We’re Looking For the Broom

We’re looking for the broom.”

Tom and Laurie

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.”

Lill decorating the tree

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.

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.

Tonka Time

I used to play with Tonka trucks. In fact, they might move into Prairie Spruce Cohousing with me for the younger members and guests to use.

Last week was Tonka time at the Prairie Spruce site.

There were a couple of rainy days when the equipment could not work because it was too muddy and slippery.

June 16, 2017 – Then the digging really started.

June 21, 2017 – Here is the beginning of the parking garage.

The dirt is piled west of the site.

June 24, 2017 – Ready for the Ground Blessing Ceremony


Busy on Badham

There is a lot of action on Badham Boulevard lately. Since Marc’s photo essay, the big backhoe has been digging.

Oh my Deere!


Jean, Murray, Knud, Eva, Ruth, and Lois are up to something.

On any given day, there is one, or two, or more, Prairie Spruce members at the site, watching the backhoe. It is really exciting to see the manifestation of our vision. Watch our Facebook page for updates and videos.

When a group of Prairie Spruce members gets together, great things happen…and you’re invited!



Please join us for our Ground Blessing Celebration.

Hope to see you all there.


Before Excavation…

May 31, 2017
Sunny and warm. Prairie Spruce members wait for construction
June 6, 2017
Still waiting. The sky is overcast, and our spirits are gloomy.
June 7, 2017
What a difference a day makes! The fencing has been delivered.

June 10, 2017
The paperwork has been approved. Just a few more days until excavation begins.

Photo Essay by Marc

Watch for the next photo essay documenting our progress.

Prairie Spruce – It is more than a name

Recently members of the Prairie Spruce community have been actively searching their yards at home and at the cottage for spruce tree seedlings to help a volunteer (Merle) with the Regina Ski Club. He is collecting the seedlings to eventually place by the cross country ski trails at White Butte to provide wind protection and to help with holding snow on the trails.

By Ryan Hodnett

Merle stated “this is for the future generations.” That is also the way our community feels about the building and community that we are establishing in Regina.   While we know that the community we are establishing is for us, we also know this will be a happy community for future generations when we are no longer here.

Merle, we were happy to help you and the Regina Ski Club with the seedlings. Our Prairie Spruce community envisions this as only being one of many things we will do to connect with our larger community, Regina.

The Prairie Spruce community wishes Merle happy planting for those future generations of skiers.


And So, It Begins – Part 1

I was raised as a farm girl. There were only two girls in the family, so there wasn’t much chance to be a girly-girl. I grew up picking rocks, cutting grass, riding ponies, and chasing cats. Normal attire was jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers.

I have a vivid memory of getting ready for school when I was in Grade 11. It was going to be a hot summer day, so I put on my dark green dirndl skirt and a white blouse. I carefully arranged my bright pink sweatshirt over my shoulders and headed downstairs for breakfast. When my older sister saw me, she loudly declared, “That does not go together.” I was crushed; I thought I looked great. I went back upstairs to change, probably into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.

Fast forward 35 years or so, I still live in jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers. My professional attire is black or grey dress pants and colored tops. My sister takes me shopping every summer. If I have to shop for clothes by myself, I usually go to a nice store near the end of the day and throw myself upon the mercy of the salesperson.

I decided to repaint my bathroom once. I wanted it to be cheery and bright. I found a really nice shade of yellow and used bright blue as trim on the window and door frame because I know that yellow and blue go together. I was so proud of myself and my colorful bathroom. Right up until my friend said being in my bathroom was like being in an 

Together with my husband Henning, I have become a member of Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing. We have recently signed a contract with Fiorante Homes, the final plans are with the City of Regina, and surveying on the site should start very soon. I was under the impression that someone (I have no idea who) would come to me one day with some swatches of fabric, cupboard doors, and some paint chips and say, “You can have a unit that is shades of brown, or “You can have a unit that is shades of grey.” I was already pretty sure I was going with the grey option, but I wanted to see what the brown one looked like.

Much to my horror, I was wrong, very wrong. There is no magic someone for me. We get a lighting budget, a flooring budget, and a kitchen cupboard budget. Henning took me to Richardson Lighting. I can buy whatever lights I want as long as the total doesn’t go over budget. No, no, no. There is too much choice. I can’t decide what I like; I only seem able to decide what I don’t like. I keep hearing my sister’s voice, “That doesn’t go together.”

I did finally find something I liked, but I’m not sure what would go with it.

I am blessed with a very patient husband. After multiple trips to Home Depot, Lowes, and Rona (going back to Richardson was too traumatizing), I have decided the following. I want a sink that has a built-in soap dispenser. I don’t want a bathtub, just a shower. My fridge needs to have an ice maker.

Luckily, Prairie Spruce is working with Richardson Lighting, Floors by Design, and Palandri Cabinets. Based on what I’ve heard about these companies and what I’ve read on the Internet , I think there is still hope for our unit. I have faith that our unit will be as beautiful as the community where I live.

If you have always dreamed of designing your own condominium and enjoy interior design, join Prairie Spruce now and create your dream home.

Maybe I can just copy your design.



And So, It Begins – Part 2

A humous look at a design and family.

I freely admit I have little or no sense of style. I believe that black dress pants go with anything and that white walls are the best way to decorate. My mother-in-law is quite the opposite. She loves color and knows how to put things together. Her house is always decorated for holidays, and she dresses beautifully. We are the opposite of one another, but have learned to get along very well. This wonderful relationship we have almost didn’t happen.

It was 1993, and Henning and I were dating. It was decided that it was time I met his parents. The plan was to spend the day hanging out at the library where Henning worked, go back to his place to change, and then drive out to his parents’ farm. I’m not sure why I decided to spend the day at the library in sweatpants and a big plaid shirt, but it turned into a really bad idea when Henning had to work late and there was no time to go to his house to change. We went straight from work to the farm near Edenwold.

I vividly remember Eva, my now mother-in-law, opening the door. I was in awe. She had dark hair and glasses with red frames. She had on a red sweater, a red and black plaid skirt, black nylons, and red high heeled shoes. I turned around and told Henning we need ed to go back to Regina because I needed to change my clothes.

Eva and Knud wouldn’t hear of it. They welcomed me into their house and, as I entered the kitchen, I was blown away for a second time. Eva had set the table in true Danish fashion. There were flowers and candles. There was silverware, fine china, and wine glasses. There was a lace tablecloth and little doilies between the plates. There was even a tiny flagpole with a Danish flag on the table.

Oh my, I felt way out of my league. We had china at home, and it stayed in the china cabinet along with the silverware that my dad won curling. We had flowers from the garden in the summer, but candles? Wine? A flag? This was all new to me.


Part 3 – Shopping with the in-laws

And So, It Begins – Part 3

My apologies for the gap between Parts 1 and 2 and Part 3. I’m a teacher and sometimes, especially in the spring, things get crazy. Here is the continuation about the joys of decorating.

I survived that initial meeting and many more. Henning and I have been married for 21 years. I don’t have any horrible in-law stories to tell. Over the years, I’ve grown very close to Eva and Knud, and now we are getting even closer. Eva and Knud are moving into Prairie Spruce too. They spent 30 wonderful years on their farm, but it was getting to be too much work to keep the house, yard, and garden immaculate.
As I continued to struggle with design choices, I was curious to see what Eva would do. The house on the farm was beautifully decorated with walls of yellow, blue, and shades of terracotta. She made it look easy; she could make decisions. True to form, Eva had a plan. She had a sample of the flooring from the farm and was planning to use that as her inspiration. After a good discussion of their floor plans over tea, we all headed off to Lowes for initial reconnaissance.

I think I overestimated my mother-in-law, but I love her more now. She too struggled with the overwhelming variety of finishes, colors, and hardware. Luckily, we were helped by a wonderful salesperson named Jason. He had a lot of good ideas and was funny too. He was extremely patient and showed us how to line up the samples of flooring, countertop, and cabinets to get a good idea of how they would look together.

By the time we left, Eva had discovered the following. She would like white appliances; Knud discovered that he liked white appliances too. Eva doesn’t need the base cabinets lower, but she wants to see if the builders will install the uppers a bit lower for her. Knud thought that was a good idea. We all agreed that it was time to make an appointment to some professional help. Palandri Cabinets, here we come.

So if you are thinking about joining Prairie Spruce Commons, now is the right time. Everyone is beginning the process of selecting the lighting, cabinets, and flooring for their individual units. It is an exciting time, or so my husband Henning, tells me. This is the first time we are designing our own space. It will be our choice in our community. In the words of Lois Armstrong, “What a wonderful world that will be.”

A Room with a View

It’s yours when you join Prairie Spruce Commons, the unique co-housing condominium where the second and third floor terraces overlook Wascana Park. The terraces become part of your home. You’ll have the best seats in town for the July 1st Fireworks,

Fireworks in Regina (Monique Nenson)

the pageant of the changing seasons, or just a quiet outdoor retreat for you and your friends.

But let’s take a step back. Prairie Spruce Commons is unique as a condominium. It incorporates the features desired by the people who will live there and professionally designed by architects who understand the demands of our Saskatchewan climate. Today we will examine some of the special exterior features of the building and grounds. Next time we will have a look at the interior.
One truly unique feature of our condominium will be the garden. The southwest corner of the lot offers ideal sun exposure and garden growing conditions. Here will be our vegetable garden for the farmer at heart. We are already planning the first community dinner with the fresh produce from our own garden just outside the door.

Cherry Tree
Flowering Cherry Tree (Geoff Evans)

There will be fruit trees. Prairie cherries and apple trees, maybe Saskatoons, choke cherries and haskap berries. What about a raspberry patch? One of our members makes prairie cherry juice that will be perfect for sipping on the deck adjacent to the common area. And don’t get me started on the Saskatoon pies or choke cherry syrup on pancakes.
Of course there will be community composting to nourish the soil and minimise our footprint on the earth.
These are a few of the special outside features of our building that I look forward to. Won’t you join me for a glass of homemade prairie berry juice?