East Wind is located among the beautiful Ozark hills of rural southern Missouri. Our land encompasses a total of 1,045 acres, which includes 190 acres of adjacent land leased from the Army Corps of Engineers. Over 700 acres of our land has been set aside as a type of nature preserve, and the remaining 345 acres hold our infrastructure and pastures. Crystal clear Lick Creek flows through and around the property before draining into Norfork Lake. Numerous walking and hiking trails and a few dirt roads run through the community proper and the pristine wilderness that surrounds it. The wilderness found here is beautiful, lush, and biodiverse. Glades and ravines, caves and jumping cliffs, swimming holes and rock beaches, and a wide variety of plant, tree, and animal life provide endless adventure for those with a love of nature. Our bylaws commit us to creating an ecologically sound lifestyle. We engage in many agricultural activities including growing and preserving vegetables, cultivating orchards, growing herbs and making medicines, cultivating edible mushrooms, growing and cutting hay, and raising cattle, chickens, pigs, and goats. We practice sustainable forestry and monitor our effects on the forest and the land.
The forest is home to a wide range of trees including varieties of black and white oak, hickories, black walnut, red cedar, yellow pine, dogwood, ash, mulberry, hackberry, persimmon, and sassafras, among others. Some wild edible and medicinal plants easily found here include chickweed, cleavers, dandelion, passionflower, chicory, chives, mullein, nettles, burdock, self-heal, plantain, and yarrow, among many others. The woods are teeming with an abundance of animal life including deer, squirrels, coyotes, armadillos, raccoons, groundhogs, skunks, snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, etc. The skies are populated with blue jays, cardinals, black vultures and turkey vultures, owls, turkeys, and the occasional bald eagle, etc. The creek is home to many forms of aquatic life including crawdads, carp, trout, gar, bass, blue gill, and many more.
Bob cats and mountain lions are natural to this area, though these animals are almost never sighted near East Wind. Wildlife to watch out for include two types of dangerous spiders (brown recluses and black widows), a variety of snakes (including rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths), and not least importantly, ticks. To quote an East Winder, “There are a million things can get you in the Ozarks; 999,999 of them are ticks.” Ticks can carry Lyme’s disease anywhere, though it is not particularly common in this part of the country. Ticks are extremely pervasive in the summer and fall, and a person can easily become covered in hundreds of baby ticks (called seed ticks) by brushing up against the wrong plant or grass. The main problem this poses to us is extreme itchiness during the warmer months.
We usually see our first frost of the year around late October. The winters are generally mild, though we do occasionally see snow. Though the daytime temperatures through the winter months average in the 40s and 50s and nights usually range in the 20s and 30s, we occasionally see beautiful 60 and even 70 degree winter days. The summers are hot and humid, occasionally reaching above 100 degrees (many East Winders choose to take frequent breaks at our creek during this type of weather). The beauty of the fall is often surreal; oak leaves and acorns carpet the forest floor as dogwoods reveal soft red and pink hues, hickories shine bright yellow, and pines and cedars remain dark green through it all.
The majority of our buildings are scattered on a ridge that runs north to south. The south end of the ridge overlooks a beautiful valley, our pastures, the trees lining the creek, and the densely wooded hills beyond. Our water source is our well, which taps a deep aquifer and is capable of serving the needs of a village size population. Our land could one day support hundreds of people, but our infrastructure presently permits only sixty. Even at our current size, we are deeply aware of the ecological implications of all our actions and mindful to engage in sustainable practices as much as possible. We are grateful that the universe has provided us with a place of such beauty, harmony, and diversity to call our home, and we intend to do everything within our power to keep it that way.