February 26, 2009

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if the United States of America went to war with itself? Yup, historians are shouting that already happened once, when brothers fought against brothers during the War Between the States. A number of social, economic and moral issues led to the bloodshed that saw more than 600,000 Americans lose their lives fighting for or against slavery, state rights or federal authority.

Now before the federal agents come busting down my doors, I'm not encouraging the start of the Civil War II. Still it seems to me that the current political theater definitely is setting the stage with plenty of similarities.

I don't see too many states prepared to follow the route of the old Confederates into secession. As a matter of fact most are lining up at the feed trough with the rest of the public, waiting to get their piece of the pie when the Democrats flip the switch on at the 24-hour money printing shop. Reminds me of talking to my five year old, telling her if she eats all her candy now, she won't have any left for tomorrow.

While there may not be any states set to leave the union, I'm wondering what is keeping the nation's top moneymakers from pulling up roots and setting up shop somewhere else?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently raised this question in his weekly radio appearance.

"One percent of the people that live in the city, the households that file in the city pay something like 50% of the taxes," the Mayor said. He noted that if just a handful of those folks moved out of the city, any proposed tax increase would have no revenue benefit.

So if you raise taxes high enough on that 1% and they decide to seceed from the city, then who will be left to pay for what Bloomberg noted is "a little over half the people, half the households who file tax returns don't pay any taxes. And about 30% of the households that file get a credit from the government. The government sends them a check. That's the Earned Income Tax Credit."

While it might not be the Civil War you were envisioning when I started this editorial, what if, a group of like-minded individuals broke away and formed their own state, which was funded by a fair use tax? I suspect after all the rich folks moved there, the rest of the union would be clamoring for war to bring them back into the fold, so they could go back to paying for everyone else.

That might be a tough fight, since I suspect this new state would be the only one left with gun rights for its residents, but that's a topic for a future opinion piece.

Elimination of gun rights does lend itself as a good segue to the next Civil War comparison, slavery. It was abolished by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1861 and came to an end with the north's ultimate victory in the war a few years later.

Instead of plantations and bullwhips, today's new master leads an army of sheep fed by handouts and socialistic services that insure big brother will remain in power to enslave the minority under incremental income taxes and leftist media vilification for having the gall to earn more money than the majority.

Sure, the opposite side of the isle to my political sentiments will argue that the folks with the money are the ones enslaving those without. Ironic, but I'll use a quote from a guy who may have once reinforced that very idea when he reportedly joked with one author that slavery if reinvented today, while much maligned, would definitely cure the nation's welfare system woes.

I can't speak to the validity of that comment, but can definitely attribute these words to the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, a past leader of the Southern Baptist Convention:

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

As lawmakers continue to legislate the wealthy out of freedom, I hope President Obama can live up to all those comparisons to Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation through its first civil war.

Of course Lincoln said "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."

Surely "not long" means defeat at the hands of the electorate in coming years, and not as the results of a second civil war.

PTO to Host Elementary School Spring Carnival April 7th

Mark your calendars now for SCR-I PTO’s first annual Elementary Spring Carnival.  The Parent-Teacher Organization is working hard to organize and bring back an old favorite.  Proceeds from the event will be utilized to purchase technology upgrades for the classrooms and other classroom need requests.

The Carnival is being held at SCR-1’s Elementary School from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7th.  The evening will include games for all ages (ring toss, bean bag toss, cake walk, duck pond, and angry birds) with prizes for everyone and face painting.  Presale tickets are $5.00 for 15 game plays and tickets at the event are $5.00 for 10 game plays.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Elementary School office and Scotland County Pharmacy.

There will also be a concession stand with nacho pies, walking tacos, maid-rites, and much more!

PTO is a national organization whose mission is to help local parent groups become leaders and take responsibility in the school life experiences of their children.  Local PTO organizations are comprised of parents, teachers and staff and are intended to facilitate parental participation in the school system.

Locally, the purpose of SCR-I PTO is to: support the education of the children at Scotland County R-I Elementary School by fostering relationships among the school, parents, and teachers.  The Parent Teacher Organization identifies school needs and supports those needs through fund raising activities and membership participation.

Any parent, guardian, or other adult standing in loco parentis for a student enrolled at Scotland County R-1 Elementary School and staff member wishing to promote the goals for SCR-1 and subscribe to the PTO bylaws may be a member and have voting rights.

Some of the things PTO has helped with at SCR-I are Teacher Appreciation Week, the purchase of iPads for elementary classrooms, Doc Cams, snacks during MAP testing, the purchase of playground supplies, games for classrooms, classroom supplies, and much more!

SCR-I PTO meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Elementary Art room.  The next meeting will be May 9th, 2017.

Lady Tigers Well Represented in NEMO Media All District Basketball Honors

Calesse Bair

The historic hoops season by the Scotland County Lady Tigers did not go unnoticed by the sportswriters and broadcasters that cover northeast Missouri sports. Scotland County landed three players on the group’s annual all district first team and also took home Coach of the Year honors.

Cory Shultz was named the girls’ Class 2 Coach of the Year for the northeast Missouri region after leading his Lady Tigers to a 28-2 mark, including the first ever Final Four appearance in the program’s history. Shultz improved his career mark to 56-4 in his two years at the helm while bringing home from Mizzou Arena the Missouri Class 2 3rd place trophy.

Calesse Bair, Chelsea Wood and Abi Feeney were all named first-team all district by the media group that represents schools from across the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s Class 2 districts 6 and 7 that encompasses the northeast corner of the state.

Bair topped the region with a 17.7 points per game scoring average and also was the leader with more than four steals per contest. Wood led the region with a 66% field goal percentage, making two of every three shots she attempted en route to a 14.2 scoring average. She also was among the region’s leaders in rebounding, grabbing on average eight boards a game.

Chelsea Wood

Feeney earned the nod as the top point guard after leading the region with 5.2 assists per game. She also averaged 10.1 points per contest and contributed 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game.

Rounding out the first team all district squad were Ashtyn Lagaman of Clopton and Laken Hugenberg of Canton. Lagaman averaged 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest while Hugenberg was second only to Bair with a 17.5 scoring average to go with 7.0 rebounds per contest. Hugenberg is a junior while all four of her fellow first teamers were seniors.

Abi Feeney

Named to the all district second team were: Elaine Ewigman, Marceline, Sr.; Madison McCabe, Knox County, Sr.; Kaitlyn Kuntz, Clopton, So.; Allison Moore, Paris, So.; and Summer Small, Schuyler County, Sr.

Named to the Class 2 Boys 1st Team were: Derek Richards, Louisiana, So.; Makenzie Fessler, Marceline, Sr.; Calvin Heidenwith, Putnam County, Sr., Noah Talton, Knox County, Sr.; and Lance Logsdon, Canton, Sr.

2nd Team All District honorees included: Alec Patterson, South Shelby, Jr.; Koy Smith, Canton, Jr.; Stephen Tolbert, Clopton, Sr.; Lathyn McMorris, Van-Far, Jr.; and Hayden Miller, Knox County, Jr..

The Class 2 boys Coach of the Year was Clopton’s Craig Smith.

Coach of the Year Cory Shultz.

 

City of Memphis Spring Softball League Starts This Week

The annual City of Memphis spring softball league will kick off play this week with high school teams from Iowa and Missouri competing on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in Memphis over the next two months.

Weather permitting, the first pitch on the 2017 league play will be tossed on Wednesday night, March 29th. The Scotland County team will host Bloomfield, IA at the Scotland County R-I softball field while Keokuk, IA will take on the Clark County Rage at Johnson Park. Both games are set to start at 6:30 p.m.

The following week, Keokuk and Scotland County will do battle at Johnson Park on Wednesday, April 5th. The following evening, the Clark County Rage will take on Bloomfield at Johnson Park.

Both parks will host games every Wednesday night from April 12 – May 3rd. All game times are 6:30 p.m. Scotland County will play at the SCR-I field each week.

For more information contact Michelle at Memphis City Hall 465-7285 or Allen Garrett at 341-0714.

SCR-I Rallies to Down #2 State-Ranked Canton 8-4

Will Fromm was 2-3 with three runs scored to help Scotland County down #2 state ranked Canton 8-4 on March 21st in Memphis.

It’s just the first week of the season, but Scotland County may have already played its most memorable game of the year after pulling off an 8-4 victory versus Canton on Tuesday night.

The game pitted two pre-season top 10 squads and was a rematch of last year’s heart-breaking district championship contest that saw SCR-I fall 2-1 to Canton, who went on to finish second in the state.

That likely generated enough excitement in itself, but then the game featured some superb pitching, a power display, and three lead changes. But all of that may have been overshadowed by the tension on the field where a pair of hit batsmen and a couple of controversial calls had the pressure level sky high.

In the end, Scotland County was able to prevail behind a near flawless season debut by hurler Aaron Buford.

The one major hiccup cost the Tigers the lead in the fourth when Canton third baseman Lance Logsdon blasted a three-run homer to put the visiting team on top 4-3. But Buford recovered, and didn’t surrender another run en route to a complete game victory.

Scotland County put the pressure on early to the #2 ranked team in the state.

Back-to-back singles by Justin McKee and Aaron Blessing had starter Coy Smith in trouble in the second before he was able to escape the jam. Smith was not as fortunate in the bottom of the third. Buford walked to start the inning. Singles by Will Fromm and Grant Campbell loaded the bases for McKee, who delivered a two-run single. An RBI groundout by Lane Pence plated Campbell to put SCR-I on top 3-0.

Canton got a run back in the top of the fourth inning, but the damage could have been worse. A walk and an error opened the door for a double by Lavion Wilson that appeared to score both runners. Scotland County appealed that the second runner failed to touch third base and he was called out, ending the frame with SCR-I still on top 3-1.

That changed in the top of the fifth when Logsdon connected with two runners on base. His homer put Canton ahead 4-3.

Scotland County pulled even in the bottom of the fifth inning. Fromm singled and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and a passed ball. After McKee walked, Pence hit a sacrifice fly to knot the score at 4-4.

The wheels came off for Canton in the sixth inning when back-to-back errors allowed four runs to score. Blessing started the rally with a base hit. A two-out error allowed Buford to reach. A walk to Fromm loaded the bases for Campbell, who popped one up near the second base bag. The ball was dropped, with Canton arguing that the fielder was interfered with by the SCR-I runner on the bag. In the meantime a pair of runs crossed the plate. SCR-I plated two more runs when McKee reached on an error, extending the lead to 8-4.

That was all the cushion Buford would need. He retired Canton in order in the sixth inning and then worked around a leadoff single in the seventh to notch the victory. The senior threw 105 pitches in recording the complete game. He allowed four runs, all unearned, on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

Smith took the loss for Canton, getting tagged for eight runs, three earned, on eight hits and three walks while striking out three.

McKee was the hitting star, going 2-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Fromm and Blessing also recorded two hits apiece.

Scotland County improved to 2-0 on the season with the win.

JAMES EDWARD BEHR (1/25/1938 – 3/22/2017) 

James Edward Behr, 79 of Downing, Missouri passed away at the Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Missouri on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The son of Paul John and Lillian Jeanette (Rother) Behr, he was born in Joliet, Illinois on January 25, 1938.  On May 15, 1993 at the Showme Lake in Memphis, Missouri, he was united in marriage to Suzanne E. Fullmer.

Survivors include his wife, Suzanne E. Behr of Downing, Missouri; his children, James Edward Behr, Junior of North Aurora, Illinois, Sheryl Rene’ Baker and husband, Gary of Lancaster, Missouri and Paul Edwin Behr of Aurora, Illinois; one stepdaughter, Jodi Drane and husband, Michael of Phoenix, Arizona; six grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; one half-sister, Rosemary Erman of Coal City, Illinois and other family members.

James is preceded in death by his parents; one stepdaughter, Kelly Sue Schilb; one sister, Jeanette Swiggert and one half brother-in-law, Fred Erman.

James worked for Caterpillar as a furnace operator as he made parts for their tractors.   He was a member of the United Auto Workers Union Local 145 and was also a lifetime member of the American Motorcycle Association.

When James was younger, he restored vehicles and motorcycles.  His hobbies also included hunting, fishing, camping and enjoying the outdoors.  He especially enjoyed the time he was able to spend with his family and always had a great entertaining story!

A memorial service was held on Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri with Sonny Smyser, Pastor of the Schuyler County Church of Faith officiating.

Memorials have been established for the family.

Burial will be at a later date as the body has been cremated.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by logging on to normanfh.com.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home of Lancaster, Missouri.

Jews for Jesus to Speak at Lighthouse of Faith Church

Lighthouse of Faith Church invites all to hear a presentation given by Jews for Jesus on Tuesday, April 11th at 6:30 p.m.  The topic will be Model Seder.

Jews for Jesus is an agency that proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. The late Moishe Rosen, a Jew who has believed in Jesus for over 35 years, founded the organization. However, Dr. Rosen was quick to point out that he did not “start” Jews for Jesus. “Jews for Jesus began about 2,000 years ago, around 32 C.E., give or take a year. Jesus’ first disciples were Jewish, and there have been some Jewish people who have believed in him ever since.”

The organization has permanent branches in eight North American cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, New York City, Washington D.C. and Fort Lauderdale) as well as over 127 volunteer chapters spanning some 41 states and five countries. The group’s international branches are headquartered in Johannesburg, London, Paris, Odessa, Moscow, Essen, Rio de Janeiro, Kharkov, Dnepopretrovsk, and Tel Aviv.

To the Jews for Jesus, believing in Jesus makes sense in light of the Jewish Bible and in light of their experiences as “believers.” For those who argue that Christianity contradicts the meaning of Judaism, the Jews for Jesus say there are answers, which their representative will be happy to discuss after the presentation.

Call Curtis Ebeling at (660) 216-4040 for more information. There will be no admission charge.

Living Life Over

FIVE YEARS AGO

KMEM radio station is celebrating their 30th anniversary with the public on Friday, March 30th.  The station’s first day on the air was March 29, 1982.

KMEM was founded in 1982 by Sam Berkowitz and his family.  The radio station was located in the east end of what is today the Sunrise Motel.

The Berkowitz family owned and operated the station until 1988, when KMEM was sold to the Boyer Broadcasting group led by Keith and Ruth Ann Boyer.  Their daughter-in-law, Denise Boyer managed the station until it was sold in 2001 to a group from Ottumwa, IA, including Mark and Karen McVey, Mark and Lisa Denney, and Rich Brown.

TEN YEARS AGO

The Scotland County R-1 School Board voted 7-0 to sign off on a proposed $1.8 million renovation project for the school campus.

The largest portion of the plan cost is earmarked for a new ground source heating and cooling system at the high school.

The facility was constructed in 1975.  The building’s heating and cooling systems are beyond projected life expectancies and despite considerable repairs have been deemed inadequate to meet the district’s future needs.

20 YEARS AGO

The Rural Rough Riders met March 15 with 13 members and one guest, Thelma Strong, present.  Hosts for the evening were Helen and Eugene Newland and Dorothy and Howard Nelson.

After dinner the group played cards.  High scores for the evening went to Millie Nelson and Eugene Newland.  Second high went to Bea Reeves and Junior Snodgrass.

Hosts for the next card party, which will be April 5, are Ann and Noel Barker and JoAnn and Olan Shadrick.

30 YEARS AGO

The annual meeting of the Missouri State Polled Hereford Association was held in Columbia at the Hilton Hotel on March 6th.  As a part of the evening festivities, six prominent Polled Hereford people from across Missouri were presented awards.

Among the award winners was Elisabeth Huff of Huff’s Polled Herefords, Rutledge.  Elisabeth was given the Polled Hereford Enthusiasm award for 1987.  She was cited for her dedication and hard work on behalf of Polled Hereford breeders throughout Missouri.  During the year, she served the Association as the state Queen and first runner-up to the National Queen.

Elisabeth is the daughter of Jane and LeRoy Huff of Rutledge and is a junior at the University of Missouri, Columbia, majoring in Food Science and Nutrition with a double major in Animal Science.

40 YEARS AGO

The Scotland County Senior High College Bowl team competed in the Tri-Rivers Conference Tournament at North Shelby in which Scotland County captured first place. In the first game, played Tuesday night, Scotland County downed Clark County by a score of 435-230.  In the second match, Thursday night, they met their traditional rival, Knox County, who they handily defeated, 625-340.  The championship match was played against Milan, Friday night with Scotland County becoming Conference Champions by a score of 595-375.

The entire season proved to be a victorious one with an overall record of eleven wins, including two tournament victories and four losses with an even team effort by all.

Team members were Eric Pence, Captain, Gail Carlson, Ellen Aylward, David Forsythe, Dean Blakeley, and Scott Robinson, with Mrs. Barbara Chasteen as sponsor.

50 YEARS AGO

Increases in student fees at the Northeast Missouri State Teachers college were recently announced.

President of the Board of Regents, James R. Reinhard, said resident students will pay $180 an academic year, beginning September 1st and non-residents $399.

Part-time resident students will pay $10 a semester hour for less than six hours and non-residents $22.

All graduate students will pay $216 for the academic year, and part-time graduate students $12 a semester hour.

60 YEARS AGO

Percy, the pig, which the local chapter of the Jaycees received as a surprise last week from the Canton, Missouri Chapter of the Jaycees, gave up residence in Memphis and moved to the Jaycees chapter at Brookfield.

Tuesday night, Paul Lancaster, Wayne Mathes, Harold Davis, Pearl C. Cotton, and Kenny Thrasher began the journey to Brookfield with Percy.  Car trouble along the way caused the group to be late for the meeting, however, the group succeeded in locating the Jaycees president and made him a present of Percy.

So—Percy doesn’t live here anymore.

70 YEARS AGO

The sale of the Northeast Missouri Angus Breeders Association was held at the sale pavilion in Memphis Saturday. The sale averaged $334.00 per head, a little less than the average last year.

One hundred and three head were sold and the top price was $1,200 for a bull consigned by Earl Rogers.  The top cow price was $726.00.

A large crowd of people attended the sale.

Rutledge Renegades

Ann and Leon Shaw held a birthday party for grandson, Cole White, to celebrate his first birthday.

Victor Childers, from Indianapolis, Indiana, came for Bill Delaney’s visitation.  He was to meet his grandson, Adam Arnold, at Sandhill to go to Zimmerman’s for lunch.  Adam goes to Truman University in Kirksville.

Katrina and Great-Aunt Neta Phillips went to Columbia.

April 17, 2017 the Ruby Red hats of Rutledge will be going to the I.D.K Café in Baring at 1:00 a.m.

Carol McCabe attended the Scotland County Campus Bowl tournament Saturday.  The Scotland County JV received 1st place and the varsity team received 2nd.  Carol was the JV coach last year until she retired and she was very proud of them.

After the tournament, Carol attended Milton Earl’s 70th birthday party at the Community Building – great to see everyone there.  Seems a good time was had by all.

Some of those in this week were Tim Morris, Dale Tague, Neta Phillips, Charlene Montgomery, Ronnie and Bonnie Young, Marlene Henry, Ruth Ludwick, Mike and Pam Blaine, Marjorie Peterson, and Bob and Dorothy Hunolt.

Woodpeckers

So much to do, so little time. It feels as though spring and summer are upon us. With stores’ greenhouse buildings popping up all over and mulch appearing in the parking lots, it makes you feel that garden planting and flower planting are upon us.

At Red Hatters today, we heard Cardinals singing when we left. So neat. I don’t have a lot here in the wide-open spaces west of Wyaconda.

I have been having lots of Woodpeckers. One in particular is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. It frequents my feeder, along with my woody woodpecker, who is making a mess of the bluebird houses here in the yard. Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common statewide and found in forests, woodlands, parks, and suburban areas. They frequent backyard bird feeders during the winter months in search of sunflower seeds and suet.

Red-bellied woodpeckers forage amongst the trees for acorns, fruits, and insects, using their strong bill to chip away at bark to expose hidden creatures. Their tongue is long, barbed, and sticky, and they use it to extract insects from deep under the bark. They excavate nest holes in the wood of dead or decaying trees. Clutches are made up of 2 to 6 eggs, which incubate in 12 days. Young birds fly in 24-27 days.

The red-bellied woodpecker’s are banded with black and white bars. The male has a wide red band from its bill over the crown to its nape, and the female has red on the nape of neck only.  Keep your eyes open for the male and female, interesting to watch.

Until next time, good bird watching.

Muck and Marshmallows

Low tech surveillance system. Photo by Ben.

Howdy y’all. Ben here, finally upland of the soggy pig waller I’ve been slogging about in for the last week.

One week and about a dozen neighbors, plus some sheet metal and some marshmallows, is all it took for me to get our sow loaded onto the trailer, but as the old joke goes, “What’s time to a pig?” In fact, one week ago, I thought I had this pig in the bag, but it turns out that as a sow grows, she typically becomes more ornery, more wizened. That’s true of some of my human friends, too.

In the past week, we’ve had a few frosty nights, as well as a few hot afternoons. We’ve had hot dry winds whip through (fine diaper-drying weather) and some of the first significant rains of the spring. Something about this droughty weather breaking right before I need firm soil for hog wrangling feels quite typical of my luck. Well, at least all my water catchment is full, and with the help and support of so many of my neighbors, I was finally able to put this piggy out to pasture.

Spring is coming on in earnest. The days are growing quite long, nettles, peppergrass, and dandelion are all making their way into my meals, as well as the meals of all my animal friends. The henbit is happily in flower, and I’ll be ok if I don’t have to eat it except in egg form. It’s called henbit for a reason. Because it’s best suited to poultry. I have a friend, you might know her, and she loves to serve up henbit. I’ll eat it, but I don’t seem to get the same enjoyment out of it as the chickens, so why take it away from them, especially in the earliest spring, when the grasses have hardly greened around the barnyard yet?

If I haven’t said this out loud yet, I’ve certainly thought it, that farming is basically gambling. Insurance is gambling too, but with farming I feel like I have a lick more control. And then trying to farm as sustainably as possible is like gambling with lower possible returns. I don’t know who this Trader Joe character is, but he’s got some sort of racket, and I don’t think the folks growing potatoes for the fancy potato chips are making out quite like he is. Anyhow, while I’ve always believed there to be a certain element of luck involved in farming, I’m beginning to realize just how many skills the average farmer needs to have, just to stay afloat.

A farmer has to be a meteorologist, a geologist, an accountant, an economist, a biologist, a behavioral psychologist, a mechanic, a physicist, a builder, a laborer, and a marketer to boot. Me, I’m just a guy who leads pigs around with marshmallows, because apparently they like them, but I’m working on the other stuff.

It’s a lot to handle and track all at once, and after stacking on the other responsibilities of raising children, collecting my own fuel, being my own electrician and occasionally repairing/improving my dirt house, I sometimes feel a little bit exhausted. This week has been no exception. Oh yeah, I live in an ecovillage, so I might’ve had to talk about my feelings once or twice.

But today, for me, as a farmer, or at least somebody who spends all my time raising food, living in community paid off in getting Esmerelda up in that trailer, for she’s been suspicious of it for a long time and seemed only interested in stepping up in it if I laid down in it, baby-talking her and feeding her constant marshmallows. That’s the perfect time for all my friends to come in and give her a push. It’s really nice to have friends willing to stand in pig mud with me, otherwise I’d just have chickens out there instead.

Another farm job I don’t have to do by myself is chasing off varmints, now that we got us a livestock guard dog. Her name is Xena. She has a nice, low-frequency bark, and she seems to guard the eggs as well as the chickens, but there’re plenty to go around these days, so I don’t see why not let her have a few of her own. She doesn’t eat them, but she does seem to want to hatch them out.

The spring peepers are many decibels loud, groggy hornets constantly drop out of my ceiling, quince and plum are flowering, robins and rabbits dart through the landscape. Spring seems like it may stick around for good now, and I anxiously await both garden season and mushroom hunting. Now that the threat of having a multiton ice cube is probably over, I have re-situated my water catchment and am currently at or above capacity, which is a reassuring feeling, though I am keenly aware of the irony in off-grid living of having abundant water when it’s raining and abundant energy for lighting when it’s sunny. Still, it affords us the finer things in life, like radios and clean pants. I’ll stick with it.

The birds and the bees are springing into action, tending to their birdly and beely business. The roads are all full of muck, and the ditches are all coming up in daylilies and irises. Our quaint dirt house has been getting upwards of seventy-five degrees when we cook meals on the woodstove, and we’ll inevitably be back in the outdoor kitchen shortly for to appreciate the breeze better, and keep the scorched lard smoke aura that hangs low in the house up and away from our sinuses. The pond is still cold, but I use it more for hygiene than for recreation, so it takes only a few moments to regain my standard level of washed. In the garden, collards, peas, and a few stray garlic volunteers reach up through the soil to photosynthesize a little. I like photosynthesizing too, as long as I’m not too deep beneath some dirt, either.

The busy time is imminent as the ticks and poison ivy, and before long our humble village will be swarming and buzzing with visitors from all over, chasing the chickens, taste-testing the poison hemlock, and asking which of my buckets I put the fabric softener into.

Dancing Rabbit is, after all, a demonstration community, and so, somehow, I’ll gather myself together and take the time to explain the things I know best, like the grease trap in our greywater system, and the existence of chiggers, which few people seem to believe in because they’re both invisible and fantastically nasty little buggers. I also appreciate having some time to demonstrate by myself without an audience, but the contrast between desolation and peak population make both states of being different enough to be interesting and enjoyable to me.

With broody hens and extremely curvaceous nanny goats scattered here and there across the farmstead, I imagine I’ll have plenty of non-anthropocentric social tasks ahead of me to keep busy and distracted, which is basically when I’m at my best. In the meantime, I’d better go lay all my clothes out in the road, cuz it’s easier than handwashing, and it looks like we might be blessed with a little more rain. So long for now, I’ll holler at ya again after I find a mushroom or two.

***

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Public tours are offered April – October on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. In the meantime you can find out more about us by checking out our website, www.dancingrabbit.org, calling the office at (660) 883-5511, or emailing us at dancingrabbit@ic.org.

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