A Perfect Day in Blue Ridge Cohousing

I wake up enthusiastically early one Saturday summer morning. Today is the day I promised to help a few of my friends in the community garden with the harvesting of our bumper crop of tomatoes. On the way over, I run into a neighbor who happens to be free and decides to come along. When we arrive, two of my friends are already there as well as two energetic children and one very patient dog. The dog, sitting cooperatively in the children's wagon, is wearing a bonnet and neck scarf, as they pull him around the outside perimeter of the garden.

One of our summer interns will be helping out with the harvesting. We have two groups of high school and college interns that rotate through our very productive three season biointensive organic garden. There are other groups that come on a fairly regular basis throughout the year to tour the garden or observe. This is coordinated and overseen by the Landscape Committee. There is a research project on companion planting that was designed by one of the students that is currently going on in the green house. I check in to say hi and see how it is coming along. The other intern is explaining our gravity fed rainwater drip irrigation system to an interested visitor. Some of our school aged children and their parents are busy gathering up produce that will be taken over to our tented table at the Crozet Farmer's market for sale and to provide info on community gardening and cohousing to the market crowd. The kids get community service credit for school for this activity.

After the harvesting of several colorful varieties of heirloom tomatoes: red, yellow, pink, purple, we bring them all inside the common house kitchen to be sorted, cleaned and chopped. Then we will assemble the rest of the ingredients for the Pasta Fresca entree that will be served for the community evening meal. We have other fresh ingredients from the garden too: onions, garlic, herbs, salad greens.

Now we all have our coffee in the dappled shade outside on the porch off the kitchen. We also share some warm muffins that were thoughtfully provided by one of our group. The conversation is easy and we laugh a lot, enjoying each other's company and our comfortable surroundings. After the break, a few of us prepare the Fresca sauce with the chopped raw tomatoes. It will need to sit for several hours in the refrigerator. We check to make sure we have the other items we will need for the evening meal and resolve to meet back at the kitchen at the appointed time.

After dinner a film screening is planned for around 8:00 pm which is open to everyone in the BRC community and any invited guests from our outreach list. These are associate and equity members who do not currently live on the BRC campus but who support us and the cohousing movement, some of whom will become future renters or perhaps purchase a future resale home. It is an active Community Building subcommittee that organizes and coordinates events for new members inside and outside BRC.

I return home to an afternoon of quiet solitude reading on the back porch, answering emails, talking on the phone. I take a hike in the woods along the creek, and bird watch. I see several Indigo Buntings and an Eastern Phoebe and a Towhee—a productive outing, all in all.

Its been a great day. The meal was a huge success, and we congratulate our selves as we sit around the pool sipping our wine. The film will be shown on our outdoor screen.

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