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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chapter Ninety-Six: What The Maintenance Crew was Up To

“That’s it for the porch supports,” said Sowbug.  “All checked, all but one in all the houses are in fine shape, and the problems with the porch on the back house have been fixed.  I can deal with that last support tomorrow.  It’s not in bad shape.”

“Sounds good,” said Lois.  “Dandelion and I have completed roof checks and we’ve found no leaks or broken spots.  I don’t think that we’ll need new roofing on any of the buildings for a couple of years.”

“All foundations have been checked,” said Earthworm.  “No cracks or poor drainage found.  Sorrel spotted a place which we thought might develop a problem and patched it prophylactically.”

“Hey, has anyone seen Sal or Dan recently?”  Mo asked.

“I’ve seen them both at dinner,” Sorrel said.  “I’ve also heard rumors that Dan has been sighted in the stands.  Under the zucchini I think.”

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone knows what Sal is up to these days,” Dandelion said.  “I’m sorry.  I like both of them but I think we’ve done better without them.”

Sowbug sighed.  “I think that you’re right.  But what do we do now?  We seem to have run out of maintenance projects.”

“Yeah,” said Earthworm.  “I think that we’ve fixed everything that needed to be fixed.  So, now what?”

“Don’t worry,” said Lois.  “I think that we’ll be getting more work soon.”

“What do you mean?” asked Dandelion.

“Remember when we all agreed at the commune meeting that we’d get two new ovens?” Lois said.  “I think that we’re the ones that are going to need to figure out where to put them.”


The next day, in the kitchen, the crew was trying to stay out of the way of the cooks and bakers while checking out the structural situation.

“Alright,” said Dandelion as Darren ran by, “I have no idea where we’re going to put two ovens in this crowded kitchen.”

“I think it’s obvious,” said Lois as she avoided bumping Zelda.  “We need to expand this kitchen.  Build it out.”

“Build it out where?” asked Earthworm, who took a moment to sniff a pie that Nancy was carrying by.  “There’s nowhere to build it to.  This kitchen is completely surrounded by other rooms.”

Mo moved herself around Candy who was trying out a new cookie recipe.  “What about the back hallway?  We could extend it and then build an annex outside the house.”

“That sounds do-able,” said Sorrel as she walked past Will who was taking a load of loaves over to the bakery stand.  “But we should get working on it right away.  The new ovens will be here in a couple of days.”

Sowbug looked around the room and spent a moment watching Marge organize dinner before saying, “I think we can find someplace to store the ovens while we work on building the annex.  I suggest we plan to start on the construction first thing tomorrow.  Right now I can’t really think about it.”

“Why?” asked Earthworm as Darren barely avoided a disastrous collision with Lois.  “Is something wrong?”

“No,” said Sowbug, surveying the situation and sniffing the air.  “For some reason all I can think about right now is food.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chapter Ninety-Five: Meet Candy

There was a young woman standing in the doorway when Ken answered it.  She wore a bright green sleeveless blouse and had dark orange hair.  “Candy,” she said.

“Sorry,” said Ken.  “We don’t eat it here.  Too much sugar.”

“No, no, no,” the woman said.  “That’s my name.  Well, it’s really Candyse, but everyone calls me Candy.”

“Oh,” said Ken.  “Please to meet you, Candy.  Why don’t you come in?”

“Thank you,” Candy said and walked in.  “I heard you were looking for someone who could bake.”

“Why don’t I get Marge?” Ken said.

Marge talked with Candy for a few minutes and then got Nancy.

“Is this really a commune?” Candy asked Nancy.

“It’s really a commune,” Nancy said, “and if you’re going to work here, you’ve got to live here.”

“That’s okay,” Candy said.  “As long as I can visit my folks whenever I like.”

“Where do your folks live?” Nancy asked.

“Over on Shady Pine Lane,” Candy said.

“Shady Pine Lane?  Isn’t that like three streets away?”

“Something like that,” Candy said.

“So you’re a local gal,” Nancy said.

“Yup.  Born and raised here.”

“So what do your folks think of this place?” Nancy asked.

Candy blushed.  “Umm,” she said.

“Do they know that you’ve come over here?”

“Yeah,” Candy said.  “They said I had to get a job soon and they said it might as well be at the commune.  I really would be glad to live here.  I’m sorta tired of sharing a room with my sister.”


In the kitchen, Nancy introduced Candy to Zelda.

“Oh, wow,” Candy said.  “You look like my grandmother.”

“Well, you don’t look like any of my grandkids,” Zelda said.  “And that’s a very good thing.”

“At the last commune meeting we agreed that we’d get two new ovens,” Nancy said, “but we haven’t got them yet so you and I and Darren and Zelda will all be using the same oven.  What do you like baking?”

“Cookies!” yelled Candy.

“You know how to make maple apple ones?” Nancy asked.

“With cinnamon?” Candy asked.

“Okay,” Nancy said.  “You want to try it that way?”

“Sure,” Candy said.  And in fifteen minutes she presented the results to Nancy and Zelda.

“What do you think?” Nancy said to Zelda.

“I think that I wouldn’t turn down anyone who could make cookies like this,” Zelda said.

“Okay,” Nancy said.  “You’re in.  Go and get your stuff.  We’re moving you into Siberia House.”

“Wow, Siberia House,” said Candy.  “How far away is that?  Is it still on your commune?”

“Barely,” Nancy said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chapter Ninety-Four: Luna Sleeps Alone

“It’s fine,” Luna said.  “You can spend the night with her.  I’ll be okay.  Really.”

“Are you sure?” Dan asked again.

“Honestly.  Honestly,” Luna said. “Please.  You’re beginning to sound like my mother.  I’m a big girl now.  I can sleep alone.”

“Okay,” Dan said.  “You know I love you.”

“Yes, I know you love me and I love you, too.  Very much.  Now go and enjoy yourself.”

Dan gave Luna a big hug and left.

Luna sighed and found her way up to her room.

She stopped off at the bathroom along the way.  She used the composting toilet and brushed and flossed her teeth.

She went into her room and unrolled the sheet, fluffed one of the pillows, took off her clothes, and crawled into the bed.  She took a book off of the nightstand and started to read.  

“Honestly,” she muttered once more to herself.  She read for maybe ten minutes and then turned off the light.

She rolled over on her side.  She turned one way.  She turned the other way.  Then she turned back again.

She must have tossed and turned for forty-five minutes before she fell asleep.  But then she slept and slept soundly.


Luna was watching her mother and Nancy trying to bake a pie but the oven wouldn’t work.  Her father tried to fix when Dan came in and…

Luna woke up with a start.  She had to pee.  She reached over but she was the only one in the bed.  It took her a moment to remember that Dan was sleeping elsewhere.

Slightly disoriented, she got up and went to the bathroom.  On the way back she passed a clock in the hallway that said it was 3:33.

She tried to settle back in but she started wondering how Dan was doing.  She remembered how friendly he used to be with Sal and tried to figure out how things had gotten so bad between them that they had trouble being in a room together.

She also started thinking about Sally and Bobby and wondered what it would be like to have an annoying younger brother--or to have any siblings at all.  Was it good that she was an only child?  Would it be better or worse to have brothers and sisters?

She thought about the couple of nights that she spent with Viv.  She realized that she enjoyed them and thought that maybe she should ask Viv to spend the night with her again.  She also thought about Cat and Blue Sky and wondered what it would be like to spend the night with either of them.  She felt guilty that she still thought of them as gendered although she’d been very careful not to use pronouns when referring to either of them, although she had slipped once recently with Cat.

She started thinking about the new BBAAers. It was good having someone as experienced on the team as Bob but she wondered if he was intimidating to the other folks on the farming crew.  She wondered how Angel was adjusting.  She thought about Winter and Birch working together on mushrooms and herbs and wondered if she was giving them too much freedom.

Then she started thinking about Dan again.  She hoped he was having a good time, but maybe not too good a time.  Luna realized that she was hoping that Dan would be back with her tomorrow night.

She decided to stop thinking about Dan and thought about how well the farm was doing.  She realized that they had been so busy this year that they had never had a spring concert.  Then for some reason she started wondering how the chickens were doing.

Next thing she knew she was wondering how Dan was doing.  She didn’t want to admit that she missed him but she was really hoping he’d be back with her…

It was almost six o’clock when she fell back to sleep and then she was woken at six thirty by Viv.

“Sorry, Luna,” she said.  “You said to wake you so we could get an early start on the crops.”

“Yeah,” Luna said.  “I know, I know.”

She staggered down to breakfast.  Dan was there fixing his cereal.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“Fine,” Luna said.  “No problems.”

“Good,” Dan said.  “She just asked if I could sleep with her again tonight.  You don’t mind?”

“Of course not,” said Luna with a sigh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chapter Ninety-Three: In The Stands

“That will be a dollar seventy-five,” said Cat.  The customer happily paid and walked off with her bag of tatsoi.

“Well, look,” said Blue Sky.  “We have a moment of quiet.”

“Rare enough,” said Paul G, “now that the weather is warmer.”

“You’re telling me?” Blue Sky said.  “This is the first moment I’ve had to breathe all morning.”

“Get used to it,” Cat said.  “It’s going to be like this right through to late fall.”

Paul G wiped sweat off of his forehead.  “I don’t suppose that it’s any calmer over there with the pastries?”

“Trust me, it’s not,” said Cat.  “I used to work over there.  If anything, it’s busier.”

“Well, anyway,” Blue Sky said, “it must be good for the commune that we’re so busy.  We’ve been making cash by the truckload this week.”

“It’s not like we’re gonna have any time to enjoy it,” Paul G said.  “I think we’re going to be working steady straight through the fall.”

“Customers coming,” Cat warned.

“Like I said,” said Paul G.

“Hey,” said Blue Sky.  “We’re not doing any building projects right now.  Where is Sal and Dan?”

“I keep expecting to find Dan under the zucchini,” Paul G said.

“He’s not there,” Cat said.

“How do you know?” asked Blue Sky.

“Because I just found him under the kale,” said Cat.


Meanwhile, at the bakery stand, Nancy was bringing in a load of pies.

“New pies!” she announced.  “Fresh from the oven.”

“I’ll take one,” a customer said.

“Me, too,” said another customer.

“Pay for them over here,” said Will.  “Okay, sir, that will be three dollars and eighty-three cents.”

“Do we have any more cranberry sage bread?” Darren asked Nancy.  “We’re down to our last loaf.”

“I can’t make it fast enough,” Nancy said.  “There’s more in the oven but it won’t be ready for another half hour.”

“I guess it’s that time of the day,” Darren said.  “The shelves are beginning to get a little bare.  We could probably use another person baking.”

“Zelda is helping out,” Nancy said, “but she’s also working on dinner.  Besides, we don’t have any more ovens.  What I think we need is another oven.”

“We should bring that up in the commune meeting,” said Will as he handed a customer their change.  “With another baker and a couple more ovens, we could keep this place well stocked all day long.”

“I’ll bring it up in the next meeting,” Darren said. “Sorry,” he added to a customer.  “That was our last hickory cherry cupcake.  We should have another batch in a couple of hours.”

“I’ll come back tomorrow for them,” the woman said.

“Come early in the day,” Darren said.  “They go fast.”

“Hey,” said a young woman coming through the door.  “Did I hear you were looking for someone to live and work here?  I think maybe I’ll apply.”