One of the main reasons I wanted to move to Dancing Rabbit was to be more in touch with the rhythms of the seasons and of day-to-day life. To watch things grow and change and develop and to be there for each step of the way. Well, I have been very in touch with that growth recently. Here’s what happens in northeast Missouri when it rains a bunch and then it’s hot and sunny for a few days: everything turns into a jungle.
Christina here, writing about things that are growing, whether I want them to or not. My husband, Javier, and I are currently working in no fewer than four different garden spaces. Blame the newbie energy of wanting to do too much, or blame all the generous offers of fenced places to plant, but we might have bitten off a little more than we can chew. So far, we’ve enjoyed kale, salad greens, cilantro, and radishes – so I have in fact been happily doing a great deal of chewing!
Our children are finally able to pick their favorites out of the garden, as the pea shoots are ready to be plucked off of the growing vines and the sorrel is growing fast and strong. I’m imagining tomato salads, and roasted eggplant, and hot salsa made with our own peppers… But what’s also growing in those gardens is lots and lots of weeds.
While at first I was resistant to the locally-popular method of covering the soil with cardboard or newspaper and then lots of straw, I’ve come to understand the benefits of a really effective weed-control method. The beds that I got to before that rain-sun pattern are lovely—clean and organized and under control. But the other beds, the ones that I thought would somehow stay the way they were until I was ready to attack them, look like no one has ever gardened in those spots, ever. I’ve made my daily goal to finish one bed, start to finish, each day—weed, cover, plant, water. And then move on to the next bed on the next day. It means that the pile of dirty dishes in the sink is growing as well, but I can always get to that tomorrow.
Around here the animals are growing too. The chicks that Sparky has cared for in her small yard are really barely chicks anymore. As a member of the goat co-op, I’ve been helping with moving the goats onto new pasture every few days. Believe it or not, moving fence is one of my favorite outdoor jobs. There is something so concrete and solvable about the whole thing. Problem: The goats and Donkey have eaten all of the edible greens in their current pasture. Solution: Move them to the next space. Within an hour or so, they are happy as can be. The goat kids that were once floppy little nurslings are also experimenting with different leaves and grasses and venturing away from their moms. They are getting bigger every day on all that fresh pasture—but they are still just as cute as ever.
Speaking of growing, we seem to be welcoming many new residents, returning members, arriving wexers (work exchangers), and visitors, here for a day tour, a few days, or a two-week visit. When we have to circle up for a community meal outside the Common House rather than inside, because there are too many people to fit, I know that the season has arrived.
Our eventual goal is to become a village of 500 to 1000 people. I’m not sure that I’ll see that goal in my lifetime, but I do love it when someone new realizes that this is the place for them. Every new resident or visitor or wexer or member brings with them new challenges—someone new to navigate or compromise with or figure out in some way or another. But they also bring new opportunities for collaboration and enrichment and friendship.
Growth isn’t always easy, and sometimes it feels like the weeds are going so fast that there’s no way that I’ll keep up, but I also know that I can’t stop things from growing even if I wanted to. And now, I have to go plant some more kale seedlings. I can just hear the weeds bursting through the surface soil of the garden bed I cleaned yesterday.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is May 27th at 1 pm. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about us, you can also check out our website: www.dancingrabbit.org.