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.

Population Capacity

East Wind is still at population capacity, with 73 members currently residing in the community. 
There are still 6 individuals on the waiting list for available rooms (some are currently staying in the visitors’ quarters while others are waiting for space to open to return).  There will be another visitor period this April, but any visitors wishing to stay after three weeks will be asked to camp.  Turnover has been low this year, and some individuals have been on the waiting list for rooms for over six months and are still waiting.  Due to the prioritized acceptance of women (to balance our gender ratio), men especially are undergoing long waits for space.

Though we may have a waiting list into the forseeable future, interested individuals are still welcome to visit and apply for membership.  Individuals on the waiting list will be allowed to camp in community during the warmer months, but will be asked to leave until a room opens up during the winter.  People on the waiting list do not receive all the benefits of membership, but are welcome to live and work with us while they wait.  Just remember: good things come to those who wait.

Our growing waiting list suggests that more and more people are becoming interested in communal living.  People are becoming more disillusioned with the mainstream consumer culture, and are seeking alternatives and better ways of living in harmony with our planet.  We hope that this awakening will inspire momentum in the communities movement, and that more communities will arise and flourish.  You can learn more about intentional communities at fic.org and fec.org

Garden Season

Garden season is upon us, with onions, garlic, potatoes, and lettuce already enjoying the spring sun and rain.  Healthy young leeks, tomatoes, peppers, greens, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and some lettuces are still cozy and warm in our greenhouse, getting bigger every day.  Chamomile has already been seeded in our herb garden, while other medicinal and culinary herbs like elecampane, dill, fennel, oregano, parsley, marsh mallow, holly hock, passionflower, hibiscus, echinacea, valerian, and rosemary gain strength in our greenhouse.  In our gardens, herbs like peppermint, spearmint, comfrey, tarragon, feverfew, rose, lemon balm, and yarrow have begun to sprout fresh green growth.

Our garden space has continued to grow steadily for the past three years, and this year it is looking bigger and better than ever.  Perennial plants like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and rhubarb have recently become established, while newly planted trees like chestnuts, persimmons, cherries, and figs are still small.  What was a cow pasture just three years ago is now a thriving vegetable, berry, and herb garden and orchard.  Established perennial herbs in our new Mulberry Garden include lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, yarrow, oregano, thyme, sage, catnip, tarragon, echinacea, marsh mallow, chives, elecampane, pennyroyal, comfrey, and more.  This year’s garden promises to be even better than the last.

East Wind Nutbutters
Free of GMOs

East Wind nutbutters, including peanut, cashew, almond, andtahini are officially non-GMO.  East Winders believe in healthy quality food for ourselves and our customers, and are proud to announce that all of our nutbutter products are non-GMO.  We recently obtained this information from our suppliers, and plan to seek non-GMO certification and to declare this important information on our labels. Whole Foods, a major distributor of East Wind Nutbutter, has now made it mandatory for its food suppliers to properly label GMOs.  We hope that this will set an example for other food retailers, and encourage the public to demand the production of more non-GMO foods and require proper labeling of GMOs.  Though this is only one small step in the right direction, it is hopefully an indicator of the public’s increasing awareness regarding this issue.

PEACH TOAST

Representatives from our fellow FEC communities including Twin Oaks, Acorn, Sandhill, Dancing Rabbit (non-FEC), and Emma Goldman Finishing School met at East Wind in early March.  PEACH is a non-profit organization set up by the Federation of Egalitarian Communities and maintained by the communities themselves.  Each community pays into the fund (fees are determined by the number of members and are paid quarterly), and in return is entitled to financial assistance if a member’s medical costs amount to over $5,000 in a given year. 
The communities themselves are responsible for other medical costs; the PEACH fund is intended for catastrophic events that could cause serious hardship to a community.

PEACH representatives met to discuss issues face-to-face, and spent long days coming up with solutions that we could all agree on.  Some issues discussed at this year’s TOAST include the coverage of chronic illnesses, standards for exotic or alternative treatments, the participation of non-FEC communities in PEACH (including Dancing Rabbit), and increasing the $5,000 deductible to reflect inflation, among other issues.  The representatives were eventually able to find agreeable solutions for most of the issues discussed.

Emergency Medical
Care Preparedness

This month, a small group of East Winders learned and practiced skills that could come in handy in the event of traumatic injuries.  East Winders discussed what to do in case of potential spinal injuries, amputations, dislocations, impaled objects, dental first aid, frostbite, sprained ankles, and broken bones.  We practiced making splints on each other and demonstrated how to clear the spine in the event of a positive mechanism of injury.  In April, we will offer a special first aid course tailored to the treatment of children and babies.  Parents and East Winders who watch the children are especially encouraged to attend this workshop, and will learn about choking, poisoning, shock, anaphylaxis, child CPR, and more.

Copyright East Wind Community 2013 at eastwindcommunityupdates.blogspot.com