Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mary Poppins, Jigsaw Party and Workday

How's that for a multi-event blog post?!

So much is happening that I need to put several events into one post!

Around Thanksgiving we had community members participating in a couple of really cool events - one was the Common Women's Chorus - a few members are part of the chorus and the concert was truly beautiful.  The other was our local community theater, showing Mary Poppins, with one of our members- Mickey - playing the role of Mr. Bank's childhood nanny.  Mickey was AMAZING.  She is an astounding actress!

THEN we had a JIGSAW PARTY!  The art committee has planned an artsy fence to cover an electrical system on the site.  In a previous post we shared photos of getting the posts sunk for the structure.  But the fence itself has about 200 curved cuts that had to be made with a jigsaw, and also loads of holes that had to be drilled with a drill press.  So we had a party to try to get it done.  We had four people on jigsaws, one on the drill press, and 2 sanding.  AND we finished all those cuts in less than an hour!!!  THEN we had dessert and sang holiday carols.  FUN. We still have to put the fence up, but the great majority of the work is done.  Watch this space for photos of the finished product (in a couple of months, probably:))

Today we had a workday, a meeting and a potluck meal. The key project was building another of our paths, and we made excellent progress.  The meeting was good, but we are still learning the new decision-making process, so it's a bit slow going.  The potluck was delicious!!  We celebrated Karolyn's birthday with a tasty carrot cake.  On Dec 19th we have another birthday...... Rose is turning 101.  Wow.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!
Mickey (in between Mr and Mrs Banks!)

Dick at the drill press

David at one of the jigsaw stations

Joyce at another of the jigsaw stations

Mickey sanding the saw cuts

Mike and Ann were also sanders

The crew with jigsaws!!!!!!!
Ann, David, Leslie, Joyce, Mary, Dick Mickey and Mike (Kelly and Meg also came to help, but we got done so early that they came just in time for dessert!)

Workday on Dec 11th - working on the new path
Mickey, Leslie, Cheryl, Rosemarie and Dick

Putting down the ground cover and putting in the edging (I caught Dave in a photo!!!)

 Leslie learning to use the power wagon

 Leslie, Dave and Rosemarie dumping the gravel
 Cheryl and Karolyn laying fabric (Richard was also hauling gravel and Mike was using the tamper - missed getting photos of them!)

Elderberry Retreat

Nov 19-20th was an amazing Elderberry retreat.  We brought in Laird Schaub and Maria Stawsky to help us improve out meeting skills, as well as our skills in consensus decision making.  What a wonderful weekend!  On Friday night we talked about what is precious to us at Elderberry.  It was really heart-warming to hear the responses.  On Saturday and Sunday we learned a new process for decision making and conflict resolution, and tackled a tough decision that we had been trying to make for a year.  We had always planned to buy one of the Elderberry homes, and eventually to have that possibly be a home for a caregiver.  But we decided instead to not buy it, and to put some of the money into a fund to support aging members, and some of it in a fund to improve infrastructure that addresses safety issues (better walking surfaces, lighting, etc.)  On Saturday night we had a pizza party - great fun!!  In addition to 8 kinds of pizzas, we had great dancing! And Maria told us that she and Laird were VERY inspired by our community (and they have worked with MANY communities).  It was a fantastic retreat.

Mary making pizzas

Dance party!!!

 At the retreat...

Richard and David working on the wood shop (original barn on the property - being restored)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall Activities

We had our first killing frost on Saturday night and woke to a lovely, frosted world Sunday morning.  Sunday was a scheduled workday, and we were prepared for a cold day, but after sharing a tasty breakfast together (thank you Richard!) the weather warmed up quickly and it was a perfect day.  We have lots of ongoing activities at the site, including some fall landscaping and creation of an artsy fence to hide an electrical system on the north boundary of the property.  In addition, we had people weeding and mowing and splitting firewood and a few other tasks.  This month we also had a new roof put on our little log cabin, and Dave pulled LOADS of different varieties of sweet potatoes out of the garden.

Dave has an ingenious way of curing his sweet potatoes.... he puts them in his bathroom with a crock pot full of water to give them the right temperature and humidity to sweeten.  The only problem is getting in and our of the shower....
Karolyn weeding!  She and Richard moved in this month (YEA!!)

Kelly, Leslie, Meg, Mickey and Anna .... and a shrinking pile of mulch

 Dick has split up an impressive pile of firewood!

Nancy, Dick, Cheryl, Anne, Mike, Richard, Rosemarie at our Sunday evening potluck

Richard, Mikey and Dick dig the holes for posts that will support a cool fence to hide this electrical system.  Our electricity is shared (we each pay based on house size), which saves us almost $7,000 per year - and we don't have to have meters on individual homes (but we do have these larger systems that we try to hide because they are pretty ugly!)

Our woods provide some delicious wild mushrooms.  The most common is the chanterelle and it was a great year for those! But on Cathy's birthday, she found a lion's mane mushroom - our favorite and quite rare.  And quite huge!  Kate is checking it out - many people have never seen one.

A view of the common house - lovely fall day

Sunset at Bella vista over the weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October Activities: Reveal party, workday and Halloween Jamboree!

October was a fun-filled month!
On Oct 22nd we had a REVEAL party for Mary's dog Riley.  She had Riley genetically tested to see what breeds she was, and we had a $5 pool for people to guess her top 3 breeds.  We played lawn games in the afternoon, had the REVEAL at 6 and then had a potluck.  Turns out Riley is Chow, Australian Shepherd and Akita, with some herding and terrier breeds mixed in.  Rosemarie came in first place and Cheryl took a very close second.  Rosemarie donated her winnings to a fund that is helping pets lost or abandoned in the hurricane.  Yea for doggie genetics!

The following day was a community workday, and we did a lot of site cleanup.  And the 29th was the annual Halloween Jamboree that has been put on by our sister community (Potluck Community Farm) for 26 years.  Elderberry is now a big part of that event as well.  We have a great band, roasted pig and veggie chili, hayride, pumpkin carving, bonfire and S'mores, cider making, singing, dancing and more.

AND, this week we had another family move in - welcome Richard and Karolyn!!!!  Their house was completed this week and is lovely.

Richard and Karolyn's house from the adjacent pasture

The North row of homes - now complete!

Common house (we call it the Hive - as it is a beehive of activity)

Riley - she does not look like a chow to me!!!

Playing croquet at the reveal party
 Sarabeth and Cheryl  (Sarabeth won!)
Jim and Dick taking on Mary and Vonda in corn hole (can't remember who won!)

Workday!  Barb and Joan clean out the old chicken coop

Rosemarie was lopping and Jeff was weeding!

Meg and Vonda - hard to mow in tandem

Cheryl teaches us her technique for log rolling (Vonda takes a more traditional approach)

Kelly always watches out for safety and comfort at workdays

 Barb and Joan!

Mary hauling logs with the tractor, helped by Cheryl!

 Dave.   You have to understand that we almost never get photos of Dave because he runs from the camera.  So this is precious!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Very Eventful Weekend!!!!

Well, since our last blog, Leslie DeBaun has joined and purchased the last house in the North Quad.  Welcome Leslie!  And today, Diana and David DenBeste have said they will be joining and buying the Western-most house in the South quad.  Welcome Diana and David!!!  This leaves two homes that are available and should be completed by next summer.  Visitors are always welcome!

This weekend was action packed.  It started with several of our members attending a class in Nonviolent Communication on Saturday.  Then Saturday night we had an AMAZING 60th birthday party for Meg, and Sunday we had a full day of meetings and a tasty potluck dinner.

Meg's party was an absolute blast.  She said for her birthday she wanted 60 songs.  So the 30 or so of us at the party found many creative (and competitive) ways to sing songs and parts of songs.  Even a couple of our gents who are generally pretty reserved were seen rockin' and rollin'.  We had percussion, keyboard, ukulele and trumpet..... and a lot of a cappella.

Birthday girl Meg with her partner Kelly, toasting the birthday with a tasty drink - champagne with elderberry liquor!
Kelly, who has a beautiful voice, sang a lovely, romantic song to Meg - 
and most of us were terribly teary-eyed

Below.... Kelly, Anne, Carl, Joyce, Marj and Amy.  A mix of Elderberry folks, Potluck Farm folks and area friends came for the party.
Rosemarie, Anne, Jeff and Amy at the drink bar!

Two delicious birthday cakes (and a bunch of people)!

 The music was a riot.  Mickey not only has a great voice but is an awesome ukulele player and led us in a game where we had to come up with songs that contained a particular word.  Michael serenaded us with his horn.
Michael, Hart, Anne and Jeff hanging out!

Richard and Jim - looking all too serious :)

We EASILY hit the 60 song mark!  Mickey kept track throughout the evening.

Dave in a very rare moment did a very short dance!!!

 Joyce and Cheryl light the candles.

 Crazy dancing and singing..... to When The Saints Go Marching In.  Hard to get clear photos when everyone is moving!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEG!!!!