Most of the commune slept pretty late the next morning. The bands were gone (and as predicted the Fae Whispers put everyone in such a mellow mood few people had difficulty sleeping) and Stan (as promised) was also gone.
“So,” said Luna, “I guess this is the beginning of our second year.”
“Yeah,” said Marge, “and we can start it by cleaning this place up.”
The celebration had left stuff everywhere.
“Hey,” said Dan. “It’s still the weekend. We should be celebrating until tomorrow.”
Carrie started rubbing against his leg. Dan reached down and stroked her. “Yeah, you’re part of the commune. Maybe we should include you in the celebration.”
“And don’t forget Harry,” Ken said. “He was the one who woke me and warned me about the fire.”
“Maybe we should make this the animals’ commune day,” Nancy said. “We can include Harry and Carrie and the chickens and the goats and even Cow.”
“Maybe we should make this a recovery day,” Viv said. “I’m still recovering from all our celebrating yesterday.”
“I’m with Marge,” Sal said. “I think we should spend at least some of today cleaning up.”
In the end, three crews formed, a clean up crew, an animal care crew, and a down time/recovering crew. By the end of the day, the place looked nice, almost everyone had recovered, and the animals seemed happy.
Dinner Sunday night was still celebratory. There was plenty of cake left and the communards decided to do appreciations.
“Well, I appreciate all the work we’ve done together,” Nancy said.
“I agree,” said Cat. “I think we work very well as a commune.”
“I appreciate all the good weather we’ve had lately,” Broc said.
“I want to appreciate Luna for starting this commune,” said Blue Sky.
“Me, too,” said Dan.
“I want to appreciate Dan for believing in this commune and finding people to live here,” Luna said.
“I also want to appreciate Dan,” Sal said. “He came down to Old Corn and found me and Nancy. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be living here.”
“I want to appreciate all the folks who were willing to take me in even when they knew I was a runaway,” said Ken. “Of course, you made me get my parents’ permission first.”
“And I want to appreciate all the folks who stuck with me, even after I got busted,” said Viv.
“I want to appreciate all of you for taking in Sowbug and me when we got laid off,” Dandelion said.
“Yeah,” said Sowbug. “This place is awesome. I’m looking forward to building more stuff.”
“And I want to appreciate the good care I’ve been getting from folks,” Paul G said. He raised his cane. “Hopefully I’ll be done with this soon and I’ll be able to really get back to work at the produce stand.”
“This from the guy who was up on his crutches selling vegetables a week after the accident,” said Blue Sky.
“I want to appreciate that this place lets me be me,” said Chuck as he swung his peach and burgundy gown back and forth.
“Amen,” said Darren who put a big arm around Chuck.
“Yeah,” said Cat. “Me, too. Thanks for allowing me to go through all the changes I’ve needed to go through.”
Blue Sky just put a big thumb up.
“I just want to say how much fun it is to be part of this whole adventure,” Marge said.
Carrie came up and rubbed against Marge’s ankle. “I think she wants to appreciate being here, too,” Marge added.
“Yeah, and Harry and I are grateful that the commune took him in, too,” Ken said.
“I’m grateful for us having all the farm animals as well,” Patsy said. “The chickens and the goats and the silly cow.”
“Yeah,” said Grace. “All the animals are wonderful.”
Most people nodded. Luna seemed to be staring at something on the ceiling.
“I just think this place is fantastic,” said Strange Brew. “I liked Old Corn but this place feels more dynamic somehow.”
“What can I say?” Will said. “I just appreciate everything about being here.”
And then it was a return to the work of farm and commune.
Sowbug and Dandelion showed their repair and maintenance work to Sal and Dan.
“As you can see,” Dandelion said, “we’re almost up to speed here. We’ve done most of what you listed and have timelines for the rest.”
“Yeah,” said Sowbug. “And we’re starting to think about that new building. I mean, we’ve still got a couple of months work finishing off these projects, but it’s all doable, and having a couple of months to figure out exactly what we want to build will make it a lot easier to just start building when we’re ready to.”
“Did you have a process in mind?” Dan asked.
“We do,” Dandelion replied. “We’d like time to talk with all the folks here about what they want for both the new building and the future of the commune.”
“Sounds ambitious,” said Sal.
Meanwhile, Nancy and Marge were talking about the new cookbook.
“It should be out soon,” Nancy said. “I can’t wait to see it.”
“But you helped put it together,” Marge said. “Don’t you already know what it looks like?”
“Sort of,” Nancy said. “But this will be different.”
“Different how?” Marge asked.
“You know, it will be new, freshly printed, ready to hand out. It’ll be the real deal.” Nancy paused. “I don’t know. It’s just I still have trouble believing that we make such nice cookbooks.”
Out in the fields, Luna and Chuck and Viv and Broc were surveying the crops.
“Everything’s doing well,” said Luna, “But I want more. We should be planting fall crops now.”
“Where?” asked Viv.
“What about over here?” asked Chuck. He was standing with Broc near a patch of bolted lettuce. They made a strange pair. Chuck had on a citrine skirt and deep cerulean blue blouse. Broc was wearing a muscle shirt and cargo pants.
“Yeah,” said Luna. “That lettuce is gone. Kohlrabi and kale would do well there. But we can also plant over there.”
“That was where Wahina and Birch were,” said Broc.
“I know,” said Luna. “But no one is using the land now.”
“Are you expecting new folks to be coming?” asked Viv.
“We haven’t been looking for anyone,” Luna said. “But you never know.”
“You never know,” echoed Broc.
And later that afternoon, Strange Brew and Patsy had a conversation about how the animals could be better used on the farm.
“We’re starting to get eggs from the chickens,” Strange Brew said. “Pretty soon we’ll be getting milk from the goats.”
“And from Cow,” Patsy added. “We can use the milk to make stuff like yogurt and cheese.”
“Yeah,” said Strange Brew. “I know all about that. We call that stuff, ‘Value Really Added’ products.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Patsy. “We could open another stand, just selling Value Really Added things.”
“Let’s get on that now, sister!” said Strange Brew.
It was a day of many interesting conversations. There seemed to be lots of optimism all over the farm about the future of the commune. There was an air of freshness and new beginnings.
But all that was before Dick arrived.