With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chapter Eighty-Seven: Winter, Angel, and Bob

By the next week, it was obvious that the communards really liked the new kitten, who was now being called Inky, even if Carrie didn’t.   The mood as spring came into full bloom at the farm was one of toleration.  Sally was tolerating having Bobby around, Carrie was tolerating having Inky around, and the construction crew was tolerating having Dan and Sal around.

And Luna was hoping that the three new BBAAers that had been accepted to live at the commune would come with less problems.

Winter arrived first.  

Winter had long, wavy hair, a beautiful smile, and wore flowing flowery garments in lovely pastels.  He was quite good looking.

“I like growing herbs,” he said. “And mushrooms.  Do you sprout stuff?”

“We sprout and kraut,” Viv said.  “This is a very green friendly farm.”

Angel arrived just a bit after Winter.  Unlike Winter’s lovely loose garb, Angel wore no nonsense overalls and came ready to work.

But before Viv and Luna had a chance to get Angel set up out in the fields, Bob, the third BBAAer, arrived.  Bob was an older gentleman with a long white beard who looked like he had spent most of his life farming.

“Alright, you two,” Luna said, after Bob and Angel got acquainted.  “Let me show you where we’re working.”

Viv and Luna led Angel and Bob to where Chuck, Patsy, and Sally were weeding and checking on the progress of the new crops.  They quickly joined the crew.  Winter was already at work with Birch in the EcoGreenHouse, where Birch was showing Winter the mushrooms he was harvesting, and Winter was talking with Birch about herbal helices.

“Not a bad start to the season,” Viv said to Luna.

“Yeah,” Luna said.  “Let’s hope there’s no problems with this crew.”


As they worked, Bob told the rest of the crew tales from his sixty-six years worth of farm stories.

“Yup,” he said.  “Started farming when I was five.”

“Hey, me too!” Luna said.  “Though, I think you’ve been doing it a bit longer than me.”

“Sure ‘nuff, little girl.  That would be about nineteen fifty.  My folks owned a place in Wisconsin.  I drove a tractor using blocks.”

“Oh, wow,” said Luna.  “I used old circus stilts.”

“Stilts, huh,” Bob said.  “That’s cool.  Maybe I would have used them if we had them around.  Did your folks make you do that stuff?”

“Nope.  I figured it out all on my own.  I wanted to drive a tractor.”

“Oh, man.  I didn’t want to drive a tractor.  I wanted to play.  I wanted to be playing ball with my friends--instead I ended up driving that tractor.  I didn’t even like farming until I was nineteen.  Of course that was fifty years ago, so I’ve been grooving on farming for a long time.”

“So why did you end up coming out here?” Chuck asked.

“I ended up getting a place not far from here, oh, about forty years back,” Bob said.  “Just lost the place, unfortunately.  My kids sold it to the state which I guess wants to build some big office building there with a huge parking lot.  My kids seem to think I’m too old for farming.”

“Well, you’re the oldest BBAAer I know of,” said Luna.

“You’re never too old to learn something new,” said Bob.

“True enough,” Angel said.  “That’s why I came here.  I want to farm, I want to learn, I want to be part of something bigger than myself.”

“Yeah,” said Patsy.  “There’s nothing like getting down into the soil to make you feel like you’re part of this giant earth organism.”

“Alright,” Chuck said.  “This giant earth organism.  Me and the earth, we got something going.”

“Oh, yeah,” Bob said.  “I remember when the first Earth Day came around.  I was like, huh, I thought everyday was earth day.  It sure is when you’re a farmer.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chapter Eighty-Six: Carrie is Not Amused

Two weeks later, the Humbugs (now known as Sally and Bobby) were both still at the commune--Sally in the fields and Bobby working with housekeeping--and Dan and Sal were still arguing.  The construction crew wasn’t even paying attention and, when they hit a snag, they met together without Sal and Dan and worked it out.  And people went on to other things in the commune meetings.

Like the cute black kitten that had wandered onto the commune and Strange Brew had started feeding.

“We have a cat already,” Marge said.  “We don’t need to have two cats.”

“But this is a kitten,” Strange Brew said.  “Besides, he’s really cute.”

“Do you know how much money Carrie is costing us a year to feed and take care of?” Sal said.  “I don’t mind doing it for one cat but, like Marge said, we don’t need two cats.”

“And what happens if we take in this kitten?” Cat said.  “What happens if someone finds another cat?  How many cats are we willing to support?  Twelve?”

Four people tried to talk at once.  Blue Sky, who was running the commune meeting said, “Okay.  Viv, then Dan, then Lois, and then Zelda.”

“Carrie hasn’t caused us any problems,” Viv said.  “It’s been a lotta fun having her here.  What makes anyone think there will be any trouble with a new kitten?  I’ve see the little fella.  He’s really cute.”

“I agree with Sal and Cat,” Dan said.  “We really don’t need another cat here.  I think one is more than enough.”

“Yeah, but maybe Carrie is lonely,” Birch said.

“Wait, wait,” Blue Sky said.  “You’ll get your turn. Lois?”

“Yeah,” she said.  “I was going to say what Birch said.  I think that maybe Carrie needs a cat friend.  Maybe she’d enjoy having a kitten around.”

“Maybe she’d get to try out mothering,” Patsy said.

“Wait!” Blue Sky said.  “Zelda?”

“Maybe we should try having him as an experiment,” Zelda said.  “We could just have him for a week and see how things go.  See if Carrie likes him and how he is around the farm.  If it doesn’t work, we don’t have to keep him.”

“Yeah,” said Sowbug.  “Let’s try that.”

“Is that a proposal?” asked Blue Sky.

After thirty-three minutes of debate, Zelda’s proposal was passed.


Carrie was not enjoying this new experience.

Carrie had gotten used to Harry, who at least had the good graces to stay in his aquarium.  She liked the people at the commune who petted her and fed her.  She was intimidated by the goats and the cow and amused by the chickens--which she wasn’t able to get at because of all that chicken wire.

But this strange new addition to the farm was something else.  He was small and black and the people of the commune were feeding and petting him.  And this little creature was everywhere and paid no attention to Carrie.

She would stroll right up to him and he would ignore her.  She’d arch her back and hiss at him and he would ignore here.  He was worse than the lizard.

Finally, she decided to ignore the little thing back.  She’d show him.

But the little black kitten just ignored Carrie ignoring him.

Carrie wasn’t enjoying this at all.

“I was so hoping that the cats would like each other,” Lois said to Mo as they were watching each of them working so hard to ignore the other one.  “I don’t think this is going well.”

“Yeah,” Mo said.  “I don’t think Miss Carrie is amused.”

“Yup,” Lois sighed, as she watched the tabby slink away from her latest encounter with the kitten.  “Not working.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chapter Eighty-Five: The Meeting

“Okay, okay,” said Marge, who was trying to lead the regular Wednesday night Commune Meeting.  “Let’s get started.  We have a lot to discuss tonight. What should we begin with?”

Dan said, “Sal and I need some help from the group in order to move forward.”

Luna said, “Before we do that, we really need to figure out which Humbug we’re keeping.”

“It better be me,”  Humbug Sally said.  “I applied here first.”

“Well, you better not toss me out,” Humbug Bobby said.

“Before you try to figure out which Humbug is which,” Sal said, “we’ve really to deal with some real interpersonal issues.  Dan and I are having a lot of problems and it’s stopping the construction work.”

Viv said, “I understand that, we just need to sort out the Humbugs first.”

“No, please,” Earthworm said.  “The building problem is a lot more urgent.  We’re not going to get anything done until we’ve worked things out between Sal and Dan.”

“Well, I’m tired of refereeing between Humbugs,” said Luna. “Let’s just get that taken care of first before they do any real damage to each other.”

“I’m worried about Dan and Sal doing damage to each other,” Mo said.  “Can we please focus on that first and then take care of more minor problems.”

“Dealing with my stupid brother is not a minor problem!” HS yelled.

“Well, you deal with your stupid brother!” yelled Lois.  “I want to be able to get some work done.”

“Well, I want to be able to get some work done, too!” Viv screamed.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute!” yelled Marge.  “You’ll all get your turn.  We just need to figure out which issue we deal with first.”

“That’s easy!” Dan said.  “Sal and me.  We’re your commune mates!”

“You may be our commune mates,” Luna said, “But I’m the commune founder and I’m just about to ready to start tearing my hair out!”


Three hours later, much of the commune had gone to bed.  Marge, Luna, Dan, Viv, Sal, Mo, Lois, Earthworm, Sorrel, Dandelion, Sowbug, and the two Humbugs were all still arguing.

“Look, everyone,” Marge said.  “It looks like we’re all that’s left and I’m very tired and I want to go to bed.  You can continue to argue about who gets to go first, but really, the meeting’s over.  No one gets to go first.  At this point, we’re not going to discuss anything at all.”

“Well, what are you going to do about my stupid brother?” Humbug Sally said.  “I thought you said it would be resolved by tonight.”

“Nevermind that,” Sal said.  “How am I going to be able to work with Dan--in less than seven hours?  I thought the point of having commune meetings was to be able to resolve things like this.”

“Well, I’m just not going to be able to work with you,” Dan said.  “It’s not your fault.  If these other folks weren’t so selfish…”

“Wait a minute!” Luna yelled.  “You want selfish.  The two of you are so enmeshed in your little quarrel that you couldn’t even give us the space to work out something that affects the whole commune.”

“The whole commune??” Sorrel said.  “You want something that affects the whole commune.  Wait until we don’t have any more new buildings…”

“New buildings?” Sowbug said.  “I’m not even sure we’ll be able to do any maintenance work until stuff gets resolved between Sal and Dan.”

The two Humbugs stopped glaring at each other and started glaring at Sowbug.

Luna and Dan began talking, heatedly, just inches from each other.

Viv and Sal and Sorrel started engaging in an intense conversation that Earthworm and Dandelion joined in on.  Lois and Mo just looked at each other.

No one noticed when Marge walked out of the room and went to bed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Chapter Eighty-Four: The Real Humbug

The two Humbugs glared at each other.

“What are you doing here, Bobby?” one of them finally said.  She did not look happy.

“Why should you have all the fun, Sally?” the other one said.  

“I specifically asked you not to come here,” Humbug Sally said.

“You’re not the boss of me,” said Humbug Bobby. “Mom said she thought I should come here.”

“I applied for the BBAA position just so I could get a break from you and Mom.”

“You don’t ever want to do anything with me!”

“No, I don’t.  What gives you the right to come here and pretend to be me?”

“Wait,” Viv said. “Are you two brother and sister?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” HS said.

“And she is really unfortunate,” HB said.  “She never gives me a chance to do anything fun.  You said I could stay.”

“That was before I knew the situation,” Luna said.  “Let me get this straight.  You, Humbug Sally, were the one who filled out the BBAA application.”

“Yes,” HS said.  “I filled out the application and decided to call myself Humbug because I was sick of being Sally and sick of being in that small town and sick of my obnoxious brother trying to horn in on everything that I do.”

“I’m sick of that small town as well and I’m sick of you getting to do everything and me not able to do anything,” HB said.  “Why can’t we both come to this commune and get to do farming and stuff?”

“Where is King Solomon when we need him?”  Marge said.

“Look,” Luna said.  “I’m going to need some time to figure this out.  For right now, Marge can you find tents for the two Humbugs?”

“I have a tent,” HS said.  “I came prepared.  And I’m the real Humbug.”

“Okay,” Luna said.  “Show them where to set up--and don’t put them near one another.”


Viv and Luna were still trying to work it all out when Dan and Sal walked in.

“We have a problem,” Luna said.

“No kidding,” said Sal.

“I think she means they have a problem,” Dan said.

“Oh,” said Sal.  “Then we have a problem, too.”

“What’s up?” asked Dan.

“You remember Humbug, the BBAAer that was supposed to come today,” Luna said.

“Uh-huh,” said Dan.

“Well, now we have two of them,” Luna said.

“Two Humbugs?” asked Dan.

“Two Humbugs,” confirmed Luna.

“How did you get two Humbugs?”

“That’s a really good question,” Viv said.  “We’re still trying to figure out which is which and what’s what.”

“While you are sorting out your Humbugs,” Sal said, “Dan and I need to go off to sort some other stuff out.”

“Yes,” Dan said.  “Good luck with your Humbugs.”

After Sal and Dan left, Viv and Luna could hear their raised voices echoing down the hallway.

“It sounds like they might be having problems, too,” Viv said.  “Should we be worried?”

“Not right now,” Luna said.  “We still have to figure out how to deal with these Humbugs.  We just have two too many Humbugs.”

“So what do you think we should do?”

“I think we’re gonna need to bring it up in the Commune Meeting,” Luna said.  “What else can we do?”