One thing that I especially wanted (and have certainly found) here at Dancing Rabbit was a life that is more in tune with the season. This year especially, I have really appreciated dealing with daily routines and rituals that seem more straightforward and simple. Christina here, writing about what it’s like for me to live in northeast Missouri in late spring. (Or is it early summer already?)
Mae and I are moving the goats almost every day now, along with the new cow, Sugar. I am finding lots of satisfaction in seeing the goats joyfully explore their new pasture after a fence move. The kids (of the goat variety) are still super cute and small, jumping, climbing and making a playground of every obstacle they can find.
In the winter months, I often found myself getting into bed early with a book, but with more time up and about on summer nights, the social connection time is heating up as well. Pizza night at the Milkweed Mercantile is filling up with locals and visitors, who sit out on the porch enjoying the longer days, late sunsets, and friendly companionship. Potluck and community dinner have been outside on more than one occasion; spending time at the picnic tables in the courtyard with friends is probably one of my favorite ways to pass an evening here. As the days get longer, we linger more and more at these weekly social events.
Longer days also mean more playtime outside and later bedtimes for the kids (of the human variety). “Will you please take us to the pond?” is heard constantly, and packs often roam the village looking for an adult to supervise their swimming. We’re still chugging through homeschool, but with an earlier finish so the kids can spend more time roaming around with their friends (looking for someone to take them to the pond).
We have eaten almost all of the garden produce that I froze or dehydrated last year, and I am finding fresh, locally grown food to eat in more and more places. I’m thrilled to be eating lots of nettles, green onions, eggs, and goat chèvre again. I have probably come up with at least three different ways of eating greens and eggs, and I love them all. I’m also enjoying the amazing milk from Sugar. (Really, if you’ve never had milk from a Jersey cow, you’ve never experienced milk!)
The weather is constantly shifting and changing, never really predictable or constant. We have plenty of rain, for now, though I can’t help but think of last year’s drought. This means that we haven’t had an ultimate frisbee game in recent memory, but the prairie is greening up nicely, and the gardens are starting to look more lush; this also means that the weeds are gaining in size and strength. I’ve been hot enough after an hour working in the garden that I need to come inside to rest in the house for a bit before heading out again, but I haven’t yet switched to my summer schedule of getting outside before 6 a.m. and heading in as soon as the sun comes over the trees. I aim to garden “for fun” this year, without pressuring myself, but I have still put in some good work. We have planted out onions, potatoes, most of our tomatoes, lots of kale, some cabbage, and almost enough radishes to satisfy my fermenting needs. I’m still waiting on the weather to be clear enough to plant the peppers, eggplants, some basil, and probably more tomatoes. Though there isn’t much yet to eat in the garden, I have had a few kale salads.
What we refer to as “the season” here is slowly picking up. We have one visitor session under our belts, the Milkweed Mercantile is hosting guests, and workshop season is gearing up. I’m looking forward to meeting interesting people, watching them experience the joy of dinner conversations with like-minded new friends, and maybe even learning some new skills myself. (Is this the year I finally learn some fiber arts? We’ll see…)
As I shift to more time outdoors and hanging out: in the garden, with the goats, and at community social events, I am having to sacrifice some in other areas of my life. For me, this usually means that I have significantly shortened my daily meditation, or I am skipping it altogether. It also means that I am not always getting enough sleep, which is something that I am working on fixing. Who wants to stay inside after dinner washing dishes when there is an amazing sunset over the prairie?
I’m grateful to enjoy the spring in as many ways as I can before the season shifts again and the hot, humid summer weather means new routines.
You can experience a taste of seasonal routines at Dancing Rabbit by coming to one of our free Saturday tours. The next one happens on May 25th, starting at 1 p.m., and lasts around an hour and a half. Check Google maps for directions from your location.