After breakfast at Sandhill this morning, I went to Dancing Rabbit for a tour. Somehow I had expected the place to be a little more together; what I found was an eclectic assortment of homes in various stages of construction, essentially none completed. Their organizational structure is more co-op based than communal, so that money is always changing hands from individuals to groups and back again, for phone service, electricity, water, time, cooking, composting, whatever someone needs.
This morning I got a great communal breakfast and a tour of the farm. Sandhill has been a commune for over 30 years. At present it has 6 adult members and one child, plus three interns and a steady stream of visitors like myself.
The commune produces 80% of its own food, sells sorghum and maple syrup, honey, and tempeh both wholesale and retail, and trades minor crops with other local farms. They produce 700-800 gallons per year of sorghum alone, all of which sells, so they're doing all right!
I bit off more than I could chew today... the maps I had made it looks like one day's ride from Fairfield to Sand Hill, but it was more than that, at least with the wind and hills I encountered. I was getting anxious about the time before I was even in Missouri, so I called ahead to Sandhill Farm and they assured me I could sleep in the barn. Encouraged by the thought of at least three walls and some haybales, I pedaled on.
Today was market day - not just the usual Saturday farmer's market, but a harvest festival with artist stalls and demonstration booths and live music. We got up early to bring in the harvest, but the lettuce had frozen overnight, so we had to wait for it to thaw before we could pick it.
Today the rain was forecast to last pretty much all day. Brian and Lonnie and I went over to the ecovillage to work for an hour or so on a greenhouse project before the rain started; then they gave me a tour of the grounds. We returned to Lonnie's house(s), where I stayed for the rest of the day while Lonnie had meetings and such.
Lonnie let me use his computer for a few hours (solar powered, but with DSL), so I updated my Web site. Then we had an incredible lunch with the last of the summer harvest. I basically lazed around all afternoon with books and things.
The ride from Geode to Fairfield was difficult only because it was gravel for several miles; I chose a more level route than I could have, but still it was gravel and took a lot out of me.
I arrived in Fairfield sufficiently late in the afternoon that I headed straight for the ecovillage, even though I could tell I wanted to see more of town. On the way out of town, I passed a housing development of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda homes featuring energy-efficient windows and lighting, passive solar heating and cooling, and low VOC paint.
It got cold last night -- so cold that ice formed on the autoharp case. I woke up around 4 and couldn't get back to sleep because I couldn't get warm, and I was wearing 3 layers.
I put the tent away still damp, thinking I'd have time to dry it out in Burlington. I did get to Burlington around lunchtime, but after that plans went awry.
When I got up in the middle of the night, the moon was still high in the sky, lighting the landscape clearly, and the tent and grass were covered with dew. But then a front came through about 3 AM (I'm guessing), and by dawn the sky was overcast and there was no dew anywhere. So I packed up and left in no time.
I took my time getting up this morning, knowing that the bike shop probably wouldn't open until 9. Mark supplied my first taste of pawpaws to supplement breakfast; they're something like a cross between a papaya and a banana.
I got up this morning an hour before dawn and hit the road before the sun had risen, with four hours to travel 25 miles to church. I just barely made it in time, but the service was worth the trouble. Leela's classmate Roger Mohr gave an excellent service integrating science and spirituality. The congregation was as impressed as I was. They were very welcoming to me and made me think Peoria must be a very friendly place -- dunno if that's true!