Friday, July 30, 2010

LIvin the Good Life, and sweating a lot

Hi all. It's time to play catch up. So here is my life since April, condensed:

We opened the Milkweed Mercantile, and have been having a great time.

Anthony, our friend who happens to be a chef (or a chef who happens to be our friend) thought that this might be the time to finally make the move to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. He arrived with a truck load of kitchen gear, set up an uber professional kitchen for us, and taught us lots of tricks. But alas, the joys of life in Rutledge, Missouri

could not compare with the glitz and glam of Las Vegas, and he left June 18th.

Go figure. Regardless, we're so happy for the time that he spent here, and for all that he taught us. And also for the most important lesson of all - "never underestimate the power of crispy fried potatoes." Here here.

That was the middle of June. Then the Mercantile and friends went up to Stevens Point, Wisconsin to participate in the Midwest Renewal Energy Fair. I especially enjoyed getting to finally meet Pam Wheelock of Purrfect Play (the world's best pet toys, which have, for some odd reason, disappeared from our webstore. Hmmmmm). It was good.

Came home in time to welcome Kurt's niece Dana'e for an all-too-short three-week visit.

With barely time to catch our collective breaths, we prepared to host Cecil's 40th birthday fest. A bunch of folks descended upon Dancing Rabbit over the July 4th weekend and we all had a great time. Yehaw!

Cecil and Katya sitting at the Mercantile bar, consuming the 'buckets o' frosting' that Cecil requested with every meal. Seriously.

The Mercantile was full and hosted a vegan dinner for 21. We had a blast!

We continue to meet the challenge of exquisitely white sheets line-dried in the sun. Doesn't sound so difficult, but try to explain that to birds feasting on PURPLE mulberries. I may have to change the text on the Mercantile website to include something about "please don't be alarmed by strange dark stains on your sheets..." because I'm not sure just how sustainable it is to be washing towels and sheets TWICE because of bird poop. Thankfully, mulberry season has finally passed, and a storm blew over a tree that was overhanging our clothesline (yay, nature!), partially alleviating the problem.

In true Dancing Rabbit form, our clothesline is also where we store construction materials. Isn't that a permaculture principle?

Dana'e and I went blueberry picking, and it was a revelation. Not the picking itself, although that was fun. It was the berries. It is amazing how, well, blueberryish they really taste. Not at all like the pale, dull specimens one finds in the grocery store. These were huge and plump, and just fell off the bush into our hands and buckets.

We came home and made pots of jam, Dana'e for the first time. We're all very proud.

THEN I went to Chicago for the Memorial service of my friend Marvin Geier. It was at Old St. Pat's and was just lovely. The soloist gave me goosebumps, the art all around the church was stunning, and the curvy wood benches were beyond beautiful. It was a marvelous tribute to Marvin.

The trip involved staying in a couple of hotels, where there seems to be an obsession with playing with copious numbers of pillows, and windows that don't open. I'm all for air conditioning, but jeez - it WAS NICE OUTSIDE! LET ME OPEN THE DAMN WINDOW!

How many pillows does it take to make customers happy? Apparently, nine.

Then hopped in the rental van and scooted up to Elkhorn, Wisconsin for EcoFair 360. Not as many attendees as we had hoped but we met a lot of fabulous folks.

Now I'm back home. It's raining, again, unsurprisingly. Tomorrow I'm excited to be teaching a canning workshop. Unfortunately it's been such a wet, awful year that the gardens (and gardeners and farmers) are all struggling. It's been a challenge to find enough produce to put up. It's wicked hot and humid, and as the furniture melts I begin to understand why we don't have a lot of reservations in August - even I don't want to be here in August. We had thought that this would be our busy season, but perhaps next year Kurt and I will take August off and go somewhere cold and foggy. Oh, that sounds GREAT!

Time to go bake cookies for Saturday. Kurt's tending bar at Happy Hour, so I will go on over and lend some moral support. Now that we're all caught up, perhaps I can keep up!

Thanks for reading!

PS to all you lovely folks leaving comments in Asian languages that I cannot read: I'm not going to post them, so save your time.