Posts Tagged ‘intentional community’

Our fledgling pig program and the adoption of Penelope

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Our first three pigs were Wilbur, Gladys and Petunia. Well, there was a fourth one, a runt that came free with Wilbur, but the neighbor’s dog got into the pen and he is no more; c’est la vie, little piglet. These three got quite large, so after we pulled everything out of our gardens, we used them to plow up all the little spots that are annoying to get a tractor into.

We put them into our big greenhouse, the high tunnel, and then we put them into our kitchen beds near the house.

In order to make the pig program financially successful, we decided to try getting a registered, heritage breed pig. Taji decided that she wanted a Berkshire, and so little Penelope was retrieved from Creasy Hill Springs Farm.

Briefly, Penelope lived in Taji’s bedroom, until that was decided to be a situation less than ideal.

So little Penelope got moved out into the pigpen with Gladys and Petunia (with more-aggressive Wilbur slaughtered just for the occasion), and we discovered that pigs bite each other! So Penelope got put into the chicken tractor to get bigger.

Clear-cuts. And the Dream of Expanding Our Local Community Network.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Yesterday morning as I was waking up, my boyfriend Ken walked in, opened my window, and told me that it was 65 degrees and that the forecast said it would reach 75.  This is great in terms of having a pleasant afternoon, but not in terms of what it indicates about global warming.

Within a few minutes, through the open window, I could hear the sound of a very large machine, punctuated by the occasional sound of a falling tree.  There were already two large clear-cuts on our road, and I could tell this new logging was close.  I took a walk.

The newly logged area is about 3,780 feet long and starts about 1,925 feet from our property.  I measured it in my 5-foot paces and then multiplied by 5.  When I showed up, about half the trees were still standing, in contour strips across the property.  I got the tiniest smidgen of hope that the clear-cutters would log selectively, rather than clear-cut, and leave at least strips of trees, roughly on contour, thus helping natural forest regrow on the land and probably increasing its value in the meantime.  As of this afternoon, about half the trees were still standing, and the machines were at rest.  My smidgen of hope has grown into a sliver of hope.

Monday is the day we get a van-load of free pre-dumpstered produce from Relay Foods (things coming out of Relay’s inventory, that otherwise might have gone in a dumpster, had we not taken them.)  So our neighbor and ex-Twin-Oaker Jim Adams was over to claim his share of the haul.  Seeing my sadness, he suggested writing to the Central Virginian newspaper about how valuable it is to have a mostly wooded county, and that we shouldn’t give that up for a few peoples’ profits.  And I plan to write such a letter.  Jim inspired me to think that I am not powerless in the face of local clear-cutting.

But then another member inspired me more.  He told me about the frequent willingness of East Wind, a community we’re affiliated with, to sometimes go into debt to acquire land adjoining their own.  He pointed out that we could start a food forest project on a clear-cut piece of land.

The trouble with that idea is, we have very little savings, and we have debt related to our fire recovery.  Twin Oaks, Living Energy Farm, and Sapling communities are also not in great financial situations; I certainly wouldn’t expect them to buy the land.  So, unless we get both some unexpected financial support, and a good amount of enthusiasm from Acorn members, we can essentially conclude that existing commuities won’t be buying this newly logged land.

But what about our friends?  Well, that’s why I’m writing this post.

I envisioned that the three clear-cuts on our road could one day, not too many decades from now, be owned by three groups aligned with our missions – they could be allied communities, or ex-communitarians, or community-minded families.  They could be seed growers, chestnut orchardists, permaculturists, well-rounded homesteaders, or other farmers with an interest in sustainability.

Is this dream likely to become a reality?  No.  But some part of it might.

Belladonna Took’s “Typical” Acorn Day

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The other day I decided to take photographs throughout my lovely day. If my memory is correct the day was Monday September 22, 2014

I started off by taking  a walk down one of the main paths at Acorn.

Horus, one of our dogs ran up! Then JR one of our visitors walked by. I asked for consent to take his photo and he obliged.

IMG_1668

IMG_1670

 

IMG_1681

This is my kitty friend, her name is Fight Club. I love her.

IMG_1683

IMG_1686

One of my favorite drawings in the smokeshack. Drawn by my friend and former intern Piera.

 

IMG_1721

Me enthusiastically chopping potatoes. I cooked dinner today. I made some meat with bell peppers for people who like meat. I made tofu, soysauge and bellpepper stir-fry for the vegetarians/vegans. I made mashed potatoes with a cream cheese sauce on the top, I put in the oven and the top toasted- this was my favorite part of the meal. I made a couple of veggies dishes, one being roasted eggplant.

IMG_1726

Pretty bell peppers. They are my favorite.

IMG_1732

Meat Dish!

IMG_1730

Vegan Stir-fry!

IMG_1734

MASHED TATTERS!

IMG_1733

Eggplant, Squash, Tomatoes! YUM!

 

IMG_1727

People eating meals I cooked! This person is Aster!

IMG_1728

Birddog and Fox eating dinner!

 

IMG_1740

Rejoice on tractor!

IMG_1743

Chicken coop from far away!

IMG_1744

I went to feed my chicken friends after dinner.

IMG_1756

IMG_1754

IMG_1747

 

IMG_1758

The chicken coop!

IMG_1759

Some eggs!

IMG_1760

Lots of eggs! Yay for being nice to chickens!

IMG_1770

My best friend/member of Acorn, Abraham, drove me to Twin Oaks for band practice. I am in a Led Zeppelin cover band there called Non-Violent Communication Breakdown.

IMG_1779

The stage set for the band I am in!

IMG_1768

Thanks for reading about my day! Love, Belladonna

Puffballs

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

End of the day where our crack insulation crew proudly displays the puffballs of insulation that they removed from our new building. The puffballs happen when expanding insulating foam is squirted into voids.

IT’S FRIDAY @ 5:01pm

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Yep.

Land Day Celebration 2014

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Our annual Land Day Celebration was much fun. The weather was very cooperative, the food & drink were delish, the guests were delightful, the music (with not 1 but 2! very rockin’ bands) was fabulous.  Some pics of the day are below. Thanks to all who made it possible.

the party monster stage

the party monster stage ready to go day before the big event

 

Acornistas Mardock & Belladonna Doing a Duet

Acornistas Mardock & Belladonna Doing a Duet

 

the crowd gettin into it

the crowd gettin into it

 

The joy of live music made by your friends and fellow communards makes itself evident

The joy of live music made by your friends and fellow communards makes itself evident

 

Acornistas & Oakers perform as The All Request Dance Band

Acornistas & Oakers perform as The All Request Dance Band

 

River & Finley enjoying the music

River & Finley enjoying the music

acorn_01

 

The view from the 2nd story deck of the Seed Palace

The view from the 2nd story deck of the Seed Palace (the pile of loose material is for the living roof)

BBQ!

BBQ!

 

our little calf (Pandora Midfield Fieldmouse Skeeter Acorn) wandered onto the dance floor to check out the TAPL (totally awesome party light)

As twilight approaches, the dance floor lights begin to make their presence known. Our little calf (Pandora Midfield Fieldmouse Skeeter Acorn) wanders onto the dance floor to check out the TAPL (totally awesome party light)

 

OK. Now that its dark the dance floor lights are really showing their stuff!

OK. Now that its dark the dance floor lights are really showing their stuff!

Quite the light show, isn't it!?

Quite the light show, isn’t it!?

 

acorn_01

acorn_01

acorn_01

 

some folks did dress-up for ambiance enhancement

some folks did dress-up for ambiance enhancement

 

Acornista Samantha

Acornista Samantha

When the night arrives its time for the bonfire

When the night arrives its time for the bonfire

 

our bonfire

our bonfire

 

 

The world famous Acorn Goat Circus performing death defying acts of goatness

The world famous Acorn Goat Circus (>featuring select members of the Independent Goat Nation of Acorn<) performing death defying acts of goatness

 

Acornistas Dragon & Luna

Acornistas Dragon & Luna

 

Visitor Grace & our newest kid

Visitor Grace & our newest kid (and youngest member of the Goat Circus)

East Wind to the Rescue – Thank you !

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

(Editor’s note: This is a repost from Paxus’s blog. Check it out  http://funologist.org/ )

————–

Part of what is exciting about living in the central Virginia communities these days is the network is actually growing.  After almost two decades of there being only two income sharing communities in the region (Twin Oaks and Acorn), three years back Living Energy Farm popped up nearby.  Last week Acorn moved members into Sapling (aka Tranquility Base) which is the house we bought in late August. It is starting out as a simple residence for Acorn, but we have already agreed that it will ultimately become a new income sharing community.

Part of what is so exciting about this is that often times communards don’t find the right community to start with.  Sometimes this is resolved relatively quickly, like with my dear friend Belladonna Took who was rejected by Twin Oaks and is now a happy member of Acorn (she is referred to as Abby in this post   http://funologist.org/2013/01/24/pocket-dramas/ about her rejection).  Other times it takes one or more memberships at “the wrong community” before the person finds their place.  With three, soon to be four affiliated but independent communities all in the same county there are lots of possibilities for synergy including clever membership solutions.  [And a more fertile soil for my own Chubby Squirrels dreams.]

belladonna-took-at-acorn
~Belladonna Took was a bit too wild for Twin Oaks, but fits perfectly at Acorn~

Communities have their own personalities.  Twin Oaks is what i call a clockwork community, where there is a more regular procedure for things to happen.  Hundreds of work shifts are scheduled, meals show up on time and reliably, you better not be late for your tofu shift – because people are depending on you.  Acorn is somewhat more chaotic.  Things happen when people get inspired to make them happen, very little is scheduled (small dozens of jobs, mostly related to cooking and cleaning, contrasted with hundreds to perhaps a thousand jobs weekly at Twin Oaks).

East Wind is a thousand miles away in the Ozarks of Missouri and i have always thought of it as the “wild wild west of the communities movement” (despite there being important income sharing communities further geographically west).  East Wind is physically more rugged, without indoor plumbing in many buildings and more demanding physical work than Twin Oaks (but not Living Energy Farm).  East Wind has huge tracks of beautiful land, over 1000 acres that they control and neighboring state parks which are even larger.  Their decision making system is a strange anarchist-democratic model which is more flexible and volatile that either Acorns or Twin Oaks.

But what has inspired this post is a cultural difference between East Wind and all her sister communities, in my never humble opinion.  East Wind is the community you can depend on if you are in a jam.  East Wind will send out a group of members to help out almost any of the FEC communities when they really need it.  Got a sorghum harvest beyond your capacity?  East Wind will send a van load of people. Need some willing kids to help with a barn raising?  East Winders are there. Arsonist burns one of your buildings?  East Wind can be relied upon to dispatch a crew, even if it is a thousand miles away.

It is this generosity of spirit and willingness to help that makes me (and the rest of Acorn) especially happy to welcome the 7 East Winders who traveled far to help out with the fire recovery, straw bale work and dozens of other tasks we need help with going into winter and the busy season.  Viva East Wind!

east winders help destruct heartwood

~East Winders help tear out the damaged floor in Heartwood at Acorn~

Young Farmer Mixer and Autumn Stomper Oct. 19th!!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

On October 19th, local heirloom seed savers and worker-owned co-operative Southern Exposure Seed Exchange will be hosting a Young Farmer’s Mixer to facilitate an enriching community building experience, provide networking opportunities and have fun.  We want to provide young farmers and young farmer recruits with access to examples of financially viable business models for new farms, homesteading resources and land link organizations. We also want to facilitate connections between landowners who want their land in cultivation and land-less farmers.  There will be opportunity to link farmers with food justice organizations and illustrate how food justice activism can play into a small farm business.

The event will begin with a tour of Southern Exposure’s seed and trial gardens and a demonstrative seed-saving workshop.    The day will end with our second annual Fall Festival complete with dancing, home-grown music, apple folk tales, food, drink and  good spirit.  If interested, please RSVP to applefolktale@gmail.com to let us know what you’d like to bring for the potluck!”

4:00 – Tour of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange trial and seed gardens

5:00 – Seed saving demonstration

6:00 – Dinner, keynote speaker, young farmer networking session

7:30 – Apple folk tales and music from Diane Cluck

8:30 – Music and dancing and merriment!

Come mingle with landowners, food activists, local sustainable agricultural organizations (including Tricycle Gardens, Twin Oaks Seeds, Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF), Blue Ridge Permaculture Network) and of course, young, beginning and aspiring farmers!

From Richmond:  Take I-64W to Exit 159.  Turn right onto US-522/Cross Country Road, continue ~7 miles.  Take a left onto 629/Cartersville Rd.  Take 1st right onto 640/East Old mountain.  After ~2 miles, stay left on East Old Mountain, turn right onto 699/Indian Creek Rd.

From Charlottesville:  Take I-64E  to Exit 148.  Turn left onto 605/Shannon Hill Rd.  After 3.5 miles, take a sharp right onto  640/East Old Mountain.  Left on 699/Indian Creek Rd.
Acorn is one of the first driveways on Indian Creek Road on the left.   There is a large greenhouse at the front of the property.

 

“Bale Raising” Straw Bale Workshop

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

After years of planning and a frenzied summer of building, the new seed office is finally ready for the straw bales.  In accordance with our values of providing educational opportunities for sustainable living, we’re having a “Bale Raising” Straw Bale Workshop Oct. 28th and 29th.  The workshop will be lead by green and natural building architect Fred Oesch.  Straw bale is valued for utilizing a local, non-toxic agricultural by-product in the context of building to help create highly energy efficient buildings, and it’s also very user-friendly.  

Acorn Involvement in Local Food Bank Garden

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

 

For the past few yPAR Signears, several Acorners have collaborated with local organizations including the Louisa County Resource Council (Low-income Food Distribution Center) and The Central Virginia Master Gardeners to start up a local food bank garden program called Plant a Row.  Plant a Row encourages gardeners to grow extra in their gardens to donate to their local food bank to help provide fresh, local, and healthy produce to economically disadvantaged people.  We expanded the program to include a garden education center at the food bank, where we grow a variety of vegetables, hold workshops on organic gardening, and have cook-offs to prepare freshly harvested veggies into delicious samples for folks to try.

kids being cute

Although this is a little outside the norms of the typical Acorn project, we think it’s important to break down oppression in all its various iterations, not just within our little community bubble.  We see access to healthy food  (that isn’t covered in pesticides!) as one of the building blocks to a healthy, productive life, which should be a right, not a privilege.  Natural food stores and farmers markets are great, but the prices can be cost prohibitive, especially for those who are suffering to make ends meet.  With this project, we aspire to bring in more fresh food to the food bank, as well as to also empower clients of the food bank with the knowledge and skills to garden, putting control over our food source back in the hands of the people.

CIMG_3217_46EM                                 CIMG_3221_46EM

As you may guess, it’s difficult to implement such lofty ideology into a practical reality.  One of the biggest challenges is to make connections with the food bank clients in a sustained and meaningful way.  An attempt to address this is the samples portion of the program, where we serve samples made from in-season veggies and let clients know that the those potatoes in that cheesy potato pocket (gotta start somewhere!) were harvested from the garden out back just yesterday.  Many of them don’t even know about the garden, so this gives us a great opportunity to tell people about the program and give them a tour of the garden.

If you visit Acorn and you think this project sounds cool, ask how you can help out!  With this new, volunteer-run program, we need all the help we can get.

 

Copyright © 2017 Acorn Community. Search Engine Optimization by Star Nine. Distributed by Wordpress Themes