Tereza here, recently returned and reveling in the green and flowery spring so far.
I’m feeling especially grateful for the current warmth, as I just got back from a month-long trip to Texas, where Nathan and I visited family and friends in San Antonio and Austin. The temps there were far more to my liking than the soggier and chillier ones NE MO generally has in March. My gladness to be away from the cold was reinforced by the hard freeze the night we came home, when fears of a fruit-less year were in the air.
Jennifer was concerned that we might miss the gorgeousness of the trees in bloom, and kindly put a huge branch full of peach blossoms indoors for us, so had it been as bad as feared we’d see at least a bit of the glory. Luckily, while numerous fruit blossoms didn’t survive, many did, and some trees have actually put on a second burst of blooms, so here’s hoping we’ll have at least some fruit in the village this year!
We had a great time on our Texas trip, enjoying amazing food, and the eye-popping profusion of wildflowers due to heavy rains and plenty of flooding earlier in the spring. Texas didn’t seem to have had much of a winter either it seems…
Lots up in the village, of course, including a trickle of new folks, with streams of them on the way. The trickle included a number of guests, plus wexers (work exchangers) Tony, working with the Critters, and old friend Wylie, who’s working with Hassan. And this week the flow really begins, with the first visitor session of the season. I read through the questionnaires folks fill out before coming, and it seems like a really interesting group, including a former DR member and a former intern at Red Earth Farms’ Gooseberry homestead. Looking forward to seeing them again, and getting to know the new-to-me folks. Always fun to try to guess who might love it here, who might leave early, and who might come back to stay.
Something else new to happen while we were away was the formation of a new kitchen/eating co-op, called CoHoKA (Common House Kitchen Associates), which eats (as you may have guessed from the name) in the Common House. Hassan and Wylie eat with my co-op, Ironweed Kitchen, part-time, and with CoHoKA part-time. There are a number of part-timers in that group, and it seems to be going really well, based on member reports and my one night eating with them (thanks for the invite, Hassan!). Feels good to have folks regularly eating in the community building again, and I’m grateful to those, especially Nik, who made it happen!
Another village event of note was new Rabbit Max’s birthday. On the actual day folks at song circle sang him the Dancing Rabbit birthday song (“you’re a gift from the earth/bless the day of your birth”), while the main celebrations happened the next day.
I wasn’t able to attend so I asked my kid correspondent (aka Aurelia) for the scoop: first, there were crafts, where they made watercolor-paint-on-coffee-filter butterflies (way prettier than they sound, I promise). Then games at the Ultimate field, including a really fun one called Sharks that (as far as I understand it) involved everyone sitting in a circle with their legs underneath a play parachute. Everyone ripples and waves the fabric as if it were water, while from underneath “sharks” try to pull them under. If they get pulled under, they turn into sharks too! Yikes!
After games the Common House courtyard was filled with kids and adults running around, eating pizza (luckily it was Pizza Night at the Mercantile), and then a cake, which Max designed himself, according to Aurelia, based on inspiration from Cole. All in all it sounds like a good time.
Another event I didn’t participate in, but heard outside my window while it was happening, was a mushroom log inoculation shindig. Many hands make light work– in this case Ted, Caleb and Ben sourced the logs; Sharon ordered the spawn; and Sharon, Ted, Ben, and (a tiny bit, according to her) Aurelia did the drilling and tapping (putting holes in the logs and mushroom spawn into the holes).
While the (yes, I admit, annoyingly repetitious) tapping was occurring I also heard lovely, somewhat distant, guitar music. It seemed to be getting closer, and I wondered if maybe for arcane reasons of their own the mushroomers were moving some source of recorded music around their gig. Eventually I realized it was both not recorded and unconnected to the loggers, catching sight of wexer Tony wandering past my house towards the common house, playing all the way. So nice to hear live music in unexpected places!
Believe it or not, there’s more new stuff, including a writers’ group, currently meeting once a week to share our writing, talk about writing, practice writing… pretty much whatever the person who volunteers the week before wants to host. Last week we read and critiqued a bit of Nik’s screenplay-turned-novel and I doubt I’m the only one who can’t wait to read the rest of it!
Sunday night was open men’s group, an event that everyone was welcome to attend. This was the second I’ve been to, and I remain proud of our willingness to do intense emotional work together, and impressed by the skills that group has in supporting it. I think men’s group has been one of the best things to ever happen in this community in terms of deepening connection and trust, both of which make doing the work of living in community more possible.
Ending on a fun note, I want to mention an awesome “announcement plus” (which usually means an announcement that might need extra discussion, or a level check to see where folks are at, or attempts to find a time to hold an event) that happened at the week in preview (WIP) meeting on Sunday. Katherine stood up, announced the upcoming five year anniversary of her being at DR, and proceeded to run around the room doing an enthusiastic high five with everyone there, all of us whooping and hollering our joy at her presence, and the collective demonstration project we call home. Congrats on five years, K-star!
As for all of you, dear readers, may your spring be green and merry, and as always, thanks for reading!
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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.