Emma Goldman Finishing School Community Report

This past year has been one full of changes. The biggest being the birth of our first baby, Ruby, who is the daughter of Johanna and Sheldon. As a community, we’ve been learning how to support new parents, how to do baby sign language, and how to relate with this little one. It has been a challenging and rewarding learning opportunity for us. Now, Ruby is walking/tottering and that is bringing with it a whole new set of fun and challenging things.

Also, we have seen some dramatic membership flux. After taking on two new adult members and two children in the fall of 2007, in the summer of 2008 one of our adult couples, and our new member and her two children moved on. So there was that. But we also had the blessing of bringing on our newest member Wilson. That brings us to our current membership of 7 adults (Sheldon, Johanna, Addy, Monica, Marc, Patience, Wilson) and 1 Ruby, which means we have 5 rooms available.

We decided to open up two of the rooms for non-membership-seeking subletters, and have Marc’s partner Tamara filling one room, and our past member Thea (also of Sandhill) in the other for the winter months. We’re excited to have their upbeat energy and great skills around Emma’s.

Each year, we are expanding our own food production, and this year we joined a collective farm on Vashon Island, which is just a ferry ride away. We have 1 out of 8 shares, where we put in $400 upfront, do 6 hours of a labor a week, and get our share of the harvest. That in addition to what we grow in our own garden has made it so that we have a pretty decent produce supply in the summer months. We’re planning on continuing this next year.

On the project front this past year, we’ve taken care of a few small-medium projects, including refinishing our dining room and main hallway floor, by sanding it down and varnishing it. We took the opportunity to also put a fresh coat of paint on our dining room walls, which had made our main common space more inviting, and easier on bare hands, knees, and feet. We’ve also been working on preparations for redoing our front deck, fixing old fans, and reorganizing our pantry space.

Overall, we are doing well. We’ve been enjoying the long, dry, beautiful Northwest fall, and are now settling in for a winter of hanging out, socializing, and building our community from the strong core we have.

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