P1050029 - P1050031 v2
Carl and hay

Hello, Friends!

Since our last issue, we've seen the field hayed twice, and the lupine bloom. While some villagers farmed and gardened, others worked hard indoors, finishing the second floor of the Common House. We've had a very dry season, so it was a great summer for hanging the laundry out on the line, and leaving swaths of lawn grasses high. Right now there is the great joy of sunflowers blooming throughout the village. These are the days when we gather back together around the fire at sunset, and for dinners in the Common House.

House Concert News

From Steve Chiasson: Early last spring, Bill Smith and I hatched a plan to bring great music into the village on a regular basis, and the Common House Concert series was born. The monthly event, which features a mix of national touring artists and the very best in local talent, has gotten off to a great start and the future looks bright indeed!

It turns out that there are lots of amazing musicians looking for small venues to play, and our sixty-seat great room provides a near-perfect combination of intimacy and seating capacity. Our mailing list is growing steadily, and the talent level of the musicians gracing our little stage is nothing short of remarkable.

The community has really come through for us, too. From stocking the refreshment table to help with parking; from welcoming guests to putting the room back in order at the end of the evening; from financial support to logistics to crafting a first-rate hanging backdrop to beautify the stage area, friends and neighbors have come together to help create something truly special.

Take a peek at our website to see who’s coming to entertain us over the next few months. While you’re there, why not put your name on our mailing list? Maybe we’ll see you at an upcoming show!

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On Sunday afternoon, I got the rare chance to stand around and talk to Shana, our Belfast neighbor, while she tethered the goats across from our house here at cohousing. I watched Graycilla, the smallest goat, nibble around and explore the hedgerow. Not in milking yet, she seemed interested in everything: a little dandelion here, some fleabane there. The other five goats, who are milked daily, seemed interested only in the fresh tender grasses which had grown thanks to the scything my partner Amy had done in late July. I filed away a mental note for better pasture management in the future.

The goats have been visiting "officially" since the Spring, after the community approved up to a week of visits each month. The goats enjoy our thistle, buckthorn and evening primrose- as well as grass- and Shana gets the occasional free afternoon. And we villagers get to enjoy these curious, friendly animals. My kids met Graycilla the day she was born; Kit remembers feeding her milk from a bottle. Both kids adore Josie, the one with little horns, and made her a "get well" card when she had a bellyache from getting in to some birdseed.

On Sunday evening I took the girls for an after-dinner walk to visit the goats. "Goodnight goats!" they shouted. I can imagine someday having a small herd of our own here at cohousing. -Jenny Davis

Sarah Hamilton

Hamilton, the Dog

I spoke with Sarah Smith the other day about her first several weeks with her new trained sight dog, Hamilton, who has been a source of great interest around the village. While many of us expected him to somehow magically and flawlessly guide Sarah up the common path and out the road and back home again, we learned that no, he's not a mind reader in a Yellow Lab's clothing, he's just a dog. Sarah's the one in charge.

She says, “It's actually harder if you used to be able to see.” Sarah lost her sight 40 years ago, when she was 30. “You have visual memories and tend to want to lead the dog. It's harder to let go and trust them.” Last month Sarah and Hamilton worked for two weeks with a trainer. Now, it's the work of practicing – down the path, out the road, to and from the Common House: “Go... stop...good dog!(treat)... right or left) (nudge)...cross!”

“Hamilton's a pleasure to have around the house,” says Sarah. Quiet and obedient. He goes into his crate when asked, walks at a nice pace, and loves play time at the dog park nearby. But, she reminded me, “he's only as smart as his owner.” -Alison Gilchrist


All Ages

Leona Lozanova, who is eight, writes:
I really like how when I come home to cohousing, a gang of kids greets me! It is so nice to have so many friends and neighbors who are very kind. I love running around free in the neighborhood.

Cohousing has mixed ages, and I find this nice because it is fun. I don't have any grandparents in the area, but all the seniors here are like my grandparents. Once, in the Fall, one of my neighbors knit mittens for all the little kids. I love living in cohousing!


Little River Farm

One of the joys of living here is heading out the door on quiet summer and fall mornings to work on our community farm in the nearby field. Amid interesting conversation, farm members pull weeds, water, and pull up shapely carrots and beets. Later they'll be trimming onions and laying them on racks to dry, or dividing up the harvest for weekly distribution.

We asked cohousing resident and CSA Manager Jennie Siebenhaar about the farm here. “A community farm in the context of cohousing is the ideal situation...(because) members actually have ownership and a long-term commitment to the land. Our primary motivation for starting and continuing Little River Farm (which is confined to Belfast Cohousing,) is the community building that comes with working together to grow healthy food.”

Many villagers and LRF members have their own vegetable gardens as well, so the farm has focused more on storage crops, such as carrots, beets and onions. As the fourth growing season winds down, Jenny says “we're at a point now where our members need to decide whether to invest in buying the additional equipment that we need to more efficiently manage the 1.5 acres currently planted with annual vegetable and cover crops, or to scale back those and possibly focus more on perennial crops.”

Cohousing homes for sale:

Unit 4 is a 1,500 sq. ft. duplex with 3 bedrooms, expandability option, and many upgrades. Includes detached garage. $375,000.__For more information on this unit call Alan at 207-323-3079 or email alan@gologic.us.
Unit 28 is a 500 sq. ft. end triplex with 200 sq. ft. loft and expandability option. $199,000. For more information on this unit email Nessa Dertnig at nessadertnig@rocketmail.com.

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