Monday, February 29, 2016

Bella Vista!

Someone mentioned to me this week that people reading our blog might think that all we do is work!  While it is true that we have 2 workdays per month and that we do much of the work required to create and maintain our community by ourselves, we have plenty of time for play (and work can be play too!)

Tonight is a music night (we have them twice a month), Wednesday night is bookclub, Saturday is a community fire at neighboring Potluck Farm, next week there is a discussion on the book Die Wise, and on the 12th we're having a meeting to talk about our vision, our personal inspirations and how to make it really live at Elderberry.  And that's just the next two weeks!  We eat together once or twice a month, sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneous (we hope to do this more when we are all living there).  And of course all of our activities are voluntary - we all have different interests!

Today we did have another workday, this one at Bella Vista.  Bella Vista is a 11.5 acre piece of property that is jointly owned and maintained by Elderberry and neighboring Potluck Community Farm.  It has a beautiful view, and we are working over time to maintain the view by keeping the hilltop cleared (it was clear cut before we bought it).  There are a LOT of rocks, which makes this task challenging.

Today was sunny and 68 degrees and a handful of hardworking souls came out to enjoy the perfect weather and to help move rocks so that Phil could bush hog. We definitely got our exercise!

 Marj, Jim, Cathy, Dave and Mary (Dick taking the photo!)  Where the rocks are too large to remove, we build cairns on them so that they can easily seen by someone on the tractor doing the mowing.  Beautify and useful structures!

 Phil driving doing the bush hogging and helping to pry up the big rocks with the front end loader

 Jim, Marj, Dave, Mary and Dick
 There are going to be a lot of cairns!

 This is our usual spot at Bella Vista to watch sunsets and moon rises.  After working we all chilled out and watched Phil finish the bush hogging.

Looking better (there are still a lot more rocks!!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter Workday

It has been unseasonably cold in February.... and unseasonably warm!  We've had a few nights in the teens and a few days where the temps stayed below freezing.  We have also had lovely days in the mid 60s.  On Sunday, our workday was a cold one. Then we got snow on Monday, rain Monday night and temps in the 60's and sunshine Tuesday (today)! Anyway, most of the time our winters are lovely - temps around 50 and lots of sunshine.

On Sunday we had a lot of activity!  We replaced part of a deck, had a solar committee meeting, had a hot cider happy hour at our new bridge, held our monthly meeting and shared dinner together.  We also enjoyed having a very lovely visitor, Cheryl Day, who decided to join as an associate member.

 Dave, Dick, Pat and Richard working to replace a piece of the common house deck that had to be removed for some electrical upgrading.  It required a good bit of digging into frozen ground!

 Planning how to move the deck section with the tractor

 Actually moving the deck section...

..... and setting it in place.
 They did an amazing job!
 Richard and Pat figuring out where to lower the section

 Karolyn, Rosemarie and Mary jumped in to help lift and position the section (and Riley the dog tried to help but she's not very strong :)).  Karolyn and Joyce (and maybe others but I was indoors by then!) screwed all the deck boards back down.  So now we have our deck permanently in place so the Art committee can put up the screen that hides the electrical boxes and the Landscape committee can fix the little garden that was torn up by the project.  Progress!

 The solar committee met with the buildout committee and talked about all of the places we plan to put solar panels, including in this field, in the parking area, and on the roofs of south-facing homes.  We hope someday to generate all of our own power.  Above are Mike, Dave, Cecil, Pam, Mary and Rosemarie.

 In the afternoon we met at the newly built bridge over a creek that the Potluck kids always called The Impossible Stream (because it was impossible to cross without getting your feet wet).  Well, now it's possible!  We had hot cider and did a little dancing on the bridge!  Above, Mike, Cynthia, Marj, Meg and Dick.

 Rosemarie, Joyce and Joan join the party!

 A cider toast!
 Maggie and Joyce
 Cynthia, Marj, Dick, Maggie and Mike enjoying cider

 We had a good bit of rain last night.... here's a photo of the creek from the bridge - a perspective we couldn't get before!