Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day at Prairie Hill

 Donna compresses new soil around one of the trees
we planted last fall along Miller Avenue.


 Nan fills a bucket with compost,
to spread around the street trees.


 David shoring up the heaped earth around trees to hold rainwater in.


Littered hillside before trash pick-up today.


 Satisfyingly clean hillside at the end of the day.



AND THEN!!!!
Dan Miller, delivering Troy-Bilt tiller that
he and Margaret are donating to Prairie Hill!


For now, the tiller will reside on the porch of the first stacked flat,
just down the hill from the gardens.

Probably it won't be long before
we'll  have a garden shed at the top of the hill
 and can keep it there.

 One nice thing about having it on the porch
 is that it has the option of an electric starter,
 and the outlet is right behind Dan here. 

We can't WAIT to till up our garden plot with this top of the line machine. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Many Voices, One Song: Shared Power with Sociocracy


Here is a quote from the new book on Sociocracy by Jennifer Ted Rau and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Many Voices, One Song:

"A tree breathes in and changes it as well. What I do here changes how you find the world. And since we are all interdependent, there is no separation between you and me.

And in that sense, we are all one. One big interconnected system of interdependent creatures.

We might feel disconnected because we might have different needs in a given moment. But as living things, we cannot be separated.

All humans share the same basic outfit. All humans all over the world want the same thing. Connection. Purpose. Doing things we are good at and contributing to something bigger than we are. What this might look like might differ but connection is the most basic need there is."

I knew very little about Sociocracy before I discovered Prairie Hill Cohousing. My husband, John, and I had visited a cohousing community in Sacramento, CA near us, where we took a two-hour introduction to Sociocracy. That was it. We didn't move forward with cohousing in California because it was just too expensive. Our dream was shelved until our granddaughter, Vanessa, alerted us to Prairie Hill Cohousing. She worked for the company that was doing the engineering for the project at the time. It took us awhile to pursue our dream because we didn't think we could leave California, our home for the past 30 years. But our interest was piqued when she said ground had been broken and we started exploring the possibility. A trip to check it out and a chance to meet some of the community members led us to make the monumental (for us) decision to become members. Now we have four days left until we get into our car with our dog, Ziggy, for the 1,800-mile trek back to our roots. (I grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, and John in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, so, yes, we know about Midwest winters.)

One thing that helped us choose Prairie Hill was when we learned that Sociocracy would be used for decision making. We learned more about it in a six-week Study Group that we participated in online after joining. What I love about Sociocracy is that it values shared power and being equals in every interaction. It also encourages us to trust each other and the group wisdom. This to me is something that can lead to a much needed culture change.

John says, "I especially appreciate the Rounds. When we participate in Rounds we are assured that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. And, during that process, not only do I get a chance to voice my opinions, but I invariably learn something important when I hear others' views."

After we completed our six-week group study, we decided that we would like to do it again and we invite all members of the community to consider joining us. Times and dates will be announced. It's also a great way for us to get to know each other better. We look forward to building deep connections and we believe learning and practicing Sociocracy is an important way to do that.

Val Bowman

Saturday, April 14, 2018

More Pictures and a Poem

Michele took these pictures this week:
Main second story door on common house is freshly painted! 


And right inside that door our mailboxes have just been installed. 


Up the hill a bit, progress is happening on the second duplex.


And here's a poem that Donna found, which seemed especially appropriate as we downsize and move into our new homes:

The New Life
by Kaye Starbird

Mrs. Otis has sold her house
which makes her various friends assume
that since she has an apartment now
she must be crowded in just one room;

But when I asked how it seemed without
her ancient, rambling country estate,
she gazed around at her rented home
and answered frankly, it seemed just great.

No roofs to mend,
no gardens to weed,
no cats or puppies or fish to feed.
"Why, I can leave on a minute's notice.
a lovely feeling." said Mrs. Otis.

So then I said (since I knew she planned
a trip abroad the following day)
I'd gladly do any household chores
she wanted done while she was away.

And Mrs. Otis replied, "How nice!
I rather hope, if you get a chance,
you'll feed the bird in my cuckoo clock
and water my plastic pansy plants."

Monday, April 9, 2018

Welcome to our Newest Members: Janie Evans and Robert Archer!


Hello there, from Janie and Robert,

We currently live in Cool, California with our 2 cats, Charlotte and Mickey. We have 2 daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, and 2 granddaughters, Madeline and Elise, both of whom live in the San Francisco Bay area. We love to visit with them and their families, and are going to miss them when we move to Iowa City.

Before Cool, we lived in Berkeley, CA where we raised our girls, and moved to the Sierra Foothills when Robert retired from his social work career in 2000. After we moved, Robert resumed social work with another county, and Janie continued her optometry work.

We are very active in our congregation, Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists, most recently Janie on the Social Justice Committee and Robert on the Adult Religious Education Committee.

Some of our favorite activities include hiking, road trips, gardening and babysitting our granddaughters.

We hope to move in to Prairie Hill in 2019!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Donna Rupp's photos of Common House Progress!

The railing along the stairs has been installed in the common house.    
It's just waiting for a coat of paint.


Nearly all the kitchen cabinets are in place.
The counter tops have been ordered
and then it will really look like a kitchen....,
well once we get the appliances.


I opened a door and found an enormous hot water heater.
At least I think that's what it is.
To me it says we're getting close.


This is the activity room,
with a beautiful floor and windows that look out toward Miller Avenue.
I imagined myself on a treadmill
enjoying the view of the redbud trees that we've planted.