Friday, September 26, 2008

And so ends another drama-filled week in Rutledge

Earlier this week I sent out an Ideablob email to people I had met at the Coop America Green Business Conference in Chicago. On of my favorite responses came from Sheryl at Twisted Limb Paperworks. It turns out the she is one of the winners of this years Eileen Fisher $10,000 grants. It is so exciting! And it couldn't go to a cooler company! It was so fun to answer her questions about what happened in New York when, as a 2007 winner, I got to hang out with Eileen Fisher (oh, yeah. We're like this!). All I could say was that it was just like being a fairy princess; all of the work had been done, and it was time to sit back and bask in the loving attention. Be sure to check out Twisted Limb's website, and sign up for their newsletter - there are always really interesting tidbits in it!

I have continued to receive wonderful, supportive emails from people I haven't had the opportunity to meet yet, for which I am incredibly grateful. We have until Tuesday at midnight, and I'm going to keep working on the Ideablob thing until then. And if we do not win, I'll be disappointed (because we could really use the $) but honestly, I am healthy, happy, doing work I love, with amazing support and enthusiasm from a community both known and unknown. What, really, could be better? World peace. A new president. And a really good Chinese take-out place in downtown Rutledge. But I'll settle for what I have.

Our friend Julie, whose daughter wants to be a horse, is coming for the day (the pony and the husband are staying home in St. Louis for this trip). We'll spend the afternoon over at the Sorghum Fest at Sandhill (where I get to talk into a microphone!) and then come back here to yap away. Life is good.
Maggie P., future pony
Thanks again for reading, and I'll write more soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My so-called life (or, Alline Blathers on...)

As I'm sure you've noticed, I've been obsessed of late with the Ideablob contest. (What? You haven't voted yet? Go here, now, and do so!). We're still number two, which is quite honorable, but Project H Design is wiping the floor with us and slam-dunking us into the nearest dumpster.

Back when I played basketball in college I learned a valuable lesson from a coach that, up until then, I had considered to be ruthless and a bit heartless. But the day we played a team that wasn't as good as we were, and got to be 40 points ahead, she said "enough." We still did our best, but with the coach's blessing felt no need to win by a hundred points, which we easily could have done. I wish the Project H people would go have a celebratory party somewhere, and all get divinely drunk and stop all the voting hoo ha.

Aside from LOSING, the Ideablob contest has been really wonderful. I just did an online interview with Mike Sowden of Ecosalon. He asked great questions, which were a blast to answer. The interview was also a reminder of why I am starting this business, of what is most important to me, and I hope will help me keep MY BITTER CRUSHING DEFEAT in perspective. The Mercantile is getting amazing press (that is, SOME press, rather than none), and people are reading through our website, even if they are not buying anything yet. Yet! I remain hopeful. Is this how people who launched businesses in June of 1929 felt? Jeez, I hope that the stock market woes of late will not be anything like what happened in the 30's. Because what am I going to do with 30 recycled coffee tumblers, dozens of organic cotton/hemp menstrual pads, a dozen trash cans woven out of trash (so clever!), a couple dozen jars of organic cuticle cream, hand lotion, cleansing gel and four dozen bars of soap with names like Filthy Viking and Swashbuckler? We'll all be very clean, delightfully scented with dazzling cuticles during the depression.

Wonderful, talented, fablous Ziggy filmed a short promotional video for the Merantile and put it up on DRTV today. I look fat, exhausted, and in need of a good hair cut, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. He did such a great job. Now vote, darn it, vote!

The days are getting shorter, and fall is really in the air. What sounds like a cliche is based in truth. The sun is lower, the light a bit more diffused, and the poison ivy is turning a spectacular bright red. It always reminds me of the year some of our wonderful interns decorated for our annual Land Day party which is held each October. They made stunningly beautiful floral arrangements; unfortunately what they used were big bunches of golden rod and rag weed, with poison ivy trailing out of the vases and along the tables. They made one itch just to look at them.

Gotta go. I'm not going to wait up for the results tonight. It's funny how much more I liked this contest when we were winning!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

LIfe is good!

Today I've been perusing all of my favorite eco-blogs and websites, considering who to write (i.e. grovel) and ask for support re: Ideablob. And then I stopped by Google Analytics, which is my new geek toy, and found that we've been getting hits from EcoSalon. Hmmm....

So I went there. It is a lovely site, with really good writing and thoughtful articles. It is affilitated with Viva Terra, the store I absolutely lust after, which was created by retail visionary XXX. Anyway, look what I found when I got there:

"There's an eco-artisan company in Northeastern Missouri that isn't just satisfied with promoting ecological sustainability - it's running its whole business on it.

The Milkweed Mercantile (part of the Dancing Rabbit eco-village, recently featuring on Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days") are a cooperative with a fascinating business model. The business is owned equally by all employees, who all receive the same hourly wage and equal share of the end-of-year profits. But it's not just about blowing a raspberry in the face of traditional American business practices. Like Dancing Rabbit, The Milkweek Mercantile is energy-independent: power is locally-generated and renewable, building materials are sustainable, gardens are organic, and the fuel for the company's share-owned vehicles (no single owners) is bio-diesel. The message? You can live entirely by your eco-principles and turn a profit. Our applause is deafening."

Amazing! The author, Mike Sowden, REALLY gets it! Sigh.

And by tonight we'll be finalists in the Ideablob ordeal, um, contest. It would be fair to say that this has not been my most sustainably-lived week - I'm kind of a wreck.

Voting in the finals begins at 12:01 a.m. tonight. Please, please please tell your friends, your parents, your Aunt Ethel and crazy Charlie your neighbor.

Sending love and thanks,

Getting there is half the fun!

A Vintage Farmall tractor in the Rutledge Fall Festival Parade (all ten minutes of it!).

Oren Erickson and a vintage Farmall tractor

We're still doing well on Ideablob. Tomorrow is the last day for the "sprint," then we have a week of final votes. I found the Mercantile mentioned on a blog called "Work at Home Truth". Check it out here. It's nice to know that we have friends everywhere!

Today was the annual Rutledge Fall Festival. It was really fun as usual. Where else can you watch a parade that is, at most, 10-minutes long? There were two hot cars, two not-so-hot cars, four political candidates (throwing candy to the kids), 8 very cool vintage tractors and a bunch of kids and adults with face paint on bikes. Hmmmm, who do you suppose were the Rabbits?

L to R: Ant, Ewan, Ted, Cynder, Aurelia, Morgan, Sierra, a Super Hero

Denny Clatt for Eastern County Commissioner!

I want one of these for my garden!

Also joining us (in the parade and at DR) this week are the Super Heros. A group of about 25 enthusiastic, fun people who are interested in making the world a better place, they ride around on their bikes doing good deeds. They all wear capes, have 'super hero' names ("Compassionate Man," "Super OK with himself Guy"), and are just a delight. They're camping here at DR for 3 days, doing a day of work each at DR, Sandhill and Red Earth Farms. Friday they helped bale the Mercantile, stomped cob with Annie, washed Tereza's windows, and lots of other things I don't know about.

L to R: Sierra, Super Hero, Queen Bee, Cob (aka Crazy Hat Man), two more Super Heroes

Glam Jan

More tomorrow!