Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rainbow over cohousing

This was the most glorious rainbow I've ever seen--and then it
turned into a double rainbow!

It looks like in the first photo the rainbow ends - at the composting bin - no suprise there... the bounty of vegetables grown in their community garden last year, and the delicious meals prepared & shared by community with them would certainly indicate that it is indeed a pot of gold. Photos provided by Pat

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving in the neighborhood

Thanksgiving at Fresno Cohousing is a community and family event. Imagine a day with your releatives and about 30 new friends. About 56 people attend, counting kids. Out of town relatives for residents came from Pennsylvania, Washington state, San Jose and Morgan Hill, as well as a returning college student from Cal Poly and local
relatives and guests. More turkeys, than needed were purchased - but where is the down side to that? We'll enjoy cold turkey sandwiches on white squishy bread with gobs of mayonnaise, soups and other yummies for several days.

Joe had a soulmate with his 11 year old cousin here. Both boys alternated between swimming in the very cold pool and jumping in the hot tub. The weather was balmy enough for several tables to be set up outside on the patio for al fresco dining. Several games of Wii, some puppy mischief (2 dogs left at home during the day managed to get into the pantry & dust the house with flour and rice - payback for being left out of the festivites I suppose) & great conversation made this Thanksgiving another reason to be thankful for the opportunity to live in LaQ.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I walked out my back door at about 2 pm with recycling and trash. I dropped it off and went in the back door of the common house; got my mail and walked up the hall to the kitchen sign up sheet. I signed up for the next meal.

Then I walked out the front door to the pool. Monday is my day to check the chemicals and clean up. From there I walked in the exercise room next door and did 20 minutes on the bicycle while watching some of the Dr. Phil show.

Then I walked to the first house and visited with Violet and her 5 day care kids; I got to be "grammy" and read stores and play with them for 30 minutes or so.

Next I stopped at Neil's house to ask him a question. We talked about their vacation trip to Texas. I walked in my house about 2 1/2 hours later feeling great.

Barbara Cutright

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dog Walking

Pat, my wife, and I enjoy walking in the morning. Shortly after we moved into La Querencia, we began taking two of our neighbor’s dogs along with us. Tristan and Drake are 80 lb Boxers who love to walk and certainly improve the workout we get with their energy.

A month or so after Tristan and Drake joined us, we invited another pair of neighbor dogs, Freddie and Winnie along. Freddie is now 14, of indeterminate ancestry, and weighs about 15 lbs. “Winnie The Poodle” is a 4 lb. Toy Poodle and is the princess of the pack.

We have most recently been joined by Noah, a hyperactive rescue dog about 2 years old; 20 lbs of total energy!

We started doing our walks in some of the nearby Clovis Trail System, a great network of bike, walking and running trails that run close by. In order to maximize our time on the trails and not on the street, we pack all the dogs into our Prius and drive about half a mile to the trail. Tristan and Drake and in back (although Tristan wants to get his face into the windshield and navigate!). As we encounter other others on the trail, we find that they are often incredulous that none of these 5 dogs are ours, and that we are not paid dog-walkers. It is one of our favorite “Cohousing Moments.”

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Tonight (and today) was the 2nd annual LaQuerencia Halloween Party! George and Neil started things off by helping the kids carve pumpkins at 2:00 p.m.--some very creative pumpkins! The Social Committee and helpers worked on the Haunted House in the kids' playroom after that, and then at 5:00 p.m. the trick or treaters in costume came door-to-door. What fun that was--and such great costumes, for both kids and adults! Bryan and Rebecca had the top-rated (by my standards) chocolate--have you ever heard of Cadbury on Halloween? The potluck started at 6:30 in the Common House--another great feast. That wonderful Social Committee again had music, games and the Haunted House for everyone! The costumes were great and imaginative. Ivan and Catalina came as H1 and N1. Barbara R. was an incredible witch with a silver face. Violette was a glamorous movie star. Ruth was a terrific M&M, and Ana was Minnie Mouse, wearing ruby slippers! Bev and Neil came as themselves when they were 16--Neil even dyed his hair black for tonight!

When George and I lived in our previous home, the number of trick-or-treaters dwindled each year until the last year we were down to about 7 who came (the little kids who had come during the early years were all grown up, I guess). Now, in cohousing, we have a wonderful group of kids (and adults) who really get into the spirit of Halloween, and it's a wonderful time for all.

Another reason to love cohousing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A run and a friendly hello.

I put on my ipod and run 3-4 miles every other day and it's always a great feeling when I get back (with a good sweat) to walk down the main sidewalk and see how all the plants & trees are doing, and say hi to early risers. It gives me a little boost every time I exchange a friendly hello from one of my neighbors.

Chocolate, a flag and messages for a son

From a resident, Barbara
My son, Kevin, returned for a second assignment in Iraq. He left from Ft. Bragg, SC on Aug. 19. There was a ceremony on the evening of Aug. 18 on my front porch. We hung a flag, shared his history in the Army, and ate one of his favorite foods, chocolate. There were sheets of paper to write messages to Kevin.

I especially appreciate the support for me of this community. They are giving me things to send to the Kevin and the other soldiers. Also, we are planning to send things for the Iraqi children when we have a connection established.

Childcare a Community Thing

Written by Bryan - cohousing resident.
Reliable childcare is a recurring theme in the cohousing experience – from folks taking children to school to help with a scheduling problem or as a matter of convenience or for a few days as shared here by Bryan. In a couple of weeks, Rebecca and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary (and 30th anniversary of meeting each other). We're going away for a 4-day weekend. Pat & George are going to look after Joe for us, so we can fully enjoy the Esalen Institute experience. Just last Monday, I needed to go to class in the evening but Rebecca was on-call and working late. Violette looked after Joe "no problem" and Joe wound up helping Lily with hours of homework.

The New Decks

Neil is building a deck in our back yard and Stacy is working along with him to learn how to build one for her. Then Sharon, next door, decided she wanted a deck in her yard and wants to build it herself. So Neil is teaching both of them and supervising their work. When we got home this afternoon Sharon and Stacy had finished putting the underpinnings in Sharon's back yard. They took the truck, bought the cement and lumber, hauled it to the back yard, dug the holes, set the cement and installed the wood along with the help of Scott, who wanted to help when he saw what they were doing. Of course in the true cohousing spirit - friends and neighbors gathered to celebrate the completion of the patios - any reason to gather and socialize.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

One Sunday morning about 7:00 am I was standing at the kitchen window and heard a child's voice singing "Way up over the rainbow, bluebirds fly". I looked out and 3yr old Ana was singing at the top of her lungs as she was walking down the path. She was all dressed up for Sunday school, had no shoes on and looked so happy. She continued to sing as she walked toward the common house. Then she stopped, turned around and sang all the way back home. Where else could I start a Sunday morning with such a precious moment? ow,

Why live in cohousing? Reason number 235

We never have to worry about boarding our pets when going away. There is always someone to take care of them.

Joe's concert and the flat tire

On a Sunday, a bunch of cohousers went up to Sequoia Lake to enjoy a concert and a picnic. Joe, who plays violin, was finishing a week of camp at Lake Sequoia Symphonic Music Camp and his ensemble was one of those performing a concert at the lake. Rebecca and Neil made a picnic to share. Ruth, Ana, Neil, Bev, Candy, Emma, Sharon, and George all came along.

On the way back from a concert and picnic, Neil & Bev had a serious tire blowout. They called us and, cohousers to the rescue! We caught up with them and picked up their passengers, and left George there to make sure Neil didn't try to fix the tire himself before AAA came. (Neil was there to make sure George didn't, either!) We also left them with an umbrella and water to go along with their chairs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Energy use in one community home

The following is a brief account on energy use & the dual flush toilets as reported by one homeowner who moved in around September into a 3-bedroom house.

We set the thermostat downstairs at 68 in the evening, 60 at night, 68 again for a while in the morning, and 60 through the day. It is automatically programmed so I really don’t pay much attention to it, and it is so quiet that we are not aware of when it is actively heating and when it isn’t.

We keep the upstairs at 60 all the time, unless we have guests in the upstairs bedroom. Now, with the temperature during the day in the mid 60s, it doesn’t seem like the heat comes on at all and the inside temp stays at around 68-70 as long as we have a little sun.

We rarely need lights during the day, even when it is cloudy. With most of our lights being CFLs, I don’t expect that we use much energy on lighting.

The (dual flush) toilets do save water. If a home has about 10 flushes per day that’s a savings of 8 gallons/day, or almost 3000 gallons per year. With 17 homes with all dual flush (the downstairs only have one dual-flush) that’s almost 50,000 gallons/year for the project.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Solar Panels Go Live

On January 7, 2009, the La Querencia Cohousing Community switched on 29 photovoltiac (PV) solar arrays. This is the first multifamily residential project in Fresno to go 100% solar. All 28 of the condominium residences, plus the common house each have a solar PV array. The combined power of these 29 systems is 44 kilowatts, which results in an annual reduction of 65,455 pounds of CO2.

In addition to substantial savings on their electrical bills, each residence has qualified for a rebate, through the California Energy Commission, of $3100. In addition, homes purchased before December 31, 2009 are eligible for a Federal tax credit of about $3000. The PV systems were supplied and installed by Unlimited Energy, of Fresno.

La Querencia, located on Alluvial Ave just east of Chestnut Ave calls itself “the Greenest Neighborhood in Fresno,” and for good reason. The project was the first multifamily residential project to qualify for, and receive, an incentive award from the City of Fresno under its “Fresno Green” program. This was based not just on the plans for solar, but for the overall energy efficiency, the use of sustainable building materials, reductions in water use with efficient irrigation and low use fixtures, wide roof overhangs for shading and many other “green” features. In 2008, La Querencia was awarded the Gold level by the Fresno Business Journal for the “Best Green Project.”

For more information on the project go to