Occasional Update #7

Winter News from The Midden

Hello and sending warm thoughts from Wes, Kate, Ben, Mattie, Alex, and Burglar (yes, a new member!) at the Midden!  As you read this, we are probably all huddled around our new woodstove hatching plans to knock down walls, re-finish floors, paint things, build things, and generally realize our dream to create ‘one big house’, as we like to say.

One big house . . .

As you may or may not know, the house we bought in Columbus used to be a duplex.  We’ve been living mainly on one side, while the other side has been very messy, so the first and main task towards one big house was cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  I think we are all glad that the cleaning part is about finished, and now we get to move on to the fun stuff – renovations!  None of us have ever done home improvement quite on this scale, so we’re in for a fun and exciting learning process.  Our living room is scattered with drafts of crazy awesome ideas – our main criteria seem to be big kitchen and lots of common space. In the upcoming months, we plan to do lots of repairs on both sides of the house.  By the next newsletter we will hopefully have one big house!

Dogs, woodstoves, and other warm things . . .

Between the months of September and November we had 2 break-ins, which left us feeling pretty violated and un-easy.  As a result, we decided that the  house would benefit from having a big dog around.  Now we have Burglar, a 75 pound 11 month old boxer-lab mix, who is more likely to cuddle an intruder to death than bark at him.  Needless to say, Burglar has quickly become an important part of the house as we learn the ups and downs of collectively having an animal.  He belongs to no-one, and we share the tasks of caring for him.  If you come to visit us sometime, just tell him ‘down!’ :)

Another important addition to Midden was our wood stove!  We decided to install the stove ourselves, and Mattie took a leading role in making it happen.  The process included Mattie climbing 40+ feet into the air and perching on our chimney to finish up tapping into the existing chimney and exhaust pipe.  It was quite an adventurous couple of days, to say the least, but we recently passed an inspection with flying colors and fire it up almost every night.

The wood stove has inspired many nights of reading and writing together by the stove, and we have also started having people over for potlucks.  At the old house (64 King) we had a weekly potluck that happened without a halt for two years straight – quite an accomplishment!  From that experience we learned that we enjoy filling our house with people, food, and ideas.  With that in mind, Ben is going to host a weekly craft night by the fire.  Bring it on, winter – we’ve got friends, crafts, and a woodstove!

Us and new members (the human kind)

When we’re not running around like maniacs with the dog or fixing the house, we all have different projects we’re working on.  Mattie has been facilitating with the Beehive Collective, and continues to work at a local food distributor, the Greener Grocer.  Kate, Wes, and Ben still work with Red Bird Prison Abolition, and all have various part-time jobs.  Ben has been especially excited by the Occupy movement, and sees opportunities to tie it in with Redbird work.  Similarly, Kate is exploring other projects, such as volunteering with women’s health organizations.  Alex has been recording songs for a new album, is helping plan a Solidarity Network for Columbus, and frequently cooks up magnificent meals.

And there will soon be a new addition to the Midden – Neb! Neb makes noises with home made instruments, has expansive foraging knowledge and experience, and recently attended a silent meditation retreat. He will moving into the third floor sometime in late February.

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