Commune Roundup: Corn Tools, Rainbow, Outing, Planting Kale

Here’s what’s been happening on the Facebook feed. A little snippet of life on the communes.

At Acorn, the infatigable Ira shows off a tool to get corn off the cob.

Here’s a link to the original on Instagram, where (if you poke around a little) you can watch and hear her demonstrate it.

Meanwhile, at East Wind, someone photographed this rainbow above the community.

At Twin Oaks, as beautiful as their community is, sometimes they just want to get away and explore something else. Here’s a crew on a spring outing.

And at Glomus, they are out in the fields planting kale.

Commune Roundup: Corn Tools, Rainbow, Outing, Planting Kale

Making Maple Syrup

by Raven Glomus

It’s late winter and the nights are cold and some of the days are reasonably warm. This is when the sap runs in trees. Here at Glomus Commune, several folks, led by Taliesin, have been tapping maple trees to make syrup. The process is sometimes called “sugaring”.

I published two Facebook posts about the process, trying to document it from collecting the sap to boiling it down. Here’s the first post:

One of our neighbors, Jeff, left a comment about our sugaring history and, having only been here a bit over a year, I realized I had written “every year” in error. Fortunately, Rachael had the correct history.

Once the sap is collected, it’s boiled down. Taliesin worked at this a long time.

We now have homemade maple syrup for pancakes and waffles (and a jar of ‘maple cream’ to spread on toast). We grow vegetables and raise livestock here, but we also use our land in other ways, and collecting sap when we can is one of them.

Making Maple Syrup

Ira Wallace

by Raven Glomus

Ira Wallace is amazing.  She helped found the Acorn community, where she lives to this day.  She also has been a major force in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Acorn’s business, which has been booming during the pandemic, and helped start the Heritage Harvest Festival, a big agricultural exposition in Virginia.  The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) recently inducted her into their hall of fame.  Here’s some relevant pieces from their press release, along with a picture of Ira who, in spite of age and disability, continues working and inspiring folks.

The North American Students of Cooperation Inducts 2020 Hall of Fame

The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) is the bi-national federation that educates and organizes youth and emerging leaders to create and care for co-ops in the US and Canada. On Friday, November 6, 2020 at the annual NASCO Cooperative Education and Training Institute, held online, four cooperators were honored as inductees in the NASCO Cooperative Hall of Fame. The NASCO Hall of Fame, created in 1989, provides broader recognition to individuals who have made a truly significant impact within the cooperative movement. NASCO is proud to honor the 2020 inductees:

Ira Wallace, Founder

Ira Wallace has a lifetime of history in the cooperative movement. Ira has been a member of Acorn Community since the beginning of the community and was instrumental to its founding. Acorn is a 27-year-long experiment in egalitarianism based on living cooperatively with each other and the environment in a non-hierarchal fashion, located on 72 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia.

Ira is also a prime mover and shaker behind Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE), a worker-coop seed company owned by Acorn that specializes in preserving and propagating heirloom seeds by getting the seeds and practice of seed saving into generations of future gardeners. Ira started saving herb and flower seeds in the 1970s and became professionally involved in the seed business in 1998. At SESE she coordinates education and outreach as well as co-managing variety selection and new seed grower contracts with SESE’s network of 70+ seed producing farms. It is the oldest company in the southeast focusing on heirloom, organic, open-pollinated seeds. Since 1983 Southern Exposure has been helping people in the southeast get control of their food supply by supporting sustainable home and market gardening, seed saving, and preserving heirloom varieties. Ira also started the Heritage Harvest Festival in a back lot at Monticello 12 years ago and worked to grow it to a premier celebration of a vision of America of small farmers and gardeners.

***

When I posted this on Facebook, we got a few comments. Here’s what folks wrote, including some replies from me:

(This was in reference to a post on feasting at East Wind and Cara, a former East Winder, said that she “met Ira the first month I was there, she came for some conference or exchange – and she made the most amazing pastries! and we realized I knew her daughter – I’d met her in college”)

Ira Wallace

Live at Le Manoir!

Hey, fellow communards!

You already live in an income sharing community.  Do you also have experience in managing a big garden, or a small farm? Would you like to live a unique experience, in a different country, another climate, surrounded by people speaking a foreign language, and yet, feel at home in a egalitarian tribe that decides by consensus, is LGBTQ+ friendly and shares other values, cultural traits and ways of life?

Why not take the leap, and LEX? (as in « Labor Exchange »)  https://www.thefec.org/about/projects/lex/  Or simply, take a paid job in an international intentional community environment.

COOPERATIVE LES POTAGERS PARTAGÉS IS HIRING!

An organic local farm, in a 5 years old intentional community, is looking for a production manager for the 2021 season

From Mai to November, come live in Gaspésie, Québec, Canada!

The « Po-Pa », is:  40 vegetable baskets; 5 employees; 25 different vegetables, and at least 8 types of seeds; and a coop business well knitted in its larger community!

Link to the job offer:  https://potagerspartages.ca/job-offer

To apply or for any info, please write to Solange at: potagerspartages@gmail.com

You know what? Le Manoir is still ‘’on the map’’!  Yes, yes! On the far east, and up… higher, higher… Oh, yeah, have I forgot to mention? We are on the other side of the border.

Remember? This is a ‘’not-only-foreign-but-exotic’’ creature of the FEC, french speaking, and still unvisited by you, american members of the income sharing diaspora.

Last september, Le Manoir was celebrating its 5th year of existence.

The community is actually down to 4 adult members. We are gently settling in this new normal, as last year has been rich in turnover.

Winter is usually a quieter season. It brings a pause in farm and building work. As the day light becomes scarce and the snow slowly covers the fields with its white mantle, we ‘’turn inward’’.

Between a field hockey game and a cross-country ski trip in the surrounding forest, we get together around a warm fire. We think and discuss, digest the past months and make plans for the future. What’s in for 2021? We definitely will be looking for new members. The rest is yet to be seen (and lived!).

Here’s a video which features Le Manoir. It’s in French with English subtitles–also there is a warning with it: “This film contains scenes of animal slaughter.” However there is a nice piece about Le Manoir at the beginning of the film, before any scenes of animal slaughter: https://www.nfb.ca/film/gatherings-episode-1-territories/

Live at Le Manoir!

Mimosa community really, really, really loves their cucurbits

Here is a post with what I think it a cute little video. It’s about Mimosa, a small commune in the Louisa community, which specializes in seed production, particularly cucurbit seeds. For those who have no idea with a cucurbit is, we are talking squashes, cucumbers, melons, and other related things. Gourds are a related plant and this video focuses on Theresa and a person named A who are cutting up gourds. Here is the video and what Theresa wrote.

Published by Theresa Kadish · March 17 · 

Mimosa community really, really, really loves their cucurbits. Cucumbers and perfect squash get the most oohs and ahhs (I mean, who doesnt love a PERFECT squash?) but Mimosa also grows other cucurbit crops. In this little time lapse, A and I are cutting up bird house gourds in the field. The seeds of the best gourds were saved for next season, while the gourds themselves were cut this way so that they could be crafted into bowls.

-Theresa4cucurbit♥

Mimosa community really, really, really loves their cucurbits