Dorothy was right when she said "There's no place like home"! Cob here with a short update on the past week at Dancing Rabbit. Short because I was only home for a couple days last week, spending four days on the train and one day in New York City, so I'm a bit out of touch with all that's happened on the home front. I mentioned this at Sunday's calendar planning meeting, and was reassured "that's OK...just make it up".
I can certainly imagine what the past week was like...and you probably can as well. Building, gardening, committee meetings, gathering for meals, evening social gatherings, and even the occasional siesta. By contrast New York City was non-stop busy, noisy, and impersonal. The train was pleasant enough, but no substitute for working in the garden, feeling the fresh breeze on my skin, and listening to the birds, insects, and other critters.
On future trips I imagine that there will be even more travelers on the train, since the roads have deteriorated so much and the emissions taxes, fuel, and other costs for maintaining a personal vehicle will be prohibitive for many. It will also be more challenging to adjust to the city diet of vat-grown proteins and ultra-processed starches flavored with finely tuned chemical additives. I'll probably try to bring as much of my own water as possible, since the city is on strict rations...and there's no telling what's in the municipal water anymore. Living at Dancing Rabbit and walking or biking everywhere certainly has helped as the "cheap" rooms in NYC are now on the top floors of the hotels, since they've stopped running the elevators to cut costs as power has become so expensive. That's OK though, as those floors are also above the worst of the smog generated by the new coal power plants.
Population pressure and the new higher value of ground-level real estate finally did in the park system. Central Park is now a wealthy gated enclave, and the smaller parks disappeared long ago. As it became ever more expensive to ship real meat in from across the country, poachers virtually eradicated the Bronx Zoo, and those grounds were overrun by squatters and is now known as Shantytown. They haven't been run off by the authorities because the recent abrupt rise in sea level places Shantytown at continual risk of destruction whenever a good nor'easter passes by.
Midtown Manhattan is still a fascinating place to visit, as the globally wealthy are still clinging to their own version of reality. Even now, enough "regular folks" are unwilling to admit that the basic realities of life have changed (peak oil, global climate change, crumbling infrastructure) so that travel to the big city is still surprisingly safe...but I'm not sure how much longer rule-of-law will survive in places like this. I always bring some fresh produce to barter with, as this is generally preferred over cash these days. Paw paws and kiwi are particularly valuable, as bananas and oranges are now beyond the reach of most in the northeast.
After spending a couple days in the big city, it's a relief to get back home to Dancing Rabbit. The air is clear, the people are relaxed and friendly, and there is sufficient abundance to support our small community. The streets are full of playing children (those grassy pavers are fabulous!) and chatting neighbors as everyone goes about their daily chores. We still have community-wide planning meetings in the new amphitheater (weather permitting), or each neighborhood group sends a delegation if the meeting is moved indoors. Folks here are still using hand carts to shift material from the front entrance to their homes, but our recently upgraded fleet of solar-powered golf carts has certainly made a difference!
We love our new village windmill and as individual power systems reach the end of their life cycle, more folks are tying into the central power grid. We anticipate that the windmill plus remaining individual solar systems will meet all our needs for a few years, but we're already in the planning stages for setting aside some open land for a solar-panel farm as more residents are allowing trees to grow and mature, and therefore shade their solar panels and buildings from the summer heat.
Thistledown Pub has announced expanded hours, and the Milkweed Mercantile is opening a second cafe on the main square. The artisan co-op is working on their new building proposal for the last remaining warren near the ultimate field, and we're expecting some interesting things from that group! Tamar's hair salon and medicinal tinctures now occupies it's own storefront on the main square, and Brandon reports that his team of draft horses is almost completely booked for the season so if you are expecting help with your planting or harvest, speak to him soon.
On a final agricultural note, Thomas and Nathan's food forest has matured sufficiently that they're expecting their first big crop of tree nuts this fall. Mmmmmmm, warm roasted nuts this winter!
The visitor dormitory we built several years ago is continually at capacity, and we're working on siting a second, larger dormitory to ease the situation. This is becoming increasingly challenging, as the village has matured. More of our land is now in agricultural production, and we're recognizing that we may be nearing our carrying capacity of the existing land. We've been looking at alternatives for expanding the property and creating a new separate residential cluster, surrounded by it's own land...just as we started out not so many years ago.
Clean air, fresh drinking water, locally grown organic food, self-reliance, self-governance, living amongst friends who care deeply about one another, working in trust with our neighbors at Dancing Rabbit and the larger community, that's sustainability! It's good to be home.
Well, they said "make it up" didn't they? As you make up your own future and live your life, what does yours look like?
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, Missouri practicing ecological sustainability. We offer tours the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month at 1pm. The next tour will be this Saturday, June 27 at 1pm. Please phone ahead at (660) 883-5511 to let us know you plan to attend (there is no need for confirmation). For more information please see our website at www.dancingrabbit.org.