Bathroom Art at Glomus

(Originally posted on Facebook and Instagram)

Art is found in many places in the communes. One place that we have art at Glomus Commune is in the bathrooms and toilet rooms. The first two photos are from the only real bathroom that we have, with a flush toilet and a shower; the second two photos are from what we sometimes call the “poop coop”, a humanure toilet in a small building shared with the chickens; and the final two photos are from a humanure toilet that we set up in a nook in the barn. You might as well have nice things to look at while you sit on the throne.

Bathroom Art at Glomus


Several months ago, we made a decision here to keep the farm business called East Brook Community Farm, but to change the name of the community to Glomus Commune. Of course, we got lots of folks asking us what Glomus means. Recently, Theresa put out a Facebook post explaining what the glomus fungi was and why we chose it as the name for our community:

And, there were pictures! Here are the two mushrooms on our communal property that Theresa was talking about.

But the glomus fungi doesn’t produce mushrooms. Instead, as Theresa said, it creates an arbuscule which it uses to exchange nutrients with a plant. So Theresa also included this close up of an arbuscule.

I love what Theresa wrote that both describes the relationship of the fungi to the plant and what we are trying to achieve in our commune: “Intimate, foundational, layers upon layers, sharing very different lives in the very same space.”


Communes and Tribal Society

by Raven Glomus

Communal living is important.

It’s what this blog is all about and it is how, I believe, we are meant to live. At the same time, many people find communal living hard and new communities fail at a rapid rate.

On Facebook I started exploring this paradox over several posts. In this one I decided to look at why, if we are tribal animals, communal living doesn’t come naturally.

Yes, I got thirty-one responses (actually, a few of the responses were mine, responding to other comments). Here are a lot of them, beginning with a quick response from Nyle Alantin, followed by a two part comment from Lucy Perry, which elicited a much longer comment from Allen Butcher.

Then there was a back and forth between Zamin Danty and me:

Then Katya Slepoy stepped in, eliciting reponses from Theresa, me, Allen, Rejoice, and Dina Ciccarone.

Then Allen wrote an extremely long comment that got a response from Delaney Calyx which elicited two more comments from Allen:

Finally, another commenter, Mary Hall stepped in and started a back and forth with me and Allen.

Communes and Tribal Society

Glomus goes to the protests

After George Floyd’s death there were protests across the US in support of black lives. This included protests in the part of rural New York state where the Glomus Commune that Theresa and I and a bunch of other communards live. Many of the folks from our community attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Delhi, NY. Theresa published a Facebook post about it.

Here is a picture of the crowd in Delhi:

And here are some of us, wearing green East Brook Community Farm t-shirts:

Finally, here is Theresa, in a masked self-portrait, at the protest:

Rachael and I also attempted to attend the end of a Juneteenth march that went from Delhi to Walton (the town that our farm and community are in) but we were late and apparently the march ended early, so we reached the cemetery in Walton where the march ended, just as people were leaving. We left flowers there but didn’t connect with anyone, because it’s hard to know who you are dealing with when everyone is wearing pandemic masks.

Glomus goes to the protests


We are a farm here at East Brook (home of the Glomus Commune). Among other things, we raise chickens.

I never knew, before I came here, that you could get baby chicks in the mail, but you can and we have. As I wrote on Facebook in April, “Much excitement here at East Brook Farm. These are from Anande Ozark’s Facebook page. As they said: ‘Chicks came this morning!'”


Outside is…

In April, we reposted a couple of things from Anande Ozark’s Facebook site. Anande lives here at Glomus commune and used the site to point out the advantages of outdoor living.

Trigger warning: Contains a picture of cut up meat that was too graphic for Facebook to publish without a warning.

Here is the first post:

It’s this next one that raised controversy:

Here is what came up on Facebook under this:

If you clicked on the picture you saw the original image, which was this somewhat bloody picture:

These were the only two pictures that Anande put in this series, but they are good reminders that not everything comes from the grocery store.

Outside is…

Critical Mass

by Raven Glomus

When I was compiling the responses to the questions about communal size for last Friday’s post, I started thinking about the issue of how small was too small and the brittleness of very small communities.

This is not just a theoretical issue for me.  Common Threads, the commune in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that I helped start in the nineteen nineties and loved dearly, broke up when membership dropped down to four adults and then one of the founders decided to leave.  And Cotyledon, my most recent attempt at building a commune, was ended by mutual consent, but my primary reason for deciding this was that it had never grown, in terms of primary members, beyond the three of us, through our more than four years of working on it.

The crew of Cotyledon

As I said on Friday, I don’t think of three people as being a community.  You need at least four adult members with, hopefully, some of them not being in relationship.  And it needs to be real, full time members.  Two adults (generally a couple) with any number of interns, visitors, guests, wwoofers, etc, does not make a community.  The FEC recently (in our Assembly last December) decided to require full FEC member communes to “Have, at minimum, five adult full members who have been in the community a minimum of six months, understand the community systems, and have access to equal participation in the community’s processes.”

I think that four people can be a nice intimate community, but as I said with Common Threads, having only four members makes you very susceptible to falling apart.  Skyhouse was an income sharing community at the Dancing Rabbit ecovillage in Missouri that lasted seventeen years.  It was a small, close group of four folks, but when two of them (a couple) decided to leave and another person also decided to depart (to attend school in another state), it left Tony to decide whether to try to rebuild it from scratch or give up and focus on the ecovillage as a whole.  (I talked with several people about this, including Tony.)  Apparently he tried once and couldn’t duplicate the lovely little commune that they had and, having a lot of responsibilities for Dancing Rabbit as a whole, decided to turn the building into a simple housing unit.  It was a story that resonated with me, given how Common Threads ended.

The Skyhouse building at Dancing Rabbit

So, my question is, what constitutes ‘critical mass’?  While I don’t think that any community is “too big to fail” (although it would take a lot to bring down Twin Oaks–which recently had been bemoaning dropping down to less than seventy folks, which is still bigger than almost any other of the FEC member communes), I think that there is safety in numbers.  (Acorn at one point was down to six members and at another down to two, but they had Twin Oaks nearby to support them until their numbers could be built back up.)  Kat Kinkade, who I will have to admit I admire a lot since she helped start three communes, all of which are still around and doing well, apparently said that she believed in growing communities rapidly, to quickly get past the brittle period.

As I think about it, I would say I think that seven is a minimum number for safety.  Four and five are the fragile numbers–lose one or two people and it feels like it’s over–and often is.  Six might work but it feels too close to four or five.  So I am going to say seven, but I would also say that having nine or ten feels even stronger.

Until recently at Glomus we were six or seven folks (we lost one in the last few months), but we’ve recently gotten three new members (okay, they are saying that they are seasonal, but they are all communal veterans and they feel committed) and the difference for me is large.  It definitely feels more like a thriving community with nine people actively involved here.  

The current line up at Glomus

Having seven or even ten folks doesn’t guarantee that you won’t fall apart, but it certainly makes it less likely.


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Critical Mass