What it takes: The building and yard include a large second floor terrace, a beautiful ground floor patio, a vegetable garden, ground floor spaces for shrubs and trees, and a generous dining room in the common house. The community planted and maintains the trees and shrubs, including ornamentals, apple, saskatoon, cherry, raspberry, and hascap. Knud took the lead in organizing the planting of the vegetable garden. He also waters it. This year we are primarily focusing on root vegetables. Murray takes the lead on watering the trees and shrubs. Donna and Lois seeded a living fence of sunflowers and corn on the west side, weeding is by Warren, and it is growing by leaps and bounds. Six mornings a week there is drop-in coffee time, either in the dining room or on the patio. Both spaces allow for physical distancing while visiting and help us stay connected. We also keep connected through technology via Zoom and groups.io. Henning takes the lead on these technologies
What results: Strengthening community, staying current with one another, putting down roots, being nourished in body and spirit by living plants, and contributing to the life force in the wider neighbourhood.
There is nothing like being inside the building, and the community, to get a real sense of how one cohousing community works. On Wednesday January 8, 2020, Ashley Martin and Brandon Harder, from the Regina Leader Post, visited with us. We think they did an excellent job conveying the complexity, beauty, and uniqueness of cohousing. You can read their article here: ‘Prairie Spruce residents settling into their unique new home in Regina’ by Ashley Martin, photos by Brandon Harder.
Tom lives in a funky micro-penthouse under the eaves on the third floor and Laurie and Jim, Tom’s parents, live in the south east corner of the second floor. This is the morning after our first-ever Prairie Spruce Commons Christmas Party. The first-floor hallway is humming with chat and work.
Jean is on her way to the Common House to unload the dishwasher. Ruth is carrying a beautiful fresh Balsam Fir into her own house and walking down the hall with her boots still on … (a definite no-no, but she swears they are clean). Tom and Laurie are in search of a broom so they can clean-up around the tree.
“I don’t think we have a broom on the first floor. We have many mops, two vacuum cleaners, and a Hoover floor-washer, but no broom.” “Ok then, I’m going back upstairs to get ours.”
Many of us have moved into our beautiful home(s) within the last 6 to 8 weeks. More and more spaces of order and beauty are emerging. Some areas still need work. That’s how it goes. It felt good to put aside the unpacking, sorting, and organizing and have a good meal together with no agenda, or decisions and time to just be together and celebrate our first ever Prairie Spruce Commons Christmas dinner.
By the way … if you’re looking for a broom … there’s one on the second floor.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Sharing is one of the core values of Prairie Spruce Commons.
After a long haul of working, waiting, and yes worrying Prairie Spruce Commons is about to start construction. We now know and are ready to tell the world that construction will start in March 2016!
This breakthrough came on Summer Solstice weekend. The longest day of the year and a time of abundant growth and energy and not only in the plant world! There is a Quaker saying … Proceed as the way opens. While we are not a Quaker community we borrow from wisdom where we find it. Bill Brent in his book Sacred Compass writes. “To proceed as way opens means to wait for guidance, to avoid hasty judgment or action, to wait for future circumstances to help solve a problem.”
Cohousing is about building community and a building where we will live our lives in a beautifully designed house with private units (which include private kitchens … the most often asked question) and in the common house and garden. Way is opening for Prairie Spruce Commons to start construction… and so we are happy to send this invitation and announcement far and wide …
Purchase your unit in Regina’s first cohousing project, Prairie Spruce Commons. ● Buy your unit before August 20, 2015. ● A unit bought is a unit built. ● Construction starts March 2016.