Cool nights and warm sunny days marked the beginning of fall in the Ozarks this year. Some foliage has already begun to change colors and fall to the forest floor, though most trees are holding out for a little longer. Ticks, chiggers, mosquitos, and fleas are abundant and flourishing as the summer comes to an end—leaving some East Winders eagerly awaiting the first frost. During the fall and winter, East Winders are able to enjoy limitless opportunities to explore the Ozark woodlands that surround us. Hiking, hunting, forestry, and plant and mushroom foraging are a few favorite activities.
East Winders celebrated the autumn equinox on September 22nd this year. Party-goers gathered in a lovely little spot overlooking the Mulberry Garden. The party location was once comptoil, cow pasture, and orchard space; but has begun to undergo a transformation this year. The old orchard space is now home to three new fig trees and four new elderberry trees, and we intend to plant more trees nearby this spring. Just south of the garden fence, our new gazebo is finally complete. The cedar pole gazebo is partially timber framed, and houses a beautiful stone and cob table and four benches on a cobblestone floor. Vines have already made their way up the gazebo posts and trellising, producing an abundance of nearly ripe passionfruit and hops strobiles. East Winders enjoyed ten gallons of homebrewed IPA made with our own homegrown hops this equinox.
The final touches have been put on our new cob oven and benches at last, providing an absolutely lovely hang out spot in our beautiful Mulberry Garden. Work on our new cob oven and outdoor kitchen is well underway. The all natural cob oven is being built atop a conveniently located large stone next to our central dining hall, Rock Bottom. The oven is being made using all materials resourced from our own land, including clay, sand, stone, sawdust, straw, glass bottles, bricks, and water. By the end of September, the base of the massive oven nears completion. We hope to be baking delicious brick oven pizza before the first frost this October.
The last of a seemingly infinite abundance of watermelons and cantaloupes were harvested this month. Okra, pole beans, eggplant, peppers, squash, sunflower seeds, raspberries, and cow peas were enjoyed in great abundance as well. East Wind also grew cow peas for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, the business of one of our sister communities, Acorn. Fall lettuces have grown to a harvestable size, and salads are once again being enjoyed regularly. Tomato and cucumber production peaked last month and dwindled this month— though we are still enjoying a few fresh tomatoes and cucumbers regularly.
Many of our old apple trees displayed poor production and fungal infections on apple skins, though their fruit was delicious nonetheless. Our 3-year old fig tree has grown beautifully and has produced an abundance of delicious figs throughout the month. Three cuttings from the same fig tree (less than one year of age) are already producing figs as well. Many wild grape vines are without grapes entirely this year, after an extremely productive year last year. East Wind gardeners are hard at work keeping weeds under control to prevent seeding that could cause problems in future years. The bulk of the harvest has already been brought in, and we’re now shifting our focus to fall crops. Lettuces and other greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and garlic are just a few of the crops that we’ll be tending to this fall.
Oregano, parsley, basil, holy basil, spilanthes, hibiscus, lemon balm, sage, and peppermint were harvested and dried in abundance this month. As we head into the dormant season and plants move their energy underground, we will begin to harvest medicinal roots such as dandelion, burdock, yellowdock, chicory, valerian, marsh mallow, elecampane, and echinacea. Many East Winders have contributed to herb harvesting and processing this year, accumulating the most extensive supply of medicinals East Wind has seen yet. Quality tea blends, individual dried herbs, tinctures, hydrosols, essential oils, and salves are readily available to help East Winders maintain good health. Our herb gardens received a lot of love this September, and are looking gorgeous as ever as we head into autumn.
Sandhill Sorghum Harvest
Eight East Winders travelled to Sandhill Farm, one of our sister communities, this September. East Winders (as well as communitarians from our other sister communities, Twin Oaks and Acorn) participate in an annual labor exchange to help Sandhill harvest and process their fields of sorghum. Sandhill produces and sells sorghum syrup to support their small community, and East Winders are happy to lend a hand during the harvest season. East Wind LEXers were able to help with the entire process— from stripping, cutting, gathering, and milling the cane to cooking and bottling the syrup.
Our hosts at Sandhill were a lovely bunch of folks, and East Winders had an enjoyable stay on the farm. East Wind LEXers were impressed with Sandhillers’ good attitudes, work ethic, and laidback community structure; as well as their never-ending fields of sorghum, and extensive shiitake and beehive operations. LEXers also took advantage of the opportunity to visit two other intentional communities in our home state, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and the Possibility Alliance. East Winders were glad for the chance to check out other models of communal and ecological living. The Possibility Alliance is currently in dialogue with and considering joining the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and we would be happy to have them join the team. The Federation of Egalitarian Communities currently consists of East Wind Community, Twin Oaks Community, Sandhill Farm, Acorn Community, Emma Goldman’s Finishing School, and The Midden. With a growing interest in communal living evident, we hope to see the Federation continue to grow.
Nutbutter Sales Increase
Business for East Wind Nutbutters is beginning to pick up after a slow year last year. A shortage of organic peanuts led to the loss of some of our larger customers last year, resulting in low profits. Business has finally picked up, and we are once again selling nutbutter by the truckload. Production has increased to meet demand, and shifts are being scheduled on evenings and weekends. East Wind Nutbutters has a dedicated general management team working hard to keep the business alive and thriving. East Winders are proud to demonstrate a successful egalitarian business model.
The waiting list is finally moving along, with a number of people obtaining rooms this fall. There are still over a dozen people waiting for membership space and rooms, but they will be asked to leave the farm (until space opens up) by November 3rd. We are continuing to schedule three-week visitor periods, although visitors must leave after the completion of the three week period (and will be able to return in the spring or when more space opens up). A gender imbalance is still in effect, and so females wanting to apply for membership will still be given priority over males.
Land Bordering East Wind for Sale
A large plot of land with a house, barn, and well bordering East Wind is currently for sale. The current owners of the property have offered to sell to East Wind—for a good deal of money. East Wind would need to take out a bank loan to afford the property, and the matter is a controversial one. East Winders recently had a community meeting to discuss the matter and find out if it’s something we’d like to pursue. Another meeting has been scheduled, and East Winders will vote on whether or not we want to pay for a certified appraisal of the land.