Occasional Update #14: June 2015

Our occasional updates have gotten more and more occasional. It’s been over a year since we gave a shout out, and there has been a lot of change around here. Some of the biggest and hardest news for our home has been a lot of members have left. Everyone has their own reasons and stories for those choices, but overall, it hasn’t been easy. Cole moved home to Virginia in September and, despite the (physical) distance, has kept up with some of our current members. Kate and Wes moved out in early December and have been living together (with some others) in a cute house a handful of blocks from us. Mattie moved out in late December, and has recently been staying in a magical farm house just outside the city. In addition to being a big shift in how many folks live here, everyone who left have had long standing and significant impacts on life here at the midden, including Kate and Mattie that were founding members of this special place. Thanks ya’ll, for all the countless ways you helped us grow.

While we miss Wes, Mattie, Cole, and Kate- we also have a nice and intimate group right now. Alex, Phil and Molly are still around, and since our last update Max has moved in. Max has been here a few months now and has added a lot to the vibe around our home. Max is back in Ohio after a two year hiatus in Pittsburgh. Max enjoys making art (check out his site!), dancing at punk shows, drinking tons of coffee and rolling around on the ground with Burglar. He really loves Burg… and has taken to being sure he gets regular walks and tons of love. Individually, all of us have all been up to all sorts of things. There is too much to possibly say about what we’ve all been up to- so let’s not even try. We’ve been dreaming, doing, watching, and learning. Our lives are changing, things are moving, and we are growing.


 {max ❤ burgular}

While four is a nice number that has allowed us to get close, it’s not our ideal. We’re actively looking for new folks to live here. Right now, we are also trying new things, and Liz has moved in as someone who is renting a room. We’re not sure how an agreement like this will work in the long term, but we’re excited to have Liz with us and to try a new format. We are particularly looking for women, trans, and gender non-conforming folks, but we’re up for chatting with anyone! We have a big house and want to live efficiently. We want to share our lives with more folks and want to learn from each other in the process. If you or anyone you know is interested, we’d love to chat and explore what it might be like to live here at the Midden. You can email or call us, or just grab the ear of Phil, Alex, Max, or Molly!

As transitions in the human world have taken place, we’ve also been reworking some of our agreements. Perhaps like always, we’re not totally settled on how things are, but we’re trying a more communication based way of contributing around the house- taking some inspiration from a community in NYC- and simply calling it House Love. We’ve also changed up the ways we pay our bills and our trying a more (logistically) simple contribution system, based on a percentage of income. Of course, all our agreements have lots of little details, but we’re pretty invested in making things that work for us and that build equity. We’re probably up for chatting about what we’re up to, if you’re interested, or have ideas and thoughts!

This winter, we had a long term visitor, Rayenbo.  She stayed with us while she worked on some things for the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC). She worked closely with Alex, who is our liaison with the FEC and also does tons of work with that larger umbrella organization. Together, they did a lot of preparation and planning to help pull of the FEC annual assembly. This year, that was hosted by our friends at Sandhill in Missouri! Since the assembly wrapped up, Rayenbo has headed back to Acorn in Virginia where she spends most of her time.


    {shabbat dinner, hosted by rayenbo!)

Things in our neighborhood continue to change quickly. The houses behind our back alley are open and folks are living there. The backyard of those houses have been turned into a huge parking lot, sod has been laid, the houses look fancy, and they are expensive. The houses on both sides of us have been bought up and are well on their way to becoming fancy places for students, artists, and eventually the wealthy.

While the roofs over peoples heads change, another sort of very special place is rapidly changing. The mound. Loved by so so many, it’s been a magical little escape for folks here at the midden: a place to share feelings, watch the sunset, hold a potluck, go sledding, be alone, let your heart be warmed, allow tears to run down your cheeks and into your sweater, gaze at the full moon, talk out our disagreements, sit with Burglar, kick over (literal and metaphorical) signs of change, say good riddance to things of the past, and so much more. There might not be any ‘real’ information to back this up, but it feels like the highest geographical point in the city. You can watch the city move, while you have a moment of stillness. We’ve seen it go from a brownfield to a field of wild flowers, with an ever changing and growing set of biodiversity. The seasons change there, the cattails bioremediate, and birds dip low. Now the machines are tearing it down, almost certainly to start building something only the a few can enjoy.

cattails   mound

{cattails and tearin’ down machines}

While the changes outside our fence line are disheartening, inside our physical boundaries (fences and walls!) things are getting pretty cute. We have some intentionality of leaving the facade of our home (like our front yard) looking not so nice, but we do really value the ways things feel and look once you get inside. We’ve done some small painting projects, have continued to try to bust out a productive vegetable garden, put up screen doors and the like, try to keep things tidy, and have started planting more perennials (like daylilies, cup flowers, and solomon seal). Come on over and see how cute we are!

Thanks for keeping up with us and for being the delightful humans that you are! We look forward to having you over, hearing from you, or running into you! ‘Til next time..!

1 thought on “Occasional Update #14: June 2015

  1. Valerie

    Yay! I’m glad to hear this news of The Midden. I love that Rayenbo spent some good time with you. Maybe we’ll some of you all at the Communities Conference. Hugs, Valerie Twin Oaks


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