High End Auction Items – Sat 2 PM deadline

Ira often has good ideas, too many for a single person really, which is perhaps part of why she lives in communes so there are more hands to manifest her ideas.  When i showed her the fingerbook for the benefit auction, she said “Is there anyway from people to bid online?”

This is a great idea, and  major headache.  The benefit auction to help us buy the neighboring land

The auction is in less than 36 hours and there is nothing online.  And as fun as it is to sell things at the auction, we really need to make money for this campaign, so i am going to do this very fast online offer for some of the larger items.  If you want to place a bid for these you can send it to me at paxus (at) twinoaks.org.  Please put “Auction Bid” in the subject line.    Anything described and depicted in the first link is available, but i want to draw your attention to these larger items.

A very cool small briefcase made out of old Coke cans.

case of cans

Case of cans back

There is a very fancy handmade leather, brass and antler suit case, one of a kind.  Minimum bid $800.

antler case

antler case closed

A local concert by Twin Oaks own star musician Devon (see first link on this post for restriction).

Devon singing

A lovely saxophone


A sound Healing Session in CVille – See details in first link.

sound healing session

If you want to participate in this auction email me your bid (and perhaps how high you might go if someone else bids over you).

Maybe i will update this page.










Help Twin Oaks Grow

We are launching a capital campaign in hopes of buying the neighboring 105 acres.  There is a crowd funding appeal which can be found here.

If Twin Oaks has ever been a significant influence on you, I would encourage you to contribute to this campaign which is helping with the opportunity and problems we face regarding this neighboring land.   For more on this see the following video.

If you have things of value which can be auctioned off for the communities 50th-anniversary celebration, please contact donate@twinoaks.org

These could be as simple and immediate like a leather coat or as elaborate as a romantic getaway which is catered by scruffy hippies (which is one of the premiums which is one the crowd funder already, here at the Twin Oaks retreat cabin).

And if you can’t contribute in any of these ways, consider sending this post on to a friend who you know thinks fondly of us and might be willing to help.


40th dancing

Spoon?, Thea, Elsa, Alex, Luuk, Kele and Robert dancing at 40th anniversary 

Help as you can.


Sing Louder

The fine folks in the intelligence services who keep track of terrorist sympathizers no doubt have me on their list.  At various points, I have written about the hypocritical and revisionist response to the Paris bombings, criticized US drone use policy under Obama, promoted anarchist who use violence, and criticized police tactics used to apprehend the Boston Marathon bombers.

But despite this, i am no fan of terrorism, either freelance or state sponsored. Terrorism is sometimes politically effective because it tears at the fabric of everyday life and makes the issues it is highlighting impossible to ignore.  But this in itself does not make it fair or just, it just makes it effective.

On May 22 a suicide bomber killed 22 concertgoers and injured dozens more in Manchester.  The performer at that show was Ariana Grande, who has tried to do right by Manchester, despite not being responsible for the attack.

grande and fan.jpg

She has visited victims of the attack in a children’s hospital.  She has pushed her record company to give half a million dollars to the families of victims.  She has delayed her planned tour and instead has organized a giant benefit event in Manchester this weekend with many big name pop bands, with free tickets to those who were in the May 22 concert.

grande benefit concert poster.jpg

But perhaps most important is Grande’s message to her fans and the world.

“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”

Sing louder Ariana, sing louder.

What Trump Makes Great

I estimate that I despise Trump about 4 times more than the average liberal US american. Despite this, I am still aware of a small but important number of things Trump has made great again.

Steven Cobert is a very clever guy.  But Trump gives him the raw material he needs to be brilliant.

Much closer to home, the Trump presidency has made my weekly phone calls to my mother great again.  Hawina, Willow and I were visiting my mother on election night.  It was a shared family tragedy.  And now every week my mother and I rant together about the increasingly preposterous administration.

Because of her upset, my mother went to her first protest in her life as a participant.



i did not tell her it is the name of an eco-terrorist group


But it is not surprising that this slash and burn President will cut some terrible government programs.  True to his promise (which Hillary would have reneged on) Trump killed the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership.


In a budget which will certainly get re-written, he has zero-funded the Mixed Oxide fuel fabrication facility.  This expensive, ill-conceived program is designed to convert plutonium from weapons into reactor fuel.


We can only hope that while he is slashing the Department of Energy (which mostly funds the US nuclear weapons laboratories) he will pass on rescuing a Bankrupt Westinghouse.

bankruptcy westinghouse


Poetic Bombs

I have numerous short stops that i make on most days at Twin Oaks.  One of them is by Coyote’s room.  We will chat about current community gossip and politics.  He will ask me to get him another box of candles or a double cheeseburger with double onions.  While in his room I often write a quick letter to Cassie ex, which he then completes and sends.

Coyote and Cassie in heart

Cassie and Coyote – lovers and pen pals

And sometimes, when i am lucky, he drop on me a piece of writing, a poetic bomb.  Today was one such day.  Coyote has been off the labor system for a while now and leads a quiet life mostly on the second floor of Ta Chai.  He is an avid reader and writes to his favorite authors.  He wrote to the poet and revolutionary Wendell Berry who sent him back the powerful poem HOW TO BE A POET (to remind myself).  Which includes the lovely lines:

There are no unsacred places;

there are only sacred places

And desecrated places.


Coyote’s room is like a tiny gallery.  He has copied pictures of the people important to him, famous or familiar.  And is regularly rearranging these memories to suit his current desires.  And tangled among these images are some of the most profound ideas of our time.

coyotes nicknacks,

Free Advice – Disgruntled Cooks

I have a bad Facebook habit.  i can quit anytime.  Maybe.

facebook snort

Part of it is that i am on some intentional community Facebook groups which have distinctly different politics generally than i do.  One of these groups is the Intentional Communities Discussion Group, a group which has more interested spirituality than i am, there are some rugged individualists, some folks into gun rights.  And they have questions.  This was one of them: 

Can you weigh in on this…?

The situation: Our community is roughly 40 adults. We are a non-profit, focusing on sustainable education. We offer lunch and dinner Mon-Fri with community members getting ‘credits’ for their cook and clean shifts (credits go toward their rent/fees). The schedule, ordering, organization and admin of the kitchen is managed by the kitchen coordinator.

The problems: We are having some difficulties running our kitchen effectively. We’re losing money (as we have to buy all organic ingredients). Cooks are uninspired to cook with variety (often cooking beans, rice and baked vegetables, over and over). People aren’t buying into our meal plans (perceptions of being too expensive, not meeting variety or dietary needs, etc).

cook with fire

The question: How do you run your kitchen? How do you keep costs down? Any tips on where to source cheaper organic ingredients? How do you keep cooks engaged in preparing *good* meals? How do you get community feedback on the communal dining experience?

*THANK YOU* for any input you can give us!!!

My advice:

I have a number of suggestions starting from the mundane and going to the radical.
Mundane first: Grow food/get food donated – If you have 40 members, some of them can garden. Gardening can be a maddening and low margin activity. Gardening also can be meditation, joy and salvation from the insanity of our current culture. Get your members to garden with the intention of having this be an input into your meals and something that community members do in place of some cooking. Additionally patrons of your cafe, who you want to include in the greater culture of your community can be asked either for surplus produce OR to “plant a row” for your community/cafe. Build relationships with your customers.
plant a row
Progressive: Expand the collection of cooks you have, by reaching out to your customers. Do trainings in how you kitchen works with experienced cooks showing new cooks (former customers) how it works and have them prepare meals together. Adding something new will make things more interesting for current cooks. Compensate new cooks with free future meals. Bring in a local TV station to cover a training session and your novel approach.
cooks being filmed
Radical: Change the nature of your community to be income sharing. If the members of the community were to pool their income to meet all their needs you could solve this problem in a number of ways. Technically, this is much less difficult than it sounds. Culturally, it is off the chart hard. We do it in the FEC communities, including importantly at Compersia in DC where members have dramatically different levels of income, debts and needs. BUT when you do make this jump, you take control of the collective economy, make sharing dramatically easier, reducing idle resources, taking control of your internal economy. If you want help understand this let me know.

The Blogs of Twin Oaks


bread formula winnie.jpg

I was surprised to discover that Winnie had a blog.  She is an amazing cook, so it should have not be a surprise that she blogs about cooking for 100 people at Twin Oaks.  Her blog called Sustainable Sustenance for Existence

winnie and bread.jpg

Winnie:  The baker is a blogger

It also begged the question:  What other blogs and social media presences are there in the community and shouldn’t i write a meta-blog about all of them?

Here’s the ones that i know of:

Also new to the scene is Reynaldo’s Dairy Instagram account, taking pictures of our most prosaic cows.

Double Rainbow

It ain’t paradise, but on a good day you can see it from here.

Running in ZK is the name of the community’s unofficial blog.  It is ironically named, because one of the things you most often hear parents or primaries saying to our kids when they are in the dining hall (which is called ZK) “No running in ZK”.  About a dozen Oakers contribute to this blog, which has been running since May of 2013.

slow speed limit sign TO

Two of the Running in ZK contributors, adder and Keegan, have spun off on their own internet presence called Commune Dads which is actually a pod cast more than a blog site, but these things blur these days.  

commune dads

Commune Dads is up to its 6th podcast now (which is on the mixed blessing of grandparents).  And while the lessons are drawn from commune life experience, as with many of the things we find here, important elements are exportable to mainstream life.

Pam was the garden manager for 20 years.  She has written a book called Sustainable Market Farming and there is a blog site to support the book with the same name.

pams book cover

Last and certainly least is my blog, Funologist.  First off, it is only about 20% about Twin Oaks.  The other parts are on polyamory, the evils of nuclear power, Point A adventures to start new urban communities, impeding Trumps latest madness, or curious thought pieces on constructing super memes. This all said, I still get people who friend me on Facebook because they searched for communes and kept finding my stuff.


Blogger and his muse

If Facebook is your preferred point of entrance to the world, we have several presences there, including:

Toms flowers