Sunday, November 8, 2015

Productive Day at Elderberry!!

A beautiful fall day today!  The leaves have mostly abandoned the trees and the pasture across the little valley is emerging as our winter view from the Common House.

We started the day with coffee, fruit and donut holes, and came up with some great ideas for celebrating the 100th birthday of one of our residents in December.  Then we headed out to work!  Most of us worked on the path to the newest homes, and made great progress.  A few people learned how to fix a plumbing problem, and a few others planned and roto-tilled a new bed for herbs near the common house.

Then we headed in for our business meeting where we finalized our 2016 budget.  Lots of very great projects have been funded!  After all the work we've done over the last month on budget stuff, we decided that most of the meeting should be dedicated to FUN.  So we did an exercise where we all wrote something we've done that might surprise others to learn, and then tried to figure out who wrote what.  Pretty educational..... and hilarious.

After the meeting we enjoyed a tasty dinner prepared by chefs Kelly and Meg and we left a singing telegram for a member whose birthday could not be celebrated as planned tonight because she had to go to a work meeting.  But a highlight of the evening was that one of our members, who loves to carve walking sticks, brought in enough of them for all of us to choose one!  They are lovely!  And perfect to walk the 100+ acres of trails adjacent to our community.

Long and wonderful day!
 Pat and Joyce working on the path to Mara and Joan's houses
 Riley, being Riley
 Vonda - is she laughing or crying.... or praying???
 Pam tilling for a new garden
 Cecil working on his and Vonda's house
 Pat and Rosemarie moving the base gravel
 Jeff and Dick moving the Chapel Hill gravel
Jeff and Rosemaire - Team Gravel Moving!
 Joyce - doing the precision work
 All of the path-builders!

 Vonda working on a puzzle at the common house. She didn't want me to take this photo because she said people think puzzles are old-person activities (and she's not old, of course). But hey - they're fun!
 Checking out all the walking sticks that Dick made
 Hard to see in the photos, but there were many different and beautiful woods used to make these - all gathered from his daily walks on the trails here (and quite a few contributed by beavers)

Everyone with their beautiful walking sticks!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Whoooda thought a budget meeting could be fun??

I must admit that of all the things we do in community - working together, shared meals, salons, music nights, full moon gatherings, trail hiking and all the rest - attending meetings is my least favorite thing to do!  So I wasn't exactly looking forward to our meeting on Nov 1 when we had to figure out, among all the wonderful things on our wish list, which things to fund and which things would have to wait.  This exercise sounded painful, and it seemed there would be a lot of potential for conflict!  Instead, I found myself more than ever loving and appreciating the awesome people in this community!  Over a full day, we prioritized 63 funding requests, found creative ways to fund almost everything that people wanted to do, sang some songs during lulls in the work, and came to agreement on a handful of principles going forward.  For lunch, we had planned a simple meal of soup, bread, salad and dessert.  But the salad was forgotten, and somehow we ended up with a wild array of desserts:  carrot cake, lemon merengue pie, two different brownies, blueberry scones, apple cake, choco chip cookies, tapioca pudding and I may have forgotten one or two.  Maybe it was the sugar that kept us going all day!  That, and having a great facilitator - Joe Cole.  Anyway, we have a budget for 2016 and an exciting list of funded projects to get started on.  For our regular monthly meeting on Nov 8th, we've decided that the main agenda item will be to have fun.  We deserve it for what we accomplished this weekend!!  Visitors are welcome to our meetings - Let us know if you have interest in joining us on the 8th and seeing our progress.
 Joan, Richard, Anne and Jeff  (you can JUST see the recently moved chicken houses and the new metal-working barn out behind the common house)
 Joan and Barb!

 There were 63 funding requests - each on a separate paper, which were spread out on the floor and sorted by the full group into 3 categories.
 Our sorting categories..... We pretty easily identified what we really needed to have and what could wait until after 2016.  But deciding how much to spend on our PASSIONS was the real challenge of the day.
 Vonda, Meg and Kelly over lunch
 Joan, Dave's back, Pam and Mickey, and Karolyn in the corner!
 Prioritizing the Purple Passions
 We gave everything a number from 0-5
 Pam was our spreadsheet queen!!!
 More work on the purple passions.    Below - the full group