I found myself awake at dawn one morning this past week (our cat Gromit gets wired at about 4 am and we don’t have a cat door), and seeing the blooming pink of the sky, I decided to go out for a short walk around the village at a time I don’t usually do so.
Mist hovered a few feet above the ground, giving all the land a hazy obscurity as though it had not quite taken shape. It might just be my longing to know the world as it was before humans occupied and influenced most of the earth, but phrases like “the mists of time” and “the dawn of time”, trite as they are, kept drifting through my head. Probably it was just that I would normally have been asleep, but it felt like a wonderful dream.
Ted here at Dancing Rabbit with a slice of village life for you.
Walking around the east side of town center, the light in the sky going from pink to egg yolk, several goats and a donkey materialized out of the mist beside me, munching contentedly on lush, chest-high clovers and tender new growth on a copse of small trees there, all bathed in heavy dew. In the same way that I’ve learned to associate the sound of our wind turbine with power, I realized that that riot of green was a goat smorgasbord and milk would soon follow.
Sure enough, milkings both morning and evening were boosted by another half gallon each within the next day, so that when we geared up for another batch of cheese Sunday morning (we made a sage cheddar), we had more than my six-gallon pot would fit and I had to make a couple gallons into another, separate cheese, the first batch of chèvre of the young season. Later that day I found another gallon of milk I’d forgotten about in the cheese fridge.
We work for our plenty, but plenty it is.
Continuing on the theme of plenty, Friday we hosted more than 175 children and their teachers from the Scotland County R-1 summer school program in Memphis. Arriving in a phalanx of buses (with a handful of our own kids aboard, who’d just hopped on the bus to school a couple hours earlier) and filling the air with a joyous riot for several hours.
Much as with our annual Open House in September, some of us spoke briefly to each class in turn at different locations around the village about various things we do here (making power, growing food, recycling, co-operation, etc.). Others helped guide the classes around, made pizza in large quantities for lunch, hung out with kids and young goats at the petting zoo, or with other kids drawing and playing. I so enjoyed seeing everybody engaged in the village, and I hope we’ll do it again next year!
Our second visitor session began this past week as well, and they have been a really fun, cohesive group from the first evening. I spoke to them about alternative energy one day, and on another got to host them for a garden work party, where they helped get our strawberry patch weeded (in exchange for any ripe berries they found along the way), and hauled a good ton or more of compost to dump in rows for new garden beds, among other things. They are lots of fun and I hear some are already considering applying for residency. Fingers crossed… Meanwhile, we’re headed into their second week, with lots more in store.
Just a couple days prior to the visitors arriving, our work exchanger Po drove in from South Carolina with her golden lab Talise for a stint of several weeks with us. She has already headlined a cheese session, as well as mulching our young orchard trees, milking goats, helping cook for visitors, weeding, planting, rock wall building, and more. So many possible tasks to choose from, this time of year, the days are never dull. Two more Ironweed work exchangers arrive this coming week, and some for Critters as well. The summer population swell is well under way, and I feed off that good energy.
Sara has finished planting out all our remaining starts that we can make room for, so the garden action has moved on to direct seeding and maintenance now, with a million tiny seedlings starting their brief but intricate lives growing food or flowers. Within a month they will have differentiated into denser or taller visual/structural elements and started putting on fruit, assuming we get a little more of the rain that is forecast and keeps missing us. The sunflower kingdom rises again.
I hope you are all enjoying this renaissance of spring and spending lots of time outdoors loving it as much as we are. With any luck, we’ll see you here for a tour or a program in the next couple months, and get to share it with you directly. Until then, cheers!
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.