Warm Days, New Folks, and Workshops: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Hello, and welcome to the latest installment in “This week at Dancing Rabbit”!

Tereza here, feeling quite warm as I write, in my still-cool house with all the shades drawn… It is beautifully sunny outdoors, and as soon as I finish the first draft of this, I’m heading out for some pond time. (Later: Aaaahhh, very refreshing!)

I’ve been enjoying the weather of late, especially the warm temperatures, and all the colors of green everywhere, not to mention strawberries and mulberries galore, ‘though I do feel sympathy for those who are spending much time and energy watering gardens. I hope along with them for some lovely gentle rain to ease the watering burden. I try to help out in my own fashion, by making sure to do my laundry at a time when rain would make line drying very inconvenient, as that often seems to make it rain.

Let’s see, what else is new in my corner of Rabbitworld? Ironweed work exchanger Po has been making yummy Russian food, which I’ve been enjoying. An extremely tasty and refreshing cold soup made with a base of whey and including cucumbers, carrots, hardboiled egg, and dill was a real crowd-pleaser, not to mention an excellent “whey” to utilize a byproduct of all the cheesemaking happening in our kitchen!

Also on the Ironweed front, two new work exchangers, Chelsea and Kelsey, arrived on Sunday, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them, their interests, and of course what kind of food they’ll make when it’s their turn to cook dinner. (If this column is seeming a little food obsessed, well, it’s that time of year, with much yummy freshness coming in from the gardens, so I’ll admit it happily…)

Scotland County summer school students on their field trip to Dancing Rabbit! Photo by Rae.

Last week Ted mentioned the Scotland County summer school field trip to our fair village, and I’m mentioning it again because we were able to confirm permission to use one of the pictures taken that day, a great shot taken from Skyhouse’s second-floor porch. (My personal contribution to the day was to stay out of the way and enjoy the sounds of kids, of both goat and human variety, in the distance.)

Ted neglected to mention (because he refuses to attend) the most recent karaoke night at the Mercantile, which was for the most part a real blast. I can’t decide whether my personal favorite earworm was two visitors singing Lorde’s “Royals”, Liz’s version of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, or Bear’s rendition of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Fun times! (Yes, you’re welcome, for getting any of those tunes stuck in your head!)

I wasn’t planning to mention the President’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, but decided it had a big enough impact on my week that I really couldn’t leave it out. I won’t go into it more than to say that I think it was an ill-considered and short-sighted move, with the potential to harm both the planet and US-international relations, and that I’m glad that so many businesses and state and local governments have said that they will continue to comply with it regardless.

By the time you read this our latest group of visitors will have gone, but their last week seems to have been an excellent one. We had a several of them at Ironweed kitchen for dinner on Wednesday night, and I enjoyed getting to chat with them. Saturday night they had a game night/farewell evening that I didn’t attend myself, but I heard was fun. Hopefully we’ll see some of them back here again in the future.

The majority of my contact with the visitors came on Thursday morning, when Sara and I were scheduled to do the Inner Sustainability workshop with them. But as can happen with a midwife in the mix, Sara ended up at a birth, so I did the workshop solo for the first time in the many years we’ve been offering it together.

In case you’re wondering (as many of our visitors do before attending the workshop) what “Inner Sustainability” is, I can tell you a bit about it. I’m pretty sure we coined the term ourselves, and our working definition is: “Everything we do, on our own and in groups, that helps us learn more deeply about and take care of ourselves and each other, and to grow to become the people we want be.”

Sara and I originally offered the workshop because it seemed that the main focus of the visitor program at the time was on the practical, more external aspects of sustainability: solar and wind power, green and natural building, gardening, etc. While these are clearly essential, to us it seemed that we didn’t always explain to visitors how crucial the “soft skills” (communication, self-care practices, conflict resolution tools, personal growth/development work, etc.) are to making sustainability work in a community setting.

Not quite getting the connection? One of the best ways to reduce our impact on the planet is to use fewer resources, and one of the best ways to do that and still have a high quality of life is to share. But mainstream culture generally doesn’t teach us to share very well, so learning and improving our skills to be able to compromise, collaborate, and work with conflict becomes pretty important when living in a close-knit community.

Though I think it’s better when Sara and I do it together, I think the workshop went well enough, and luckily Danielle was available to come in near the end to help with the co-counseling demonstration, which would be pretty much impossible to do alone.

In line with the inner sustainability theme, this week I also very happily signed up for two different workshops happening at Dancing Rabbit later this year: a writing workshop that the Mercantile is hosting in August, with amazing poet (and Sandhill neighbor) Frankie, and the THRIVE workshop happening in October, hosted by the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture, with Laura Wolf. My future self will thank me, I think, for these two lovely gifts, as both writing and working with Laura have been amazingly helpful tools in my inner sustainability toolbox. Maybe you, dear reader, might want to join me? See links to those specific workshops above, or check out all our workshops for the year on the “Workshops and Events” page (in the “Visit” menu on DR’s homepage), or the Mercantile’s “All Workshops” menu for more info.

In the things-I’m-looking-forward-to department, a number of tri-community folk, including Ted, Aurelia, and I, are heading off to Village Fire, a singing gathering happening in NE Iowa this week. I was only able to attend for the weekend last year, but I loved it, spending my days relaxing, singing, eating good food, meeting cool people, and (of course) talking about Dancing Rabbit. This year I’ll be there the full five days, and I’m planning to enjoy it as much as I can, and bring back as many songs as I can remember to share with my community.

Here’s wishing all of you a sustaining and fulfilling week!

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.

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