March 2004

Spring is starting to arrive in the valley. We've been really enjoying our new kitchen in the mill now that all the renovation is finished. The biggest challenge now is where to find that particular whisk or baking pan you need now that everything is in a different place. Thanks so much to all who have donated toward the mill renovation project, it helps to know that people out there are supporting us in what we're doing. There will be more phases to the renovation in the future, but at this point we're turning our attention to the new building.

The new building committee still thinks that we can break ground in the July timeframe. The layout drawings are coming along and it's fun to watch progress being made. We've been working with architect Sigi Koko who has designed one of the two strawbale residences that have been permitted in Baltimore County. Neither of these has been built, so if all proceeds as planned, Heathcote’s new residence could have the distinction of being the first new construction strawbale building actually built in Baltimore County. Once the construction starts we hope to organize some volunteer labor by through internships, workdays, workshops. Stay tuned if you're interested in getting involved, we'll be sending announcements out on our email list. Also, at the School of Living meeting (here at Heathcote) on April 17, Greg & Juji will be doing a talk on alternative building materials and techniques that we used in the mill and plan for the new building, including straw bale, cobb, and wattle & daub (here's a link where you can find out more about these techniques). The meeting is open to the public, so let us know if you're interested in coming.

Well, the "T" family (Todd, Theresa, Takoda and Quinn) has left for North Carolina and we're missing them. Bob became a full member in February, and we're pretty excited about that. He and Betsy have started selling Nikken wellness products and are using the greenhouse as a showcase. And our favorite old goat, Tabitha, died this winter after being with Dana for 14 years. Dana is planning on getting a new goat to keep Willow company up at the Hina Hanta (the new name for the Hillhouse means Path of Peace). We still have a couple of spaces for people who are interested in joining us! Maybe that's you...

As I write this, we have three Twin Oaks members here for the weekend to help with a retreat for the Shantagani income-sharing pod. The pod's members are trying to decide whether to continue income-sharing and if so, what their vision might be. It's really generous of the FEC to lend tangible support like this. Sky, Anissa, and Piankhy are helping with facilitation, as well as doing childcare and helping in the kitchen.

A recent visitor mentioned that we've lost a little bit of our history now that we aren't publishing a newsletter any more. We ran out of energy for putting it together, so we decided that our website would serve the purpose of letting everyone know what we're up to. The only problem is that this column hasn't been archived, so there's a gap in the information for those who like to read the back issues. Anyway, we're going to try to save these updates on the newsletter page from now on so people can refer back to them. Enjoy!