As some of you may know East wind is expanding! For those who have been to East Wind throughout the years we have watched this little nut butter business grow.
So after a little break and a short vacation I came back with renewed vigor on a project that was not getting the attention it deserved. The Nut house expansion was virtually left behind in a wake of other things that needed doing this happens when you don't have people employed to do one job sometimes. I was floundering a little on what I wanted to do when I got back from my break and I realized this is my chance. As I have written about before how I have helped others build many things at East Wind and elsewhere I have always been the go to guy for lifting heavy things but I have never had the guts to take on this kind of project. Ok, a couple of decks and stages where cool but this is a food industry with standards to think about electricity, plumbing, boilers, for the radiant floor heating A place for a vent fan, lights, giant things that well to be honest all intimidate me. So I spoke with a few people and they believed in me or at least my ability to get these things done, so I went to a meeting with Nut butter management and it so happened that same meeting they wanted put in play a final day for putting the jar bander online and 100% of all east wind jars will be banded for your safety! This was it! We barely have enough room for another machine on the lines we are going to have to get the expansion done, so I with honest and justifiable fear said Ill get it done. Ok hold on I just want to say I knew I couldn't do this but East winders can! We have such a plethora of talent on this farm, I know we can accomplish anything with nothing and I felt I could at least organize this, and we have at this time the walls which laid in state covered with leaves are now on the building the windows are in! the doors are going on! I am inside now getting ready to order the doors for between line one and two and the future line 3 the reality of this project as well as the depth of it is my new life. I am maybe a little obsessed with my punch list for nice days and cloudy cold days with my constant harassing I mean asking of people on when they can work again (this is a real issue that in community needs to be handled with kit gloves one wrong word and you loose those talented folks that make things go forward so rapidly) At the same time I still have to get my HTA (Hard to assign ((dishes pots etc.))I have some morning primaries and I still have a roast to help with a life to lead It seems all so simple right now just keep plugging away at things one at a time and soon more things will be done. Hopefully I don't know the feeling of completing this kind of project like I said I am the guy who helps lift things not complete them, but with the amazing support of a community and some amazing talented members and of course those guys brought on now to lift heavy things when I cant anymore I see the progress we all see the progress the nut house expansion is moving forward and could be online as early as spring equinox but most likely may 1st our 35th anniversary would be a wonderful time to finish by. Ill be happy to order some wood to start framing in the inside today and make the move to the inside official. All in all I am so grateful for this chance to take on a project like this to learn so much in one project to become intimate with every nuance of a building. It is an amazing thing Ill dare say magical. So in the coming months as you purchase your jar of East Wind nut butter and see the band on the jar you can think about a few hippies discussing where the windows should go for the optimum lighting and how to frame in a wall over corrugation! Well maybe you can just think how good the peanut butter is and we'll take care of the rest of it for ya'
Home.... Ive been on the road for a little over 2 weeks now and I wont see my home for another week. Now let me say up front I have been on an amazing adventure deserving of a blog of its own , but right now, today I miss this view. Sometimes when people say why do you live there, I smile my personal little smile and close my eyes and think of this view. I've walked most of what you see, I look silently at this view most every day I have seen the sunset and rise a thousand times here, I know over that ridge lies Arkansas I know the creek that in the morning after a cool night offers a fog that circles our valley like the end of a magic wand. It's my home I watch the leaves grow and turn I watch storms roll in over the ridge. This is the reason I go to work on days when nothing else makes sense, This is the reason I smile to myself while I sit at the bus station waiting for my next uncomfortable trip on the dog, this is my happy place this is my home.
Ok so for those of you who have been to East Wind well It will never be the same.
Yep We now have a deck on the Music room. It was the deck that was on the sandals trailer which was no longer being used... So Kara Jo suggested we move it, I put up a concerns note and people cheered almost universally In fact I don't think we had a single concern. So we built the deck! And it is beautiful We added stairs all the way around for seating every where we mimicked the steps at RB so muscle memory would help with the new environment. The view has changed the place has changed (It's still the music room) And it is awesome. So looking forward to some of you coming here for a visit and joining us on our new addition!
It was the week before my 40th birthday and I had been planing on going with a crew from East WInd to Minnesota to Harvest fest, then starting looking at the dates and realized that the RNC was going on the same time and I (as those of you who know me) hatched a lion sized plan and it fell into place perfectly, in fact seeds of peace contacted East Wind asking for some donations (something we can do) so we set off at 8pm Monday and arrived about 8 am Tuesday driving pretty much rite up on the Seeds of peace crew we dropped off about 150# of peanut butter to help feed the protesters as well as the many hungry in St. Paul. we also kicked in with some help, it felt so good to be helping those people doing such noble work (as an aside I grew up with parents that owned a restaurant and no one no matter what kinda of money people had or didn't have they got fed, Thank you mom and dad for teaching me the fine line between consumers and feeding people because that's what you do.) After shaking off the road and putting in a little more work we headed to St. Paul proper it was only a couple miles so we set off walking we made it about 5 blocks and where crossing a bridge before the police decided the Ice tea I was carrying needed to be checked we already new we had entered the police state machine guns on boats in the river and police like free day at a doughnut shop. They smelled my tea, other police showed it was actually a lite encounter but yes it had not been 10 minutes and we where already dealing with police. After tossing the Tea we walked on to the Capitol building to see ripple affect a peaceful protest done in a festival style. the police where in riot gear every where in the city, you knew you where being watched by either the helicopter in the sky or the cameras or the police with cameras etc etc.. For those of you who have seen star wars think storm troopers thousands of them that was the scene as we walked up to the capitol. we where surrounded obviously but being left alone for the most part occasionally a flank of storm troopers would rise up and stir some shit and we would surround them with cameras and civil liberty lawyers and that kept them in check during the day time for the most part some kids where still getting pepper sprayed but not to bad yet unless of course your an innocent getting maced by an illegal police force. After Dead Prez played (it was f-ing awesome) one of the amazing kids I brought with said lets go! Poor peoples march is happening, I actually balked for a minute I wanted to stay on the lawn and watch Franti sing "I love you" but for some reason I followed and it may have been the best move I made in a lifetime. The rally started with speakers explaining the history of the poor peoples march and how M L K started the march ( he knew it was about oppression of the poor a long time ago) and I started realizing how important this was I found some food that the Seeds of peace kids where serving (awesome food by the way) as well as a couple pieces of pizza in a trash that me and a friend laughed about tried and realized it was fresh yummy free pizza! several times the riot police would escalate things by shining lights into the crowd or harassing a demonstrators but the crowd held strong we would surround and chant and let the lawyers through pour vinegar into the eyes of those pepper sprayed and would continue our demonstration. After the speakers where finished we started to march I put on a yellow bandanna over my face and had a bottle of water to pour on it if I got to close I know this would only slow down the effect but hopefully keep me from being on the front page of the st paul paper crying and puking. Isn't it good to be an American, "where your free to assemble and protest" that's what everyone is saying I didn't feel that free when I had to put on my riot gear just to walk for poor people. And we marched we actually marched with out to much hassle that I noticed most of the way a few little things but mostly we actually almost became a fun parade singing 80s butt rock songs to the riot police as well as our common chant theme "feed the poor eat the rich" (ok a little inflammatory but we said it with a smile) We where under this bridge for a minute and the echo was awesome so we hung there for a minute and chanted and danced some more, One guy had to go pee so he headed to the woods near by and a cop started to head in after him we all hollard at him to get out and he did then the cop came out so encumbered by his gear that he nearly fell out of the woods and we liked that a lot we then changed our chant to what do we want... The freedom to pee... When do we want it.... NOW! you see what I'm saying we where lite hearted and having fun this was a peaceful protest. after the bridge a gentleman flew a huge kite, rainbow in color and it followed us, oddly enough it usually was in line with the helicopter that followed us the whole march (police state my friends). Still something about one simple kite up there in the sky and one giant Helicopter with guns, once again we weren't the ones who brought the guns to this rally. We walked up this hill and we walked right into the crowd from Ripple effect who after anti flag had a guest band Rage against the machine showed up but was shut down by the police so that crowd was a little upset as we walked up, and for what its worth our chant was who's streets are these ...our streets!, and the two rallies joined forces this upset the police force greatly we noticed all the police going to masks (interestingly enough horses don't get masks during riots ) the helicopter got lower the Kite still flew in the sky and the riot police where starting to change there tactics they closed in the streets on us one block after another and they would not let anyone out they didn't tell anyone how to get out they just kept closing in on us. I saw the eyes of the young warriors who knew this was going to happen, kids who came here maybe more prepared for this moment than I and they where ready, My crew stayed close but evaluated all the exit options more people where getting pepper sprayed the riot police had started to interlock arms and where closing in even more. we found the one route in the city that they had set up to escape (about 10 blocks out of our way) and escaped as the things where getting worse. after we left the police got closer and then they set off percussion grenades and sprayed children with pepper spray indiscriminately and caused a riot. What else is there to say. I had to think about this for a couple of days because the papers spoke of stinky anarchist and a few bad seeds which is just bullshit. If you remember how you felt the first time you realized that one man in Tienanmen square standing there in front of that tank then you know how brave those kids are and how they are standing up for freedoms so many people have forgotten we really have. Everything America was founded on is gone, the bill of rights... gone, the declaration of independence... irrelevant, and out there on those streets are a few kids feeding the hungry and fighting for the same things our founders fought for, they don't where perfume because its bullshit they don't dress like many people because they dumpster dive good clothes and sew up the few rips to make them function longer they speak about the importance of bike collectives and community and are genuinely working on a solution a solution that will never make the news bless them, they are changing the world they are being the change.
Harvest fest in MN Wookiefoot a MN. band that lives cooperatively and puts on amazing festivals (Including having a part in ripple effect) Well That's another amazing story I think Ill tell you some other day. Unless of course I see you at project earth next year then we can make some stories of our own.
As for fourty It's allot like 20 just slower!
I do want to pay respect to the Pink Ladies or Code pink These woman are true warriors riding there pretty pink bikes between us and the riot police and not getting the respect they deserve. If you see them please show your respect they are some of the bravest people I have ever met.
Ok it's 3 am and I'm leaving for the communities conference in like 6 hours cant sleep I'm excited nervous. How silly am I ? It's Twin Oaks It's our sister community what could go wrong....?! Well lots' but most likely nothing. The best thing about the federation as some of you who are not yet a part of it is, theres choices! Each community is what it is and thats all that it is but each one like people are different.
Now I've visited land trusts co-ops and hell even hung out with some of the love Israel cult for a day (I would so make a bad cult member). Since 1993 Ive been an East Winder maybe off and on but for over 4 years of my life at one point or the other I have lived down this dirt road. I have lived on this farm and have been a part of this place in some way for 15 years and now more than ever with my grandchildren here, It's my home. Twin Oaks is based on the same idea as us, our by laws and policy mimic each other in a lot of ways,so why am I up at 3 in the morning thinking about this, well I reiterate we are different.
Like two families living a little ways apart our conversations stir up rumors and innuendo hell sometimes I think the two communities have lovers quarrels with each other when the other Isn't looking. Now in February the Federation delegates came to E-dub and for some odd reason everyone got along. Now with every rumor and tale told that wasn't supposed to happen but it did so I did some research and it most of the time really does go that way. So again why am I up at 3 am well, I'm sure allot of it is I just want to have a good time and show respect for T.O. for what its worth the T.O. crew that comes here are always nice hard working amazingly talented beautiful communitarian's and I even have some good friends there and I'm guessing a whole bunch of folks that I will enjoy hanging out or talking with. Maybe I've been down my dirt road to long and I'm afraid to talk to other hippies, Maybe someone there who has never met me has a grudge maybe theres new legislation that states red heads are not allowed to speak above a certain volume ( I will drastically fail this) It so could be an anti juggling thing you know we don't get the popularity that musicians do!
To be honest I have no idea why I'm up at 3am ok 3:33am now worrying about it.
I have to think back to march of 93 when I got on that bus in Ironwood MI. it was about 330 am (hrmm is he bringing this full circle, finally) and my best friends in the whole world at that time show up, they teased litely about kool-aid and reminded me if they try to stick anything up your butt call us well rescue you (I grew up in a small small town) but there I was going off to do something I never did before, going somewhere I never been before, well here I am some of this is old hat and some of this is new water and thats all.
So I'm off to Twin Oaks in 5 hours and 15 minutes I'll be there about 24 hours later, so ready or not...
Yesterday I was part of my 2nd system clean (this means I have managed to be somewhere else for the others.)
For those of you who knew Hooch, he has moved on to the old may field to rest by the ceder tree with Sadie. Hooch was a 20+ year old dog who carried a bullet in his hip from a pig farmer who didn't like the way Hooch played with his pigs (he had a thing for bacon until the end). He had lived through heart worm being hit by cars and being imprisoned in three county jails in MO. alone. He has made dog catchers cry and had escaped every fence he was ever put in with the super hero name of the great Hoochini he lives on in our memories as that dog everybody loved. He was Bennies dog that sunnyside adopted and yes he will always be a sunnysider. This dog has been a part of my life for 14 years now and has lived in my room with me since I returned to E-dub and well its a little quieter in my room now without the old dawg snoring unfortunately I miss the snoring and I don't know what to do with my scraps from my meals or his brush or bed and I am sad.