.
Learning something while visiting Dancing Rabbit is one of the best ways to experience life here. If you are at all inclined to visit, I encourage you to consider participating in the upcoming Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Aug 29-Sept 6, 2015. Taught in conjunction with Midwest Permaculture, this is a MUST for anyone interested in sustainability.
The course blends theory and inspiration with practical, hands-on, how-to activities. Teachers Bill and Becky Wilson of Midwest Permaculture guide participants to explore the comprehensive, yet simple and practical, solutions-oriented framework that permaculture provides. And Rabbit villagers will add to the richness by sharing experiences with creating cooperative culture in intentional community. Please help us spread the word about the course to others who might be interested.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!
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A quick note to “thank you for the lift”!
Earlier this year, on May 5th, we participated once again in GiveSTL Day, and raised over $5000 from many wonderful donors to support our nonprofit’s outreach and education efforts! We recently found out just how much we received in “lift” bonus money, from sponsors who “lifted” donations made at certain times of day. The total bonus amount was almost $1000, so our grand total for the day was just over $6000! Woo hoo! Once again, thank you all so much for your support!
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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.