Bloom Time! A Dancing Rabbit Update

Former intern Michelle and current member Julie helping work the Dancing Rabbit booth at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival. Photo by Josi.
Former intern Michelle and current member Julie helping work the Dancing Rabbit booth at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival. Photo by Josi.

Hello again from Ted here at Dancing Rabbit. I can’t quite recall when the last time I wrote this column was, but I know it felt a lot more like winter then than it does now. Driving home from Columbia yesterday, watching northern Missouri’s countryside roll by, I realized that in just the space of a few days, the scales had tipped fully from winter to spring.

The green has finally grown up through and overcome winter’s underlying brown, saturating the landscape even though the trees still wear only the skimpiest suggestion of new green. Redbuds are in their fullest bloom just now, along with pears, apples, tulips and dandelions, among others.

That doesn’t mean we’re out of frost danger yet, but we’re in range where we might not see anymore. I’m working on getting my potatoes in the ground this week, though a little late, because by the time they poke up through their thick straw mulch, the danger will certainly be past.

Tomatoes are settling into paper pots in the greenhouse, peas and fava beans are up in the garden, and all the new plants I put in last week, from a couple apple trees to some rhubarb, honeyberry, black and red raspberries, hops, and a couple American chestnuts, are leafing out nicely. So much hope for the future in that new green.

The future is often in the mix here at Dancing Rabbit. As our first visitor session of the year came to a close, several visitors had come to the conclusion that they’d like to stay longer and feel into the place a little more, to see if it might feel like home. There are a few more work exchangers about, and in general most residents of the village have emerged fully from hibernation– the high season has returned.

One of the two Earth Day events Dancing Rabbit had planned to attend this past weekend came off, with a crew of Rabbits at St. Louis’s event sharing the word about what we’re up to here in Scotland County, and some of what we do. 2013 DR intern alumna Michelle Rook joined our delegation of Josi, Julie, Clint and Ashly, showing her stuff in stomping some cob they’d brought along.

Sadly the Eco-fair in Columbia that Sara, Aurelia and I had gone down to attend was delayed until next weekend, owing to a rip-roaring storm that was set to roll through right in the middle of the scheduled time for the outdoor event. We drove home ahead of the weather and got the car unloaded just in time to watch the clouds boil and blow in overhead. They proceeded to let loose a solid rain with a sprinkling of hail and some truly bone-shaking peals of thunder. Not quite enough to knock the full-bore pear blossoms out of whack, thankfully. With any luck, we’ll figure out how to get a contingent back to Columbia for next weekend’s rain date.

Not all was lost, however, as Sara, Alyssa, and Teresa Cicela spent a day lobbying with other Missouri midwives in Jefferson City, which included an enjoyable visit with our state representative, Craig Redmond. They followed up with a class with other area midwives the following morning.

Other adventures from our trip: we helped a friend work on her house in Moberly for an afternoon; we got some good walks in, including our first romp barefoot through a grassy field this season; we bumped serendipitously into a number of old friends; we found a new (used) bike for ever-growing Aurelia on Craigslist; and we indulged in some tasty Thai and other foods that are a little harder to come by here in Rutledge (can you say, “Sparky’s ice cream”?).

Aurelia and a number of her friends got together Thursday to learn the art of basket weaving from Red Earth Farm-er and woman-of-all-trades Joan, whom I’d seen trudging up the road with an armload of willow whips in the rain that morning. Aurelia happily kept it up over the weekend and had us on the lookout for a source of more whips after she’d gone through her stash.

I often experience a tinge of jealousy at the array of skills and experiences Aurelia is treated to as she grows up, many of which it took me until adulthood to discover. Of course one’s child receiving something is often almost as good, or better, than receiving it oneself; I am daily thrilled by the joy of raising a child here, and the hope it instills in me.

That’s a slice of the life here for this week… and we hope you’ll feature in a future column by coming to visit Dancing Rabbit this year! Happy Spring to all.

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.

Join Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Give St. Louis Day, and hundreds of communities around the country for Giving Day on May 6th. Dancing Rabbit will be giving throughout the day, by publishing articles about sustainability and community on our website and social media. We hope you’ll join us for the event, and consider giving to our nonprofit on that day. There will be matching donations, as well as prizes for both nonprofits and donors, arranged by Give STL Day.  See our website for more Giving Day info and to sign up for updates.


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