Sunday, September 10, 2023

Elderberry Arts & Crafts Show and Sale: September 23, 2 - 4 pm

Saturday, September 23, 2 - 4 pm

Elderberry Cohousing Community
60 Elderberry Lane, Rougemont

Rain or shine – at our log cabin and common house.

Come enjoy a rare chance to see and buy local art and crafts made by members of Elderberry Cohousing and friends! 

These will include barn quilts, pottery, jewelry, potted native plants, original printed cards, painted rocks, crocheted handbags, semi-precious stones, wood carvings, and wall art of tiny paper quilts, crocheted hangings, and resin art canvases. 

Please bring CASH or CHECKS if you wish to purchase something.

Some of the craftspeople displaying art:

Mike: Barn quilts and 

framed cut paper quilts

Richard: Native potted plants 

from Elderberry’s nursery

Meredith: Resin art and painted stones 

Mary: Eclectic surprises 

(maybe print & sewing projects) 

for barter

Kate: Hand built pottery and 

polymer clay jewelry

Jamie: Crochet art

Wyatt Davis: 

Native American stone pipes, 

stone pendants, carved walking sticks and 

canes, and wood-burned artwork on
keepsake and jewelry boxes


Spinning wheel and weaving demonstration


Original printed cards with images 

of her collages, 

handmade gift certificates
for massages, and small framed collages.

Becky and Ken: 

Native American artifacts,
bone knives and hand-cured leather,
including hides and furs


Variously cut semi-precious stones


Home-canned items (figs, pickles), 

plants, vintage jewelry


Kombucha to share and
some jars of scoby to give away

There will also be tours of Elderberry. And folks will be demonstrating their work and happily talking about the crafts and art they enjoy!  

Please join us!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

And the Winner is...

On Mon, April 3 2023 12:18:35 PM, Keith Lawrence wrote:

Subject: And we have a Winner!

We have a Winner! And this winner is kind and funny who likes to dance, garden, read, sew and lose at pinochle (OK, maybe not so much the last one.) All hail Joyce — and her home-state UConn Huskies — for winning this year’s riveting Mulch Madness.

So the obvious question that remains is how will the suddenly sports-obsessed Elderberry community fill the void for another year. Well, this week is the Masters; we could have everyone pick a name of a golfer out of a bucket hat. The winner could receive some hideous plaid golf shorts. The possibilities are endless!

Thanks to all three of you who have followed along. It's been a fun ride, and we are already looking forward to MM24. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Elderberry Embraces Mulch Madness

In the history of marketing, Mulch Madness will never rival the success of, say, the shampoo industry, which somehow got the public to buy twice as much product by including “rinse, repeat” on its bottles.

But getting a group of non-sports fans excited about the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was never going to be an easy sell. The wonderful folks at Elderberry are keenly interested in gardening and hiking and living cooperatively, not who the 3 seed is out West. Or, for that matter, how do you fill out one of these blasted tournament brackets.

But when it was suggested we have a contest – is that allowed in cooperative culture? – for last year’s NCAA tournament, there needed to be the right structure and incentive. Because no one in Elderberry – other than Mary Kay and Keith – even followed college basketball, we decided everyone would select a team name out of a hat that corresponded with the 16 teams left after the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend. Then, to build excitement, we needed a prize – and a catchy name -- that would grab the community’s interest. Thus, Mulch Madness (not yet trademarked) was born.

Last year’s inaugural winner was Karolyn, whose excitement of getting a bag of mulch was tempered by the knowledge that Mary Kay had created a trophy that had to be prominently displayed in the winner’s house. Now that Karolyn, and Florida Atlantic, are in the Final Four, she is torn between being the repeat winner and having to stare at that dang trophy for another year. 

What follows are the series of messages surrounding this year’s tournament that offer a glimpse into how a non-sports, non-competitive community grew to embrace Mulch Madness. 

On Thu, 16 Mar 2023 12:18:35 PM, Keith Lawrence wrote:
Subject: Mulch Madness!

Yes, it is Christmas Day in March for college basketball fans (except maybe Tar Heel fans, whose team somehow didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament even though a toothpaste — Colgate — did)! 

On Monday, we will be down to 16 teams, which means we will be selecting out of a (Duke) hat which team may win you the coveted bag of mulch and nifty Mary Kay-designed trophy. Since we number more than 16, we will try to ensure each house gets one selection — those families with COVID are disqualified — and then any leftover slots will be given out to those at Good Night.

The excitement is real; good luck to all!

Received: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 012:27:58 PM, Mary Kay wrote:
Subject: Mulch Madness!

That comment about Colgate was uncalled for. Hahaha!

And in case you’re wondering who I’m rooting for without the Tar Heels, Purdue has a player that’s 7’4”…jus’ sayin’.

Beware the 5-12 curse Duke!!! 😈

I also want to note that the current trophy holder is allowed to modify/embellish the trophy as they see fit before passing the baton.

Mary Kay

Received: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 01:05:58 PM, Vonda wrote:
Subject: Mulch Madness!

OK you can count on this house here will have COVID by Monday!!!   :-)    😃😃


On Fri, Mar 24, 2023 at 1:14 AM, Keith Lawrence wrote:
Subject: Mulch Madness update

After a super-exciting night of athletic competition, four mulch-owning wannabes — Chuck/Elissa, Mike, Chuck/Barb and Meg — grab a crying towel as their respective teams fail in their pursuit of the coveted chopped-up wood product. 

Advancing are Don/Theresa (Kansas State), which won the tournament’s most exciting game to date, Marjorie (with perennial also-ran Gonzaga), Joyce (and her home-state UConn) and defending champion Karolyn/Richard, whose upstart Florida Atlantic team isn’t about to  relinquish the stylish trophy that graces their window without a fight! 

The other 8 teams are in action tonight, and by Monday we will be down to four!
Good luck.

Received: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 03:21:31 AM, Diane wrote:
Subject: Re: Mulch Madness update

I am so excited, I can’t sleep! My team Texas will be playing Xavier, a worthy opponent, but I can’t help but feel that the mulch is MINE!


Received: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 07:28:17 AM, Karolyn wrote:
Subject: Re: Mulch Madness update

And I made sure that Florida Atlantic beat Tennessee (sorry Barb & Chuck) - just for Duke and our Mulch Madhatter!


Received: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 08:03:56 AM, Joanna wrote:
Subject: Re: Mulch Madness update

Wow! You got the power!


Received: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 08:25:21 AM, Joyce wrote:
Subject: Re: Mulch Madness update

I guess the holder of the trophy still manages acts of magic! And I understand UConn ran circles around Arkansas! Just saying, I’m starting to look for that perfect trophy location...


On Sun, Mar 26, 2023, at 8:04 AM, Keith Lawrence wrote:
Subject: A tribute to our defending champion

Now that defending champ Karolyn (and her 9th-seeded Florida Atlantic Owls) have defied the odds and clawed their way to the Final Four, I think a tribute is in order.

If you would please beg my pardon

But a Karolyn win could cause arteries to harden

So, sweet woman, for goodness sake

Give the rest of us a break

And just return to your precious ______.

Keith Lawrence

On Mar 26, 2023, at 8:09 AM, Joyce wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion




Received: Sun, 26 Mar 2023 08:20:59 AM, Marjorie wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion

In the spirit of “sort of” cooperation I have decided to become a fan of Karolyn’s team - Atlantic something…? I like seeing that trophy in the window so I am now an official cheer member of team Karolyn- ok Karolyn? 😁 Go Karolyn!!

PS this loyalty will last as long as team Karolyn is winning


Received: Sun, 26 Mar 2023 08:23:03 AM, Mary wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion

Hi all!

Here in OH I have a nephew who is doing great with his bracket. His strategy was to map all the teams and choose the winners in order of their proximity to Disney World. So with both FL Atlantic and Miami still in he’s doing very well!

Cold and nasty here but having fun with all the relatives. Miss you all!


On Mar 26, 2023, at 6:00 PM, Karolyn/Richard Mangeot wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion

I have remained silent until now, mostly because I was dumbstruck by the limerick and wanted to wait until I could send my "guard in." But now that I know the Evensens' Aztecs will be fighting the Mangeots' (well, mostly one Mangeot) Owls - game on! Wait, wait, no. The trophy would look great up around 102 EB Lane! 

A recovering competitive former trophy winner


On Sun, 26 Mar 2023 07:18:00 PM, Joyce wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion



On Sun, Mar 26, 2023 at 8:57 PM Keith Lawrence wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion

First rule of fandom is never cross the basketball gods. Diane learned this painful lesson tonight. At Good Night, Mary Kay reported that Diane’s team, Texas, was comfortably ahead of Miami in the second half, giving Diane the false hope that she surely would advance. She even mused about spreading the victorious mulch in her yard. Ah, rookies! By now you should have guessed that Miami rallied, sending Mary into the Final Four and Diane into a downward spiral. 

Fortunately, she can ease her pain with the knowledge she is about to embark on a 10-day trip to Italy this week. Still, we wonder as she gazes in awe at the Coliseum whether thoughts of the winning trophy will spoil the moment.

By now you may be wondering how Miami coming back and winning has anything to do with the transitive property — you remember from math that if a>b and b>c, then a>c. Well, Duke has beaten Miami twice this year, so should Miami win it all this year, shouldn’t the transitive property give the trophy to Duke. No? A guy can dream, can’t he.

Now, back to the tourney. Our four finalists are Mary, Jeff/Anne, who have San Diego State, plus Joyce (UConn) and Karolyn/Richard (Fla Atlantic). Here at Mulch headquarters, our crack research team (yes, they are on crack) found that San Diego State’s mascot, the Aztecs, developed writing skills and a calendar but also were a fierce and unforgiving people who sacrificed humans to please their gods. Now how Jeff and Anne can support that agenda will be something worth watching this week.

So good luck to our finalists. The semi-finals are Saturday and the final game is Monday. I hope we can watch some of the games together in the Hive!

Keith Lawrence

On Mon, Mar 27, 2023, Diane wrote:
Subject: Re: A tribute to our defending champion

What's worse than being a rookie? A presumptuous rookie, as I learned last evening. I do thank Keith for coming over after the game (he probably knew I was not watching), breaking the awful news, and making sure I was still breathing. 

I consoled myself with a simple dinner of hot popcorn, cold beer, and the realization that I could now turn my attention away from trophy altar-building, toward a crash course in Italian. I will send photos of the Coliseum to anyone who would like to pick up that building project and wants inspiration. 

Since I will not be here for the final games, I'll just say now that I am pulling for Karolyn/Richard, so they may admire the trophy 24/7 for another 365. 


Friday, March 3, 2023

Trout Lilies on the Trail


Don’t step on the trout lilies please

tiny bright yellow blossoms

along the trail

even right in the middle of the trail

which is why I must ask you

to watch where you put your feet

because you are stepping on them

smashing them flat

so am I.


First there was one flower

then four then dozens

when it’s chilly and rainy

they don’t open up at all

they’re hard to see like that

but their green speckled leaves 

are everywhere

I guess they like the trail

because there is more sun.


They are shy the trout lilies

won’t even turn their faces toward you

they mostly seem to look down

making photographs difficult

you almost must lie down on the trail

to fully enjoy their lovely little flowers

several weeks from now

they will be gone replaced

by the symphony of spring flowers

that will emerge in the woods


So please don’t step on the trout lilies.

By Cheryl Lawrence

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Images of Elderberry

This spectacular sunset went on for almost half an hour. I took so many amazing shots at Goodnight and was thrilled to finally get this image along with several spectators.

Finn occasionally makes his guest appearance in my photos. This was an early morning walk alongside Mary Kay’s home. A fading palette of fall colors are still evident but winter is definitely creeping in.

As the weather turns cold the gardeners prepare the winter beds for dropping temperatures. We finally got two inches of much needed rain the day before and everyone, including the plants, were relieved. Drops of rain on the kale reflect the light like small prisms and there’s a magical misty quality to the morning.

Normally the hub of the community, the Central Circle was quiet and still. Early mornings seem to be reserved for birds, Finn and me.

I’ve noticed many of my photos seem devoid of people. But then I’m usually out pretty early each morning when my only dependable model is Finn. I can usually count on a crowd for potlucks, meetings, and Goodnight (a tradition started almost three years ago as the pandemic was clearly limiting how we could safely meet with each other). Usually there’s a lot of animated conversation. Here the weather was perfect to get outside and catch up with each other!

I have a very unusual plant, affectionately called “Ugly Plant” but in truth, a Night-blooming Cereus. This plant has limited qualities, shall we say, as plants go. It’s loaded with prickers, gets spindly and takes over window space. But once a year each blossom blooms for one night only. It’s worth the wait!

When I first moved to Elderberry I was amazed at the expansive sky. Elderberry is located on the top of a ridge, so we usually have a soft breeze in the summer, and spectacular skies year round. I happened to catch Richard walking up the pedway with these sun struck clouds overhead.

One evening I was walking laps around the pedway to reach 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. On my last lap, as I approached home, the lights from my kitchen looked so inviting.

Almost the a quintessential view of Elderberry! This seemed such a delightful lineup of wheelbarrows, just being lite by the morning sun, and a lovely representation of our work ethic—lots of variety and sizes! 

After many days of gloom, cold temperatures and rain (but no snow, unfortunately) we had a glorious morning! I stepped out to hike. After a long stretch of drought it was wonderful to see the stream crossing the Old Road Trail running fast and singing.

Late summer, early September, sunflowers grow in profusion at Elderberry. These appeared quite happy along the drainage ditch beside the pedway. 

On the north side of the South Quad is a glorious swale. Landscaped with perennials, well-placed rocks and steps, the large rock in the lower left is a preferred survey perch for Finn.

Early morning fog adds so much atmosphere to the landscape, a nice counterpoint to Finn moving through the vine-tangled gateway.

Marjorie and Mary bought a Blue Nissan Leaf, the first all electric, co-shared vehicle in the community. To celebrate it’s arrival, they drove along the pedway at Goodnight handing out cookies and batteries!

Wander down beyond the dog park, across Dean Duke Trail and into the meadow in front Vonda and Cecil’s old farmhouse. This is one of my favorite places for early morning explorations with Finn, and for revisiting the farming history of our beautiful land.

For the past few years I’ve used my Iphone to photograph the community. This summer I upgraded to an Iphone 14, with multiple lenses for distance and closeup. One morning I discovered a chrysalis on the tip of my garden glove (I’d left to dry on my boot rack). I took a series of images documenting the development and finally, the emerging Monarch butterfly!

I was out early photographing flowers in Mary Kay’s front bed. I happened to look down the pedway just as the morning sun was striking the trees behind Meg’s house. It was as if the trees were in flame! Within a few minutes this brief spectacle of light was gone.

Text and images by Joyce Hopkins.