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JUlu 2019

            The First Senior Cohousing Community in Port Townsend, WA
Inspiration and Information from National Conference

Between May 29 and June 2, the 2019 National Cohousing Conference took place in Portland Oregon. Twelve Quimper Village members attended part of or all of the conference, several were invited to participate as speakers for intensive workshops during that time. A few of our attendees offer their very brief summary of what they found at this conference:
Cheron: Probably my biggest take-away is a reminder that people can disagree and it isn’t always pretty. While we all have so much in common, we still are individuals with feelings and needs that sometimes clash with our neighbors. I learned that it’s pretty important that these clashes don’t fester but should be addressed and resolved.  
Cindy: There sure are lot of people involved in cohousing. The over 500 attendees are just a fraction of Cohousers. And there’s a great desire to share and compare, to learn from each other.
Carolyn: We at Quimper Village are doing well through research and having the discussions we have, bringing life experiences to what we’re doing and with a willingness to learn from the Cohousing Community.
PamD: Attending the conference made me proud of the job we are already doing. We might want to try some new small things, yet on the whole we have already accomplished a lot.  I was surprised that some communities are not doing meals, which are so important to us as part of our community building.
Araya:  First, I became very aware of the differences between how the urban and rural communities need to create their building and community structures. Here we have the opportunity to spread out over six acres instead of needing to live in much closer proximity to each other.
Secondly, I was reminded about how important establishing empathy is when beginning potentially sensitive or contentious conversations.
PamC:  Our Friday Forums and small group discussions, have both been essential to our growth. 
Respect and listening to each other is key to making a good community.  What might we improve on? Create opportunities for even more small group discussions as well as establishing annual retreats to look at where we’re at, as well as have a whole lot of fun together, which we seem to be doing quite well.
Mena:  I found that we were far better prepared in our move-in and first year than many communities. We are especially proficient around building community. We already seem to have a lot of love and fun in Quimper Village! 
Now, after several years of focus on building, landscaping and the physical community, it’s time for continuing the conversation about what it takes to have an even more effective and compassionate community, which of course is why we did this, why we’re together. We could develop more expertise in meeting facilitation, leadership, giving and receiving feedback. We could also improve our skills in Compassionate Communications and Sociocracy and might discuss how to best accomplish this.              -- PamC
And when we got home, our neighbors were anxious to hear about what we learned. Several of us presented information from the conference.
If you have entered the light filled atrium entrance to the Quimper Village Common House in the past few months, you’ve been greeted by the portraits of several QV members thanks to Mena, one of our talented resident artists.
After retiring about 15 years ago, Mena began pursuing her latent interest in art. She began taking classes and workshops in painting, finding her medium in acrylics, and she has never looked back.
Each summer, for the last 6 years, Mena has joined a group of artists for a 2-week intensive painting retreat on Vancouver Island in British Colombia. That’s where her creative battery is recharged. At last summer’s retreat, about 8 months after moving into Quimper Village, her focus was, not surprisingly, on community. The images of all her new neighbors drew her attention and her imagination. Portraits began to flow from her paintbrushes. The first one to emerge was of QV’s founding ‘mother’ Pat, whose joy and triumph is captured in the image. Another shows Inge-Lise and her husband Poul whose passing was symbolized by his being not able to climb up the mountain in his wheelchair to join her in their new community. Other members are portrayed doing their favorite things – Jeanette gardening, Cherie and Jim working in the gardens, Jack with his spirit pigs, and Araya with her ever-present companion Toula.
Mena is often found in our Art Studio, sometimes painting alone, sometimes in the company of other QV artists. Her focus this summer is on nature, both above and below the water level. The availability of our Art Studio has spawned several art classes such as linocut printmaking, Valentine cards, and light switch plates decorating, stimulating the inner artist in many of us.
Mena’s portraits will remain in the Atrium until mid-July. At that time a new show featuring another of our talented artists’ portraits of Quimper Villages pets will be on display. Check in to next month’s newsletter for more on that exhibit.  
                                                                                       ~ Araya

Charge of the Noxious Weed Brigade

Tribal canoe pullers often carried their canoes across a narrow neck of land at Port Townsend, to avoid battling the dangerous tides of Admiralty Inlet as the Strait of Juan de Fuca squeezes back and forth through a five-mile wide gap into Puget Sound.  The portage area was open grass, and early settlers and later farmers kept it that way.  

QV is built on the old portage site/meadow and, by agreement with the previous owner and City, we will keep 25% of our six-plus acres in “contiguous open space.” The land was badly damaged in construction, so we must restore and preserve a meadow. That’s not as easy as it may sound.

Some dirt churned up in construction is of poor quality.  Twice we’ve sprayed “topsoil,” grass, and a meadow flower mix over the property. Some areas are still pretty thin; some are thick and nearly waist high.  But nature seems to be as fond of weeds as of flowers, and all too often the weeds are thistles.  

Bull thistles we can dig up, and we’re doing pretty well there.  But the State of Washington calls Canada thistles “noxious” weeds, illegal and unwelcome immigrants that can’t be controlled by normal gardening methods. We’re enjoined to use powerful herbicides.  We’re trying to be careful gardeners and avoid collateral damage, but it’s a years-long battle.

Thistles to right of them, 

Thistles to left of them, 

Thistles in front of them 

Prickled and stung;

Laden with sprayer and spade,

Gamely they dug and sprayed,

Spray on their jeans and boots,

Spades chopping hard at the roots,

Strode the Noxious Weed Brigade.

(apologies to poor Lord Tennyson)  - Jack

Birds in Quimper Village


          While crows, gulls and eagles vie for supremacy overhead, Ivar pointed out the hummers, both Anna’s and Rufous, as they flit at the flowers and feeders. The Pine Siskin, with its little yellow wing stripe, joins the Goldfinch in seeking thistle seeds. 

            Ivar, an experienced birder, continues to name birds, only a  few of which I recognize. Redwing Blackbirds from nearby Froggy Bottom Pond visit our feeders for a special snack. The Spotted Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, Goldfinch  and red House Finch bring their unique colors and calls to the meadows and bushes. In the meadow’s dusk, swallows (Violet-green and Barn) scoop insects. Some of these birds nest here, some on the farm across the way, some in nearby trees and fields. We are fortunate to share this place with them. With most of them anyway. The Eurasian Collared Dove and House Sparrow, for example, are among the less welcome species.

           Ivar has photographed at least 79 of the over 100 species of birds here in Port Townsend and he is determined to get the rest of them.        -Cindy

      I loved Spam as a kid, in WWII and afterwards. We had it two ways. On Saturday morning, my dad would often fry ¼ inch slices in a frying pan, sometimes with an egg. My mom sent it in sandwiches to school with me, white bread, mayo and mustard. 
     But as an adult, I lost touch with Spam. When, one day, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a nostalgia for Spam, I experienced extreme resistance from my wife. My desire for Spam was treated as a joke. Her friends looked at me and smirked. You would think I was asking for a bottle of Thunderbird or Ripple. They turned their collective noses up like some lower-class persons aspiring to seem upper class (my judgement.) I was peer intimidated. But the desire did not leave me.  
     Then my wife was soon going away to the Co-housing Conference in Portland. I would be alone for four days. I knew what Ihad to do. I located the Spam cans on the shelf at Safeway. But it was too early. I hurried on by, averting my eyes to the bottles of Tabasco Sauce a few feet to the right.  
     Then the day came. My wife left with a group from our co-housing village. I waited around for ten or fifteen minutes then got in the car and headed for Safeway. I loaded my cart with an assortment of items I didn’t need, including a bottle of Tabasco Sauce, then quickly slipped that strange, but oh so familiar, shaped can of Spam in amongst them.
     There was a check-out line with only one person, (a man) ahead of me. I hurried toward it. I swear the check-out lady hesitated when she came to the Spam, but it was subtle, perhaps even imagined.
     At home, I cut two ¼ inch slices and placed them in the hot frying pan then cracked an egg in beside them. With the first whiffs of the rich aroma, my childhood images welled up before me. Without my wife there to tell me it was loaded with fat, salt and preservatives, I enjoyed it immensely. I rationed it out over the next three days, then buried the empty can deep in the garbage.
     I was happy to see my wife.  She seemed happy to see me.
     “What’s that strange smell?”
     “What?  I don’t smell anything.”
     “Well let’s open up a window.”                       -Jim D.

Here is Skip pushing his plane out for takeoff. The view of our property from the sky shows us surrounded by farms and field. The water feature belongs to the municipal golf course.
Newsletter Team: JimD, Araya, Cindy, PamC, Jack, and Cheron
Additional photos:  Jack, Mena, Nancy, JimP - many thanks
Copyright © - 2019 Quimper Village, All rights reserved.

3105 Sage Lane
Port Townsend, WA 98368

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Quimper Village · 3107 Sage Lane · Port Townsend, WA 98368 · USA

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