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Beating the Heat With Water and Peace

The Missouri mid-June sun is a helluva thing. It's been clear, sunny and HOT for the past two weeks, and the ground is compacted and cracking from dehydration. Fortunately, we had a storm a few weeks back that filled our cistern, so I'm fairing far better than the prairie.

My tools, not so much. Last week, four hand tools broke, as did two tillers. Work halted for days while I sourced 2 new pickaxes, a shovel, hand trowel, and tires for the tiller that still ran (Thanks so much to Deep Green Machine!).

Though the tractor carries dirt just fine, it's not so great at picking it up, loose or otherwise. And besides, less fuel use (even biodiesel) is generally a plus. I wasn't thrilled about using the tiller, but it was necessary. The ground sucks right now, and the hand tools just can't deal with it.

Setbacks aside, I've still managed to get the area fully tilled, and the next few days are going to be filled with some serious shovel time. Dig. Hydrate. Repeat. Worth it- physically, mentally, and socially. Thanks to all of you who donated to the project!

In addition to Horizons, I've been fairly busy with maintenance on Dancing Rabbit's cooperatively-owned vehicles. We have a VW Jetta, VW Passat, a Nissan Leaf (charged by our on-site solar array), and a new (used) truck; a Dodge Ram 2500 SLT, to replace our ailing 300,000 mile Ford. All vehicles (except the leaf) have been converted for biodiesel (B100), and are collectively owned by the members of our vehicle co-op, so they stay in pretty constant use- and so do I. But we save a lot of fuel, and lot of unnecessary vehicles in the process!

Brooke and I have also put more time into the garden at Bluestem. It's looking far less chaotic than last year. So far, we've had little trouble from the rabbits aside from some little leaf nibbling here and there. Unfortunately, cabbage moths destroyed our entire crop of brussel sprout starts. It took us days to sniff out the culprits, and by then it was too late.

Our tomatoes, jalapenos, beets, carrots, and gherkins, however, are doing quite well! Just yesterday we planted our Moon and Stars Watermelon starts (Legendary Heirloom Variety rediscovered in Macon, Missouri). They seem to have settled in nicely as of this morning.

I'm also in another newly formed co-op this year, the "grow-op". We're looking to reduce our carbon footprint as a community by undertaking some larger-than-garden scale crop production to fill our own needs, and perhaps to sell at our locally owned and operated grocery store. This year we've started with just a few staples; potatoes, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions (LOTS of onions). We still have one more row of potatoes to plant, but everything else is in the ground, and growing fast! Many thanks to Dan from Hardcore Sustainable for providing space and guidance!

Food independence, folks- I don't know how we can consider ourselves "free" or "independent" when so many of us are so beholden to corporations for our most basic needs. When one can supply their own needs, there is far less reason to fret or fight with one another. I cannot understand why we don't demand basic gardening classes in public schools. It's as essential and relevant as any other intellectual or physical skill.

But I digress...

Oddly enough, I've found the more time I spend out in the soil and sun, the more energy I generally come away with (as long as I'm drinking about 2 gallons of water a day). The burst of energy is especially welcome this time of year. as community lifestyle is anything but sedentary.

If all goes to plan, the labyrinth (as well as the produce) will be ready for our upcoming (and first ever) Veterans Workshops in October this year (Register now!)!! We've partnered with Sami Aaron with the Veterans Yoga Project as well as the local B&B, The Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage to reduce the cost for Veterans who wish to participate. Please visit the VYP website if you'd like to help a veteran attend!

Alright folks, that enough puddle-stomping for meow. Things need doing. I'll update you again soon!

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