Those Danes are a Pretty Clever People

My first batch of Preemie Octopi is already on their way to a NICU.

Some of my favorite things originated in Denmark: wienerbrod*, cohousing, my husband and his family, and, my latest passion, preemie octopi.

The Octo Project started in Denmark in 2013.  The tentacles of the crocheted octopi resemble the umbilical cord and seem to calm the tiny babies and reduce their heart rates.  One parent reported that her baby had pulled out her breathing tube 3 times in one night but stopped as soon as she was given an octopus. When I saw a post on Facebook about preemie octopi, I knew I had to get involved.

Crochet heart for Science Class

I’ve been crocheting since I was a teenager. I started with granny squares and ugly, ill-fitting sweaters. I moved on to items for my science class. Now I’m obsessed with preemie “octos.” My (weird) skills are finally being put to a good use.

I’m now part of  Octopus for a Preemie Canada group. I’ve finished nine octopi so far. It takes me 3 to 4 days to make an octopus as the stitches have to be super tight to make sure the stuffing doesn’t come out. Once I’m done, I sent them off for inspection, washing, and packaging. My octopi are on their way to a neonatal intensive care unit. Maybe to save a few tiny lives.

One of the fun things about my octopi is that I get to name them. I’ve named them after friends, nice nurses at the hospital, the favorite names of my very British sister-in-law, and even Charles Emerson Winchester the Third. (My son’s choice; I think I raised him right.) I want to share that fun.

Everyone that shares this post in the next week will get their name in a draw to win naming rights to one of the four octopi I’ve made for Prairie Spruce. Share this post and put your pick for a name in the comments. When these four beauties are sent for inspection, they will carry the names picked by the winners. ( Yes, one of them is still under construction, but she really, really wanted to be in the picture)

Joanne

*Weinerbrod – what a Danish is supposed to be like.

 

“Christmas Future” in Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing

Here is part three of Christmas Past, Present, and  Future at Prairie Spruce.

In eager anticipation of living in Prairie Spruce Commons in 2018 I recently asked members of our community to share their vision for “Christmas Future” in cohousing. Responses varied from traditional to more “out of the box” thinking, but all promised to be fun and festive.

Picture a BIG Prairie Spruce Christmas tree surrounded by many helping hands, lots of laughter, conversations, and music. People have brought their hand crafted or store bought favourite decorations and share the stories behind each special piece: “my partner gave me this on our anniversary”, “my grandchildren made this for me in kindergarten”, “this came from the old country”, “this belonged to my mother and it reminds me of her in a special way at Christmas”.

Picture and smell the aroma of a turkey feast with all the trimmings in the common dining room. Other favourite dishes from many cultures, including vegetarian fare like the twelve meatless dishes from the Ukrainian tradition or fragrant curried dishes from India also grace the tables. In-house craft wine and beer is on tap, or festive favourites like eggnog and hot apple cider supplement the specialty coffees and herbal teas being offered. Deserts too numerous to mention are available for sampling on a continuous basis.

Picture people coming together for a house concert, watching Christmas movie classics like “A Christmas Carol”, playing cards and board games, working on puzzles or gathering around the piano to sing Christmas carols. At times the Prairie Spruce choir branches out into the neighbourhood singing Christmas carols and bringing seasons greetings to neighbours, local residents, and businesses.

Prairie Spruce members caroling at College Park II

Picture our own community performances. “One of the things I am nuts about during the holidays is staging “The Sound of Music” sing-long-version, complete with costumes. I can already picture community members in the roles of Captain Von Trapp and Maria and then of course there are the nuns and we can only imagine who will step up (some willing and even not so willing) for those outfits.” It may take a bit of courage on our parts but this promises to be a laugh riot.

Of course, Christmas is also about family and friends. So, in addition to the full community events picture smaller households coming together to share personal Christmas celebrations. At the same time out of town visitors, occupying the guest suites or being hosted within “guest” bedrooms in private units, add to the dynamic of the celebrations and extend the community in special ways. Sometime between Christmas and New Years community members with large extended families occupy the common kitchen and dining room to host their annual all-generations get together. A highlight is impromptu performances of children singing and playing musical instruments. Cohousing community members are welcomed to attend.

Picture other community members returning home under bright stars on a holiday winter night. As they enter Prairie Spruce Commons they hear the sounds of celebration and resolve to meet in the dining room the next morning. There they catch up with friends and enjoy coffee or tea and fresh cinnamon buns and haskap jam made with berries from the Prairie Spruce community garden.

So, “Christmas Future” in Prairie Spruce Commons cohousing is something we look forward to. It promises to create many fond memories and new traditions. Of course, Christmas is just one of many holiday traditions we expect to observe in cohousing. As an inclusive and diverse community founded upon the values of respect, caring and sharing we anticipate community members will be eager to share other personal traditions as well. As I think of cohousing I am reminded of a song by the group Timbuk 3 “The Future’s So Bright (I gotta wear shades)”.

 

Christmas Present – Transitions

This is the second part of the three-part series on Christmas past, present, and future.

In my head I keep hearing Tevye,  from Fiddler on the Roof, sing “Tradition”, but my mind keeps changing it to “Transition.” This Christmas is all about transitions. 

Erik Mortensen

I am currently living in a rented house with my husband and in-laws as Prairie Spruce is built. Almost everything I own is packed away in the garage –  including all our Christmas decorations. I’m not feeling too festive right now.

Our son, Erik, is away at school in Vancouver and won’t be home until Dec 17. I’m like a little kid – only ONE more sleep until he is home. It just feels a bit odd not having him around to help with decorating and Christmas baking. 

 

Nisse – I love her hat!

But there are a lot of good things about this Christmas too. 

Our rented house is going to be Christmas Central pretty soon. Eva, my mother-in-law, has done an amazing job of decorating the house. There are little Danish nisser everywhere. They look a bit like elves but are small creatures more closely related to trolls. Years ago on the farm, they would cause all sorts of troubles (think gremlins). The farmer’s wife would put out a bowl of rice pudding for them, and all would be well.

Christmas cookies

Everything in the house is red and white and beautiful. There are already jars of Christmas cookies sitting on the counter. Sadly, they are taped shut. Probably a good idea.

Once Erik gets home, we have plans to go out shopping for new clothes for him. Normally this would not be something I look forward too, but this momma is missing her boy… a lot. It will be great to spend time with him and I might just be able to guilt him into helping me mark exams, although I’m not holding out a lot of hope for that.

Thomas, my brother-in-law,  will be arriving a few days after Erik gets home. In the past, Thomas stayed with the in-laws and we would see him a bit over Christmas. It was a bit of a hassle as Henning and I would work all day, and then either drive out to the farm near Edenwold for the evening or make supper for everyone at our house. Now we will all be together every night, and we don’t have to travel. I’ll still have to cook sometimes, but there will be plenty of help around. It’s really starting to remind me of Christmas when I was a child – busy, and lots of family around. 

On Christmas Eve, we will be joined by my mom and her significant other. They will stay in our bedroom overnight. So we will kick Thomas off the futon, and he will kick Erik off the couch. I told Erik he could sleep in the bathtub for one night. Erik is over 6 feet, so I think we will find an air mattress for him.  

perogies

Murray and Lois, fellow cohousers, will be joining us too. They have some Danish in their background, so it is fun sharing a traditional Danish Christmas with them. We have roast pork with crispy, crunchy skin, caramel potatoes, red cabbage, and perogies. The last part is my influence. I grew up in Yorkton – that should be explanation enough. We will eat huge amounts of rice pudding because somewhere in the bowl is a whole almond. The person who finds the almond wins a prize. The normal tactic is to hide the almond in your mouth and not let anyone know you have it. That way the rest of the people keep eating and looking for the almond. We go to evening service at church and then end the night with singing and dancing around the Christmas tree. This is the second year they have celebrated Christmas Eve with us. The more the merrier.  

Erik and Joanne

Maybe all these transitions will lead to new and wonderful traditions. Gone are my humbug feelings, bring on the holidays….

And only one more sleep until Erik gets home.

Merry Christmas.

Joanne

 

Remembering Christmas Past

This is the first part of a three parts series on Christmas – past, present, and future.

Advent Wreath

When I was a child in the late forties, what comes first to mind thinking of Christmas was all the paper stars with electric lights hanging in everyone’s windows from the first week of December.

In Copenhagen, we lived in an apartment directly across from a five-story apartment complex. The lights were dazzling to a seven-year-old’s eyes. Every home also had an advent wreath made with fir branches with four white candles hanging in red ribbons from a hook. One candle was lit every Sunday until they all were lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

Klejner

The month of December was busy with baking of spice cookies, shortbread cookierings (meant to be used as decoration hung on the tree with red ribbons), klejner (a deep-fried twisted cookie), and different kinds of yeast bread filled with dried fruit.

A nice memory also was the evenings spent with aunts and cousins making paper decorations to be hung on the tree. We made braided hearts and cones of colored paper, and long rows of paper circles joined together as garlands. We cut out angels from white heavy paper and made stars out of narrow strings of paper (these were difficult to make but well worth it. While we children were cutting, braiding and gluing, our aunts were busy making table decorations with evergreen branches, silk bows, pine cones, and a big candle that would last the whole month.

On the 22nd of December, we would go out and buy our fresh Christmas tree to be decorated next day. Because we always used live candles on Christmas Eve on the tree, it was important that the tree be fresh and watched always when the candles were lit. In my whole life, I have never seen a tree burn down, but you had to be to be careful and be prepared with water and a fire extinguisher.

Danish Flags

We had very few, but precious, glass ornaments to hang on the tree, but gladly hung our paper hearts and cones to be filled with candy, peppernusse, nuts and raisins, and not least the shortbread cookierings with red ribbons. All these were decorations to be eaten. As the crowning glory on the tree was the silver star on top, and the garlands of Danish flags wound around the body of the tree.

Coming home in the dark, after the four-pm church service on Christmas Eve, hopefully the snow would be falling, but often not, more likely rain, we would be met with this wonderful aroma from mom’s cooking. She would go to church with us Christmas day.

Our Christmas meal consisted of either goose, duck, or a pork roast with the rind sliced, salted and cooked real crisp. Caramel potatoes were served with white potatoes and brown gravy. The vegetables were pickled red cabbage and peas and carrots. For dessert, we had rice pudding which consisted of rice, milk, whipping cream, chopped almonds, and warm cherry or strawberry sauce on top. In one of the bowls, a whole shelled almond was hidden, and the lucky one would get a prize.

After we had had our fill, it was time to dance around the tree. It is not like dancing, but we would hold hands and form a circle as we sang our favorite Christmas songs and walked around the tree looking out for signs of trouble with candles and paper decorations.

When we were tired from all that singing and walking, we were given gifts. We did not get many, but what we got were precious. Of course, we told our parents our most wanted wish. We were seldom disappointed. We always knew where they came from. My parents never went for the Santa Claus story. It did happen when we were the whole family of aunts, uncles and cousins gathered at grandma’s place that Santa put in an appearance, so we all played along. My best gift would be the money I received so we could go to the used bookstore and I could choose whatever books I liked until the money was gone. Then I was in Paradise.

Regina, Canada, Christmas 2017, Glaedelig Jul Eva Mortensen

Getting to Know the Neighbours

Bur Oak, photo courtesy Matt Levin, Wikimedia Commons

Cohousers are all about community, neighbourhood and lowering our carbon footprint.

As our beautiful building takes shape in Regina’s Canterbury Park neighbourhood, we are getting to know our neighbours.

A sweet arrangement has been made with our neighbours to the east at College Park II Retirement Residence (CP2). We do volunteer work at CP2 in exchange for use of their space for our meetings.

My chosen volunteer work at CP2 is watering trees and picking up garbage from the front and back gardens of this two-block property.

Trees are essential members of any neighbourhood. I notice happiness in getting to know and care for these young trees. Two of our tree neighbour species are Bur Oak and Little Leaf Linden.

Bur oak is a slow-growing, tall deciduous tree with a mature height of 30 to 45 feet and a spread of 20 feet. It has an annual growth rate of 2 to 12 inches and a lifespan of 100+ years. It is native to the eastern prairies.

Little-leaf linden (Tilia cordata) is a medium to large shade tree with a symmetrical canopy that looks at home in formal or casual landscapes. It is easy to care for and needs little or no pruning. In summer it produces clusters of fragrant yellow flowers that attract bees. In late summer, dangling clusters of nutlets replace the flowers.

Earlier this fall Brenda and I were visiting in Vancouver where Nicole my goddaughter introduced me to the Treegator watering system.  Treegators are everywhere.  I ordered one and tried it out the other day when it was still warm.

www.treegator.com

This simple watering system allows young trees to get a good drink and at the same time conserves water and that makes me happy.

Win-win-win.

Ruth

Wildlife Photographer

As a wildlife photographer I really don’t have many skills. I haven’t got a lot of patience, I haven’t got a lot of photography experience, and I like to be moving around. But on a recent trip to a vacant farm yard somewhere in Saskatchewan I finally figured out wildlife photography. You have to have wildlife subjects that want to have their pictures taken. In fact in the case of the attached picture of the moose they run right up to you, pose and give you a perfect photo, well at least by my amateur wildlife photography standards.

Then less than an hour later while walking across the same vacant yard you notice a mule deer about 25 yards away watching you walk towards her. Again as an amateur wildlife photographer with your camera now safely stowed in the truck 25 yards behind you, you do the only sensible thing to do, which is to turn around and walk back to the truck to get your camera to take some more photographs. This of course works because you have a subject that wants their picture taken. The attached mule deer photo is one of several that were taken with a co-operative wildlife subject.

I think with such great photos I will be able to join my cohousing communities elite photography group, well my fingers are crossed anyways.

Neighbours

There is something unique about being a community moving into a community. It seems many of the neighbours in and around Canterbury Park are aware of and interested in Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing. Somehow, I feel larger than myself, or even my family, as I anticipate moving into Prairie Spruce Commons and the Canterbury Park neighbourhood. It is as though I bring the whole Prairie Spruce community with me, and this is like an open door when I am meeting the neighbours.

I have been slowly getting to know our future neighbours and neighbourhood. As a photographer, I am regularly consulting with Laurie at Bird Film. It is fun to stop in at Bib and Tucker and see what new styles Gaynor has on display, and Elyse at Stapleford Health and Rehab did her magic on my shoulder.

Our unit is at the south end of the Prairie Spruce building and the residents at Cedar Wood Manor on Broad Street will be our closest neighbours. Walter, Emmerson, and Vic (not their actual names) have a close-up view of the construction from their lawn chairs at the back of the building. They are out there most days and can give a report on the progress. It is nice to sit with them on a sunny day, see the building taking shape, and hear their perspectives on the construction and the neighbourhood. Recently I was standing looking at the east foundation (adjacent to College Park II) and met Alvin (not his actual name) who also lives at Cedar Wood. It was inspiring to hear his pride in his son who has recently graduated in medicine and is doing his residency in Prince George.

And then there is the natural world neighbours. The copse is a small group of trees at the intersection of College Street and Halifax Street, and was part of the original Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle.  I am grateful that the copse is being beautifully restored by Vince and Joe Fiorante.

In this time of being part of a community moving into a community there always seems to be some new opportunity to get to know one another, and ourselves, in fresh ways

Summer Social at Katepwa Lake

Sunday July 23rd was a lazy, hot, Saskatchewan Summer day. The brilliant blue sky had hardly a hint of cloud to impede the bright yellow sun bathing the cities and countryside alike in its warm glow.
This was the day twenty-two members of the Prairie Spruce Commons cohousing community took a brief hiatus from the mildly oppressive heat in Regina and headed out to the inviting micro-climate of Katepwa Lake, and Dave and Lill’s lake cottage. Everyone was in a celebratory mood and the time was right for a festive summer social.

Folks started to arrive via carpools around 2:00 p.m. They unpacked their potluck food and refreshments, ice coolers and chairs, and of course “Conan the Beagle”, and arranged themselves in friendly visiting fashion under the shade of nearby Ash and Maple trees.

Once everyone had arrived we took a brief time out for Lill’s “tour”. It started with the inside of the cottage where Dave could be heard saying “please move all the way in folks, away from the door, so everyone can get in”, just like in a “real” organized tour. Then it was on to the lake shore, the boat dock, and an assortment of water craft laid out for the visitors to use, and of course more trees.

After that everyone chose their favourite leisure activity, whether lying in the hammock, sitting and visiting, walking the dog, lying on a blanket, or using the paddle boat, and wiled away the afternoon. The snack table and beverage station were near at hand and kept well stocked but it wasn’t long before tummies started growling.
So, we fired up the barbeques (Murray had brought an extra one to provide added grill space) and it wasn’t long before everyone’s preferred form of protein was grilled to perfection. The splendid array of colorful gourmet potluck salads and desserts covered an entire picnic table. Then in typical cohousing fashion everyone settled in for the common meal and more socializing. Coincidently July 23rd was Dave and Lill’s wedding anniversary and the community honoured them with a song and a special cake for dessert. There was even time for a cake cutting “photo op”.

By 8:00 p.m. supper lethargy was wearing off and some folks started thinking about the return trip to Regina. As efficiently as they arrived they swept up their belongings, packed them into vehicles, collected their passengers and headed for home. A few people stayed to watch the beautiful sunset across the lake. It was the perfect finale to a wonderful time spent with cohousing family and friends.

Ask and Ye shall receive

I married into a Danish family. My in-laws and husband were all born in Denmark. Despite living in Canada for 40 years, they still maintain many Danish traditions. Most of my favorites involve food.  I have been introduced to smørrebrød – open faced sandwiches that must be eaten with a knife and fork. I have come to love herring and the occasional shot of aquavit. There is always risalamande (rice pudding with almonds) at Christmas.

Saskatchewan Cherries
Saskatchewan Cherries

It is usually topped with cherry pie filling, but last year it was topped with homemade cherry preserves. It was amazing. Tart cherry goodness mixed with creamy rice sweetness, this was something that I had to learn how to make.

Making cherry preserves is not that easy. It takes a lot of work to pick and pit the cherries. So I asked the other members of Prairie Spruce to give us a hand. Not only did we get Prairie Spruce members out, we even got some friends of cohousing out to pick. There were seven of us picking cherries.

Ann, friend of Prairie Spruce
Ann, friend of Prairie Spruce

Ann told us about picking cherries at boarding school in England. She said they were let into the fenced in an orchard and not allowed out until all the cherries were picked.

 

Henning looking for bugs
Henning inspecting his pickings

Henning was a bit slower than Ann as his pail didn’t have a handle.  I don’t think he had quite as much experience picking berries either.

It didn’t take long for the cherry trees to be stripped bare.  Then we moved onto the other berries that needed to be picked. Murray and James picked a gallon or two of saskatoons and Knud picked raspberries.

Knud, Murray, and James
Knud, Murray, and James

The afternoon ended with tea and ice cream with fresh raspberries for all. Murray took home the saskatoons, hopefully, to make one of his famous fruit crisps. Eva had two huge bowls of cherries, ready to be pitted. I helped pit, but she was so much faster with her hairpin.

Ready to pit
Ready to pit

Sharing is one of the core values of Prairie Spruce Commons.

We share the workload.

We share what we grow, create, build and brew.

We share the fun.

 

 

 

Who Are We?

Who Are We? A Dedicated Bunch

Prairie Spruce Commons is composed of a group of people dedicated to creating homes with a unique sense of community. As a multigenerational group, our current membership of 26 consists of students, retirees, and professionals (along with 3 cats, 3 dogs, and 1 goldfish).

Diverse Interests

As you will discover by reading our member profiles below, we come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. As with any group, we have members who have travelled extensively, are involved in the community, and participate in volunteer activities.

Perhaps most importantly, our group looks forward to benefitting from each others’ knowledge and experiences. Our collective interests vary greatly from sewing to wine making, hunting to carpentry, computers to cooking, music to sailing, and golfing to pet ownership.

We also value the ability to live independently within our own homes while fostering and contributing to the community we are building.

My interests are environmental issues, being outside & going for walks. I especially enjoy being out in the country in the fall, cross country skiing in the winter and maintaining some level of fitness through working out. Conan’s interests are food, food, walks and being with people!! Conan and I are both looking forward to moving into Prairie Spruce Commons. – Murray and Conan (the beagle)

Meet The Community – Member Profiles 

Lois

I recently retired from an Administrative position and am enjoying the transition into retirement.  I have a mischievous beagle that I co-parent with my brother, who will be living at Prairie Spruce in another unit.  Conan will be nearly 13 years old when we move into Prairie Spruce.  Some beagles can bark a lot, or even howl.  This is not the case for Conan.  Conan did not learn how to howl and sometimes barks when someone knocks on the door.  If I know someone is coming and put him into his kennel before they knock on the door, he does not bark.  He is a good dog that gets lots of attention! He is quite gentle around small children too.

It is always a good day when I play cards (especially Bridge), and enjoy most physical activities including cross country skiing, snow shoeing, gardening, walking, hiking, sailing, and travel.  Past times include home decorating and furniture refinishing, board games, reading, and cooking. I have had opportunity to do quite a bit of travelling.  Holidays are usually quite active with lots of walking, hiking, or bicycling to see the local area.  After I retire, I look forward to taking a few more trips. 

I have an interest in the environment and leaving a smaller footprint.  I continue working at it, making incremental improvements and changes towards living more sustainably. I enjoy cooking and sharing meals together with family and friends. As other Prairie Spruce members have expressed this as a similar interest, I expect some of the bigger jobs to become much more fun when shared.  I look forward to participating in “work bees” when making cabbage rolls, perogies, and pasta to name a few, as well as sharing healthy, tasty meals with Prairie Spruce friends.

Brenda, Rebekah and Ruth

We call ourselves the Rae Street Girls! We have lived on Rae Street in Regina for over 20 years. Now we are ready to commit to building Prairie Spruce Commons and wonder if we will be known as the Badham Girls?

As young feminists, we would, on principle, never have called ourselves Girls. Brenda and Ruth now in our 60’s and Rebekah at 23, still consider themselves feminists, but as poet Mary Oliver says …. no longer young and still not half-perfect.

Rebekah Hope, who is a farm girl and a city girl, is a Student Researcher at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of Regina. This is one of the programs of The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished! Inc. a community-based organization that Brenda, Ruth and Rebekah have helped to create. We give our lives to the vision of working and playing in inclusive community to create social inclusion of all kinds including with and for young adults with complex physical disAbilities.

Brenda and Ruth are part of a loose tribe of women across North America who sing love songs to life and Earth. We call ourselves Singers of the Sacred Web. We each have Masters degrees in Theology and had first careers as clergy. Brenda, who loves a big challenge, has a more recent Masters degree from Royal Roads in Environmental Education and Communication.

We are also stewards and companions of a remnant of native prairie grasses in the Qu’Appelle valley on a 160-acre patch of land known as Grandmothers Hills.

Family, home, community and living a lighter footprint are all essential to us. Being and becoming cohousers excites us and suits us!

JoAnne

My greatest joys are my two grown daughters, their partners and all my extended family. I believe in contributing to my community and have volunteered in a variety of ways through my children’s activities, church, or hosting city events like the 2013 Grey Cup festival. I enjoy being in nature by walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, golfing, and boating. My love of all things in nature leads me to look for natural ways to stay healthy and happy. My life started in rural Saskatchewan and most of it has been lived in Regina. I am interested in sports and a proud member of Roughrider Nation. Currently I am in a project management career in information technology and a director of a local/western Canada consulting firm.

Suzanne

I have been excited about the prospect of living in cohousing since I first heard of the concept during a CBC interview with Sheila Coles back in 2012. I’ve always been conscious of my ecological footprint and I was instantly attracted to the project because of its intention to include sustainable features. The concept of intentional community was new to me but after a few months of gathering for meetings, potlucks and workshops I came to appreciate this aspect of cohousing and see it as an added bonus to my desire to live more sustainably.

Over the years I have worked at various jobs and currently work as a recreation therapist in a long term care setting. My favourite job was being a stay at home mum. I am the proud mother of four adult children. Laura and her husband John live in rural Ontario; Heather and her fiancé Daniel live in Val Marie, Saskatchewan; Kim lives in Toronto; and my son Matthew and his wife Catherine live in Regina.

As a girl of eleven, I immigrated to Regina from England and initially found the openness of the prairie landscape disconcerting but over time I have grown to love this “land of living skies.” I enjoy travelling and seeing new places but always look forward to returning to this prairie city. I am excited at the prospect of moving into this amazingly designed building called Prairie Spruce Commons, Regina’s first cohousing project! Moving in with me will be my ten-year-old, black, mixed breed dog, Abbey and my one-year-old black farm cat, Gzowski.

For fun, I enjoy walking my dog, cycling, gardening and camping… just about anything that connects me with nature and the outdoors. When the busyness associated with getting cohousing off the ground is complete I hope to take up some creative endeavours and return to more actively supporting social justice initiatives.

Warren

I heard about cohousing from my sister-in-law Suzanne two years ago and asked if I could come to a meeting with her. I really didn’t have a clue what it entailed until I attended my first meeting in May of 2012 and found out that everyone there wanted to build a sharing, caring, sustainable community in the city. I was in.

I was born in Regina and have lived here ever since. I am a carpenter by trade and have also taken a few years of university classes (no degree). I have been a member of the Carpenters Union since 1976 and have been on the executive board in some capacity for the last 30 years. I am currently working as an instructor for the Prairie Arctic Trades Training Centre in Regina and also instruct classes for the Union.

I enjoy walking, hiking, camping, cycling, canoeing (it’s been a while but living so close Wascana), card games (bridge), board games and watching movies. I plan on working for a while yet but after I want to do some travelling and I will use my skills to help build the community at Prairie Spruce Commons. I am looking forward to using our shop to build projects with and for the community.

I can’t believe it has been three years since my first meeting with PSC but plans and ideas have finally resulted in a location and an environmentally sustainable designed building that I want to move into today!

Murray

My sister introduced to me to cohousing after she had joined the group that was working to bring cohousing to Regina. She brought me into the group because, as she said, “I knew it was you.” Cohousing is about creating community. It also is a more sustainable way to live.

I moved off the farm and into Regina in 2000. Some of my interests include cross country skiing, exercise in general and staying fit, hunting, walking, hiking and enjoying nature, cooking and trying new recipes, co-parenting a beagle, and socializing with friends and family. Currently, I am not sure if I am retired or just between jobs.

I have learned lots and look forward to learning more about cohousing.

Dave, Lill and Family

Dave and Lill, married over thirty years, are long-time members of the Prairie Spruce cohousing community. They have four adult children: Roger, Joel, Owen and Elise, all in their twenties. All family members regularly and frequently engage in various volunteer activities and happily share their time and talents in their neighbourhood, school, and faith-based communities.

As a couple, Lill and Dave enjoy travelling and spending leisure time at the lake. They also enjoy all types of music and love to dance. Lill has a large extended family so socializing in large groups just comes naturally. She is genuinely interested in people and has a knack for remembering people’s names and faces. Lill works in a local community-based organization as the office administrator and bookkeeper. Dave has a knack for storytelling and has a bit of a creative side. He recently retired from a thirty-five-year career in information technology and continues to indulge his passion for life-long learning.

Dave and Lill’s son Roger also has a gift for remembering people’s names and faces. He likes working with his hands and enjoys group settings for both work and play. He is enrolled at the University of Regina in the “Campus For All” program. Roger also works part-time in the woodworking shop at the Abilities Council and at “Seedmaster”, a farm implement manufacturer. Roger is looking forward to living in Prairie Spruce Commons and enjoying the music and media room.

Joel is enrolled at the University of Regina in the Music Education program. He plays trombone in the Regina Symphony Orchestra as well as the “Pile Of Bones” brass band. He also sings in several choirs. Elise is enrolled at the University of Regina in the Nursing program. She studied dance at the “Saskatchewan Express” Musical Theatre Studio and is an occasional dance instructor. She also sings in several choirs. Depending on where their careers eventually take them both Joel and Elise plan to move into Prairie Spruce Commons. Their brother Owen is completing his Electronic Systems Engineering degree at the University of Regina. He enjoys playing percussion with the Saskatchewan Roughrider drum line. Owen expects his career will take him out of province but he knows he will be welcome to stay in one of the Prairie Spruce guest rooms on return visits to Regina.

Faye

I was raised on a farm in the Saskatoon area, then moved with my family to Saskatoon. I attended the University of Saskatchewan. I have worked for non-profit organizations almost my whole career, with visually impaired people, people with HIV and those at risk, families of young children with special needs and vulnerable young parents with young children.

I currently work at a Youth Centre where my training as a life skills coach gives me opportunities to engage and support young parents. I love working with parent groups and being able to provide a safe space for them to learn parenting skills and to grow in self-esteem and confidence.

I am the proud mother of a daughter, Suzanne and two amazing grandchildren, Savannah who is eleven and Daelen who is five.

In my spare time, I love being connected to nature and am an avid bird watcher. I enjoy dancing, singing, writing. reading, healthy eating, meditation and learning in general.

I am excited about moving to Prairie Spruce with my partner, Jean, who hails from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Jean and I enjoy walking being in nature, doing drumfit and other fitness activities, trying out new recipes, watching movies doing jigsaw puzzles playing board games and hanging out with grandkids. We are enthusiastic about attending Regina Folk Festival, concerts, musicals, and other events around the city as well as going dancing.

Cohousing aligns so well with my values and I am excited at the prospect of moving into Prairie Spruce Commons. I have always wanted to live in community and to live as sustainably and as lightly on the earth as possible. As well, I appreciate the process of collaborative decision-making and am looking forward to the sharing of work and resources.

Jean

I have lived all my life in Ingonish Centre, Cape Breton Nova Scotia. I come from a family of eleven, nine girls and two boys. I am the proud mother of three boys. Michael is in the army and lives with his wife, Kyla and my oldest grandson, Riley, age six. Colin lives with his wife, Kayla and my youngest grandson, Austin who is over a year old. My youngest son, Allan, passed away at five years old twenty-two years ago.

I’m a jack of all trades. I have worked at a resort in various capacities such as cooking, doing laundry, cleaning rooms, bell hopping and gardening. I also ran a hardware store as well as building houses, painting and house repairs and maintenance.

I love to cook and try out new recipes. I really appreciate being in the outdoors, walking, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, swimming and taking in the birds and animals. I enjoy board games, card games and bingo. I have been a member of the Ingonish Volunteer Fire Department fundraisers. We have put on meals, concerts, dances for kids and other seasonal events.

I am interested in cohousing because of the involvement of my partner, Faye. I also like the idea of us all sharing the workload and pitching in together in whatever work we need to do. I especially look forward to working in the garden at Prairie Spruce Commons.

Henning, Joanne & Erik

We are a family that traces roots back to Yorkton and to Denmark. An adventurous family, we have engaged in activities such as flying sailplanes, scuba diving, and sailing Americas great loop. We are interested in woodworking, photography, board games, and, for Erik, video games. Henning is a computer consultant and Joanne is a teacher.

We look forward to moving into Prairie Spruce and seeing how the community grows and unfolds as the years pass. We look forward to many celebrations and to shared happiness and sorrow. Henning is excited by the power of community and looks forward to setting up community internet and phone systems and organizing home concerts. We also look forward to maintaining a closer relationship with Knud and Eva, Henning’s parents who are also becoming a part of Prairie Spruce.

Eva & Knud

Eva and Knud were both born and raised in Denmark. Eva, the oldest of four children, grew up in the city (Odense and Copenhagen). Eva has a nursing degree from Denmark, and in 1984 she took a refresher course as a registered nurse in Saskatchewan. She worked in nursing homes in Regina until 1994. Eva enjoys being with elderly people.

Knud, the second oldest of five children, left for Canada in 1957, and spent four years in Alberta, He returned to Denmark, where he received a bachelors degree in Agriculture and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen.

We came to Canada in 1974 with our two boys, Henning and Thomas. Knud has worked with Agriculture Canada, Research Stations in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina, Knud retired from Agriculture Canada in 1999. We lived in Regina from 1978 to 1985, when we bought a farm half way between Balgonie and Edenwold. We are still living here and farming a quarter section.

We are actively involved in the Lutheran Church and community events in Balgonie and Edenwold. During the summer we are busy keeping up a big garden, which is Eva’s pride and where she spends most of her time weeding and cutting grass. Knud, aside from helping in the garden, enjoys farming. He has had as much as seven crops on a quarter section in one season, and has walked nearly every square meter on this quarter.

Marc

With the exception of the year that Marc turned eight, he has lived in Regina all his life. That year – an education leave for his father – Marc and his family lived in Halifax.

Marc, who is the older of two children, lives with his parents, Ann and André. His sister, Michelle, also lives in Regina. Marc attended several schools as a child: the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre School, Davin Elementary School, Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School in Halifax, Holy Rosary Community School, and Miller Comprehensive High School. In spite of a lifelong battle with mathematics, Marc successfully obtained his high school diploma.

Marc is a frequent audit student at the University of Regina, and has also taken part in the Campus for All program. Some of his favourite classes have been an Introduction to Film, Narrative in Film, Introductory Music, and Jazz Appreciation; however, he has also dabbled in Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, and more.

Volunteering has always been part of Marc’s life. After finishing high school, he volunteered in the production studios and mobiles at Access Communications for several years. He was also a volunteer porter at Wascana Rehab. Throughout this, he has been a regular course marshall for the Queen City Marathon, the Regina Police Service Half Marathon, and the Jingle Bell Run. In the summer, he is a parking and traffic volunteer for the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony under the Skies.

Marc has a passionate interest in film. In addition to seeing almost every film released, he has taken classes in Set Safety, Set Protocol, and Flagging. He was an extra on The Englishman’s Boy, Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, and The Edge of War.

Marc loves to travel and has visited every province of Canada (but not the Territories – yet). He also participates in a Next Chapter Book Club, and yoga classes, and really appreciates the sauna and hot tub through his membership at the YMCA.