Making and decorating a gingerbread house took the kids to the Candy Jar to pick out decorations
Baking goodies to give family as gifts has been a tradition in our family for years. This year, I felt compelled to make 6 different kinds of treats and bake 2 pies to compensate for a COVID Christmas. 😂😂😅😅 Its a good thing Annaliese likes to bake with me- we made quick and fun work out of baking, decorating and packaging for delivery!
The Gingerbread Man
Tor and Aurora’s cookies ready to be iced
The annual Christmas Stroll looked much different this year. But Chad and Megan created their own little family fun outing. They have been walking the stroll since they first moved to Bozeman and have loved sharing the tradition with Annaliese.
Downtown is so beautiful this time of year!
Ida and her brother, Sorin, finished putting together the family’s 1000-piece Christmas puzzle, an annual holiday tradition in their household!
Aurora and her grandmother deliver presents to Cuban refugees. She helped plan the gifts for the kids of five families and wrapped all their presents. She says that meeting them was fulfilling and she was happy to give gifts to kids who wouldn’t have gotten any. She even got to speak a bit of Spanish. 🙌
Mark, Denali & Lochlan find a choice candidate
Cutting down a Christmas tree at Brackett Creek
Ida and her dad, Jed, getting the Christmas tree! This tree came from Crosscut, because they’re asking folks to cut down trees in the area where their new lodge will be built! Note Ida’s classy dress for the occasion…
Taking a walk on the ranch, looking for caves. We found animal bones and guano and lots of curious deer.
Chipping away ice to go “ice fishing” in Bozeman at a local stream by our home
What’s your hometown & current location? I grew up in Portland, Oregon and went to college at the University of Oregon in Eugene. In my last year, I got to live in one of the cooperative houses there, and was introduced to large-scale vegetarian cooking and consensus-based decision-making. I spent the first four years of grad school at Cornell living in one of the long-time co-ops, Stewart Little. I honed my group cooking skills and deeply appreciated the sense of community, but also experienced the pain of poor group dynamics and interpersonal conflict. Living in community can be messy!
Jodi and I met when both of us were in Washington, DC, completing our graduate programs. DC was exciting, but we could feel ourselves turning into Yuppies. When she got offered the job of University Archivist at UM in Missoula, we eagerly came back west. Missoula’s vibrant arts and community service culture kept us there. Twenty-three years later, we came to Bozeman in the summer of 2020 for Jodi to take the same position at MSU. We live less than a mile from the cohousing property on Enterprise Blvd.
I’m excited to live in a place that has been deliberately designed, both physically and institutionally, to nurture people and relationships in place.
— Steve Allison-Bunnell
What are you doing in your life now? Settling in here in Bozeman and joining co-housing has been a full-time job! I’m currently the house-spouse, taxi driver, and assistant cat coddler. I’m also rebuilding my educational media consultancy.
What subjects/ ideas/activities are you passionate about? My memoir will be called, Zen Dad, Ninja Dad. I have benefitted enormously as a spouse, parent, and friend from growing a mindfulness practice in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn. For me, Buddhism is as much a psychology as a religion, and it has given a shape to my desire to make meaning out of the world and do the right thing in the service of others. Before the pandemic, I received my black belt in Aikido, which has been called the “martial art of mindfulness.” The physical, non-violent nature of Aikido perfectly complements meditation. I really miss training right now.
What aspects of the cohousing model speak to you most? I’m excited to live in a place that has been deliberately designed, both physically and institutionally, to nurture people and relationships in place. As someone who has felt challenged to initiate relationships, the co-housings premise that we all want to be connected and are committed to building community means a lot to me.
What is something that makes you hopeful for the future? My children have a wonderfully cosmopolitan and inclusive world-view given that they grew up here in Montana. Camas is a thoughtful and kind young man who is generous almost to a fault. Cedar’s vision as an artist is breathtaking. I have confidence that their way of being is making the world a better place.
Describe something you’re naturally good at & how you use that strength. I may not be Irish, but somehow I kissed the Blarney Stone. Putting words together in text or in front of an audience comes perhaps too easily to me. I’ve written mostly non-fiction and poetry—everything from a children’s book to a PhD dissertation. Because with great power comes great responsibility, I try to use my eloquence to inform and inspire other people.
What one word would you use to describe yourself? Explain why. Loyal. Once I commit to something or someone, I really hate to give up. My first instinct is to try to be helpful.
Name a favorite place you’ve lived & what you liked about it. I loved living with my grandparents for the first two years of college. They had a huge garden and orchard, a cozy house they built themselves, and were the ultimate do-it-yourselfers. Whether it was helping my grandpa cut firewood or working with my grandma in the kitchen, I learned a lot about making things and eating home-grown food.
Leila stretched and stood up, she wandered off her fluffy pillow and down the stairs to the kitchen, she wasn’t keen on being woken up from her slumber, but she heard a faint scuttling on the tiled floor, and she was in the mood to play.
“I suppose Jack has let his pet tarantula out again,” she sighed, “What was his name again? Larry? Gary? Oh whatever.” She continued a few more steps then paused, “Oh, then again maybe that mouse came out of her little hole I can’t get into…”
Leila quickened her pace now more excited, when she got to the kitchen she saw the mouse being chased by the tarantula. She sauntered to Squeaks, standing over the poor mouse.
“I wasn’t expecting another meal until dinner,” Leila licked her lips and stretched out her claws to their full length. Crouching down, Leila prepared to pounce.Squeaks just stood there frozen with fear thinking, I’m gonna die with an empty belly. Leila leaped into the air, but before she landed on the mouse, Squeaks snapped out of her trance and dogged Leila. Squeaks scurried over to the cracker cabinet and grabbed three saltines- 2 weeks worth of food- and sprinted toward her cozy mouse hole. Leila was still on her tail- and getting closer. Squeak’s feet flew with fear. Leila braced herself and used all her might to lunge higher and further than ever. But the mouse needed to be faster, and she slid into her cozy home in the wall of the Xeider’s house just as two front paws clicked to the floor. Now safe, Squeaks let out a sigh of relief.
Cohousers prepare the barn for the arrival of Zeus the billy goat!
Our agriculture club decided that three of our does will become mamas this spring: Apple, Sunday, and Trouble. Working on a farm is often a fantasy of kids and our goats allow us all to live this dream with shared responsibility. This new venture in animal husbandry is ripe for all-age learning.
Preparing “The Love Shack”
Mark works, kids jump around
Kids are especially helpful because they love to climb and can fit in small spaces.
Searching through the snow for the fence post. We love our snow, but ahhgh!
I’ve also found they enjoy doing this helpful work waaaayyy more than room cleaning.
Of course the weekend we needed to prepare the barn for Zeus, we had just received a dump of snow and frigid temps. Ahh, Montana life!
The witch cat surveys the possibilities
We carved pumpkins and the kids each named theirs. Lochlan chose the name “Pumpkin Leif” after our youngest cohousing member.
Every year we get a load of firewood delivered to feed our woodstove for the winter. The kids love helping to stack the wood. With young kids, this is the most we can do right now, but I hope that once we live in cohousing, we can have firewood cutting parties. Imagine a group of friends heading out into the national forest in the winter to harvest firewood to heat out homes for the winter. Chores like this are made festive by sharing them with a community. Many of the home types in Bozeman Cohousing have the option for a woodstove. — Kathleen
Yep. Sometimes we get snow in October — but we make the best of it!
Anna demonstrates proper snow-angel technique
Aurora likes sliding down hills, and so does her Dad.