Three Generations Under One Cohousing Roof

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Prairie Spruce is a multigenerational cohousing community.  This usually means that the community of residents as a whole consists of children, adults and seniors. At Prairie Spruce, multigenerational cohousing takes on a somewhat unique flavour, albeit common within cohousing communities: we have different generations of the same family moving into their own private condo units within the community. Roger will be living there as well as his parents Dave and Lill. Murray is moving in, along with his sister Lois and mother, Loraine.

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My family is the only one that will have three generations living in Prairie Spruce. Henning, my husband, and I will be moving in with our son, Erik. Henning’s parents, Eva and Knud, will be moving in also. Before you think I am just the best daughter-in-law in the world, you should know three things. First, I am very lucky that I get along very well with my in-laws. They are very nice people. Second, they will be living on the first floor and we will be living on the second floor. Third, they will be looking after my dog part time as he likes to be outside in the summer and they just happen to have a terrace. We are all looking forward to the benefits of living separately within the same condo; living apart, together.

The three Mortensen generations spent some time last Monday morning working together at the Information Centre, roto-tilling the ground in preparation for planting potatoes and zucchini. We’re looking forward to sharing the fruits (vegetables?) of our labour with the community, neighbours and our extended cohousing family.

Joanne

Susan Pinker's The Village Effect

“Drawing on scores of psychological and sociological studies, Pinker suggests that living as our ancestors did, steeped in face-to-face contact and physical proximity, is the key to health, while loneliness is “less an exalted existential state than a public health risk.” That her point is fairly obvious doesn’t diminish its importance; smart readers will take the book out to a park to enjoy in the company of others.”

– The Boston Globe 

Psychologist, journalist and author Susan Pinker was recently on the CBC Opener to discuss her new book “The Village Effect“. In the interview, Susan recounts her research into a Blue Zone in Sardinia where men and women live much longer lives than normal. Her study revealed the importance of social, face-to-face contact. Susan states that there is no better predictor of an individual’s health and happiness than the quantity and quality of face-t0-face contact, and community integration that person experiences. Surrounded by neighbours, colleagues, friends and family, the Sardinians she studied live long and healthy lives due to the natural release of positive neurobiological chemicals such as oxytocin (trust builder, and stress reducer) and cortisol (stress reducer).

Prairie Spruce Commons, Regina’s first cohousing community, is designed to facilitate contact between neighbours. We recognize that the friendly contact we plan to experience among our neighbours is just as important to our healthy lifestyle as a healthy meal or physical exercise. Cohousing aligns with the “Tend and Befriend” attitude that the Sardinians take to so naturally.

Henning

8 Benefits of Joining our Friends List

I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff. – Jon Katz

The Prairie Spruce Lawn Bowling Team
The Prairie Spruce Lawn Bowling Team

Are you interested in cohousing but not at a point in your life where you are ready to live at Prairie Spruce?

Cohousing groups create social and cultural opportunities that individuals themselves may not have. As we’ve done regularly over the last year, Prairie Spruce can host speakers, musicians, artists and special events. We can also engage in initiatives and lobbying for better, more sustainable communities. While our common community voice and presence is stronger than that of any one individual, our voice would certainly benefit from your additional participation and involvement. Having more “Friends” makes our voice stronger. Plus, social events are more fun with more people!

8 Benefits of Joining

We expect many of our “Friends of Prairie Spruce” may not be prospective owners at Prairie Spruce but that shouldn’t prevent you from being part of the broader Prairie Spruce community and experience. For now, being a Friend would give you access to participate in:

  1. Workshops on group facilitation, active listening, & conflict resolution
  2. Organized group classes (yoga, beer making, cooking, etc,)
  3. Concerts, art shows and film screenings
  4. Lobbying for better community
  5. Special community potlucks
  6. Special early access “Friends Only” tours of our new homes
  7. Random acts of generosity, kindness and support (aka, friendship).

Plus, you’d get to meet and become friends with some of the best people I know in Regina!

Consider this your invitation to join our Friends of Prairie Spruce group. We’d love it if we could welcome you in person by joining as at our free screening of the Happy Movie this Sunday at the Cathedral Community Centre. If Sunday doesn’t work for you, please send us an email at prairiesprucecommons@gmail.com with the subject “Friends” and include your name, email address and phone number. We will create a special email list of our Friends and should you ever decide you want to be removed, you can easily unsubscribe. There will be no fee for becoming a Friend of Prairie Spruce (although there may be cost recovery fees for specific events).

Join us on our journey to the heart of community!

Henning

Caring Gesture from Caring Neighbours

Our group of future Prairie Spruce residents is all about creating community, whether it’s inside or outside our walls.

Last week, we decided to do a little something for our future neighbours across the street on Badham Boulevard: a flash mob clean up. We turned more than a few heads as we descended onto our new home (to be) with rakes, shovels, and a very interesting looking grass whip.

In short order we had weeds pulled, dirt shoveled and garbage picked up. It’s amazing what we can pull off by working together!

Check out this awesome video we put together. I think it shows our true colors!

Creating Community: Prairie Spruce Commons Badham Boulevard Cleanup from Prairie Spruce Cohousing on Vimeo.

Henning

12+ Years of Profit from the Sun

When I was young I loved the sun. It gave me summers to ride my bike and an excuse for ice cream. These days I have a love/hate relationship to the sun. I love the sun for the warmth and light it brings, but hate it for the skin cancer it can cause. I slather on lotion to protect myself from the harmful UV that it bathes us in. I love it for the summer but am bitter with it for disappearing for the winter. I love it for the energy that it has given us, for the plants that grew and died and gave us oil and natural gas. I love it for the wind that it creates by heating some parts of the earth more then others. I love it when I look at a green pepper or a red tomato.

Lately, I have found a new reason to love the sun, the electricity it can create for us. I am talking about photovoltaic solar panels. These wonderful devices create electricity that I can use. They are simple to install, have long life spans and short payback periods. In looking for the panels that will adorn Prairie Spruce Commons soon, I have examined the cost and feasibility of installing 40 solar panels on the roof and getting them net metered. The panels have a life expectancy of 25 years. That is, the panels that begin making use of 97% of the suns power have steadily declined until at 25 years they are only producing 80% and are thus considered at the end of life. This does not mean that they fail after 25 years, just that they have lost efficiency. The current cost of panels and electricity lead me to calculate a payback period of 13 years! And this is a conservative estimate since I haven’t factored in any escalation in cost of electricity. In other words, the ~13000 KWH that those 40 panels produce will save enough from our power bill that in under 13 years they are totally paid for. After that they will continue to produce power and save me money into the future. At some point I might want to replace the old panels with newer ones with peak efficiency but if I don’t the old ones will continue to produce power into the foreseeable future. The best part, is the fact that once installed they will work with a minimum of maintenance. A quick rinse and squeegee to clear off dust and bird poop on a regular basis and you have free energy.

The solar panels produce electricity and the power gets sent out to the grid while your meter turns backwards. You use electricity as you normally would, though much more sparingly as you conserve power knowing what is involved in creating it. At the end of the year your meter is checked and if you have used more then you have produced you pay for the extra power you purchased. If you produce more then you use, good for you, but you won’t get a cheque for your extra power, this is not a power producing arrangement. That is possible but requires different equipment and agreements with the power company.

Saving money through the use of solar panels is nice.
The feeling of well-being knowing you are doing good for the environment, priceless!

Henning