Romance, Community Dinner, and Straw Bale Expedition

Okay, first I need you to know that the romance between puppy Shadow and Stevie Nix next door continues. In the middle of his life Shadow is learning how to play with the little prancer dancer vixen. Very exciting for him, though his relationship with her is very much love/hate.

Community Dinner

Meanwhile, I had promised in last post to give the story of last week’s Community Dinner, though it was so long ago (four days!) that I almost forgot. To wit: we decided to eat inside, since it looked like it might rain again, and the entire patio area was still wet from that morning. And since it was my housemate Dan’s turn to be the lead, the dinner would be in our house. He made one of his signature dishes, black eyed peas and collards. Yum! I complimented that with our garden squash stuffed with rice and mushrooms, laced with our pesto and topped with our tomato sauce.

And of course, all sorts of others brought all sorts of other food and drink. Our Community Dinners are now so full and rich that we hardly have to think about them. We just DO. People start to arrive around 6:30. We start to eat around 7 p.m., and sometimes the entire whinding is over by 9 p.m. Like this one. Not that it petered out, just that it suddenly ended, the finish as full of life as the beginning. I went to bed, as usual. Rebecca hopped on the back of Forest’s motorcycle and went downtown.

Some photos:

Puppy Shadow loves Andreas, who lived here briefly before the new DeKist house was ready. Lucky dog is tribal. Meanwhile, oops! She’s back!

Straw Bale Expedition

I had ordered two dozen straw bales awhile ago, a group order made by community-minded Tom Gallagher, bales for $4.25 each. A good deal. We are going to line the new greenhouse from the Garden Tower Project with straw bales as part of our effort to winterize it, and will use the other bales in all sorts of ways, still to be determined.

But:  we had to figure out a way to get them. Voila! Logan and Carissa, across the street, have a pickup truck, and made it available. I told them they would get two bales in exchange.

We were going to pick them up yesterday evening, but I couldn’t find Tom’s phone number to locate the bales. So we headed over in the direction that we knew he lived, and scouted about, finally, yes, rang the right doorbell (he was in his pajamas, watching the 3:58 minute Tom Petty Netflix video), and discovered that the bales were at another property he owned. Could we return in the morning? Okay.

So, at 10:30 today, Dan and I pulled up in the truck at Tom’s other place, which it turns out is three houses with deep back lawns, on one of which he has placed a massive 30′ x 40′ hoop house that he got through an F.D.A. grant; it’s big enough to feed multitudes, and has been erected by volunteers who know what they were doing. “Which makes me wonder,” says Tom to me, in deep gratitude, “how else can we help each other?” Exactly.

The way Tom talks about his plans for that three home property, it reminds me of what we’re doing here. Another little community seed of regeneration in Bloomington!

A few pics from the expedition, which involved two trips across town to get the 24 bales. Done in 90 minutes. Not bad!

Here’s Dan, with straw on his face, driving home with the first load.

I texted Rebecca on the way to ask if someone else could help unload. “I’m already out here,” she texted back.

We stacked them along an interior fence until we use them.


In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of manual work involved to get one’s feet on the ground and stay there! And it is SO worth it! Fun, especially when we work together, and who knows what’s next.

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