Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No More Porch on the Old Log Cabin

We purchased the Elderberry property about 10 years ago.  There were about a dozen old structures on this farm property when we bought it, some of which we have been able to save as we developed the property.  Among these is the original, hand-hewn log house that was on this farm.  It is tiny - just one log room, one adjacent room and an upstairs.  We have not yet decided how to use the structure, but we have decided to preserve it.  Someday it might become a guest house, or a house for a Woofer (World Wide Organic Farming internship program) or an Airbnb, or just a cool storage building.  Last year we added a new floor and new roof.  This coming year we will begin working on protecting the logs.  On one side of the house, the logs are currently exposed, but on the rest of the house, they are covered with old wood siding, which has protected the logs for nearly 100 years (we are exploring the home's history with help from our county's Registrar of Deeds).  Both the front and back of the house originally had porches.  The south porch was already nearly collapsed when we bought the property.  The north porch was in pretty bad shape, but it served a purpose  - for a long time, as we were clearing the land and building the common house, that porch was a protected area where we had lunches, stored tools, and gathered in the rain.  Today...... we tore it down.

David and Dick started the project by removing the old, rusty tin from the top.  Richard joined in and the three of them dismantled the supports under the rafters. We had a truly beautiful day for this job - pretty darned warm for December!

Dick and Richard had to figure out which boards to pry off (and which to not take off, since they are standing under it!

David took off some of the structure on the side of the roof to free up the rafters.

They used Zeke (a Kawasaki Mule that had been named) to pull out all of the posts, but the structure was still surprisingly stable.

They hooked the freed-up corner to Zeke with a chain, and Zeke pulled......

 And down it came! 

After the dust settled, the guys went to work tearing apart the boards.  These old boards were strong, heavy, rough-cut timbers so we pulled nails to save the boards for another project - maybe shoring up another little log structure we have!
Mike joined in and worked to dismantle the floor
David pulled lots of nails!  The job wasn't completely finished today, but not much more effort will be needed on our next workday.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Jamboween

On the Saturday before Halloween, the Elderberry and Potluck Farm communities team up to host a huge Halloween bash.  This year the weather was absolutely perfect - enough clouds to keep the temperature balmy, but few enough that we could see the stars and watch the moon slide across the night sky throughout the evening.  We always invite a lot of friends to this party, and this year we had a ton of kids, who had a blast pressing apple cider, carving pumpkins, going on the hay rides, playing corn hole and generally being wild and crazy.  The adults had fun too.... eating veggie chili, potluck yummies and an awesome bbq pig that Kenny cooked up on his new cooker.  And of course we had our favorite band, the Gravy Boys, who have been playing at this party for 11 years, and who lead us in dance and song.

The party really gets rolling after dark, but I didn't take any after-dark photos!

The Gravy Boys setting up

Jim getting the cider press going.  Older kids love this as much as the younger ones.

Food tables!!  On the right side of the table is one of our newest associate members, Mindy Neal

We make the veggie chili in a huge 6 gallon cast iron pot, and by the end of the night is GONE.  We had lots of helpers this year a couple of hours before the party.... David, Diana, Karolyn and Jack all helped chop onions, peppers and garlic ,and open lots of cans of beans!

We start a big bonfire for warmth (not needed this year), S'more making and heating up the cider.  And just because people love hanging around bon fires!

David, Diana and Karolyn chowing down (Kenny's new red cooker in the background)

Carl, Vonda and Cheryl found food too!

Kids getting started on pumpkin carving.  Every year each pumpkin gets a ribbon for "best something" (best smile, scariest, most toothy.....)

Cecil (the wizard) helping himself to some tasty bbq with Kenny, the bbq master, in the background.  Kenny also made 3 awesome bbq sauces this year.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Fun!

Hi Folks!!!! I have not taken the time to update our blog in a while and so much is happening!!!  We had a couple of fun workdays in Oct, and also an Open House that was very well attended.  We would like to welcome Mindy Neal, Barbara Cole and Linda Miller - all new associate members.  We still have two homes left for sale and we welcome visitors!  Our newest adventure is putting in a little pizza oven, which allows us to make pizzas and have them for lunch together on our workdays (or any other time we want wood fired pizza!).  The first firing of the oven was on our last workday, and it worked all too well!  It got up to about 900 degrees and stayed there!!  Mary didn't want to delay lunch while we waited for the over to cool down to about 500, so we had burned pizzas.  Hopefully at our next workday they will be a bit better :)

Barb helping to clean up an area that we seeded at our last workday.  
Grass is actually growing there now!

David clearing some trees that we cut behind one of our barns.

View of the south quad - the last of our homes to be completed.  Two of these are for sale.  Check out information on our website for sizes, floor plans and prices.

The gardeners have been so busy!  We have 3 huge group gardens and an area for individual gardens.  The group gardeners have been very kind in sharing excess produce (and they also take some to our local food bank).  The lettuce has been amazing!

Folks sitting around taking a break and having lunch together~

Joyce helping to lay straw on the newly laid seed in front of our old log cabin.

Vonda, Joyce and Rosemarie in our common house, getting ready for the Open House

Joyce and Karolyn at the Open House - we had loads of good treats for our guests.
We are good at making great food together!

Vonda and Karolyn, who were later joined by others, getting ready to start tearing down an old barn on the east side of the property.  Inside were many treasures - very old (horse-drawn) farming implements!

The first firing of the pizza oven.  If it works well we will put it on a more permanent base!

Cheryl, Mike and Mary (the art committee) took on the job of making improvements to a little pump house on the property.  They washed it, added some decorative fascia, and plan to paint it and add some art in the window.  Look for the before-and-after views in a later blog!

Cheryl preparing fascia boards and Mike cutting soffit.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gorgeous Weather for Our Workday

We had a workday on Saturday and it was such a lovely day to be outdoors.  In the morning, a crew worked to clean up the area east of our front entry.  It looks so much better!  They also moved a lot of rocks (yes, we have a LOT of rocks) and several people worked on smaller tasks as well.  We had visitors from Boston - Jim and Peggy - who are long-time friends of our members Richard & Karolyn.  Jim and Peggy are starting an urban co-housing community in Boston, so we were comparing notes about development challenges and meeting process.  So much to learn from one another!

We had a good business meeting (ended 30 minutes early - that NEVER happens!) and a great potluck.  Hope this lovely fall weather continues!

Watch this space..... in a few short weeks we will be launching our new website!!  And a couple of other events for those interested....

  • We will be having an open house from 1-4 on Oct 15th
  • We will be having our annual Halloween Jamboree on Oct 28th from 4pm - midnight or so

Contact us if interested in either or both events!

Lunch together at our workday

Mike and Cheryl did a little babysitting for Mary's grandkids

A bit hard to see here, but this front lawn area used to be a MESS of erosion control pit and debris.

Richard and Jim - part of the rock-moving crew!

The final quad.  Two of these homes are now for sale.

Vonda heading to help the rock movers - the tractor is a lot easier that wheelbarrows for the biggest rocks!

At the potluck dinner following our monthly business meeting

Cheryl and Kelly enjoying a lovely day on Cheryl's porch

Friday, September 1, 2017

New Pedway, New Residents, and New Picnic Tables

Well, it's been almost 2 months since my last blog - not because there is nothing happening at Elderberry, but because I took a 5 week vacation!  It was so great to come home to see Elderberry becoming even more beautiful!  While I was away the new pedway was put in and the erosion control pits (huge pits that were required during construction) were filled in and smoothed over.  Wow - what a difference that makes!

We also got the occupancy permits on the final 4 homes this month.  Members have moved into two of those homes - Mike Moore moved into his tiny house (350ft2) and David and Diana DenBeste moved from Nebraska into their new home.  David and Mike have both jumped in by joining our new Work Coordinating Committee, and Diana is a massage therapist who LOVES to give massages at no cost as her contribution to the community.  Awesome on all counts! The last two homes are now for sale and we welcome visitors!

We also had some sad news while I was away.  One of our members, Leslie, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  This will be the first big challenge for us all in how we can love and support our members during the most difficult stage of life.  Right now, Leslie is doing great and was digging out a huge stone with a mattock at last Sunday's workday!

Over the past few weeks, Dick and David worked together to build three new picnic tables to put near the pond at Potluck Farm.  This is a great example of our two communities working together.  Potluck Farm is a 27-year-old community adjacent to Elderberry (5 members of Potluck Farm have moved or are planning to move to Elderberry to downsize).  The two communities share the common house (at Elderberry), and trails, pond and gazebo (at Potluck Farm).  For the last 20 years there have been three sturdy picnic tables at the pond.  But lately they haven't been so sturdy.  So Dick volunteered to make new tables, Potluck Farm put up the money, and Dick and David built them.  Today they moved the tables over the to the pond.  Time to plan some al fresco dining!

David, Dick (and Riley) working on one of the tables

Dick taking a break to give one of the donkeys a treat - they are very curious about the project!

David and Dick moving the tables to the pond

The picnic tables on the dam left of the gazebo - ready for use!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

65 Years Together

On July 1st we had a surprise anniversary party for Dick and Nancy, who are celebrating 65 years together.  It was truly a surprise - they thought they were coming over for the weekly pizza night dinner, and entered the common house to hear the Mendelssohn wedding recessional!  We had delicious food, festive decorations, and an excellent DJ, thanks to Kelly.  Kelly also sang one of the most popular songs of 1952 - You Belong to Me.  We had a photo board of their decades together, a 1952 trivia game, and a champagne toast.  And, somehow we ended up with NINE half-gallons of ice cream in the freezers, so we are thinking we should have an ice cream social on the 4th of July!

Jan and Ann - both neighbors of Elderberry.  Photo board in the background
 Miles (Dick and Nancy's great grandson) enjoying the balloons with Richard, Dale, Leslie and Phil
 Dancing to 50's music - Marjorie nabbed Dick and Michael nabbed Nancy!
 Dick and his daughter-in-law Mary

Richard and Nancy (she said she is too short to hug Richard, but it seems to work!)
 Chuck and Phil chatting by the food feast
 Dick and Nancy blowing out the candles on their cake (Elderberry's favorite cake - Bobby Boyle's Mother's Carrot Cake, compliments of Karolyn!)
 Dick and Nancy enjoying their favorite desserts
 Kelly singing You Belong To Me - thank you Kelly!!
 Dick and Nancy's son Chris making a champagne toast

Kelly and Mary dancing to something!
 Teams working at the 1952 trivia quiz - Kelly, Meg, Anna, Jan, Phil and Maggie
 Another team working the trivia quiz - David, Rosemarie, Leslie and Marj
 And the team that did the best (maybe because Mary accidentally gave Chuck the answer key!) - Karolyn, Chuck and Ann