Letter to a Benefactor

We dont know much about Tom.  He was never a member, we dont know why.  But with some regularity he sends us a check, the most recent one for a thousand dollars.

This is what i wrote him and a thank you letter:

Dearest Tom:

My name is Paxus and i live at Twin Oaks.  I wanted to add my voice to Biddy’s and others who have thanked you for your contribution to Twin Oaks.  And i wanted to say a little bit about what is going on here, so you can get more of an insiders look at us.

So the overarching reality these days is we are full.  We have had a waiting list for over two years now.  While this sounds like a high class problem, there are actually real negative impacts associated with this.  Beside not having slack rooms for guests and to help people change rooms when someone moves, it also means accepted visitors have to wait at times months before they can come live with us and be in a state of limbo while they are waiting, because we often dont know when the next person is going to move on.

The earthquake had it’s epicenter quite near us and several buildings were damaged, tho none (except Modern Times) especially significantly.  We have been fixing plumbing and boilers and a couple of broken chimneys since  Aug 23rd.  The big job of re-enforcing our vehicle shop and farm bay (Modern Times) is just starting.  There is some discussion in the community as to whether it is appropriate for us to seek FEMA emergency aid (which was just approved for the region) for our costs associated with the earthquake.  My guess is we will end up taking it.  We have also been helping neighbors with repairs, and may start helping with the aid paperwork.

All of the businesses are booming.  Tofu is completing what will likely end up being a million dollar new facility, that is slated to start production in the next couple of months.   The new building is an addition to the old tofu hut beside ZK, but it is much larger and more industrial.  As a long time tofu worker, i am looking forward to not having to do so much heavy lifting in the much more automated hut.

The hammocks business had a very successful trade show in Chicago this year, we landed several new customers, including a big custom line and we have decided to not return to the trade show, which is quite expensive next year.  We are even negotiating with other communities to start making hammocks for us again.

We are also expanding the number of businesses we are involved with, taking on greater responsibility for the wholesale business that our near by sister community Acorn has selling heritage and organic seeds.  This is an exciting development for a number of reasons.  Members appreciate the right livelihood characteristic of the business.  It is easy physical work which is accessible to aging members of the community and it is a growing business with a reasonable $/hour (which hammocks doe snot really have).

There are no current big controversies raging.  The cost overruns in the tofu expansion have forced us to trim budgets and not replace things which need replacing.  We are being very much more picky in who we select for membership, rejecting and “visit again”ing many more visitors who come thru than we did before our waiting list.  We did have a controversy about making a red and white striped hammock with a blue pillow for Brookstone (the flag hammock).  In the end we decided not to make this hammock for them, but because we have so much other business it does not really matter much.

So thank you again for your support of this experiment in radical sharing.  I write about Twin Oaks and other political work i do in my blog (paxus.wordpress.com) which is one place you can keep track of some of the happenings around here.  Should you ever wish to visit i would be more than happy to host you.

In Community

Paxus