On an airline flight I am usually absorbed in the view from the window, or the storyline in a book, or the action on the in-flight entertainment screen. On a recent trip east I was absorbed in a conversation with my seatmate. To ensure his privacy, I will call him Jack. Like so many things in life, your air flight seatmate can be the luck of the draw; some enjoyable, some less so.
Jack was in the ‘enjoyable’ category. We started our conversation wide and slowly circled in to the particulars of our lives. As we moved into the particulars, I told Jack about the plans of our household to live in Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing. To my delight, Jack had already heard about Prairie Spruce. He had stopped by our table at the Regina Farmers Market, and he had seen recent media coverage about Prairie Spruce.
Jack and his friends are regulars at the North YMCA, and after a morning workout they go for coffee. They have had conversations about Prairie Spruce over their morning coffees. Jack was particularly interested to learn about our workshop that will be filled with great tools and workshop projects. The big puzzle for Jack and his friends was how we were going to cope with using a common kitchen.
There seems to be a widespread misconception that Prairie Spruce will have only a common kitchen, but this is not the case. Each unit has a fully equipped, well appointed kitchen, as well as a living-dining area. The Common House kitchen and dining area is for community events. It can also be reserved for personal or family events; for example our immediate extended family now numbers in the low 30’s and there are ten children under seven! This is too many for our current home, and it will be too many for our unit at Prairie Spruce Commons, but the Common House kitchen and dining room will be perfect for this crowd.
Do you have questions that have been puzzling you about Prairie Spruce?We would love to hear from you.
Fall is officially here! Frost was predicted a few days ago, so my husband picked all the remaining tomatoes. It was quite a crop with lots of Beefsteak Sweet Cherry and Roma tomatoes. My favorite was a heritage tomato that was shaped like a pear, an inch long, and a beautiful shade of gold. It looked amazing mixed in with the other tomatoes.
One of my favorite ways to use garden tomatoes is pico de gallo, a fresh salsa. This recipe from Flavors Magazine reminds me of Cozumel, Mexico. There is a tiny restaurant there, far, far away from the cruise ship docks, that has the most amazing fresh salsa and pastors. Pastors are pork that is cooked on a vertical spit, seasoned with chilies and pineapple. It is sliced thin and served on small tortillas. Amazing stuff with a little pico de gallo on the side!
Praire Spruce Commons Pico de Gallo
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. Onions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 tsp. Oregano
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp. Honey
- Pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients; season with salt to taste. Mix well and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
I’m looking forward to the tomato and cilantro harvest from the Prairie Spruce Commons planters on our deck and roof terraces, as well as the large community garden in our courtyard. I’m also looking forward to our next trip to Mexico! Travelling will be so much more carefree knowing my home will be looked after while I am gone.
What’s your favorite recipe for fresh tomatoes?
A very nice thing about cohousing is that when you travel you can always find a place that feels like home. This summer my family visited the West Coast and I knew right away that we had to check out the Windsong Cohousing community in Langley, BC.
We had heard many great things about this community which was built in 1996 and was the first cohousing community to be built in Canada. Our visit there went far beyond our expectations. What an inspiration! It is such a beautiful and inviting building and we were greeted by a very friendly bunch of people who showed us around and answered our questions. They also told us stories about their experiences living in a cohousing community. For example, one woman told me that her children grew up at Windsong and they cannot imagine living any other way. Many children growing up in a cohousing community are naturally open to different cultures and languages and find it easy to socialize with people of all ages. Both children and adults also learn how to solve conflicts through collaborative and non-violent communication.
We could tell the people at Windsong really belonged to a community. Children played together in the yard outside or in the playroom inside. A couple of neighbours had coffee together in the gathering space outside their units. In the common house kitchen some members were preparing a community meal for the evening. To get an idea of their experiences, please watch the inspiring short video below.
Visiting Windsong, meeting with its members and hearing stories from families who lived there for over 15 years made us realize how important our participation in Prairie Spruce Commons is.