On the 4th of July this year, this blog pronounced that there were “Vacancies in Paradise *”. This was our poetic way of saying that after seven years of having a long waiting list, there were actually some spaces at Twin Oaks community. The article went into some length about how Twin Oaks is not paradise or utopia (despite both the media and academics trying to label us that way) and that this is just an internet ploy to get you to read the article based on the catchy headline.
A quick 4 months later, this is no longer true and Twin Oaks will have a waiting list again by the new year. Maybe even a long one.
The population limit of the commune is determined by the number of adult bedrooms. We have about 107 bedrooms total and around 15 of them are for our kids. This leaves 92 adult member rooms. By the time i wrote the Vacancies blog post, we had dropped to 82 members. By last August we were at 78 members and people were really starting to worry.
The community does not function well at 15 people less than capacity. There are 103 tofu shifts, 49 dishwashing shifts, 60 garden shifts and hundreds more of smaller tasks every week to keep this hyper village going. If we are down 20% of our membership, a bunch of that work moves over to those who are still here and because some have limited work capacity, other members are even more heavily impacted. And some work just does not happen at low population, which can either drop our income or our quality of life or both.
Fortunately, population at Twin Oaks has bounced back in a big way. We are already at 87 labor sheets this week, with two more new members coming in the next couple of weeks. This puts us just 3 less than our capacity. The last visitor group was quite unusual in that it had 10 visitors and every single one applied for membership (this has not happened in the last 19 years). A couple actually said they say the Vacancies in Paradise article and it spurred them to apply.
While we will not accept everyone one of them probably and some are interested in joining in the spring, just the threat of a waiting list will fill us faster than normal. Plus there are at least 4 really good visitors in the November group who are very serious about membership including lovers and sisters of members, who want to come soon.
Don’t despair. If you really want to live in community there are still many which have openings, even here in Louisa county, even with income sharing. And if your heart is set on Twin Oaks, then just apply to do a visit. About 20 members a year move on, you won’t have to wait too long before there is a place for you.