DANCING RABBIT 5-19-08

 Tony here. April showers have indeed broken and May is being respectably
floral with our wild columbine joining the many cultivated flowers
already in bloom.

The Milkweed Mercantile got a roof this week thanks to Roger Fox and his
crew. We were quite impressed with how quick they were able to get the
roofing metal up with the help of a left that got them up to the roof
level 20 foot up. Kurt and Alline are thrilled with the progress, with
windows getting installed and strawbales on the way soon.

Our ping pong table came out of storage and has been the centerpiece of
our courtyard these last couple of days. The kids swarmed over this
“new” toy with varying degrees of skill, but enthusiasm all around.

When folks are planning to build a building and are looking for
community advice and input we often hold a “building salon” where folks
with building experience come and share their thoughts and knowledge.
Matt and Jeff are looking at building domes out of “earthbags”, a system
where plastic feed sacks are filled with earth or gravel and are stacked
to form the walls, and in this case roof, of a building.

Their plan is to dig down 4 feet and then build a series of connected
round domes. The earthbags form a self supporting arch and require no
other structural support. They would then cover the dome in soil and
plant it as a “living roof”. The system has been used worldwide and is a
great low tech, low impact technique for building.

Much of the conversation focused on water proofing. As anyone around
here knows, at some points in the year it is wet, wet, wet and our soil
is clay, clay, clay. Clay can be a great water proofer but its unclear
whether that will be enough to keep an earthbag roof from leaking. If
not they may need a plastic membrane but they hope to avoid that. They
plan to have a french drain to deal with ground water infiltration.

Another water issue for such a home is our summer humidity. When the
warm moist outside air enters a building cooled only by the earth it can
get overly humid inside and cause mold problems (think of how caves feel
moist). Some of our homes have required dehumidifiers in the summer to
control this issue and its likely an earthbag dome would have a similar
need.

We had two work exchangers show up this week to help with building
projects. Adam arrived from southern Illinois (near St Louis) to help
Brian with the cob building he is building. Peter joined us from Truman
State in Kirksville to spend a month or so with us helping Liat convert
the school bus into an earth-bermed living space.

Sara from St Louis came up for another visit for a few days. She works
there on an urban gardening project but still makes time to visit us out
here in the country. She has jumped right in to help on the various
building projects and her help is much appreciated.

Rachel left for a visit to the bay area in California. She will also be
meeting with the board of the non-profit she works with to discuss
fundraising and will be up in Napa Valley for a week at the non-profit’s
outdoor camp for fourth and fifth graders.

Tamar has been up in Memphis a bit lately. On Saturday mornings she is
teaching a yoga class at the Scotland Country Rec-plex and this Sunday
she attended a recital in Memphis for her fiddle students. I’m told the
student’s all performed well to the delight of their families, friends,
and, of course, teacher.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community practicing
ecological sustainability in Rutledge, MO. Our next tour of the season
will be on Saturday, May 24th at 1pm. Please call ahead to let us know
if you plan to attend. For more information about Dancing Rabbit, please
see our website at www.dancingrabbit.org or give us a call at (660)
883-5511.


Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage 660-883-5511 dancingrabbit@ic.org
1 Dancing Rabbit Lane
Rutledge, MO 63563 for more info see http://www.dancingrabbit.org