The FEC is a union of egalitarian communities which have joined together in our common struggle to create a lifestyle based on equality, cooperation, and harmony with the earth.

Learn more about our member communities or start your own egalitarian commune! Review all of our communities past and present bylaws & policies in our Systems & Structures area

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What’s Happening: June 2013



SpringWe’ve been enjoying beautiful springtime weather in the Ozarks.  East Winders are loving the warm days and cool nights. Many of us consider this the nicest time of the year, before the heat and bugs of summer are upon us. Spring has come on a bit later this year, with the catalpa tree on the Reim lawn blooming a full month later than it did last year.  Day after day of perfect spring weather greeted us through April, May, and well into June, much to our delight. The landscape is lush, green, and full of plant and animal diversity. Life is good in the Ozarks.



East Wind Updates

Monthly updates about life at East Wind Community, an egalitarian intentional community in Tecumseh, Missouri

What’s Happening: May 2013



East Wind’s 39thLand Day East Winders past and present celebrated East Wind’s 39thLand Day on May 1st.  Partiers enjoyed a beautiful sunny day at the creek with friends, food, and drink.  At sunset, East Winders and friends gathered around a beautiful old elm tree to take a group photo and wrap the tree with ribbons.  East Wind will celebrate its 40thanniversary on May 1st of next year, and we are anticipating an East Wind reunion that will be remembered for a long time.  Many past East Winders will be attending, and there is talk of organizing an East Wind renaissance fair.  You can find out more information here.




Coming Back to Life

I just spent two weeks at The Possibility Alliance and four days at a Restorative Circle seminar at the Peace and Permaculture Center in La Plata, Missouri.

Last week I started reading a book by Joanna Macy called Coming Back to Life. The book, and my experience the past weeks has impacted me a lot. The book discusses modern industrial society as full of people 'asleep' from the pain of the world. Years ago, when I first started looking at where everything I consumed came from, I felt shocked and overwhelmed, and powerless. We live in a culture where most people are subconsciously aware of ecological devastation, factory farming, slave labor, murder, etc, but if we come to full awareness of the fact that pretty much everything we use and practice in modern society contributes to all this pain, would bring us into great despair. At some point in my life I let myself feel this, and I cried and cried, and now I don't let myself feel it too much anymore.

Reading the book has reminded me of how it has fit into my life. I know I'm not where I want to be yet, and I don't know if I will ever get there, and I try to be patient and accepting of that. I noticed I am getting closer though. I can sense this because within the past few years I have challenged myself more in facing pain. My time at the Possibility Alliance this year was very different in a way than it ever has been since I first started visiting there five years ago.

The Possibility Alliance is an electricity free, petroleum free, substance free, quaker-ish community. They live a lifestyle that encourages humans to live to their highest potential.

The entrance to one of the gardens at The Possibility Alliance 

Running in ZK

Because Norms Aren't Policy

Hay Day

We’re cutting hay! In order to support our cattle over the winter when fresh grass isn’t so plentiful, we make hay in the summer. The first hay cutting, of three, usually takes place in early May, as soon as there’s a window of dry weather forecasted. It always feels like it should be a holiday, celebrated with a little festival. Warmth! Bounty! Tractors! It’s fun, though I don’t know if most people are as excited by it as I am.

I’ve only helped out with hay a little in the past, but being on the regular crew is a dream job of mine. Making hay is a four-step process: mowing, tedding, raking, and baling. Mowing is simply cutting the long grass. Tedding involves an implement that roughly resembles several big spiders, with “legs” that revolve rapidly, agitating the grass so that it dries out more quickly. The grass is then raked into windrows, which are formed into bales by the baler.

Here’s what this year’s first cutting looked like:

Tall grass fed by all the spring rain, ready to be hayed.

Tall grass fed by all the spring rain, ready to be hayed.

The mower

The mower

High South pasture after being mowed

High South pasture after being mowed

The Midden

Beltane at Twin Oaks

The organizers made a deal with the forces which control the weather.  “If you dont really need it to rain, it would be great if you could hold off until after the celebration”. With this deal struck, the rain remained at bay until after the circle was open.

assemble in the courtyard

assemble in the courtyard

Willow and Hawina before the ritual begins

Willow and Hawina before the ritual begins

Acorners are part of the event

Acorners are part of the event

The procession begins

The procession begins

What’s Happening: April 2013


Spring
Onions, carrots, lettuces, collards, cabbages, broccoli, and potatoes were planted out during the first week of April.  Each year, we do our best to grow more of our own food and reduce our reliance on store bought goods. Last year, we successfully grew, harvested, and stored enough potatoes to last our entire community for about four months (potatoes are a major staple food at East Wind).  We’ve planted even more this year, and hope to supply community with homegrown potatoes for over six months.
Parsley, dill, oregano, fennel, elecampane, calendula, valerian, marjoram, spilanthes, marsh mallow, hollyhock, hyssop, and hibiscus, among others, were transplanted from our greenhouse into our herb gardens this month.  Chamomile, cilantro, and oatstraw were direct seeded and have begun to sprout and grow. Comfrey, lemon balm, valerian, feverfew, rose, and marsh mallow, among others, have broken dormancy and sprouted fresh green growth.  The season’s first harvests of yarrow, violet, chickweed, cleavers, tarragon, and thyme have already been brought in and dried.  Our new Mulberry Garden has expanded in all directions, and this promises to be its best year yet.

and I travel on

I took a PAL (personal affairs leave) from Twin Oaks about ten days ago.

I felt very content at Twin Oaks after being there almost two years, but I also felt a desire to explore some more communities, and gain some more primitive living skills.

Twin Oaks is a community of about 100 people. Sometimes I think of it as more of a village than a community. I've yearned to be in a close knit family, or a group of people who work together and support each other to grow and learn. It seems like I would need a smaller community for that. I also want to be in a community that focuses on emotional healing. There are so many people at Twin Oaks, going in all different directions. There isn't as much community as I want there. There isn't a main goal or purpose of the place. I think this is true just because it's so big. I think it could be possible for me to create that there, but I am not sure. That is part of what led me to take some time off to find out what I really want.

There are some people in Virginia who I really miss already..

My first stop is at East Wind Community. I lived at East Wind for six months before I moved to Twin Oaks.


We arrived at East Wind after driving for 16 hours. We came upon a large bonfire of people singing and playing guitar. I felt so happy to see my old friends again. People were visiting from communities throughout the country; from Emma Goldman in Seattle, from Sandhill in Northern Missouri, Acorn in Virginia, and now us from Twin Oaks in Virginia. It was a community gathering. We sang along as people passed the guitar playing Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Neutral Milk Hotel until late into the night.

East Wind: March 2013

Spring Equinox

East Winders gladly greeted the spring on March 20th this year.  We celebrated the equinox with homemade beer, wine, root beer, snacks, and fun.  East Winders appreciated the beauty of the coming spring and the anticipation of the warm sunny days ahead.  At dusk, many of us gathered to watch a “dragon log”, which was undoubtedly a spectacle to behold.

Forsythias, flowering quince, cherry, and peach trees have all put on a beautiful display of flowers this month.  On the ground, toothwort, trout lily, dandelion, chickweed, cress, henbit, dead nettle, and sweet violet are beginning to flower.  Elderberries and dogwoods have begun to bud and leaf out, though most hardwoods will continue to remain dormant for just a little while longer. 

This winter’s spinach and kale are still producing in our gardens, while spring wild edibles appear in abundance along trails and throughout the woods.  Some favorite wild salad greens this time of year include toothwort, trout lily, chickweed, chives, violet, cress, dandelion, chicory, and yarrow.

What's Happening: March 2013


Spring Equinox
East Winders gladly greeted the spring on March 20ththis year.  We celebrated the equinox with homemade beer, wine, root beer, snacks, and fun.  East Winders appreciated the beauty of the coming spring and the anticipation of the warm sunny days ahead.  At dusk, many of us gathered to watch a “dragon log”, which was undoubtedly a spectacle to behold.
Forsythias, flowering quince, cherry, and peach trees have all put on a beautiful display of flowers this month.  On the ground, toothwort, trout lily, dandelion, chickweed, cress, henbit, dead nettle, and sweet violet are beginning to flower.  Elderberries and dogwoods have begun to bud and leaf out, though most hardwoods will continue to remain dormant for just a little while longer.  This winter’s spinach and kale are still producing in our gardens, while spring wild edibles appear in abundance along trails and throughout the woods.  Some favorite wild salad greens this time of year include toothwort, trout lily, chickweed, chives, violet, cress, dandelion, chicory, and yarrow.









Steel Building Devastated by Fire

I was going to write about the effects of a few inches of snow in Virginia (power outage, cars grounded, no water, etc), in combination with busy season debacle of the year (hundreds of orders 2 months old held up in the database unapproved).  I even had cute little pictures of things with snow on them.  Then, the unthinkable happened:  the steel building burned.

People were milling around Heartwood eating dinner when Fox ran in, reeking of burnt plastic. “Call 911, the steel building’s on fire.”  Mutters of disbelief and questions about the severity of the fire were left unanswered.  She continued, “I tried to walk in to see how bad it was, but I couldn’t see past the black smoke.”

Fire from the West End

Fire from the West End

What’s Happening: February 2013

Natural Building in the Mulberry Garden

Some East Winders are hoping to inspire others to try their hands at natural building by starting a few projects of our own this spring, including a cob table, benches, and maybe a birdbath in our beautiful Mulberry Garden.  This February, we built a gazebo made of cedar poles harvested from our woods, using a combination of timber framing and conventional building techniques.  The gazebo will provide shade and shelter for a stone and cob table, made completely with material from our own land (including clay, sand, straw, stone, and water). 

What’s Happening: January 2013

Health in Community

Many East Winders (about half of us) spent some time this January sick in bed with the flu virus.  Natural and conventional medicine and treatments were readily available, and most East Winders recovered quickly.  Echinacea, elderberry, elecampane, eucalyptus, ginger, peppermint, lemongrass, and licorice root are some herbal favorites for their immunostimulant, antiviral, decongestant, and demulcent properties.  East Winders suffered symptoms such as fatigue, muscle soreness, congestion, sore throat, fever, and stomach upset before overcoming this highly contagious virus.

Community is still struggling to rid ourselves of scabies, microscopic parasites that first arrived at East Wind over six months ago.  Approximately ten East Winders have been afflicted, and most have overcome these parasites with diligent treatment and hygiene.  Most have opted for prescription permethrin treatment, and some have treated themselves naturally with sulfur, neem, tea tree, rosemary, turmeric, etc.  We hope to rid ourselves of these pests in the near future.

East Winders have been conducting another series of medical trainings this winter.  The emergency medical care workshops are between one and two hours long and take place after brunch on Sundays.  The first workshop included information on what to do in emergency situations, when to call 911, symptoms and treatment for heart attack, shock, stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform CPR, and how to use an AED.  Over a dozen people attended the first workshop, and are hopefully now more prepared to provide confident and competent care in case of an emergency.

New Year’s Eve & Time Capsule

I'm on the

I'm on the Twin Oaks Health Team, and I recently started working with the herb garden manager to learn more about natural medicine for common ailments, so this information is more publicly accessible within the community. She sat down with me and gave me a list of all the tinctures she makes, and told me lots of interesting stuff I have always wanted to learn about. She's incredibly knowledgeable. I felt like I wanted to pick her brain for hours.

Here's the list of the current herbal tinctures made by the Herb Garden manager:
echinaceaechinacea/goldensealelderberrycatnipvalerianhopsmotherwortuva ursiburdockhorehounddonq quichaste berryst johns wortcalendulalavendergoldenseal

mixtures:swedish bitters (rhubarb root)women’s mixture: donq qui, (motherwort), chaste berry, (st johns wort)sleep mixture: lavender, st johns wort, valerian, hops
There's a cold and cough going around right now, so I asked her for some suggestions on ways to treat it. She told me of honey and lemon, salt water gargle, elderberry, ad a horehound syrup she used to make.I was most excited when she told me about chickweed and white pine needles. I knew chickweed was a wild edible, but I didn't know of its medicinal properties. Apparently it is very soothing and works great for healing coughs. I also remember learning about white pine being very high in Vitamin C in the past, but I never actually used it. Since I have been feeling pretty sick, I felt a lot of initiative to take care of myself. I slept nine hours today, and then I took a nap by the fire in the afternoon, but in the time in between I walked down to the garden and pulled up some chickweed that was tangled up around the leeks and partially covered in snow. Then I snipped some pine needles off a tree. 

Overdue update on our new green office building

Sorry for the long silence on the new headquarters we’re building for our collective business, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, but we’ve been so busy building it that we completely forgot to tell you all about it. We broke ground on the recycled warehouse and mostly erected it back in 2011 (post on that coming up soon) and then broke ground on the building proper in May of 2012. The months preceding ground breaking were a flurry of design sessions, draft drafting, research, and consultation. After laying a lot of the ground work ourselves we ended up working with architect Fred Oesch, an area green architect who came highly recommended from a number of people, to bring our plans to completion. He was a great help, advising us on design elements to aid in natural lighting and ventilation, building systems for high performance and low cost, and helping us figure out what we could do ourselves and how best to do it.

The final design is a beautiful sweeping two story affair oriented invitingly to the south (how could we build a building without a grand southern exposure?) and fitting cozily into the space we prepared for it. Take a look.


The new SESE office... now the trick is getting it off the paper and onto the ground.

What’s Happening: December 2012

Winter Solstice & ArtmasEast Winders celebrated the winter solstice together on December 21st.  Twenty-five people participated in this year’s artmas exchange, an East Wind tradition celebrated by exchanging unique homemade gifts. Though the shortest day of the year was fun, most of us look forward to the days growing longer.  The winter has been mild so far, but the cold air and grey landscape leave many of us yearning for spring.



What’s Happening: December 2012


Winter Solstice & ArtmasEast Winders celebrated the winter solstice together on December 21st.  Twenty-five people participated in this year’s artmas exchange, an East Wind tradition celebrated by exchanging unique homemade gifts. Though the shortest day of the year was fun, most of us look forward to the days growing longer.  The winter has been mild so far, but the cold air and grey landscape leave many of us yearning for spring.




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