Memphis Democrat Column Week of 10/12/09
Every year we write about the first frost here and how everyone is rushing to pick or protect all their tender vegetables before night falls. This year is no exception. But even in this unseasonably cold season, we weren't expecting winter to hit so hard so fast. My response upon hearing the news of a coming frost was, “yay!” Though it's nice to think that maybe we will get another two weeks of growing out of those eggplant if we put row cover on them, I don't think it's worth the effort. I really love gardening, but this year I'm building a house (like many here at DR), and that takes priority over saving a bunch of green tomatoes. I support those who have the time doing what they can to squeeze extra produce out of the season. I'll still find time to plant the garlic in the coming weeks, though.
Dan D here, bringing you up to date on the goings on at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Like I said, I'm busy building a house and, being immersed in that project, it's rare that I come up for air long enough to see what else is going on here. I can tell you a little about my week though, and I'll throw in tidbits about events I didn't attend but have heard tell of.
Not only is the weather pressuring the gardeners to action, it's spurring on the builders as well. Lime plaster is what some are rushing to finish. Though Jennifer has finished her scratch coats of plaster on the outside of her Timberframe addition, some others are still working on getting the plaster on their bales. This is kind of key to avoiding spending the winter maintaining tarps to protect your strawbales from the weather. But if you are doing lime plaster, a frost soon after application will prevent the plaster from setting properly. Jan was able to get a base coat of plaster on her bales, but had to cancel a plaster party to apply a second coat because of the threat of frost. I've been poking my head into Ma'ikwe's house recently to check on the progress and it looks like she was able to get plaster on her east wall. She's had some of her friends who visited over the summer for House Camp back this week to help her get her bales up and plaster on. In other building news, Bear and Alyssa are having their site prepared for digging a foundation for their new house.
New residents Dan and Danielle are away in Kansas City performing their clown routine. What a way to make a living, eh? They performed the Houdini box trick part of their show for us (sadly, not in costume) at last weekend's No Talent Show. They are such great performers, I'm sorry to have missed the trick with them dressed in full clown regalia, but they were saying something about wanting to do their show at the Memphis Theatre sometime in the future. We'll keep you posted.
Speaking of the Memphis Theatre, after eating a delicious meal at the Main Street Cafe last Wednesday, Mary Beth, Brian, Lily and I, saw the US Air Force big band ensemble /Hot Brass/ play to a packed house. We were blown away, to say the least. When they came out looking very military with their dapper uniforms and Sargent stripes, we were thinking maybe they wouldn't know how to cut loose. How wrong we were. Most impressive may have been the tuba player, who oompa'd out the bass line of every song, and when the group covered Led Zeppelin got on his back and spun around on the stage.
The annual Sorghum Festival was held at Sandhill last Saturday and many here attended. Nani, who heralds from Hawaii, said it was very cold, but fun, too. They took a hayride around the farm, made beeswax candles, saw sorghum syrup being boiled down in the sugar shack, and nibbled on sorghum stalks.
Jan celebrated her birthday later on the same night by holding a little gathering in the Great Room of the Common House. We enjoyed conversation, drink, and hors d'oeuvres while listening to jazz music. It was a mellow evening.
We continue to have much activity here despite the season getting on. There are new work exchangers arriving and the village is bustling as if it were the middle of summer (maybe not for long though as some people have already begun migrating for the winter).
We also have some bad news that we're just now feeling ready to share more widely. Tamar, a member of DR since 2001, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her prognosis is not the worst possible, as while the cancer has already spread to other organs, it is a slower-growing kind.
Needless to say, Tamar, her friends and family, and the community as a whole were shocked by the news, and the outpouring of love and support has been phenomenal. Her parents and sister came from Massachusetts to be with Tamar and stayed for our community's Land Day celebration. It was sad and bittersweet to connect with them during this challenging time. Tamar has returned with them for now to explore various healing and treatment options on the east coast.
Tamar's attitude has been amazing; she is viewing this as a journey, an opportunity to learn about herself and grow closer to the people who are important to her.
We're very appreciative of the help and support from our local medical and social service providers during this process. Tamar, her family, and our community appreciate your thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, Missouri practicing ecological sustainability. We offer tours 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month through October. Our next and last tour of the season is October 25th at 1:00 p.m. No reservations are necessary. For more information, please see our website at www.dancingrabbit.org