It’s Fall

by Raven Glomus

I post everyday on Facebook and three times a week on this blog.  One of the ways I am able to do that is that both Facebook and WordPress have scheduling features that allow me to schedule posts well in advance.  I was looking at my scheduled posts for Facebook this past weekend and suddenly noticed that I had the same exact starting wording three days in a row.  As you will see below, they all began with  “It’s fall and…”

Apparently, the seasonal change has gotten to me.  I could have changed several of them (as I said, these were scheduled well in advance) but it sort of amused me and I was curious to see if anyone on Facebook noticed.  If anyone did, no one said anything, but given that most people see these posts on their feed along with dozens of other posts from dozens of other sources, it’s quite possible that no one noticed.

Other than that, as you will see, these posts did quite well, although they didn’t really attract a lot of comments.

The first was a picture post on fall flowers around Glomus Commune. I double posted it on Facebook and Instagram and it reached 561 people on Instagram and 280 folks on FB.  (Instagram posts usually reach a lot more people than FB posts so this isn’t really surprising.) It got five comments, but they were all from Rejoice–with pictures of fall flowers from Acorn.

Here’s what Rejoice sent us:

For the next day, I was hunting for material when I went to the SESE website and saw this useful looking checklist for gardeners.  Because these are pictures of the Facebook feed, the link there won’t work.  Here’s a working link to the original article: https://blog.southernexposure.com/…/garden-checklist…/

This was what went up on our Facebook feed (beginning, of course, with “It’s fall and…”):

No comments, but it reached more than two hundred people.

Finally, I was trying to think up a question for our Monday post.  What I came up with was this:

It reached over 150 folks, which isn’t bad, but I write these questions to solicit comments and I only got three–and one of them was from me and, honestly, L Elizabeth Storm is my cousin and probably just saw this on her Facebook feed because we are related.

Anyway, it’s fall…

It’s Fall

Peaches, Moths, Mushrooms, and Manure

by Raven Glomus

Wrapping up some posts from the Commune Life Facebook feed that blog readers might find interesting, here’s some stuff (mostly food and agriculturally related) that is happening at Glomus Commune and Acorn Community.

At Glomus the last couple of weeks have been about the harvest and what to do with all that food. The biggest, juiciest harvest recently has been peaches–so many peaches!–and what to do about them, and lots of the other things we’ve been harvesting is canning.

Here’s what we said on Facebook: “Peaches, peaches, peaches! Glomus Commune is currently blessed with three trees full of ripe, juicy peaches.” And the pictures:

And then the canning: “Yesterday’s peaches have been canned. With the harvest coming in, there’s a lot of canning going on at Glomus Commune. Along with the peaches are canned tomatoes and there are two different types of relish canned, all done in our outdoor kitchen, created this summer for the mycology camp. (Not sure why this is called canning when it’s all being done in jars.)” Of course, more pictures:

And the comments responding to my question:

Acorn has put out a number of posts this last month that we have re-posted on our Facebook feed. One of the most surprising (to me at least) concerned a moth. When I saw the picture, I was certain that it was a hummingbird and I had to look it up on the internet to learn that, indeed, moths also drink nectar from flowers this way.

What I wrote on the post was: “Like a hummingbird, this moth is drinking from a flower at the Acorn Community.” Acorn wrote:”A spectacular shot of a moth drinking from one of our primroses! We love all our pollinators here at the farm🌻🦋🐝🌸🌼🌹” Here’s a still of the moth:

And a link to post with a little video clip: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSMf3CUAAxh/

Then, there’s Acorn’s post about finding a lovely ‘Chicken of the Woods’. Look at the size of that thing:

Acorn wrote: “Found this chicken in the woods mushroom on our property! We cooked it up for our community dinner and it was delicious! 🐓🍄” There are also pictures of the mushroom cooked up and the satisfied diners on their Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUBTj0glCcy/

Finally, Acorn’s business is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. On SESE’s website, they wrote this piece on “Using Manure in the Garden” with everything you might want to know about using manure. I was kind of flip on our Facebook page: “Here’s a load of manure: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Acorn Community’s business) talks about how to use Manure in your garden.”

Here’s a link to the article from the SESE blog: https://blog.southernexposure.com/2021/09/using-manure-in-the-garden/

And that’s some of what’s been happening so far this month at the communes.

Peaches, Moths, Mushrooms, and Manure

Ira Wallace Speaks

Ira is a community treasure. She is the lynchpin holding Acorn Community together and the driving force behind Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. On Thursday, September 23rd, she will be the key speaker at a gardening conference. https://www.facebook.com/events/269598428038675/


Here’s the writeup:


SESE’s Ira Wallace will be a keynote speaker for this year’s American Community Garden Association Conference.Seed Keeping: An Act of Everyday Resistance.

“Black and brown people are integral to the story of food and farming in this country. Learn how including them in our gardens through seed saving, storytelling about seeds, the traditions they represent, the taste they evoke, and the people who created great varieties can be an everyday act of resistance.” – Ira Wallace

Ira will be talking about the importance of seed keeping to preserving cultural heritage with examples of historic varieties as well as the wealth of heirloom varieties from the African Diaspora especially in the US and Caribbean.She’ll also touch on her work with our cooperative community and seed company. She said, “although I am proud of co-founding the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello I think of my cooperative work developing Acorn Community Farm and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as my legacy to young farmers looking for ways to do well doing good work.”

Ira Wallace Speaks

Growing Season at Acorn and Glomus

by Raven Glomus

It’s full into the farm season and this weeks roundup of stuff from our Facebook feed focuses on what’s growing at Acorn Community and Glomus Commune:

First, Acorn gets a lot of early lettuce and donates to their local food bank:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPA-3maFEcm/

And then, on Instagram, someone at Acorn Community is bragging that their whole breakfast (vegetables and eggs) comes right from their own farm.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPIqG28FXVI/

Meanwhile, here at Glomus, here’s Cicada of East Brook Community Farm (our communal business) bringing out the greens and veggies for our first weekly CSA of 2021. Farming is our business, and it’s a lot of work, but this is the payoff.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPqTl-TD67t/

Finally, farm work is not just about vegetables. Here are some pictures of the cute little goslings that we are raising at Glomus:

Growing Season at Acorn and Glomus

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